2011 WSOP Europe Continues to Smash Records
Second Tournament on French Riviera Attracts Biggest Turnout in WSOP Europe History
Cannes, France (October 10, 2011) – The second tournament on this year’s schedule shattered the record for the largest turnout ever in the five-year history of World Series of Poker Europe.
A tidal wave of 771 poker players from dozens of nations jammed into the uber-chic Hotel Majestic Barriere for the start of the 1000 (Euro) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, officially classified as Event #2.
The turnout at sunny Cannes obliterated the previous record turnout for WSOP gold bracelet events held in Europe. The previous high mark was 608 players who turned out for the 2009 opener, held in London. The 771-player figure at Cannes represents 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.
Despite three separate ballrooms in use and filled to near capacity, it was necessary to offer two starting days in order to accommodate the swelling international interest in participating at this year’s edition of WSOP Europe. Day One action took place inside the hotel, which is more accustomed to hosting Hollywood royalty and world leaders than poker players. Indeed, Cannes may be more famous for its prestigious annual film festival. But poker players are the real stars of the Cote d’ Azur, at least through October 20th, when this year’s poker festival in Cannes will conclude with the Main Event Championship.
Several notable poker players who have attended poker events all over the world have been universal with their praise for what is happening in the midst of the WSOP’s fifth visit to Europe.
“I think this a lot better location for WSOP Europe to be held here in Cannes,” said Jeffrey Lisandro, a five-time gold bracelet winner and the 2009 WSOP Player of the Year. “The weather here is great. I actually find it to be less expensive than London (which hosted WSOP Europe 2007-2010), and is twice as nice. It also has that Vegas feeling, where you are close to the venue and all the excitement.”
“You are getting a lot more bang for your buck, in Cannes. The holiday atmosphere is everywhere – which I think is important. I love France, but I really do not consider this to be a French event, so much. I consider it to be an international event, just like the film festival.”
Fabrice Soulier, a longtime WSOP participant from nearby Avignon who won his first gold bracelet earlier this year was particularly proud to have the WSOP come to his home country for the first time. “I love that the WSOP has come here to the south of France. A lot of people, not just here but from all over Europe can’t come to Las Vegas in the summer. So, now they will be able to come and play in the WSOP for the first time.”
“Poker is really becoming huge in France,” Soulier added. “We hosted some big poker events before – at Partouche and the Aviation Club in Paris. I know Barriere did some other events, too. But to have the WSOP here is really special. I love it.”
Americans too were singing the praises of the French and what’s currently happening in Cannes. Dennis Phillips, a former November Niner from St. Louis (USA) and a perpetual crowd favorite wherever he plays offered the following comments: “I had never been to Cannes before. I have played all over Europe and all around the world. But I had never been to the south of France, so I wanted to come here,” Phillips said.
“So far, France has been very good to me. Hey, I’m still in the tournament!”
(Writer’s Note: A few hours following the short interview, Phillips busted out and was last seen in the hallway of the Hotel Majestic Barriere, presumably sharing a bad beat story with various disinterested bystanders.)