With the World Series of Poker’s main event as a backdrop, World Team Poker (WTP) on Friday announced it has landed two of poker’s highest profile players: Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan.
Hellmuth will captain the WTP’s Team USA, while Chan will captain Team China.
Both players are former WSOP champions, as well as the most decorated poker players in World Series history – Hellmuth has earned 11 gold bracelets; Chan has earned 10 bracelets.
“We’re excited to bring on board legendary poker players like Phil and Johnny,” said Robert “Chipburner” Turner, creator and president of World Team Poker. “We’re in the process of signing the world’s greatest players with World Team Poker, and we’re going to be producing some outstanding events.”
Those events will begin later this year, when World Team Poker will feature the world’s top players battling each other in international competition.
Teams of five players will represent their home countries and will be captained by established poker superstars.
Turner said that international poker competition will be enhanced by innovations such as the “Poker Cube” and the ability of team captains to make unlimited substitutions to help distinguish the quality of competition.
Generally, the Poker Cube is a betting cube that players can use in a challenge match (that is, between two teams), thereby raising the stakes at any time.
For example, if Team USA were playing Team Vietnam in a series of H.O.R.S.E. freeze-outs, and they felt they had an edge in Razz, they could throw the poker cube as a challenge to double the stakes for the Razz portion of the game.
Among the other announced captains of their five-player teams are Freddy Deeb (Lebanon), Men “The Master” Nguyen (Vietnam), Jeff Lisandro (Australia) and Eli Elezra (Israel).