Americas Cup of Poker Final to be Held in Atlantic City

Earlier this week, PokerStars announced that the live final of the 2016 Americas Cup of Poker (ACP) will be hosted by the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City from June 23rd through June 27th. As this is being written, players are competing on PokerStars for their chance to represent their countries in the eighth running of this unique event.

I’ll be honest: I am pretty sure that I have written about the Americas Cup of Poker before for some website, but its existence completely escaped my brain until now. And that is a shame, too, because it is actually a very cool competition. It likely doesn’t get much attention because it focuses on low-stakes players and relatively small prizes, rather than mega-prize pools and international poker stars (no pun intended).

Americas Cup of Poker First Round

In the ACP, players from a more than a dozen different countries in the Americas will compete both against each other and for their country in a contest of national poker pride. Since the United States is the host, its team is automatically given a seat in the final in Atlantic City, which leaves twelve countries fighting for the other six spots. Those countries are split into these three groups:

Group A: Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay
Group B: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Rest of Latin America
Group C: Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela

Pokerstars americas cup of pokerAs is evident, it is technically more than twelve countries, as the “Rest of Latin America” would obviously encompass several nations. I would think it might be hard for a player from the “other” group to get that national pride thing going, but who needs artificial hype when there is cash on the line?

The preliminary qualifying round began May 9th and will run all the way through May 29th. In this round, it is every man for himself as players compete in daily and weekly multi-table tournaments, none of which has a buy-in higher than $5.50. It is certainly possible that top pros will take a shot at this, but the ACP appears to be clearly geared towards micro-stakes players.

Players will earn ranking points depending on how they do in these tournaments and at the end of the three-week period, the fifty players from each country with the most points will advance to the second round.

Americas Cup of Poker Second Round

On May 30th, June 1st, and June 3rd, each country will go up against the other countries in their group in a series of round-robin tournaments. Here is where it gets interesting. The field of the tournaments will be composed of all 50 qualifying players from two countries, so 100 players in total. The contest will be to see which country to have the best finishing spots or where the tournament’s winner hails from, but rather which country can eliminate the most players. The country that captures the most bounties earns ten points for the second round, while the losing team wins none. In the event of a 50-50 tie, the points are split, five apiece. But then again, when you think about it, there can only be 99 eliminations, so even though PokerStars does say that each team earns five points in the case of a tie, there can’t be a tie. No matter.

Players earn rankings points for knocking opponents out. At the end of all the tournaments (18 in total), the top two countries from each group advance to the live final in Atlantic City. The top five points earners for each country will be the players who will compose their nation’s team.

What could make this fascinating is that the way the second round is scored presents two conflicting goals for the players: they want to knockout as many opponents as possible so that they can earn enough points to rank in the top five and become a member of their country’s team in the finals, but if they eliminate too many of their own countrymen, they might hurt their country’s chances to actually make the finals.

Americas Cup of Poker Finals

The final at the Resorts Casino Hotel will feature the six teams from the online qualifiers plus the United States (Team USA will be determined by results from the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker, and the Americas Cup of Poker Freeroll).

PokerStars’ website does not actually describe how the finals will work, but if it is the same as last year, there will be five seven-handed Sit-and-Go’s (last year there were just six teams, so the Sit-and-Go’s were six-handed). Players will be ranked based on how they performed in the qualifiers and the top-ranked players from each team will be all be at one table, the second-ranked players from each team will be at another, and so on. Players will earn points for their team based on how they finish in the Sit-and-Go’s and the top four teams will advance to a heads-up round.

The heads-up rounds will be best-of-five with the number one seeded team (based on Sit-and-Go points totals) playing the fourth seeded team and the two seed versus the three seed. The higher seeded team will be given the opportunity to select the individual match-ups. The two winning teams will move on to the championship round, while the losing teams will play in a consolation round to determine the third and fourth place overall finishers.

All seven teams will receive prize money, split equally amongst the team members. The payouts are as follows:

1st Place – $30,000
2nd Place – $25,000
3rd Place – $17,500
4th Place – $12,500
5th Place – $7,500
6th Place – $5,000
7th Place – $2,500

Team Argentina won the 2015 Americas Cup of Poker, held in the Bahamas during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

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