Cannes, France (October 9, 2011) – It would be hard to imagine a more thrilling start for France’s first-ever World Series of Poker tournament.  The opening event of 2011 WSOP Europe is winding down to an exciting final day which potentially includes an all-time record shattering performance by one of the game’s true legends.

Phil Hellmuth is shooting for his 12th career gold bracelet victory.  The poker icon hopes to add another degree of separation to his status as the all-time WSOP wins leader.  Hellmuth, currently the leader with 11 career victories, is one win ahead of fellow-legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan.

Hellmuth’s task will not be easy.  He faces a formidable remaining lineup of foes on foreign soil.  No doubt, his biggest obstacle is a relative newcomer to the international poker tournament scene named Guillaume Humbert, from Marchissay, Switzerland.  This is Humbert’s first recorded WSOP in-the-money finish.  Remarkably, the 26-year-old non-pro is playing in his first major live poker tournament, after toiling away online in recent years.  Should he go on to win the top prize, he would become the first gold bracelet champion in history from the nation of Switzerland.  

The first of seven World Series of Poker tournaments opened up on Friday and continued with Day Two action on Saturday.  The 2500 (Euro) buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em tournament attracted 360 players.  Attendance was up a whopping 47 percent from the similar Six-Handed opening tournament held at last year’s WSOP Europe in London.

Entering Day Three, which begins on Sunday and should play deep into the night, the remaining players and chip counts are as follows:

Table 1
Seat 1:     Alexander Salabaschew       FRANCE                  183,000
Seat 2:     Robert Finlay                           UK                             73,000
Seat 3:     Bruno Benveniste                  FRANCE             
Seat 4:     David Benyamine                  
FRANCE/USA         253,000
Seat 5:     Guillaume Humbert                SWITZERLAND  
Seat 6:     Anton Wigg                              SWEDEN             

Table 2:
Seat 1:    Phil Hellmuth                            USA                          401,000
Seat 2:    Matan Krakow                          ISRAEL                
Seat 3:    Casey Kastle                            SLOVENIA           
Seat 4:    Azusa Maeda                           JAPAN                 
Seat 5:    Adrien Allain                            FRANCE              
Seat 6:    Marton Czuczor                     HUNGARY           

First place will pay 216,999 (Euros).  The top 36 finishers will collect prize money.  The list of players who have already cashed, but were eliminated during Day Two can be found HERE.

Want to follow the poker action?  It’s easy.  Live updates for all seven gold bracelet events can be seen HERE.  

WSOP Europe will stream live video over the Internet.  Exclusive streaming coverage of all seven final tables will be broadcast live on  The first final table begins Sunday, at approximately 2 pm (local time).  The means WSOP Europe action can be seen in the United States early Sunday morning.  The live stream is expected to run most of the night/day.

It remains to be seen if Hellmuth can make poker history once again and add to his astonishing legacy as one of the game’s greatest players.  Should Hellmuth win this event, it would catapult him into the lead in the 2011 WSOP "Player of the Year" race, requiring current leader Ben Lamb to finish third or higher in the Main Event (Lamb is one of this year's November Nine). 
There are many scenarios in play entering the final stages of the "Player of the Year" race, with Lamb and Hellmuth still the two players to catch.  But several players could still win with a big showing here on the French Riviera.  No doubt, the eyes of the entire poker world will be focused on Cannes over the next 24 hours, and beyond.

Stay tuned to what could be another memorable moment from the World Series of Poker.

The full 2011 WSOP Europe schedule can be found HERE.