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German and Indian Team Up To Win 2018 World Series of Poker $1,000 Tag Team Event

Giuseppe Pantaleo and Nikita Luther Win First WSOP Bracelets and $175,805


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The first two years of the $1,000 tag team event at the World Series of Poker proved to be a hit with 863 and 843 team entries, but this year’s turnout erased all doubt that the format would stay a success with 1,032 teams, creating a total prize pool of $928,800.

The tournament format allows for each team to use between two and four players, splitting the buy-in and the prize money. Players then took turns at the table, subbing in and out with their teammates between hands. The unique event was played with no breaks, forcing players to tag out if they needed to get food or use the restroom.

In the end, the title went to the unlikely pairing of Indian poker pro Nikita Luther, and German poker pro Giuseppe Pantaleo. While many in the field used the team format to bring in close friends and family, Luther and Pantaleo almost didn’t play the event together.

“I just randomly hit him up on Twitter,” explained Luther. “I said we should be the teams, we met once last year, and we didn’t know each other well but, now we know each other well. He almost wasn’t going to play the tag team as he had plans to play other tournaments.”

“It was playing the WSOP $3k last year we met, and I liked how she was playing,” Pantaleo added. “She was multi-tabling the $3k here, which she got 17th in, and she would run back and forth in breaks. It worked well when we tagged in and out. We switched more on day 3 to give ourselves little breaks, and mostly when we felt the momentum went away a bit. But it was with us a lot of the time.”

Luther and Pantaleo chopped up the $175,805 first-place prize, and were each awarded their first bracelet. Pantaleo, whose biggest score was a fifth-place showing in the 2010 EPT Barcelona main event, now has more than $1.1 million in earnings. Luther, who took fifth in last year’s WPT 500, also represents an Indian poker site.

The tournament has been won by two-person teams all three years. Doug Polk and Ryan Fee combined to win the event in 2016 for $153,358. In 2017, Nipun Java and Aditya Sushant became India’s first bracelet winners for taking down the event, along with $150,637.

Here is a look at the final table results.

Place Player Payout
1 Giuseppe Pantaleo — Nikita Luther $175,805
2 Sho Mori — Kazuki Ikeuchi — Hiroki Iwata $108,608
3 Manig Loeser — Peter Weinand — Joelle Parenteau $76,797
4 Alex Rocha — Megan Milburn — Joanne Milburn $55,016
5 Carlos Caputo — Gabriel Neto $39,936
6 Adam Lamphere — Ao Chen — Yijie Zhang $29,380
7 Cord Garcia — Salah Levy — Francis Mariani $21,910
8 Bon Koo — Bienvenido Caballero $16,565
9 Loni Harwood — Kelly Minkin — Haixa Zhang $12,700

For more coverage from the summer series, visit the 2018 WSOP landing page complete with a full schedule, news, player interviews and event recaps.