The PartyPoker.com Premier League has reached its final table. Four players confirmed their spots from their league positions, while four more took part in heads-up matches for the last two places in the final . Tony G, Andy Black, Alexander Kravchenko and Marcel Luske automatically made the final for finishing in the first four spots, while Roland De Wolfe and Annie Duke won their way through after heads-up matches.
At the final table one point is the equivalent of 1,000 chips with Tony G and Andrew Black going into the final in dominant positions. Tony G finished top of the league with 38 points and takes 380,000 chips to the final table.
One of the main stories of tournament has been the failure of Phil Hellmuth to spark in any way. The Poker Brat finished top of the league table last year and dominated the event by winning four heats. This year he has finished last with zero points (a bagel) twice and the 11-time WSOP bracelet winner has been ridiculed all week by his rivals who are reveling in his misery.
The tournament has also not been kind to defending champion Juha Helppi, who has struggled to get going in a format in which he typically excels. In contrast, an aggressive style was the downfall of Tony G in 2007 but in 2008 the bookies’ favourite has steamrollered his opponents by winning three heats. The week has also been great for Andy Black who has also dominated proceedings with a hat-trick of victories.
The final heat was hugely eventful – Roland De Wolfe needed just one point to win an automatic place at the final table and adopted a very conservative style only to bust out with zero points. This meant that against all odds Marcel Luske got the prestigious final table spot.
Vicky Coren’s chances of making the play-off matches depended on the Devilfish or Helppi not winning but the Fish triumphed and “Tea Cup” Coren was sent to the rail. The two heads-up matches saw De Wolfe play Scharf for a place in the final and Duke take on the Devilfish. De Wolfe took out Scharf, while Duke won a thriller against the Devilfish.
FINAL TABLE CHIP STACKS – 1.5 MILLION ON TABLE
Seat 1 Annie Duke (USA) 190,000
Seat 2 Andy Black (IRE) 330,000
Seat 3 Marcel Luske (HOL) 210,000
Seat 4 Roland De Wolfe (ENG) 200,000
Seat 5 Tony G (AUS) 380,000
Seat 6 Alexander Kravchenko (RUS) 260,000
Eddie Hearn, Head of Online Gaming at Matchroom Sport said: “Tony and Andy may have the advantage going into the final but there is a lot of play left. There are 1.5 million chips at the final table and the blinds start a 1,000/2,000. The structure will ensure it will be a grueling battle.”
A PartyPoker.com spokesman added: “Phil Hellmuth holds the record for the number of wins in the Premier League but he nearly broke the record for the most zeros in the tournament this week. The players have taken to calling nil points a bagel – the hotel is nearly out of their supply as the jokers send them via room service to their rivals’ rooms. The banter has been fantastic all week and the Chinese poker action in the stretch hummer the players have to take them around London has been ferocious.”
The groundbreaking format developed by Matchroom Sport, features 12 of the world’s best players playing in a unique league event for a $1 million prize pool. The event started at 3 Mills Studio, London on the 10th February and will be first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in late March.
Commentary for the final will be provided by Jesse May and Phil Hellmuth. Each player took part in six six-seater games in the preliminary stages. The leading four players then progressed to the final table with the next four battling it out in heads-up matches for the final two seats.
Each player bought in for $60,000, with PartyPoker.com adding $280,000 to make the pool $1 million, up from $500,000 last year. Nine of the twelve players from 2007’s successful event returned with the new faces being “Flying Dutchman” Marcel Luske, Annie Duke and Alexander Kravchenko. As before, eleven-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth led a top field that also includes Dave ‘The Devilfish’ Ulliott, Tony G, Andy Black, Ian Frazer, Roland De Wolfe, Vicky Coren, Juha Helppi and Eddy Scharf.
2008 PARTYPOKER.COM PREMIER LEAGUE POKER FINAL POINTS TABLE
Tony G (AUS) 38 pts
Andy Black (IRE) 33 pts
Alex Kravchenko (RUS) 26 pts
Marcel Luske (HOL) 21 pts
Roland De Wolfe (ENG) 20 pts
Annie Duke (USA) 19 pts
Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott 19 pts
Eddy Scharf (GER) 19 pts
Vicky Coren (ENG) 17 pts
Juha Helppi (FIN) 11 pts
Ian Frazer (ENG) 9 pts
Phil Hellmuth (USA) 8 pts
Nine points were awarded for a 1st, five points for 2nd, three points for 3rd, two points for 4th, one point for 5th and a bagel (zero) for 6th.
2008 Prize Money Breakdown
Final Table ($520,000):
League Stage ($480,000) 12 matches:
Winner $18000 x 12
Runner-Up $10000 x 12
Third $6000 x 12
Fourth $4000 x 12
Fifth $2000 x 12