In March 2015, Team Italy beat out seven other national teams to claim the inaugural Global Poker Masters, created by the Global Poker Index (GPI). On Tuesday, GPI announced details for the second edition of the event, to be held in the fourth quarter of 2016 in a yet-to-be revealed location.
Next year’s event, which will see its name changed to the GPI World Cup, will expand by 50% to 12 teams, each representing a different country. With the larger field, the teams will be divided into three equally-sized divisions for what the GPI calls the “Group Stage.” This first round will be a round-robin competition, as each team will play the other three in its division once. The winners from each division will be granted automatic entry into the final four, with a fourth team determined via a playoff. Not details have been published yet on this playoff.
Last year, the eight teams to qualify for the Global Poker Masters represented the eight nations that ranked highest in the Global Poker Index. The GPI will still be used for the GPI World Cup, but the qualification format will change slightly. Next year, there will be four automatic qualifiers, one from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. Additionally, last year’s champion, Italy, will receive an automatic bid.
The remaining seven nations will be invited based on where they stand in the GPI World Cup Rankings as of July 20, 2016. These rankings combine the GPI scores of each country’s top seven players in the GPI World Poker Rankings with the top three players in each individual country’s GPI Player of the Year contest (as of the end of 2015).
The United States and Canada clearly have an advantage in this setup, as they are the only two countries with a realistic shot to earn the automatic bid from North America, whereas the competition is much tougher in the other regions, particularly Europe. Then again, as the US and Canada currently sit atop the GPI World Cup Rankings, it would be shocking if both didn’t make it anyway.
As for the composition of the national teams, each will be composed of four players: the top two ranked players for the country in the GPI World Poker Rankings, the 2015 National Player of the Year, and a wildcard. The GPI has not said how that wildcard will be selected.
This year, as mentioned, there were eight teams in the Global Poker Masters, each made up of five players. In the initial Playoff Round, the teams competed in a series of eight-handed sit and gos containing one player from each team. Teams were awarded points based on how their players finished.
The first place team, Team United States, earned a bye to the Semifinals for winning the Playoff Round, while Team UK was eliminated for finishing last. The other six teams chose three players each to battle it out in heads-up matches in the Quarterfinals. France was eliminated and the remaining five teams met up with the US for the Semifinal round, a six-handed sit and go in which players could tag in and out.
The last two teams with chips were Italy and Russia, who then went up against in each other in a series of heads-up matches. Italy, comprised of Mustapha Kanit, Rocco Palumbo, Dario Sammartino, Andrea Dato, and Giuliano Bendinelli, dominated 3-0 to take the title.