NOTE: New champion Andrew Hinricksen, from Australia, is pictured left, playing heads up for the WSOP gold bracelet against Italian player Gianluca Speranza, right.
Cannes, France (October 11, 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 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.
As predicted, this tournament turned out to be a showcase for the host nation. There were 30 players from France who cashed in this tournament. That number represents most French players ever to cash in any WSOP tournament, in history. By contrast, 23 French players cashed in this year’s WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas. However, it was an Australian player who was the star of the three-day battle.
Andrew Hinrichsen, a 23-year-old student and part-time poker player from Melbourne, Australia won his first gold bracelet. He may have had to travel 16,000 miles to the other side of the world to make poker history, but the trip was certainly worth it for Hinrichsen.
The Aussie made a stellar comeback run and spoiled what seemed to be a sure-victory for one of two Italian players. At one point when play was three-handed, Hinrichsen was down to a single stack and seemed destined for third place. But the Australian stormed back and eliminated both Tarcisio Bruno (third) and Gianluca Speranza (second) in what can only be considered to be a staggering turn of events.
Hinrichsen collected 148,030 (Euros) in prize money, which is equal to about $202,386 (USD).
The tournament was played over four consecutive days and nights, ending on a warm Tuesday evening along the Mediterranean Sea. The world’s most exciting and prestigious poker series still has five WSOP gold bracelets at stake.
Furthermore, the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race remains very much undecided at this point. Many players are theoretically still alive for the top honor. However, the final stage of the race is coming down to a possible showdown between poker icon Phil Hellmuth and November Niner Ben Lamb. Hellmuth needs to post another deep run or two in Cannes in order to surpass Lamb, who is destined to bask in the glory of what has been a breakout year on the poker scene.
The official report from Event #2, with more news, stats, and quotes, will be posted shortly to wsop.com.