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They’re celebrating in Wales this week thanks to an impressive performance by some of the country’s top amateur poker players.
When the final chips fell, Team Wales emerged victorious. To make the victory even sweeter, they did something the Welsh national soccer team rarely does: they beat Germany.
Flags Fly As APAT WCOAP Goes Digital
Like almost every European event over the last 12 months, APAT’s WCOAP went digital. Partypoker stepped into the breach earlier this month to ensure recreational players didn’t miss out because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The series kicked off on Jan. 23 with Event #1, the Team Championship. Amateurs from 10 countries were selected to represent their nation in a multidisciplinary showdown.
Each team consisted of four players. The teams had to compete in 24 sit & go tournaments across three variants, including Hold’em, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo. Players scored points based on where they finished in each single-table tournament. When play was over, the points were tallied up and the teams were ranked accordingly.
The Welsh quartet of Richard Rudling-Smith (captain), Dylan Herbert, Dan Owston, and Greg Mawson scored 190 points. That was eight points more than Germany.
Although Wales only won two rounds compared to Germany’s four, they were more consistent. Six second-place finishes and three thirds were good enough to earn Wales the title.
APAT WCOAP Team Championship Final Standings
- Wales – 190 points
- Germany – 182 points
- Austria – 181 points
- Scotland – 172 points
- England – 157 points
- Romania – 152 points
- Canada – 141 points
- Belgium – 141 points
- Ireland – 141 points
- Netherlands – 127 points
For a country of just over 3 million people, it’s an impressive result. And, anyone who knows anything about European soccer understands that beating Germany makes the victory even sweeter.
Like England, Wales often struggles against Germany on the pitch. If you support Wales, you have to go back to 2002 to see the last time they beat Germany (see video above).
Max Kruse Couldn’t Stop Wales Winning
Thoughts of previous heartbreaks weren’t far from the minds of Team Wales thanks to the presence of Max Kruse.
The ex-professional footballer was in action for Germany during the Team Championships. And, just as he was as a sportsman, Kruse was a force to be reckoned with.
As a pro, Kruse had two stints at Werder Bremen, and played for one of Turkey’s top teams, Fenerbahçe. He also represented his country as part of Germany’s under-19 and under-21 sides (see video below).
Kruse has been a poker enthusiast for the best part of a decade. He cashed in a 2-7 event at the 2014 WSOP. He was also fined by his club, Wolfsburg, in 2016 for leaving more than $60,000 in WSOP winnings in the back of a taxi.
His experience as an athlete and poker player certainly helped during the Team Championship. Kruse won the final event to secure Germany second place.
However, the day belonged to Wales. Not only did they beat Germany, but also eight other nations to become the best amateur poker team in the world.