Excitement building for World Team Poker league

Aug 1, 2009 8:12 PM
By Joe Awada | The excitement is building for World Team Poker (WTP), which will host a party on Wednesday (Aug. 5) at the Bicycle Casino in Southern California, celebrating the newest players to sign on to the international poker league.

"The professional poker league features the greatest players in the world," said WTP founder Robert Turner. "The league consists of 32 teams, each featuring five of the best players from that country."

Wednesday’s gala will announce a scheduled challenge match pitting the league’s Team Philippines vs. Team Mexico.

The event will also debut World Team Poker’s recent signings of WSOP bracelet winner Toto Leonidas, who will captain Team Philippines, and poker champ Mario Esquerra, who will captain Team Mexico.

Six-time World Series bracelet winner Men "The Master" Nguyen will attend as well to announce the roster of Team Vietnam.

The first international match, in fact, will feature Team Vietnam against Team USA, which is captained by Phil Hillmuth. It’s scheduled for November 1 in Las Vegas.

The second match will pit Team USA against Team China, captained by Johnny Chan, and possibly taking place in Macau.

All the action will be available on the Internet view pay-per-view.

"Fans can watch all the excitement – eight hours of it – from their home, in an interactive format, which allows them to chat and converse with the players while the action is ongoing," Turner said.

The formation of World Team Poker was originally announced last month at a news conference during the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. At the time, poker icons Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan were introduced as captains of their respective teams.

Here are a few other international team captains:

• Toto Leonidas, Team Philippines

• Men "The Master" Nguyen, Team Vietnam

• Freddy Deeb: Team Lebanon

• Jeff Lisandro, Team Australia

• Eli Elezra, Team Israel

• Dan Heimiller, Team Germany

Also expected to attend Wednesday’s celebration are Michael Christian and Charity Perry-Turner, both co-founders of World Team Poker.

"The World Team Poker motto – "Pride. Passion. Country" – represents the spirit of competition that will make World Team Poker matches must-see events for all dedicated poker fans and students of the game," said WTP founder Turner. "Other innovations such as the Poker Cube and the ability for team captains to make unlimited substitutions will help World Team Poker to stand out from the crowd."

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.

"Obviously, it’s more than just entertainment, it’s an educational experience as well for the fans," Turner said. "Where else can you watch all the hands being played – not just a few select hands like the network TV coverage – and chat with the players during the action, all for the cost of pay-per-view, which will be just $19.95?"