Soulier Wins $10,000 Buy-In H.O.R.S.E. Championship
Becomes Fourth French WSOP Champion in 2011
Pro Rakes-In $609,130 in Prize Money
Canadian Poker Pro Shawn Buchanan Finishes as Runner-Up
Full House at
the 2011 WSOP-- Tournament Attendance Running Ahead of Last Year
Bracelets Won – 21 More Still to Go
“best poker player who’s never won a gold bracelet” is a bit unjust.
It implies there’s a small
clique of players who somehow are more deserving of a World Series of Poker
victory than others. It also puts unnecessary pressure on the players who
are thought of in this way.
Just ask the players of the very
recent past who found themselves in this category before finally shedding the
proverbial poker monkey in 2010 – Gavin Smith, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi,
Frank Kassela, Chris Bell and others.
But if the classification of
great poker playing non-WSOP winners were to be applied, it would most
certainly fit the $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. World Championship final table like
the supremely-talented group of bridesmaids was the venerable Fabrice Soulier,
from France. Perhaps more than anyone in the field, he's paid his dues at
the poker table and away for the past decade. During that span, he's
experienced more than his share of close calls and disappointments. Sure,
the ride has been a one of a kind experience. But at the end of every
WSOP tournament he's entered since his debut in 2000, there's been sorrow and
the lingering sense of unfulfilled destiny.
changed on Friday at 3:30 pm in front of a packed gallery of French supporters,
rooting on their favorite poker player. Soulier returned to the final
table for what was an unscheduled fourth day of play. All that stood in
his way of victory was another tough, formidable foe, who was also seeking his
breakthrough victory. Indeed, Canadian poker pro Shawn Buchanan could
very well have had many of the same things written and said about his poker
background. Both players fit the mold perfectly as poker pros who are
well-respected by their peers. Yet both remained bracelet-less -- at
least until the final hand of the tournament when Soulier's two-pair scooped
the last pot of the marathon during the Omaha High-Low Split round.
With his victory, Soulier became
the third French WSOP winner this year. The two previous champions were
Bertrand Grospellier and Elie Payon.
The other final table players --
in addition to Soulier and Buchanan -- were also quite worthy of a victory
based on their reputations and accomplishments. This illustrious list
included Andrey Zaichenko, Daniel Ospina, Tom Dwan, Matthew Ashton, Michael
Binger and Jacobo Fernandez -- who finished third through eight respectively.
As champion, Soulier received
the coveted WSOP gold bracelet. He also collected a whopping $609,130 in
prize money. Buchanan, the runner up collected $463,480 but remains
bracelet-less -- at least until the next time when he shall inevitably use this
experience as added motivation, making victory all the sweeter, once achieved.
For a comprehensive recap of Event #37,
please visit the WSOP.com tournament portal page HERE.
EVENT #37 CHAMPION – FABRICE SOULIER
World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. champion is Fabrice Soulier,
from Las Vegas, NV. Prior to moving to
Las Vegas a few years ago, Soulier lived in Paris, France.
Soulier is a
42-year-old professional poker player.
born in Avignon, France. He is fluent in
both French and English.
Soulier is a
huge fan of cinema. His favorite movies
are by directors Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman and Martin Scorcese.
playing poker professionally, Soulier worked in film and television. He started out as an assistant director in
cinema for a few years. Then, he began
directing television shows, some of which became quite popular in France.
able to break into television easily because of his credible background in
film. His programs won several awards in
years ago, Soulier began taking poker more seriously. He found that he enjoyed playing poker more
than the grind of working on various television projects. In fact, he said he became bored with working
in TV. So, he decided to take one year
off from his profession and see if he could make money playing poker. To his credit and surprise, he quickly became
one of the top players in France.
Soulier won considerable sums of money playing in casinos around Europe,
as well as on the tournament circuit.
turning pro, Soulier admits that he spent many nights playing poker and then
had to return to the television studio the following morning in order to finish
production. He says he finally realized
he could not do both – work in television and play poker seriously.
one of the most successful players to come out of the Aviation Club, which is
Paris’ most famous poker room.
the eighth consecutive year Soulier has attended the WSOP. He has cashed at least once every year.
victory, Soulier collected $609,130 for first place.
official records, Soulier now has 1 win, 6 final table appearances, and 18
in-the-money finishes at the WSOP.
Soulier currently has
$1,129,258 in career WSOP winnings.
Soulier was cheered
on to victory by a large contingent of French supporters. The crowd sang songs and created a very
festive atmosphere, which is becoming increasingly common at the WSOP,
particularly with players from abroad.
With this victory, Soulier now
has nearly $4 million in overall live tournament earnings. His first major victory took place at the
Euro Finals of Poker, in 2001. He has
ten major tournament wins, all of which have taken place in the last ten years.
Soulier is to be
classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats), since he
has been a full-time player for the past decade.
becomes the third player from France to win a gold bracelet at the 2011
WSOP. This is the most wins ever for
players from France in a single year.
The previous French winners were Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Elie Payan.
becomes the seventh French player in history to win a WSOP gold bracelet. The previous winners were Patrick Bruel, Gilbert
Gross, David Benyamine, Vanessa Hellebuyck, Bertrand Grospellier and Elie Payan.
On how it feels to finally win a WSOP
“I feel very
emotional right now. I almost cried when
I won. I had to hold back my tears. I feel great.
This is the best day of my poker career, by far.”
On 2011 potentially being France’s big
year in poker:
“I hope it
is. We have a lot of good players now,
and more and more are coming. Some of
them we do not even know yet. But they
are very good. I think this is the start
of France being a big nation for poker.”
On players he respects most:
plenty of them. It’s hard for me to name
any without forgetting some. In France,
it’s Elky (Grospellier), David (Benyamine), Nicholas, Luc, and others. I also play with John Juanda, Allen
Cunningham, and these are all gentlemen.
I wish I could look like them at the poker table. They are all so great, and I admire all of
On what may have been different in
this tournament versus other deep runs and final tables:
“I am very
emotional as a player. It is very
demanding for me. I have to control
myself and work on this part of my game.
In this tournament, I did pretty well.
I went to yoga many times. I did
meditation. It cooled me down a little
bit and maybe it allowed me to win today.”
On the break in between the final
table playing from 8 down to 2, and the heads-up match which ended the
“I slept very
bad. I had tons of messages on my phone,
and it’s still ringing. I had tons of
messages on Facebook. I could not read
them all. I could not stop reading them
all. I want to thank them all. It was great getting all their support.”
THE FINAL TABLE
final table was comprised of the top eight finishers.
table contained no former gold bracelet winners. This was the tenth final table so far this
year which has no former WSOP title holders.
When Max Pescatori went out in 10th place, a first-time
champion was guaranteed.
were represented at the final table – Canada (1 player), Columbia (1 player),
France (1 player), Great Britain (1 player), Russia (1 player) and the United
States (4 players).
The top five
finishers were connected to five different nations – including Canada,
Columbia, France, Russia and the United States.
The runner up
was Shawn Buchanan, a professional poker player from Abbotsford, BC
(Canada). This marked his 22nd
time to cash at the WSOP. He had eight
in-the-money finishes at last year’s WSOP.
Buchanan earned $376,458 for this finish, which puts him now over $1.5
million in career earnings at the WSOP.
finisher was Andrey Zaichenko, from Moscow, Russia. This was his second final table appearance
this year, following a fifth-place finish in a Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em
event. He is a 33-year-old poker pro and
one of a growing number of talented Russian players.
fourth-place finisher was Daniel Ospina, from Armenia, Columbia. He has a very impressive record in mixed
events over the past two years. Ospina
cashed in last year’s $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event (12th). He also had cashes in Razz (11th),
the Mixed Event (37th) and Limit Hold’em (44th).
fifth-place finisher was Tom Dwan, from Edison, NJ. He is a high-stakes poker pro who has been
one of the game’s most feared and respected players in recent years. Dwan collected $134,480 in prize money.
finisher was Matthew Ashton, from Liverpool, UK. This was his first time to cash at the WSOP.
seventh-place finisher was Michael Binger, from Las Vegas, NV. He is most certainly in the category of best
players yet to have won a gold bracelet.
Binger now has 24 cashes at the WSOP – all since 2006.
eighth-place finisher was Jacobo Fernandez, from Bronx, NY. With this cash, Fernandez just crossed the $1
million threshold in career WSOP earnings.
This marked his third time to cash this year, which now includes 8th,
17th and 18th place finishes.
play began at 9:30 pm on a Thursday afternoon.
Played concluded about seven hours later (playing time wise) at 3:30 pm,
on Friday afternoon. The final table was
stopped at 3:30 am due to the late hour, and continued the next day with the
table play began, Tom Dwan enjoyed a slight chip lead over Fabrice
Soulier. All the other players were
behind by a 3 to 2 margin or more.
Dwan was the big draw at this final table.
Fueled by his emerging status as a high-stakes icon, Dwan had more than
half the crowd quietly rooting him on.
However, Fabrice Soulier’s gallery mushroomed to the point where the
atmosphere resembled France playing in the World Cup. Once Dwan busted and all of his fans left
disappointed, their seats were snapped up and filled by a much rowdier French
contingent. Soulier’s soldiers remained
loyal to the end. Meanwhile, Shawn
Buchanan had his own smaller and quieter group of fellow-players mostly from
the Vancouver area.
table was played on ESPN’s main stage. The
new final table set this year is getting raves in terms of design and
appearance. No stage in the history of
poker has ever looked as spectacular. Viewers
will be able to see ESPN’s coverage again once the WSOP Main Event begins in
streamed live over WSOP.com. Viewers can
tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables. Although hole cards are not shown, viewers
can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table. The floor announcer provides an official
account of the action.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
The top 24
finishers collected prize money.
champion was Ian Gordon, from Missoula, MT.
He did not cash this year.
Among the former
gold bracelet winners who cashed in this tournament -- aside from the players
who made it to the final table – were the following: Max Pescatori (9th), Ram Vaswani
(12th), Chau Giang (15th), Frankie Odell (17th),
Robert Williamson III (22nd) and Daniel Alaei (24th).
With his 15th-place
finish in this tournament, Chau Giang now has 58 career cashes. This currently ranks in a tie for seventh
place on the all-time rankings.
are to be included in all official WSOP records. Results are also to be included in the 2011
WSOP “Player of the Year” race.
of the Year” standings can be found at WSOP.com HERE.
ODDS AND ENDS
attracted 240 entries. This was down one
player from 2010 attendance, which was 241 players.
This is the 929th
gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history. 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 the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010). Moreover for the first time ever, one gold
bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National
WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s
victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late). The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion,
which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this
year. The ceremony begins at the
conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament. The ceremony usually starts around 2:20
pm. The national anthem of the winner’s
nation is played. The entire
presentation is open to the public and media.
Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the
bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, June 25th. The national anthem of France will be played
in honor of his victory. This is the
third time at this year’s WSOP the French National Anthem has been played.
H.O.R.S.E. EVENT HISTORY
2010 was the
year the H.O.R.S.E. World Championship had a $10,000 buy-in. During the first four years, the H.O.R.S.E.
World Championship buy-in was $50,000.
The first three tournaments (2006-2008) were televised by ESPN. The 2009 championship was not televised.
included a new event called the $50,000 buy-in “Poker Players
Championship.” The tournament used the
H.O.R.S.E. format, plus two additional games – Pot-Limit Omaha and No-Limit
Hold’em. Organizers expected that the
Poker Players Championship would become the premier big buy-in event of the
WSOP. Hence, the H.O.R.S.E. World Championship
was grouped with other “World Championship” level events for other games, which
have a $10,000 buy-in.
of H.O.R.S.E. was an event called S.H.O.E. (a mix of games including
Seven-Card-Stud, Limit Hold’em, Omaha High-Low Split, and Stud High-Low Split),
which was introduced at the 2001 WSOP.
was played for the first time as a gold bracelet event at the 2002 WSOP. Organizers thought it would be interesting to
hold one H.O.R.S.E. tournament to go with the S.H.O.E. event, which took place
at Binion’s “Horse-shoe.”
H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the WSOP was won by Johnny “World” Hennigan. (NOTE:
In previous reports, it had been written that Doyle Brunson was the
first HORSE champion, from 2003.
However, John Hennigan’s first gold bracelet victory was in HORSE, held
the previous year)
list of the biggest buy-in WSOP H.O.R.S.E. event champions, by year:
2002: John Hennigan
2003: Doyle Brunson
2004: Scott Fischman
2006: David “Chip” Reese
2007: Freddy Deeb
2008: Scotty Nguyen
2009: David Bach
2010: Ian Gordon
2011: Fabrice Soulier
an acronym for five popular poker games.
H.O.R.S.E. tournaments include a rotation of the following games --
Hold'em, Omaha High-Low Split, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud
High-Low Split (also called Eight-or-Better).
Many purists consider H.O.R.S.E. to be the ultimate test of poker skill,
since it requires that players play all games well in order to win. This claim was perhaps best illustrated at
the 2006 World Series of Poker, where H.O.R.S.E. returned to the tournament
schedule after a long hiatus. For more
than two decades, the late poker legend Chip Reese had been widely regarded as
the best all-around player in the world.
Appropriately, he won the inaugural tournament which cost $50,000 to
enter and became the first H.O.R.S.E. world champion.
of games in this tournament lasts eight hands. In other words – following eight
dealt hands of Hold'em, there are eight hands of Omaha High-Low followed by
eight hands of Razz, and so forth.
was scheduled to be played over three consecutive days/nights – which ran into
a fourth day due to the late finish.
Day One began
with 240 entries and ended with 173 survivors.
Day Two began
with 173 players and ended with 23 survivors.
began with 23 players, which played down to two players.
began with 2 players and played down to the winner.
officially began on Tuesday, June 21st at 5 pm. The tournament officially ended early Friday
afternoon, June 25th at 3:30 pm.
2011 WSOP STATISTICS
Through the conclusion
of Event #37 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 47,079 combined total entries. $75,551,010 in prize money has been awarded
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet
winners has been:
conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has
conclusion of this event, the home-states of (American) winners have been:
New York (3)
conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to
semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:
Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt
Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler
Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason
Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payon, Mark Radoja, Chris
Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason
Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov and Fabrice Soulier
Semi-Pros (4): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii
Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig
(4): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James
Hess, Kirk Caldwell
tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of
professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so
far – with 31 out of 37 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 8 of the 37 winners (22
percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.
held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet
champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year). The last year the WSOP was comprised
exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999. The record for most multiple gold bracelet
winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two
or more titles. So far, no player has
yet won two gold bracelets (this year).
The streak of
consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners has now reached 196 consecutive
events. Aside from the annual Ladies
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.
finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players --
Maria Ho, who finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em) and Kim Nguyen,
who also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).
finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who
finished in sixth place after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit
Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship.
tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2
live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3
live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10
Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16
live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3157 entries) – Event #18
live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start
(3175 entries) – Event #20
consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries)
– Event #18 and Event #20
live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22
Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23
Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event
single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30
Largest consecutive-days starting field
sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke
Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)
Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in
poker history (2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32,
34, June 16-19, 2011
records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):
35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most
recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP
history. He accomplished this in
Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).
Hellmuth added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (81)
and final table appearances (42).
RAISING AWARENESS: BAD BEAT ON CANCER AND THE WSOP
Bad Beat on
Cancer was created in 2003 by Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst as an easy and fun way
for poker players to donate to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. It all began when Chris Moneymaker pledged 1
percent of his 2003 Main Event winnings and went on to capture the championship,
contributing $25,000 when he was awarded the $2.500,000 first- place prize. By taking the pledge, wearing the patch, and
joining ‘Team 1%’, players can feel good supporting a cause that only benefits
when they win. As the official charity
of the WSOP, pledges simply indicate to the payouts staff that they are
donating 1 percent of their winnings, and the funds are automatically withheld.
A tax receipt is generated and sent to
their mailing address. Several high
profile professionals have made ‘life pledges’ of 1 percent of all their
winnings -- including Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Lee Childs, Paul Wasicka,
Andy Bloch, Dennis Phillips, and others. Since 2003, the initiative has raised over
$3.500,000 for cancer prevention research, education, and community outreach programs. Players can pick up a patch and join Team 1%
by stopping by the Bad Beat on Cancer booth, located at the 2011 WSOP opposite
the Amazon Room in the concourse. The Nevada Cancer Institute based in Las Vegas
is a benefiting charity from the Bad Beat on Cancer.