According to unnamed sources inside the operations of World Team Poker, Hollywood actress and poker player Shannon Elizabeth has been chosen to compete in the event as a member of Team Lebanon. The actress, noted for her appearance in the hit movie “American Pie,” is eligible for membership on the Lebanese team since her parents are from the Middle Eastern country. The tournament kicks off next month from the Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas.
Elizabeth has been a part of the poker community for several years, playing not only in high-profile celebrity tournaments, but also stepping to the felt in some of the premier events in the poker world. It may surprise some in the poker community, but Elizabeth has earned four cashes in World Series of Poker (WSOP) events over the past four years and has been expanding her game outside of the No Limit Hold’em discipline. She has cashed in other forms of poker such as Stud and Omaha High-Low, with her most recent cash at the Spring Poker Classic at the Hustler Casino coming in a No Limit tournament.
Along with the rumored addition of Elizabeth, Team Lebanon is building what could be a dark horse lineup for the World Team Poker tournament. The co-captains of the group, Dany Georges and former WSOP HORSE champion Freddy Deeb, have also named veteran poker professionals Joe Awada and Mark Betor as members of the team. All totaled, the players announced for Team Lebanon have made over $7.5 million in career tournament poker earnings.
In other rumors from insiders at World Team Poker headquarters, the May 19th tournament, which has a television deal set for broadcast, can be seen by poker fans online. World Team Poker and LiveStream.com, one of the foremost interactive video streaming outlets in the business, will band together to broadcast the festivities live as they occur from the Golden Palace in Las Vegas. Insiders have also indicated that Rob George has been hired to serve as the television director for the event. In addition, John Colville, Director of Poker Operations for the Golden Nugget, will serve as the event’s Tournament Director.
The May 19th tournament looks to have some of the top names in the game for its inaugural event, ensuring that fans will be entertained not only by skillful poker, but also by some of the most colorful personalities in the poker world. World Team Poker officials have set the structure of the event up so that it is a true test of poker abilities, as players will have to navigate through several different games including Limit Hold’em, No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Hold’em, Stud, and Omaha. The format of the tournament will also be unique, as team captains will be able to shuttle players in and out of play according to their individual strengths.
There are 16 countries involved in World Team Poker: Armenia, Australia, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland, Turkey, United States, and Vietnam. With just over a month to go before the cards hit the air, the lineups are beginning to take shape and the stars of the game are coming out to represent their respective countries.
The United States has the legendary Doyle Brunson at the helm after Phil Hellmuth gave up his co-captaincy in honor of the former World Champion. Joining them will be Mike Matusow, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, Allen Cunningham, and Poker News Daily guest columnist Annie Duke. Team USA will face several strong countries in the World Team Poker event, however.
Team Vietnam has assembled an all-star team in their own right, with Men “The Master” Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen, John “The Razor” Phan, David “The Dragon” Pham, Kenny Tran, and Karina Jett. Team England captain Ben Roberts has called on David “Devilfish” Ulliott, Ram Vaswani, David “El Blondie” Colclough, Joe Beevers, and Surinder Sunar to represent the Union Jack. Team China, with captain Johnny Chan and team members Chau Giang, David Chiu, and Maria Ho, and Team Australia, with Jeffrey Lisandro and Antanas “Tony G” Guoga heading up a squad including Mel Judah and Billy Argyros, appear to have built teams that will be highly competitive.
With the World Team Poker event set to begin in just over a month, other team announcements should be forthcoming. Poker News Daily will continue to keep you updated as the world comes together to battle it out for global superiority.