STEVIE WONDER: BILLIRAKIS CAPTURES SECOND WSOP GOLD BRACELET

October 13, 2011 - 01:35:27 AM EST  | 

STEVIE WONDER: BILLIRAKIS CAPTURES SECOND WSOP GOLD BRACELET
2011 World Series of Poker Europe
Hotel Majestic Barriere / Le Croisette Casino Barriere
Cannes, France
Official Report
Event #3
Pot-Limit Omaha
Buy-In:  5000 + 300 (Euros)
Number of Entries:  180
Total Prize Pool: 882,000 (Euros)
Number of Places Paid:  18
First Place Prize:  238,140 (Euros)
October 10-12, 2011



TOURNAMENT HEADLINES


Steve Billirakis Wins Second Career WSOP Gold Bracelet at Cannes

25-Year-Old Las Vegas Poker Pro Wins 2011 WSOP Europe’s Third Event

American Ruins International Final Table Party, Busts Europe’s Best Players

Pot-Limit Omaha Event Draws Most International Final Table in WSOP History – Nine Different Nations Represented Among Top Ten Finishers

“November Niner” Eoghan O’Dea Makes Final Table – but Finishes Ninth

2011 WSOP Europe Continues to Smash Records – Attendance Up 38 Percent, So Far


OVERVIEW

Cannes, France (12 October 2011) – Pot-Limit Omaha’s origins may very well be in the American Midwest, but there’s little doubt the game has become a favorite pastime for many European poker players.

Indeed, Europeans tend dominate many international Pot-Limit poker tournaments, wherever they are held.  This includes the World Series of Poker -- in both Las Vegas and WSOP Europe. 

Consider the list of European Pot-Limit Omaha WSOP gold bracelet champions from the past:

Elie Payan (France)
Max Pescatori (Italy)
Peter Smurfit (Ireland)
Donnacha O’Dea (Ireland)
Chris Bjorin (U.K.)
Matthias Rohnacher (Germany)
Jeffrey Lisandro (Italy)
Jani Vilmunen (Finland)
Theo Jorgensen (Denmark)
Dario Alioto (Italy)

Nonetheless, it was an American player that sat down at the most recent WSOP Europe finale table and ruined the Euro-party.  Steve Billirakis, a professional poker player from Las Vegas, NV won the 5,000 (Euro) buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha championship played in Cannes, France.  He collected 238,140 (Euros) for first place, equal to about $327,161 (USD).  Billirakis was also presented with his second career WSOP gold bracelet.

Billirakis first victory took place back in 2007, in what was the first ESPN –televised tournament of the year – a $5,000 buy-in Mixed Hold’em Event.  At the time, he was the youngest WSOP gold bracelet winner of all-time, until later in the year when Annette Obrestad broke his age-record at WSOP Europe in London.

Four years separate Billirakis’ two victories, but he says he is now a much better poker player than when he stunned the poker world at the 2007 WSOP.

“I really did not know what I was doing at the time, compared to now,” the low-key Billirakis said.  “I did not have much fear back then.  Now, my game is definitely much better than it was.”

Among the less-fortunate souls conquered by Billirakis was Eoghan O’Dea, from Dublin, Ireland.  O’Dea is one of this year’s WSOP Main Event finalists, otherwise known as the “November Nine.”  He will return to Las Vegas early next month with the goal of winning the 2011 world poker championship.  O’Dea finished ninth place in this tournament.

An interesting sidebar to Eoghan O’Dea’s final table appearance was the prior achievement of his father, Donnacha O’Dea.  The elder O’Dea won a WSOP gold bracelet in this same game, Pot-Limit Omaha back in 1998.  Had the younger O’Dea managed to win, they would have become the first and only father-son duo to win gold bracelets in the same game.  Doyle and Todd Brunson remain as the only father-son duo to win WSOP gold bracelets.

This event tied the record for the most international final table in WSOP history.  Players from eight different nations were represented among the nine finalists, once again proving that this game attracts the very best poker players in just about every nation. 

Oddly enough, the host nation of France did not have a single player at the final table.  Although French players won four gold bracelets this year at the WSOP, none has come close to achieving a victory here in Cannes.  The current trend mirrors the unexpected early results of WSOP Europe when it first arrived in London, England.  A native champion was not crowned by the host nation until the third year of WSOP Europe, when J.P. Kelly won the opener in 2009.  Not to fret, however.  French poker players still have four more events to win a gold bracelet and make poker history.  

Attendance at 2011 WSOP Europe continues to smash previous records.  Through the conclusion of the first three events, overall attendance is up a whopping 38 percent over the first three events held last year, in London.  Pot-Limit Omaha attendance increased by 33 percent over the same event, held in 2010.  The previous tournament obliterated the record for the largest turnout ever in the five-year history of World Series of Poker Europe.  The 771-player turnout for Event #2 represented a 27-percent increase over the old high mark.  No doubt, wherever it’s held -- the WSOP continues to surpass all expectations and overcome every challenge, no matter how daunting.

The Pot-Limit Omaha tournament was played over three consecutive days and nights, ending on a warm and breezy Wednesday evening along the Mediterranean Sea. 

There’s still a lot more to come.  The world’s most exciting and prestigious poker series has four WSOP gold bracelet events remaining, including the internationally-televised Main Event Championship, which runs 15-20 October at the Hotel Majestic Barriere, in Cannes. 

For more information about the WSOP and WSOP Europe, please visit this portal page at wsop.com
.


THE WINNER – STEVE BILLIRAKIS

The winner of the 5.000 (Euro) Pot-Limit Omaha tournament (WSOP Europe -- Event #3) was Steve Billirakis, from Las Vegas, NV.

Billirakis is a 25-year-old professional poker player.  He travels around the international poker tournament circuit and can be seen playing in most of the biggest buy-in events on the poker scene.  Prior to industry developments of April 2011, Billirakis concentrated more of his time on playing online versus live poker.  He is now contemplating a move outside the United States in order to go back to playing more online poker.

Billrakis was born in Chicago, IL.

Billirakis is engaged to be married.  He has two children.

This marks the second year Billirakis has attended WSOP Europe.  He played at the event held in London in 2009.

Billirakis started playing poker seriously about six years ago.  He started out playing in the Internet under the screen name “MrSmokey1.”  Billirakis became very successful almost from the start and played in the very first WSOP tournament for which he was eligible, after turning legal age (21).

This was Billirakis second career WSOP gold bracelet victory.

Billirakis’ first win took place on June 1, 2007.  At the time he won, Billirakis became the youngest winner of a gold bracelet in WSOP history.  He was born on May 23, 1986 which made him 21 years and 11 days at the time of victory.  This eclipsed the previous mark set in 2006 by Jeff Madsen -- who was 21 years, 1 month, and 9 Days when he won his gold bracelet.  Billrakis’ youngest-winner record was shattered three months later when Annette Obrestad won the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event Championship.  She was 18-years-old at the time of her victory (Note:  Gaming laws allow 18-year-olds to play in poker events in the U.K., but not in Las Vegas).

When he won his first gold bracelet, the event marked the debut of a new "stadium look" to the WSOP.  The WSOP and ESPN jointly unveiled a large stage with stadium style seating around the final table.  It was also the first poker event ESPN had ever broadcast in high-definition and debuted on July 10, 2007.

Billirakis became an instant star within the poker world immediately after his victory.  However, he still tends to be pretty low key and avoids publicity, despite widespread success and demonstrating staying-power as a successful tournament and online pro. 

Billirakis won the WSOP Circuit Main Event Championship, held at Horseshoe Hammond (near Chicago) in 2008.  He is one of only four players to hold multiple WSOP gold bracelets plus a Main Event WSOP Circuit gold ring.  The other three players are Jeffrey Lisandro, Men “the Master” Nguyen, and Chirs “Jesus” Ferguson.

Billirakis’ overall live career tournament earnings now total more than $2.5 million.

Billrakis collected 238,140 (Euros) for first place.  The payout is equal to about $327,161(USD).

This was Billrakis’ third top ten finish in a WSOP event, held this year (previous finishes were third and tenth).

With his victory, Billirakis now has two wins, three final table appearances, and 15 cashes at the WSOP.  Billirakis’ WSOP earnings now total $1,780,330.

Billirakis has two WSOP Main Event cashes, in 2008 (199th) and 2010 (257th).

Billirakis is to be classified as a professional poker, since he has been playing full time for about five years and has been traveling around the poker circuit since 2007.


WINNER QUOTES


On his feelings immediately after winning a WSOP gold bracelet:  “I am happy that I did this.  Five years went by without winning, which is a long time.  Back then, you don’t know as much and you think you are going to win the very next tournament that you play.  But then as you go on you realize it’s tough and you even begin to wonder if you are ever going to win one of these again.  I now realize that I can win, if I am dedicated enough and put in enough effort.”

On how people react to his previous WSOP victory and prior status as the youngest gold bracelet winner ever:  “People remember me for that.  I ran into people that remembered me just from watching the win on TV.  But as time passed, more people began to know me instead from playing with me.  I think they respected my game over time.  But you could say that people who do not know poker, still probably know me from that record.”

On his improvement as a poker player now versus the time of his first victory, in 2007:  “I am definitely a better player now than I was back then.  I really did not know what I was doing at the time, compared to now – especially in PLO and some other games that I am doing well in.  I did not have much fear back then.  Now, my all around game is definitely much better than it was.  But I am not as fearless as I once was, either.”

On being young and fearless at 21 and wiser and more experienced now at age 25:  “Sometimes young and fearless can be a good thing.  And, sometimes I try to go back to that.  You have to change your style and who you are, at times.”

On holding WSOP Europe in Cannes for the first time:  “I love it here!  I love this place.  I have been here for about four days now.  I have even thought about moving here with the online situation what it is, but I am not sure my family would go for that.”

On his new status as a father and family man:  Well, we are engaged to be engaged and we have children ten months old.  I am just super happy that I can do this.  Because I want them to have everything.  I like to take time off when I get home and spent time with them.”

On poker being tougher and tougher and players improving as the years pass, and what that means for his future:  “I think I can be doing this successfully for a while.  I am for sure going to be doing this for at least the next five to ten years.  But I am also going to look for some other things to get involved in.  I don’t always want to have to work.”

On winning the gold bracelet and achieving success versus the prize money and which to the two is more important:  “In the end, it’s about the accomplishment.  Feeling good about the accomplishment is what it’s all about for me.  But, I wouldn’t play for free, either (laughing).”


THE FINAL TABLE


For the purposes of WSOP record-keeping, the final table was comprised of only the final nine players (top nine finishers).

The final table included only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Steve Billirakis.  This was the first of three events completed in Cannes so far which included any former gold bracelet champion making it to the final table.  The previous two events had no former winners, which guaranteed first-time champions.

Eight different nations were represented at the final table – including Great Britain (2), Austria (1), Canada (1), Ireland (1), Italy (1), Russia (1), Sweden (1), and the United States (1).

The top three finishers were all the same age – 25-years-old.

The runner up was Michele Di Lauro, from Cesena, Italy.  He is a 25-year-old student who also spends much of his time playing poker.  Di Lauro has eight previous major tournament cashes, all of which have taken place in Italy.  This marked his first occasion to cash in a WSOP event.  Di Lauro’s consolation prize for second place amounted to 147,171 (Euros).

The third-place finisher was Ramzi Jelassi, from Stockholm, Sweden.  He is a 25-year-old full-time poker pro.  Prior to playing poker, Jelassi was a highly-recruited soccer player.  He was on one of the top teams in Sweden.  Since he began playing poker, Jelassi has accumulated more than $300,000 in tournament earnings, including a win in the EPT Heads-Up Championship at Barcelona, in 2006.  He also cashed in the 2009 WSOP Main Event (425th).  This impressive finish paid out 105,937 (Euros).

The fourth-place finisher was popular high-stakes poker pro Sam Trickett, from Retford, UK.  Trickett is one of the U.K.’s most respected poker pros.  However, he has yet to win a WSOP gold bracelet.  It appeared this might be Trickett’s breakthrough event.  He held the chip lead during much of the final table.  But Trickett ran into trouble late when play whittled down to four handed and ultimately finished with the sour taste of a disappointing fate.  Trickett received 77,642 (Euros) for this finish and will most certainly be back in a future WSOP event competing for what will ultimately be his first WSOP title.

The fifth-place finisher was Jerome Bradpiece, from London, UK.  He is a 28-year-old professional poker player.  Bradpiece has two tournament wins in the UK this year, to date.  He also holds a staggering record of accomplishment during a ten-month period from 2007-2008 when he won six straight major events (with no other cashes in between) at various tournaments played in London.  Bradpiece earned 57,912 (Euros) in what was his fifth WSOP in-the-money finish.

The sixth-place finisher was Konstantin Uspenskiy, from Meteopt, Russia.  He is a 32-year-old part-time poker player.  Uspenskiy’s only other major tournament top finish was two years ago at a European Poker Tour event in Kiev, Ukraine.  This was Uspenskiy’s first time to cash in a WSOP event.  He collected 43,950 (Euros) for sixth place.

The seventh-place finisher was Erich Kollmann, from St. Valentin, Austria.  He is a 45-year-old professional poker player.  Kollmann now has $1.3 million in accumulated tournament earnings, including major cashes at the WSOP, WPT, EPT, and Aussie Millions.  This marked Kollmann’s highest WSOP finish ever, after five previous in-the-money finishes.  He collected 33,922 in prize money for this fine effort.

The eighth-place finisher was Sam Chartier, from Montreal, Quebec (Canada).  Chartier started out among the final nine as the lowest-stacked player.  He was eliminated about two hours into play.  Chartier is a 25-year-old student.  He previously won the WSOP Circuit Main Event Championship, held at Caesars Atlantic City in 2009 (which paid $322,944).  This marked his second time to cash at WSOP Europe this year.  He took 25th place in Event #1.  Chartier collected 26,610 (Euros) for making this final table.

The ninth-place finisher was Eoghan O’Dea, from Dublin, Ireland.  He is a 26-year-old professional poker player with several notable major tournament accomplishments.  Even at his young age, O’Dea is already the fourth-ranked Irish tournament money winner of all time and could be destined to become the most successful Irish poker player at some point in the near future.  O’Dea arrived at this final table severely short stacked.  He was able to nurse his chips along for more than an hour, but finally went out in ninth place, which paid 21,221 (Euros).

O”Dea is one of the WSOP Main Event’s nine finalists, also known as the “November Nine.”  When he returns to Las Vegas in November to compete in the world championship finale, he is already guaranteed to receive $782,000.  However, he has a chance to not only win poker’s world championship, but $8.6 million for first place, as well.

This year for the first time in history, WSOP Europe final table action is being shown on live streaming video over the Internet.  Poker fans from all over the world are able to log in to wsop.com and watch all the action live.  All final table events at this year’s WSOP Europe will be broadcast live.

The chip leader coming into the finale was popular Brit Sam Trickett.  He was up nearly 2 to 1 in chips over his closest rival (Steve Billirakis).  The remaining players trailed the chip leader by wider margins.

The final showdown between Steve Billirakis and Michele Di Lauro did not last long.  After about 15 minutes of play, Billirakis had Di Lauro all-in and covered with A-K-Q-3 versus Di Lauro’s A-J-T-4.  The flop came A-K-7 (suits irrelevant).  Billirakis bet out and Di lauro moved all in.  Billirakis called with top two pair, which held up.  Two blanks hit the turn and river (3-9) giving Billirakis the final pot of the tournament, plus the victory.

So far, no female player has made it to a final table at 2011 WSOP Europe.  In fact, the last female player to appear in a finale was in 2008 (Event #1) when Linda Lee (Las Vegas, NV) finished in seventh place.  The only other two females to make final tables at WSOP Europe occurred in 2007 when Jennifer Harman finished second (Event #1) and Annette Obrestad won the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event Championship (Event #3).

WSOP Europe comes at an unusual time, particularly for players who make it to the finals of the WSOP Main Event Championship.  The November Nine players that participate at WSOP Europe are essentially playing two events simultaneously, albeit with “the big one” on recess.  It’s quite possible for a November Nine player to win a WSOP gold bracelet in the interim period between the mandatory Main Event break in July through early November.  However, no November Nine player has accomplished this.  Since the new format was adopted in 2008, several November Nine finalists have played at WSOP Europe.  However, only four players have made it to a final table.  The highest finish was achieved by Ivan Demidov, who finished third in the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event and then went on to finish second in the WSOP Main Event – a feat unlikely ever to be accomplished again.  The four November Niners who have made it to WSOP Europe final tables in the interim are:  Ivan Demidov (2008), Antoine Saout (2009), John Racener (2010), and Eoghan O’Dea (2011).  Hence, this phenomenon has occurred just once each and every year.

Final table play began at 2:20 pm.  Play ended at 10:25 pm.  The total duration was 7 hours, 5 minutes (minus a one-hour dinner break).

 
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

There were five former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event – including Steve Billirakis (1st), Oleksii Kovalchuk (10th), Jason Mercier (12th), Elie Payan (17th), and David Benyamine (18th).

Elie Payan, from Dry, France won a gold bracelet earlier this year in Las Vegas.  He won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha title, becoming the first of a record four French winners at the 2011 WSOP.  Had Payan won this event, he would have become the first players in WSOP history to win two Pot-Limit Omaha gold bracelets within the same year.

David Benyamine continues to play what may very well be the most consistent tournament poker of any player at this year’s WSOP Europe series.  He finished 12th in the first event and then inched into the money in this tournament as well, finishing 18th.  Benyamine, with duel residencies (the Frenchman now resides in Las Vegas) is certainly among the favorites to become the first French player ever to win a WSOP gold bracelet on native soil.

Of the 18 spots paid out on this tournament, 11 different nations were represented.

The defending champion from 2010 (which was played in London) was Jeffrey Lisandro, from Salerno, Italy.  He participated in this year’s tournament, but did not cash.


ODDS AND ENDS


This is the third of seven events on the 2011 WSOP Europe schedule.  It is the 62nd gold bracelet event played in 2011, when combined with the 58 premium events which took place in Las Vegas, plus the WSOP Circuit National Championship, held a few months ago.

Pot-Limit Omaha has been offered during all five years of the WSOP Europe schedule.  The previous buy-ins were also 5,000, but were in English Pounds.  The Euro-GBP exchange rate is about 1.15 to 1.  Hence, the buy-in this year is equal to about 4,377 GBP. 

The 5,000 Euro buy-in is equal to about $6,897 (USD).

Last year’s 5,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament was the second (of five) tournaments on the schedule played at WSOP Europe (London).  It attracted 120 entries.  Hence, the turnout this year at 180 entrants represented an increase of 33 percent.  Attendance for all events combined played at Cannes this year is up 38 percent over last year.

This is the 953nd gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: This figure includes every official WSOP event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes all WSOP Europe gold bracelet event completed, to date.

This is the19th gold bracelet awarded at WSOP Europe since its inception, in 2007.

The first four years of WSOP Europe were played in London, UK at Casino at the Empire.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony for this champion will take place at Hotel Majestic Barriere in Cannes, just  prior to the start of the Main Event.  The presentation is open to public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.


MORE ABOUT 2011 WSOP EUROPE

Three countries have now hosted WSOP gold bracelet events – the United States, Great Britain, and France.

In its 42-year history, WSOP gold bracelet tournament action has taken place at only five venues.  They are Binion’s Horseshoe (1970-2003), Rio Las Vegas (2004-present), Casino at the Empire (2007-2010), Caesars Palace Las Vegas (one event in 2011), and now Barriere Cannes (2011).  Note:  During the 1980s, as few other Downtown Las Vegas casinos also hosted limited portions of the WSOP. 

This marks the first time that a WSOP tournament has ever been played in a non-English speaking nation.

This is the first time that any WSOP gold bracelet event has been hosted at a non-owned venue.  In other words, Barriere is not a Caesars Entertainment property. 

One of the official sponsors of 2011 WSOP Europe is luxury carmaker, Mercedes Benz.  Many players have been shuttled to and from the nearby Nice-Cote d’Azur Airport (about 30 miles away) via Mercedes Benz chauffeur-driven cars.

The 2011 WSOP Europe Staff includes longtime Tournament Director Jack Effel, who has overseen all tournament operations, since 2006.  He and his staff are present in Cannes.  However, much of the set-up and actual operations have been conducted by Barriere’s excellent poker staff.  This group includes – Eric Cavillon (Head of Poker Operations), Alain Fabre (Casino General Manager), Jean Etienne Bouedec (Vice President of Operations), Gregory Chochon (Barriere Poker France), and Lucille Denos (Tournament Director) and many other fine industry professionals.

Official WSOP rules typically specify an “English Only” rule, which means all table discussion relating to play must be conducted in English.  However, at WSOP Europe (Cannes), there is a duel “English or French Only” rule, which means players can communicate in either language at any time.

Tournament play is split between two first-class venues – Le Croisette Casino Barriere and Hotel Majestic Barriere.  The casino and hotel are nestled neck-a-neck along the coastal esplanade facing the Mediterranean Sea.  Tournament Day Ones and final table action are played at the hotel.  Restarts (Day Twos, Day Threes, etc.) are played inside the casino.   

The two poker venues are unquestionably the most glamorous settings for any poker tournament ever held.  Poker action takes place inside the same ballrooms which host the world-famous Cannes Film Festival, held annually every May.  Many of Hollywood’s most-famous movie stars have stayed at the Majestic Barriere.  The hallways are filled with photographs of Hollywood royalty from the 1930s to the present day.  The hotel also hosts various global economic summits, which attract many of the world’s leaders.

2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for the French poker scene.  Not only is France hosting its first WSOP Europe tournament ever, French players also won four gold bracelets at this year’s WSOP, so far.  However, they have come up short in WSOP Europe events, thus far.  The highest French finisher was Bernard Guigon, who took fourth place in Event #2.

This is the first year that all gold bracelet events (at WSOP Europe) will include prize pools of in excess of $1 million (USD).  No slate of WSOP tournaments in history has ever achieved this high a dollar mark for every single event.


THE TOURNAMENT


The 5,000 (Euro) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 180 entries.  This figure represents a 33 percent increase over the same event held at WSOP Europe last year, held in London.

The total prize pool amounted to 882,000 (Euros).  At the present-day exchange rate, this is equal to $1,214,169 (USD).

The top 18 finishers collected prize money. 

The tournament attracted a highly-competitive field, including most of Europe’s top poker players.  Events in Cannes are unquestionably the most internationally diverse fields in WSOP history.  This is even more so for Pot-Limit Omaha events.  

Through the completion of three events, the highest finish by any player from the host nation is Bernard Guigon, from Dakar, France.  He finished fourth in Event #2. 

The tournament officially began at 5 pm on Monday, October 10th.  The tournament officially ended on Wednesday, October 12th at 10:25 pm (Cannes time).


WSOP AND WSOP EUROPE NOTES


Through Las Vegas Event #58 and Cannes Event #3 (all gold bracelet events), WSOP events have attracted 76,983 combined total entries, to date.

Through Cannes Event #3, 2011 WSOP Europe events have attracted 1,321 combined total entries (360 + 771).  Four more events are still to be played.

Through Las Vegas Event #58 and Cannes Event #3 (all gold bracelet events), in 2011 for all events combined, the WSOP has paid out $194,510,610 – the most of any single year in history.

Through Cannes Event #3, 2011 WSOP Europe combined events have paid out 2,468,100 (Euros) in prize money.  This is equal to about $3,406,895 (USD).
 
Through the conclusion of Cannes Event #3, the breakdown of nationalities of gold bracelet winners has been:
Switzerland (1)
Australia (1)
United States (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #3 (WSOP Europe), the breakdown of nationalities of gold bracelet winners this year has been as follows:
(Note that 2011 WSOP Main Event is still pending):
United States (36)
Canada (5)
Ukraine (4)
France (4)
Great Britain (3)
Russia (3)
Brazil (1)
Pakistan (1)
Sweden (1)
Switzerland (1)
Australia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #3 (WSOP Europe), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been as follows:
United States (32)
Canada (5)
Ukraine (4)
France (4)
Great Britain (3)
Russia (3)
Israel (1)
Honduras (1)
Indonesia (1)
Germany (1)
Brazil (1)
Pakistan (1)
Sweden (1)
Switzerland (1)
Australia (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #3 (WSOP Europe), the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and
amateurs who won gold bracelets has been as follows:

Professional Players (46): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast (2 wins), John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payan, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros, Marsha Wolak. Maxim Lykov, Nick Binger, Andrew Hinrichsen, Steve Billirakis

Semi-Pros (6): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis, Alexander Anter

Amateurs (8): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko, Guillaume Humbert

Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP/WSOP Europe has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 52 out of 60 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 13 of the 60 winners (23 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners is currently at 215 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Poker Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.  The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.

The highest finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was accomplished by two players.  Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).  Kim Nguyen also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).

The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.

Defending world champion Jonathan Duhamel played in his first WSOP Europe tournament (Event #5 – which has just started at press time).  Reigning world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their victory. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001.  Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of the fields. But there’s also great pressure on the champions to perform well.  What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold bracelet after winning the world championship during the previous year:
Johnny Moss (1975)
Doyle Brunson (1977)
Bobby Baldwin (1979)
Stu Ungar (1981)
Johnny Chan (1988)
Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

New tournament records set at 2011 WSOP Europe (to date):
First WSOP winner in history from Switzerland – Guillaume Humbert
Largest tournament attendance in WSOP Europe history – 771 entrants (Event #2)
Most international final table in history – 8 nations (Event #3)….TIES RECORD

……….

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Nolan Dalla – WSOP.com Senior Writer


About the author: Nolan Dalla's work is found all over WSOP.com, as he is the Senior Writer for poker's longest-running poker series and has contributed to the site since 2005.

He is also the longtime Media Director of the World Series of Poker. He's become the lone link from poker's modern age back to the old days when the WSOP was played at Binion's Horseshoe – where Dalla served as the casino's Director of Public Relations.
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