Set your Tivo's for Sunday nights at 11 PM ET on ESPN2. Because beginning Sunday, January 31 and continuing through February 28, the U.S. television debut of the latest World Series of Poker Europe coverage hits the airwaves.
Kicking things off is an exciting new event, Caesars Cup, featuring the best poker players from Europe and the Americas battling it out in this unique Ryder Cup-style poker tournament that pits teams of the best players from both sides of the Atlantic against each other in a best 4 out of 7 match format.
The Caesars Cup is a made-for-television special. Pride, bragging rights and claiming the inaugural Caesars Cup were all up for grabs at the event.
The Caesars Cup features the game No-Limit Hold’em with two teams of eight doing battle over a series of Heads Up and partner formats, with points awarded at each stage. The unique formats include alternate betting and other non-traditional elements as players aim to win points for their respective teams. The first team to 4 points is the winner.
Each team features eight top players, with the Americas team captained by poker professional Daniel Negreanu and the Europeans skippered by Betfair-sponsored sensation Annette Obrestad. Both Negreanu and Obrestad selected six additional team members and each battled alongside them to determine whether the Americas or Europe is home to the best tournament poker players. One qualifier also won the last seat for each squad.
"My view of the Caesars Cup is similar to what is going on in golf with the Ryder Cup," said Negreanu. "There are players representing their country on each team. And that helps to create a very special event that people will care about. So far, it has gone that way. Everybody is really into it. It is lots of fun. The format and matchups are great."
Daniel Negreanu – Team Captain
Phil Hellmuth, Jr.
Annette Obrestad – Team Captain
Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier
Ilari "Zigmund" Sahamies
John Harvey – Betfair Qualifier
It was a very memorable event, with each team choosing vastly different tactics in choosing their teams. While Negreanu went with experienced professionals (a combined 45 WSOP gold bracelets amongst them and more than $52 million in tournament winnings), Obrestad filled the European squad with young, aggressive and mostly online poker specialists, albeit ones with a great track record of success.
Will the experience be too much to overcome for the Europeans? Or will the fearless and relentless youth be too much for Team Americas?
It all unfolds in two back-to-back episodes on ESPN2 on January 31.
"I think the Caesars Cup is a really cool concept," said Obrestad. "It is something that has never been done before. I hope the Caesars Cup goes on for every year, from now on. It’s really cool to be the captain of Team Europe and I hope that since I got this chance I can do my team a lot of good and lead us to victory."
In the opening match, Ivey and Seed pair up to take on Antonius and Sahamies. Following the opening round, Negreanu and Hellmuth team-up to battle Grospellier and Harvey, the online qualifier. And in the event's most memorable hand, the team holding pocket Aces looked dominant during an all-in and a call, but you must tune in to see how the hand ends!
World Series of Europe coverage airs each and every Sunday night on ESPN2. Check local listings for times in your area.