Several years ago, back when United States poker players could play on PokerStars, the site hosted an international tourney that it called the America’s Cup of Poker. All players on Pokerstars who lived in either North or South America could compete for their country.
Each week, one nation would square off against another nation in a series of tournaments. Players received points for how they did in each event, and at the end, the top four players from each country advanced to represent their nation in a live tournament held somewhere in the region.
I first played in the event in the spring of 2011 (as it turned out, just a few days before Black Friday). I wound up finishing fifth in the United States standings, just missing out on a chance to represent the entire country (or at least the degenerate portion of the country that plays online poker). But during the event, I had one of my more memorable tourney wins.
The United States was paired up with Canada for the week. The tournament had a $1.10 buy-in, which meant that nearly 1,000 players were giving it a go. When we got to the final table, there were three Americans and six Canadians left. The other two Americans went out first leaving me standing against six Canucks. I was in the middle of the pack with my chip count, and I felt like a piece of raw meat in the ocean, with sharks swimming all around just waiting to pounce (or whatever the equivalent of pouncing is under water).
Undaunted, I told my foes that a 6-on-1 advantage for Canadians was about an even battle and reminded them of Benedict Arnold’s great foray into Quebec in 1775 (this was before he became a turncoat), when he almost single-handedly took the entire town from the British! Okay, he actually got shot and the mission ended in a disaster, but the point was clear. I wasn’t backing down, despite the odds against me!
One by one I began picking them off. I tried to foment a Canadian Civil War and reminded them that they all needed the points so they could represent Team Canada and so they would start knocking each other off, but I ended up collecting most of the scalps myself. Of the final 6 opponents, I knocked out either 5 of them. After about 30 more minutes of play, I was the last one standing. Team Canada still kicked our butt on the team event, but I did my part to help the ol’ Red White and Blue!
It was great fun being at the last table, and particularly being the only USA player left. There was a lot of friendly banter back and forth as my Canadian foes tried to – unsuccessfully, as it turned out – wipe me out. Several of the USA players who were knocked out earlier hung around and offered encouragement from the virtual rail as I stood tall against the Canadians’ taunts. Even some of the Canadian players I vanquished offered kind words as the duel continued.
It was a memorable win, one that vaulted me into the top 10 of the USA individual standings. While I eventually wound up just missing out on the all-expenses paid trip to Argentina for the live tourney (as did all of the U.S. players because PokerStars eventually decided not to allow the U.S. to participate due to the Black Friday scandal), it was a great experience nonetheless.
PokerStars still hosts the event, but it is now restricted only to Latin American teams. If you live in Latin America, keep an eye out to see if they host the event again in 2016. It was a lot of fun representing your country, and maybe one day the United States will once again get a shot at the prestigious title.