It took all 11 games in the Global Poker League (GPL) final match for the Montreal Nationals to be crowned the champions of the GPL. The Nationals, backed by the play of Canadians Mike McDonald, Pascal Lefrancois, and Jason Lavallee, topped the Berlin Bears 6-5 in the best-of-11 GPL Finals. Lead by Team Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur, the Nationals have won the $100,000 grand prize and will be forever immortalized as the inaugural GPL champions.
In a grueling, almost seven hour heads-up match, the Nationals and the Bears went toe-to-toe for the title. The trio of Brian Rast, Canadian Sorel Mizzi, and Bill Perkins gave the Nationals a good run, but in the end, Lefrancois got the best of Rast, sealing the deal in the 11th and final match.
Things got off to a good start for the Bears, who finished third in the Eurasia Conference knocking out the Hong Kong Stars and the top-seeded Moscow Wolverines to make it to the final. Sorel Mizzi topped Mike McDonald in the first match, but the Nationals quickly fought back. Pascal Lefrancois tied things up with a win over Bill Perkins, before Jason Lavallee gave the Nats the lead, beating Brian Rast.
The Nats would then go up by two games after McDonald got the best of Perkins. Rast brought the Bears a little closer in Game 5 taking down Lavallee, making the match 3-2. Lefrancois continued his stellar play in the cube picking up another win against Mizzi. But Perkins was able to get it back with a victory over McDonald.
With a 4-3 match lead, Lavallee put the Nats one win away getting the best of Rast once again. The Bears were not out of it though and quickly tied the match up at five games a piece with back-to-back win by Mizzi over Lefrancois and McDonald.
Ladouceur, who decided to sit the match out, made great decisions all season and with his last act, went with Lefrancois in the final game. Lefrancois and Rast traded the chip lead back and forth for much of the game. Each man finding himself in the danger zone more than once. In the final hand, Lefrancois limped with and Rast checked with :10s. The flop came and Lefrancois called a bet of 30,000 from Rast. The :10h fell on the turn and Rast fired again for 75,000. Lefrancois called once more and the river was the . After a moment Rast moved all-in and Lefrancois snap-called, having Rast covered, and the Nationals became GPL champions.
Congrats to Xuan Liu, Martin Jacobson, Mike McDonald, Pascal Lefrancois, Jason Lavallee, and Marc-Andre Ladouceur, you made Canada proud. Stay tuned to Canada Poker for up-to-date Canadian poker news and events. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.