Cannes, France (21 October 2011) – Cannes may be best known for its glitzy and glamorous international film festival. But over the past two weeks, the biggest stars of the fabulous French Riviera have been poker players.
No poker player played a bigger role nor gave a more masterful performance on the Cote d'Azur than Elio Fox, from New York City. He won the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship, which came to a rousing conclusion late Thursday at Hotel Majestic Barrière, in Cannes, France. For his victory, Fox collected a whopping $1,927,310 in prize money. He also received the most cherished prize in the game of poker – his first WSOP gold bracelet.
Fox became only the fifth WSOP Europe Main Event Champion in history, following in the trail-blazing footsteps of four previous champions crowned in London, an exclusive club which includes Annette Obrestad (2007), John Juanda (2008), Barry Shulman (2009), and James Bord (2010). But Fox's feat was perhaps the most impressive of any before, since he faced the nearly insurmountable challenge of overcoming a record tournament field size.
Fox triumphed over a door-busting 592 total entries, making this tournament the largest WSOP Main Event Championship ever. Making things much tougher, these were not run of the mill poker players. They were, according to just about any metric, the very best players in the entire world, which may actually infer the toughest 600 or so players of any event in history.
With the competition so fierce, the stakes had to be high. And, they were. The €10,000 buy-in was equal to about $13,765. It generated the second-biggest non-WSOP Main Event prize pool of all-time, totaling €5,692,800 -- which equals about $7,828,409.
The tournament took six full days to complete, with the finale played before a worldwide live stream shown on ESPN3 and at WSOP.com. Final table action was also taped for a television broadcast to be shown, at a future date and time to be announced soon.
On the sixth and last day, the final table unfolded amidst an unusual atmosphere for a WSOP gold bracelet championship event. Played inside one of the elegant ballrooms normally used to show premier movies by the world’s top filmmakers who annually attend the Cannes Film Festival, the final table atmosphere embodied about as different a feel from the WSOP Main Event (“November Nine”) ambiance as could be imaginable. There were no huge crowds, nor boisterous cheering sections. There were virtually no spectators whatsoever, at least in the live setting.
Instead, wild enthusiasm was replaced by stately grace and quiet contemplation. It was as though a few of the world’s top chess grandmasters were playing inside an eerily-quiet echo chamber. Alas, pretty much all that could be heard for nearly 12 hours were the faint cricket-like sounds of clacking poker chips being stacked, splashed, and re-stacked, occasionally broken up by the movement of television cameras. In short, the finale looked and sounded more like a busy television newsroom than the world’s premier poker series. Nonetheless, given the power and reach of television, this finale was (and will be) watched by more people worldwide than virtually any other tournament played this year, aside from the WSOP Main Event.
Later, when millions of poker fans everywhere tune in to watch what happened, they will witness a majestic performance by Fox, the new champion. True to his name, his performance was as sly as any WSOP victory this year. He seized the chip lead during when play went down to 12-handed and then began the final table session with the biggest stack. It took him about nine hours -- lightning fast by WSOP Europe standards -- to demolish what remained of the competition and take his place alongside the greats who have won one of poker's most prestigious prizes.
Fox is a 25-year-old professional poker player. He was previously a college student at prestigious Bard College in New York before making the decision to play poker full-time. 2011 has been a monster year for the youthful new champ. Fox won the Bellagio Cup championship earlier this year, played in Las Vegas. For that victory, he won about $680,000 -- which is a mere pittance to what he pocketed in France. Fox won three times that amount here in Cannes, plus his first career WSOP gold bracelet.
The top-64 finishers in this year's WSOP Main Event Championship collected prize money. The top ten finishers were as follows:
1st Place – Elio Fox (New York, US)
2nd Place – Chris Moorman (Basildon, UK)
3rd Place – Moritz Kranich (Hamburg, Germany)
4th Place – Brian Roberts (Austin, US)
5th Place – Dermot Blain (Ulster, Ireland)
6th Place – Shawn Buchanan (Abbotsford, Canada)
7th Place – Jake Cody (Leeds, UK)
8th Place – Max Silver (London, UK)
9th Place – Patrik Antonius (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
10th Place – Arnaud Mattern (Paris, France)
Also ranking among those who cashed were six former WSOP gold bracelet winners – including Jake Cody (8th), Amir Lehavot (15th), Erik Seidel (21st), Freddy Deeb (39th), Hoyt Corkins (42nd), and Sean Getzwiller (43rd).
A complete list of final results, with all players who cashed can be viewed HERE.
This tournament was a bold exclamation point to the most successful tournament series of the five years that WSOP Europe has taken place. Attendance and prize money figures exceeded all previous years.
The Main Event Championship was the seventh and final WSOP gold bracelet tournament played this year in Cannes. Recapping all events which are now completed, the seven champions were as follows:
EVENT #1: Guillaume Humbert (Nyon, Switzerland) won $288,899.
EVENT #2: Andrew Hinrichsen (Melbourne, Australia) won $202,386.
EVENT #3: Steve Billirakis (Las Vegas, NV – USA) won $326,183
EVENT #4: Tristan Wade (Boynton Beach, FL – USA) won $249,444
EVENT #5: Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi (Miramar, FL – USA) won $460,277
EVENT #6: Philippe Boucher (Quebec City, Canada) won $170,627.
EVENT #7: Elio Fox (New York, NY -- USA) won $1,927,310
A few days after WSOP Europe ends, the G20 Economic Summit is scheduled to take over Hotel Majestic Barriere, which has been packed with poker players since October 7th. Several national leaders are reported to being staying in the hotel after the tournament concludes. But no President, nor Prime Minister will have as memorable a time as was enjoyed by Elio Fox, the new champion of WSOP Europe.
Note: The official report with more facts and overall statistics from 2011 WSOP Europe will be posted soon at the WSOP.com home page.
In the meantime, for more information about WSOP Europe, including all previous results and reports, please visit this RESULTS PAGE at wsop.com.