As an official sponsor of the 2018 World Series of Poker, we’re proud to have a big presence at the biggest poker series of the year. From sending online qualifiers to hosting great events like the $888 Crazy Eights, 888poker is taking the WSOP by storm.
That means bringing back the popular “8-Team” competition, which launched last year when we sent five teams to Vegas, each comprised of a captain, wingman, and a qualifier who were representing their respective countries. Those teams consisted of Canada, Brazil, UK, Sweden and Germany and each looked to have one of their players go deepest in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event.
That man proved to be Brazilian qualifier Joao Sousa Monteiro, who won his way in through a $30 satellite. He took 583rd place for $22,449 plus a package to the 2018 WSOP Main Event.
All those teams will return to Vegas this summer and will be joined by two new ones – Team Russia and Team Spain! Additionally, instead of having it be a traditional last longer we’re changing to a scoring system (more on that below), meaning the team that earns the most points will receive a 2019 WSOP Main Event package for each member!
Each team’s qualifiers will be revealed soon, but all the captains and wingmen have been selected.
Team Canada – Parker “Tonka” Talbot (Captain) & Mike Leah (Wingman)
For the second year in a row, 888poker Ambassador Tonka will captain Team Canada, and this time he’s enlisted the help of one of Canada’s best as his wingman. With more than $7 million in lifetime earnings, Mike Leah currently sits eighth on Canada’s all-time money list. He’s a World Poker Tour champ, and he also won a gold bracelet at the 2014 WSOP APAC High Roller.
As for Tonka, he has nearly 4 million followers on Twitch and has won more than $3 million playing online. It goes without saying – but we’re going to say it anyway – whoever the Canadian qualifier is will have solid teammates to learn from.
Team Brazil – Vivian Saliba (Captain) & Bruna Unzueta (Wingwoman)
The ladies of Brazil are looking to crush the WSOP Main Event this summer, and someone who knows how to do it is 888poker Ambassador Vivian “Vivi” Saliba. Last year she became the youngest female to enter the WSOP Main Event where she finished in 421st place for $27,743.
Vivi will serve as a first-time captain, and she’ll welcome social media influencer Bruna Unzueta as her wingwoman. Unzueta may be new to poker, but with more than 1.5 million Instagram followers she’s undoubtedly going to have a lot of support.
“I will have the honour of attending the world's largest poker championship, the WSOP Main Event, which takes place in Las Vegas,” said Unzueta. “Very happy with this invitation from 888poker and still being next to Vivian Saliba, a great player that inspires me a lot.”
Team UK – Chris Moorman (Captain) & Niall Farrell (Wingman)
Once again 888poker Ambassador Chris Moorman returns as captain of Team UK. The most decorated tournament player in online poker history has both WPT and WSOP titles on his poker resumé. He’s already had success this summer having won an event at the Wynn for nearly $56K.
Joining him as wingman is 30-year-old Niall Farrell, who is Scotland’s all-time money leader with more than $5 million in live earnings. Last year, he won a WSOP Europe bracelet to go along with his EPT12 Malta title. Toss is a 2016 WPT Caribbean win, and Farrell is on the short list of players who’ve won poker’s Triple Crown.
Team Spain – Marti Roca de Torres (Captain) & Fernando Pons (Wingman)
Team Spain is new to the 8-Team competition, and selecting the Captain was a no-brainer. Last year, Marti Roca de Torres won an 888poker qualifier to get into the WSOP Europe Main Event, which he took down for $1.3 million. He obviously knows how to go deep in a WSOP tournament, as does the man who’ll be his wingman.
In the 2016 WSOP Main Event, Fernando Pons made the November Nine, ultimately finishing ninth out of 6,737 players for $1 million. It was a huge ROI considering he won his way in via a €30 satellite on 888. He represented both his country and 888poker well, which is why we’re happy to have him back competing on poker’s biggest stage.
Both Roca de Torres and Pons are official 888poker Ambassadors.
Team Sweden – Martin Jacobson (Captain) & Anton Wigg (Wingman)
Last year, 888poker Ambassador Sofia Lövgren was Captain for Team Sweden while 2014 WSOP champ Martin Jacobson was her wingman. Now, Sweden’s all-time money winner has been promoted to Captain.
Serving as his wingman will be Anton Wigg, who has more than $2.3 million in lifetime earnings. Wigg, a winner of nine EPT side events, has also amassed nearly $8 million playing online. Last October, he was in Florida on a whim and just so happened to take down the WSOP Circuit Seminole Hard Rock $3,250 High Roller for a $111,719 payday.
Team Germany – Dominik Nitsche (Captain) & Andre Krieger (Wingman)
Another returning captain is 888poker Ambassador and four-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche. Currently fourth on Germany’s all-time money list with more than $14.6 million in earnings, Nitsche is looking to once again go deep in the WSOP Main Event after finishing 195th last year for $46,096.
Joining him as wingman is 38-year-old Andre Krieger, who is better known as “CommanderKrieger.” Hailing from Meerbusch, Germany, Krieger is a YouTube personality with hundreds of thousands of followers who enjoy his video game commentary (seriously, he has 177 million views). He may not have a lot of poker experience, but Krieger knows games and will have a considerable fanbase pulling for him.
Team Russia – Arseniy Karmatskiy (Captain) & Daria Feshchenko (Wingwoman)
The second new squad in this year’s competition is Team Russia captained by Arsenii Karmatckii, who will be heading to the WSOP for the first time. You might recognise that name from headlines earlier this year. That’s because he won the EPT Sochi for $478K back in March. Last year, he also won the €2K German Poker Championship for $217,238.
His wingwoman, Daria Feshchenko, is also a WSOP rookie, but she’s got some momentum on her side. In the last 10 months, she has cash in eight tournaments including $35,000 for placing 15th in a recent Russian tournament and $22,665 for finishing sixth in Malta’s Merit Poker Retro Festival Main Event.
Each 8-Team member can earn points by advancing from day to day. They’ll also receive a chip leader bonus each day, and the last player standing will earn a 100-point bonus for their team.
Here’s a look at how the points break down:
Be sure to stay tuned to 888Magazine throughout the summer as we bring you updates straight from Vegas. That will include an 8-Team update as the Main Event unfolds as well as a recap on how all the teams fared once a winner emerges.