After a two year hiatus, the Caesars Cup will once again be up for grabs during this year’s World Series of Poker Europe in Cannes, France.
Back in 2009 in London, the Caesars Cup was devised as a poker competition between two teams of players from the Americas and Europe, roughly akin to golf’s Ryder Cup competition. The made for television event proved to be very popular with the fans as the players drawn for both sides – the Americas team featured Daniel Negreanu as captain and former World Champions Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth, while the European squad featured captain Annette Obrestad – were some of the most popular in the game. In the end, the European squad dominated the Americas, winning 4-1 in a very one-sided affair.
The Cup was not contested in 2010, much like the two year gap in Ryder Cup competitions, but is back this year as a part of the festivities at the new home of the WSOP-E, the Casino Barriere de Cannes Croisette and the Hotel Majestic Barriere in Cannes, France. The format of the tournament this year is a best three of five matches, with the two teams doing battle over a series of unique partner and heads up formats, with points awarded for each victory. The competition will include alternate betting and other non-traditional elements as players aim to win points for their respective teams.
“Team Americas has a score to settle after what most considered a colossal upset in London,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart during the announcement of the revival of the series. “You see a real rivalry developing as European players continue to win more tournaments around the world.”
This time around, the Americas team will be captained by none other than Hellmuth, who has to be burning for a second chance at taking down the Caesars Cup. Taking up the helm for the European squad is Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who has been on a run in the tournament poker world this year with his completion of the mythical poker “Triple Crown” with his WSOP bracelet winning effort earlier this summer.
The two captains will have some difficult choices to make. Along with themselves, the captains will have to choose four other members to take up the fight for their respective teams. In looking at both sides, there are plentiful choices that can be made.
For the Americas, Hellmuth may look at his main competition for the WSOP Player of the Year award, Ben Lamb. Lamb currently holds the edge on Hellmuth in the POY and, with Hellmuth firmly committing to play the entirety of the WSOP-E, will probably be in Cannes to protect his lead. Other potential choices for Hellmuth would be Jason Mercier and Erik Seidel, who have both been having an excellent 2011 tournament season.
Grospellier, for his part, has just as many options as Hellmuth does. Russia’s Max Lykov, who picked up a bracelet at this summer’s WSOP, is a potential choice, as are the United Kingdom’s Chris Moorman and Germany’s Max Heinzelmann. “ElkY” could also bring back the captain from the 2009 squad, Obrestad, although she has not had a strong year of play in 2011.
The WSOP-E will take place from October 7-20, with this year’s Caesars Cup competition being held on October 19 (the day before the Championship Event’s final table is played out). Can the Americas regain their “lost honor” after being drubbed so badly in 2009 or will the Europeans continue to demonstrate their ever-increasing skills in the American game of poker? The Caesars Cup battle will answer those questions come next month!