2011 World Series of Poker Europe
Hotel Majestic Barriere/Le Croisette Casino Barriere
Cannes, France
Official Report
Event #6
Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha
Buy-In:  1,500 + 120 (Euros)
Number of Entries:  339
Total Prize Pool:  498,300 (Euros)
Number of Places Paid:  36
First Place Prize:  124,584 (Euros)
October 13-15, 2011



TOURNAMENT HEADLINES

Philippe Boucher Victorious on the French Riviera

Quebec-Born Poker Pro Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in Cannes

Boucher Wins 2011 WSOP Europe’s Sixth Event

Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha Championship Draws World-Class Field

More Misery for France – Still No Wins for the Host Country

2011 WSOP Europe Continues to Smash Records – Attendance and Prize Money at All-Time Highs


OVERVIEW

Cannes, France (15 October 2011) – Philippe Boucher may sounds very much like a French name, but he’s actually a Quebec-born Canadian now living in Las Vegas.  Boucher won the latest World Series of Poker Europe gold bracelet, played in Cannes, France.

Boucher won a first-time event at WSOP-Europe, which was the Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha Championship.  The buy-in was 1,500 Euros.  A new addition to this year’s schedule, Six-Handed play tends to be faster and generates more action than regular nine-handed tournaments.  That was no exception in this tournament, particularly during the finale which raced by in a lightning fast 3.5 hours.

The new champion Boucher is a 29-year-old poker pro.  He collected 124,584 (Euros) for the victory, plus the most coveted prize in the game.  Indeed, prior to the start of the final table Boucher noted that he wanted a gold bracelet badly, since a fair number of his close poker-playing friends have won WSOP events in the past, leaving Boucher bracelet-less, at least until this day.

The runner up was Michel Dattani, from Porto, Portugal.  Had he won instead of finishing second, Dattani would have become the first-ever WSOP gold bracelet winner in history from Portugal.  As it turned out, he still represented his home nation well and becomes the highest-finishing Portuguese player ever.

Things have not gone nearly so well for French players so far in Cannes.  Although French players won four gold bracelets at this year’s WSOP, none has come close victory at WSOP Europe.  French poker players still have two more events to win a gold bracelet and make poker history.  But they will continue to face an uphill climb, playing against many of the world’s best players from other nations.
 
Attendance at 2011 WSOP Europe continues to exceed everyone's expectations and smash previous records.  Through the conclusion of the first six events, overall attendance has crossed the 2,000 mark.  No doubt, wherever it’s held -- the WSOP continues to surpass all expectations and overcome every challenge, no matter how daunting.

This was the first time that a Six-Handed Pot Limit Omaha tournament has been included as part of the WSOP Europe schedule.  The event was played over three consecutive days and nights, ending on a gorgeous Saturday evening along the French Riviera.  With ocean waves surging up the nearby beaches, the new poker champion began the early celebration by posing with his first gold bracelet out in front of the Hotel Majestic Barriere, which hosted this year’s version of WSOP Europe.

The world’s most exciting and prestigious poker series still has a lot more excitement to come.  The internationally-televised WSOP Europe Main Event Championship started on this day and runs through 20 October.

For more information about the WSOP and WSOP Europe, please visit the portal page at WSOP.com
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THE WINNER – PHILIPPE BOUCHER

The winner of 1,500 (Euro) buy-in Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha (WSOP Europe -- Event #4) was Philippe Boucher, from Las Vegas, Nevada (USA).

Boucher is originally from Quebec City, Quebec (Canada) and still calls his Quebec residence his real home.  He is to be classified as a Canadian winner.

Boucher is a 29-year-old professional poker player.

Boucher started playing sports and outdoor activities at a very early age.  He learned to ski at age 3.  He started ice skating at age 4.  He is a big hockey fan.

Boucher has two brothers and one sister.

Boucher is married.  Although his wife does not play poker, Boucher says she is his biggest railbird.  She watches him often when he plays.

Boucher currently has no children, but does have two big dogs.

Boucher moved to Atlanta after he married to be with his wife.  Now, the couple live in Las Vegas.

Boucher was a college student for two years where he studied electrical engineering at Laval University in Quebec.  However, he discovered he did not like his field of study.  He gradually spent more time playing poker and started playing for a living about seven years ago.

Boucher has been playing poker seriously since 2003.

This is the first year that Boucher has played at WSOP Europe.  He has been playing at the WSOP during the past six years.

Boucher collected 124,584 (Euros) for first place.  The payout is equal to about $172,860 (USD).

With his victory, Boucher now has one win, one final table appearance, and 7 cashes at the WSOP.  Boucher’s career WSOP earnings now total $242,776.

Boucher is to be classified as a professional poker player, since he has been playing full time for about seven years.

At age 29, Boucher is the oldest gold bracelet winner at 2011 WSOP Europe, through the first five events.

Boucher becomes the sixth Canadian poker player to win a gold bracelet this year at the WSOP and WSOP Europe.

WINNER QUOTES

On his feelings immediately after winning a WSOP gold bracelet:  “It’s incredible.  It’s really incredible how I won it, busting every single player at the final table.  Being the chip leader is sure a lot easier than being short-stacked.”

On what the WSOP victory means as a professional poker player:  “The WSOP name is huge and to win a gold bracelet now, especially singe things are expanding and going to Europe and the fields are getting bigger and tough, I think it’s better to win here and now.  I know there is some comments about WSOP Europe fields being smaller (than in Las Vegas).  But they are certainly tougher.  The prize may be a little less, but the pride in winning is just the same.”       

On being in the zone at the final table:  “That feeling started for me on Day Two.  I started the day with like 65,000 and then quickly went up to 180,000 in chips.  I was the leader.  Once I hit the 300,000 mark, I really felt that this was my tournament to win.”

On what accounted for his victory, more skill or luck:  “I think it was a combination of things.  They really went well for me.  I caught good cards but I also maximized the opportunities I had.  That’s a dangerous combination when that happens.”

On being friends with many top poker players from Canada:  “Most of them are a little younger than me, like (current world champion) Jonathan Duhamel.  I am 29 and when some of them won, they were younger.  I used to help them when they were starting and we always try to help each other. For them to win first was no problem for me.  It just shows we are a strong community of players and we stick together.  Now, it makes it stronger when one of us wins.”

On his current status in poker and life:  “No doubt, I am lucky in life.  I have a terrific wife and a wonderful family.  Up to this point, I had been unlucky in poker and lucky in life.  Now, I can say I am lucky in both life and poker.”

THE FINAL TABLE

For the purposes of WSOP records and results, this official final table was comprised of the final six players (top six finishers).  Normally, official final tables are counted at nine-handed.  But the Six-Handed format is unique and brings only six players together for the finale.

The final table included no former gold bracelet winners.  This guaranteed a first-time winner.  This was the third of six final tables at WSOP Europe with no previous WSOP winners.

Six different nations were represented at the final table – including Canada (1), Chile (1), Great Britain (1), Portugal (1), South Africa (1) and Ukraine.

Five of the six finalists were aged in their 20s.  The eldest player was 47 – Alexander Douzhenko, who finished fourth.

The runner up was Michel Dattani, from Porto, Portugal.  He made his first WSOP cash in this tournament.  Dattani had a chance to become the first winner from Portugal in WSOP history, but instead will settle as the highest finisher from his nation. 
The winner Philippe Boucher eliminated all five of his rivals at the final table.  He did so in relatively quick time, about four hours.

So far, no female player has made it to any final table played 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).

Final table play began at 2:10 pm.  Play ended at 6:00 pm.  The total duration was 3 hours, 50 minutes.

OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS

There were only three former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event – including Carlos Mortensen (26th), Richard Ashby (33rd) and Steve Billirakis (35th).

2001 world poker champion Carlos Mortensen finished in 26th place.  This was the first time the native of Spain has cashed in an event at WSOP Europe.

Marco Traniello, a native of Italy now living in Las Vegas, cashed in this event.  He finished 28th.  This was Traniello’s fifth WSOP cash this year.  He now has 33 cashes at the WSOP, all since 2005.  That is the most in-the-money finishes by any player within the last six years.

Steve Billirakis, who finished in 35th place, won his second career WSOP gold bracelet on the day this event began.  He won the Pot-Limit Omaha championship, which means  had cashed in both Pot-Limit Omaha events played at this year’s series in Cannes.

There was no defending champion from 2010.  This is the first time that a Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha tournament has been offered at WSOP Europe.

Through the first six events, only 13 players have cashed more than once.  They are as follows:
 
Buchanan, Shawn    3 cashes
Motorov, Dmitry    2
Ozhenilok, Anatolii    2
Vedes, Tommy    2
Deeb, Freddy    2
Benyamine, David    2
Mercier, Jason    2
Wade, Tristan    2
Billirakis, Steve    2
Peters, David    2
Allain, Adrien        2
Pollak, Benjamin    2
Powell    , Brian        2

FOR THE AGES

Players are eligible to play in WSOP Europe events, provided they are 18-years-old or older. 

The legal age to participate in a WSOP event in Las Vegas is 21 years.  This means players who are 18, 19, or 20 can only play at WSOP Europe, but not at the WSOP in Las Vegas.  So far in 2011, no player aged 18-20 has yet made it to a final table.

The average age of players who entered events at WSOP Europe is about 33 years.  However, younger players have enjoyed disproportionate success.  The average age of players that cash is lower than average.  Furthermore, the average age of final table participants is lower still.  This trend mirrors what happened in Las Vegas during the first 58 gold bracelet events.

The average age of all entrants for this tournament was 34.1 years.  The average age of players who cashed was 31.8 years.

Through the first six events at WSOP Europe, the breakdown of players’ ages by decade that made it to the final table is as follows (50 finalists):
 
Age 20s – 30
Age 30s -- 14
Age 40s – 3
Age 50s – 1
Age 60s – 2
Age 70s (and up) – 0

So far this year, all six winners of gold bracelets at WSOP Europe have been aged 30 or younger.  The six winner’s ages are:  23, 24, 26, 26, 30, and 29.

ODDS AND ENDS

This is the sixth of seven events on the 2011 WSOP Europe schedule.  Only the Main Event still emains.  It is the 65th 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.

The 1,500 Euro buy-in is equal to about $2,081 (USD).

This is the 954th 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 the 20th gold bracelet awarded at WSOP Europe since its inception, in 2007.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony for Philippe Boucher 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.  He will have the Canadian anthem played.

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. 

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

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.

Total Cashes for Players (By Country) -- through end of Event #6:
 
United States    64
France        50
United Kingdom    20
Canada        13
Italy            10
Sweden        9
Russia        6
Switzerland        4
Germany        4
Hungary        4
Belarus        3
Ireland        3
Portugal        3
Ukraine        3
Finland        3
Austria        2
Australia        2
Japan            2
Lebanon        2
Norway        1
Serbia            1
Estonia        1
Chile            1
Slovenia        1
Brazil            1
Belgium        1
South Africa        1
Spain            1
Israel            1

Ratio of Entries to Cashes (By Country) – through end of Event #6
 
COUNTRY-CASHES-ENTRIES-RATIO
United States    64    403    0.158808933
France        50    705    0.070921986
United Kingdom    20    130    0.153846154
Canada        13    87    0.149425287
Italy            10    131    0.076335878
Sweden        9    65    0.138461538
Russia        6    73    0.082191781
Switzerland        4    21    0.19047619
Germany        4    34    0.117647059
Hungary        4    11    0.363636364
Belarus        3    7    0.428571429
Ireland        3    18    0.166666667
Portugal        3    11    0.272727273
Ukraine        3    26    0.115384615
Finland        3    48    0.0625
Austria        2    3    0.666666667
Australia        2    25    0.08
Japan            2    16    0.125
Lebanon        2    10    0.2
Norway        1    19    0.052631579
Serbia            1    1    1
Chile            1    5    0.2
Slovenia        1    4    0.25
Brazil            1    4    0.25
Belgium        1    26    0.038461538
South Africa        1    13    0.076923077
Spain            1    17    0.058823529
Israel            1    12    0.083333333

THE TOURNAMENT

The 1,500 +120 (Euro) buy-in Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha tournament attracted 339 entries. 

The total prize pool amounted to 498,330 (Euros).  At the present-day exchange rate, this is equal to $690,705 (USD).

The top 36 finishers collected prize money.

This was the first time a Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha tournament has been offered at WSOP Europe.  Many Pot-Limit Omaha events have taken place, but none has been played as Six-Handed.

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. 

Five of the six completed events have been won by professional poker players.  The exception was the winner of the first tournament, Guillaume Humbert.

WSOP AND WSOP EUROPE NOTES

Through Las Vegas Event #58 and Cannes Event #6 (all gold bracelet events), WSOP events have attracted 77,705 combined total entries, to date.

Through Cannes Event #6, 2011 WSOP Europe events have attracted 2,033 combined total entries (360+771+180+258+125+339).  One more gold bracelet event is still to be played.

Through Las Vegas Event #58 and Cannes Event #6 (all gold bracelet events), in 2011 for all events combined the WSOP has paid out $197,712,524 – the most of any single year in history.

Through Cannes Event #6, 2011 WSOP Europe combined events have paid out 5,109,470 (Euros) in prize money.  This is equal to about $7,080,732 (USD).
 
Through the conclusion of Cannes Event #6, the breakdown of nationalities of gold bracelet winners has been:
 
United States (3)
Switzerland (1)
Australia (1)
Canada (1)

Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #6 (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 (38)
Canada (6)
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 #6 (WSOP Europe), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been as follows:
 
United States (34)
Canada (6)
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 #6 (WSOP Europe), the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been as follows:

Professional Players (49): 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, Tristan Wade, Michael Mizrachi, Philippe Boucher

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 55 out of 63 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 13 of the 63 winners (21 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 218- 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).  He did not cash.  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
Highest WSOP finish ever by a player from Japan – Azusa Maeda – 2nd (Event #1)
Highest WSOP finish ever by a player from Portugal – Michael Dattani – 2nd (Event #6)