The inaugural event of World Team Poker is set to kick off Wednesday, May 19th at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas.  A unique concept for a poker competition, World Team Poker will feature teams of professional players from around the world competing for national pride and, of course, money.
World Team Poker is a league of sorts, with each event involving eight teams.  Each team is headed by a captain, or in some cases co-captains, who will oversee a team of five or more players.  The events will be five-table shootouts, presumably with one player per team at each table, and while the scoring system has not been announced, it does appear that there will be points awarded based on finish.  With four “regular season” events planned, World Team Poker will culminate with a Championship event somewhere down the road.
Team captains will not just be figurehead leaders.  They will be able to play, make substitutions mid-tournament, and coach their team members during the events.  One could imagine a table getting down to heads-up and a captain deciding that his alternate is better suited to partake in the one-on-one battle and therefore swapping out players at the ever-important junction of the contest.  Additionally, different players may be suited for different games, as World Team Poker won’t just feature No-Limit Hold’em; Omaha, Stud, Limit, and Pot-Limit games will also be included.
The eight teams participating in the first $50,000 buy-in event represent Australia, Brazil, China, England, Greece, Israel, the United States, and Vietnam.  The composition of each team is as follows:
Team Australia: Jeff Lisandro (co-captain), PartyPoker.com’s Tony “Tony G” Guoga (co-captain), Gary Benson, Mel Judah, David Saab, Steve Topakis, Marsha Waggoner
Team Brazil: Juliano Maesano (captain), Rodrigo “Zidane” Caprioli, Christian Kruel, Leandro Pimentel, Felipe “Mojave” Ramos
Team China: Johnny Chan (co-captain), David Chiu (co-captain), Derek Cheung, Chau Giang, Maria Ho, Winfred Yu, Rich Zhu
Team England: Ben Roberts (captain), Joe Beevers, Peter Costa, Surinder Sunar, David “Devilfish” Ulliott
Team Greece: George Kapalas (co-captain), George Theofanopoulos (co-captain), Dimitris Chatziriotis, Stavros Kalfas, Dimitris Lyritsis, Alex Zervos
Team Israel: Eli Elezra (captain), Josh Arieh, Moshe Elezar, David Levi, Michael Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi, Abe Mosseri
Team USA: Doyle Brunson (captain), UB.com’s Phil Hellmuth, Jr. and Annie Duke, Full Tilt Poker‘s Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, and Eric Seidel
Team Vietnam: Men “The Master” Nguyen (captain), Karina Jett, John Phan, Tim Pham, Scotty Nguyen, Van Nguyen, Kenny Tran
While we know that the buy-in is $50,000 per team, the breakdown of the prize structure has yet to be released.
The World Team Poker competition will be streamed live at worldteampoker.com, with just a short time delay, beginning at 3:00pm ET on Wednesday, May 19th.  The broadcast will be complete with hole card cameras, commentators, player interviews, and interactive online chat.  It has also just been announced that the league will be aired over 13 episodes on Fox Sports Net, the television home of the World Poker Tour.

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