The inaugural season of the Global Poker League (GPL) has come to a close with Canada’s sole team, the Montreal Nationals, taking the top spot and the $100,000 prize.
The Nats dominated the entire first season of the GPL, coming out early in the regular season as a points leader and holding on to that spot throughout the six-heat Summer Series and the 12-week regular season, heading to the playoffs as the top seed with a season tally of 199 points compared to second-best L.A. Sunset with 188.
On Tuesday, the Nationals had a slow start but defeated the San Francisco Rush and then the L.A. Sunset to become the Americas Conference Champions, earning their spot at Thursday’s GPL Finals where $100,000 was on the line.
On Wednesday, the Berlin Bears became the Eurasian Conference Champions and prepared to face the Canadians in the final playoff round.
A best-of-11 series of heads-up games was scheduled to determine the winner in the GPL’s signature cage. It took all 11 rounds to get the job done, but the Nats emerged victorious, led by Team Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur and his band of Canucks.
It started with the Nats’ Mike McDonald taking on fellow Canadian Sorel Mizzi who represented the Bears. McDonald fell in that round when Mizzi found the nut flush on the river and McDonald pushed all of his chips in, ending his game in defeat.
The undefeated Pascal Lefrancois was up next against Bill Perkins and Lefrancois carried his momentum forward with yet another heads-up win.
Jason Lavallee was one of the better point-earners in heads-up matches through the regular season, and the Nats brought him out for the third round for his first playoff appearance. He took on Brian Rast and earned the win, giving the Canadians a two-to-one advantage in the series.
Mike McDonald made his return to the cube for Game #4 to face off against Bill Perkins. Despite losing chips early on, McDonald found a bit of luck to double up against Perkins and then finished him off to put the Nationals up three to one.
Jason Lavallee returned against Brian Rast and they two played the shortest game of the 11. In just seven hands, Rast took out Lavallee and allowed the Bears a chance to claw their way back into the race with two points to three.
Pascal Lefrancois returned and held on to his undefeated title, taking out Sorel Mizzi and putting the Nationals within two points of clinching the win. Then each team added one more to their tally when Bill Perkins beat Mike McDonald and Jason Lavallee bested Brian Rast.
With the Nationals only needing one more win in the next three games to secure the $100,000 prize, the undefeated Pascal Lefrancois headed into the cube against Sorel Mizzi. However, Mizzi kept the bears in contention by showing Lefrancois defeat for the first time, and then he went on to beat Mike McDonald in the next game, tying them up five points to five.
In Game #11, trust went back into Pascal Lefrancois as he entered the cube for the final time against Brian Rast. It was all down to this final round and Lefrancois found one last victory, winning the title for the Canadians and $100,000.
GPL Season 1 Finals Results
|Game||Berlin Bears||Montreal Nationals|
|1||Sorel Mizzi||vs.||Mike McDonald|
|2||Bill Perkins||vs.||Pascal Lefrancois|
|3||Brian Rast||vs.||Jason Lavallee|
|4||Bill Perkins||vs.||Mike McDonald|
|5||Brian Rast||vs.||Jason Lavallee|
|6||Sorel Mizzi||vs.||Pascal Lefrancois|
|7||Bill Perkins||vs.||Mike McDonald|
|8||Brian Rast||vs.||Jason Lavallee|
|9||Sorel Mizzi||vs.||Pascal Lefrancois|
|10||Sorel Mizzi||vs.||Mike McDonald|
|11||Brian Rast||vs.||Pascal Lefrancois|
That concludes the first season of the GPL. Season 2 will surely see the Montreal Nationals have to deal with a big target on their back after showing the world they were poker’s best in 2016.