2011 World Series of Poker Europe
Hotel Majestic Barriere / Le Croisette Casino Barriere
No-Limit Hold’em – Split Format
Buy-In: 10,000 + 400 (Euros)
Number of Entries: 125
Total Prize Pool: 1,200,000 (Euros)
Number of Places Paid: 16
First Place Prize: 336,008 (Euros)
October 12-15, 2011
A Majestic Victory for “The Grinder”
Michael Mizrachi Wins Again – WSOP Career Victory Number Two
Florida Poker Superstar Wins WSOP Europe Gold Bracelet in Cannes
First-Time No-Limit Hold’em-Split Format Attracts a World-Class Field
Another Heartbreaker for Shawn Buchanan – Canadian Pro Takes Second Again
Shawn Buchanan Becomes First and Only Player at WSOP Europe with Three Cashes
Host Nation Hangover? French Players Continue to Disappoint – Fourth Place Best Showing So Far, through Six Events
2011 WSOP Europe Smashes All Previous Records – Attendance and Prize Money Up Big Over Last Year
Cannes, France (15 October 2011) – The most recent World Series of Poker Europe event had not just one, but four fascinating stories in what became the final four of the No-Limit Hold’em-Split Format tournament, also known as the “Mix-Max.
When the four survivors of an initial starting field of 125 entrants took their seats on the final day of competition, each player was a compelling figure in his own right:
First, there was Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, from Miramar, Florida (USA). The former WSOP gold bracelet winner comes off a stellar year, during which he won $1.6 million in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, and also made it to the November Nine of the Main Event, good for another $2.3 million, ultimately finishing in fifth place.
Next was Roger Hairabedian, from Grasse, France. He's a Barriere-sponsored team pro who hoped to finally break the cold spell that's been cast over French players at this inaugural series in Cannes. Hairabedian was seeking his first WSOP victory -- following four previous cashes in WSOP events this year, including an in-the-money finish in the 2011 Main Event.
The third compelling figure was Shawn Buchanan, from Abbotsford, British Columbia (Canada). He's unquestionably one of top poker players in the world who has not yet won a gold bracelet. Buchanan has in excess of $1.7 million in WSOP career earnings, including two second-place finishes. Entering the final four, Buchanan had to wonder if this would finally be his day.
Then, there was Noah Schwartz, from Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, who rounded out the field. Schwartz was making his tenth WSOP cash and crossed the half-million mark in earnings with this guaranteed cash. However, his predicament was made all the more challenging by enduring an unusual medical problem during the tournament. As he raced towards what could have been a first WSOP title, Schwartz was beset with a mysterious anomaly which required a visit to a local hospital. He was given a clean bill of health and returned just in time for his Day 3 match and made it all the way through to the start of the final table.
And so, after all the hands were dealt and folded, after all the chips were bet, raised, and scooped, and after all but one player was eliminated, the single story which prevailed above the others was that of Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi, who gets the latest headline as the WSOP Europe gold bracelet champion. He won 336,008 (Euros), plus the most coveted prize in the game -- his second career gold bracelet.
If Mizrachi represented the thrill of victory, then France (more specifically, French players) appears to be universally tagged with the agony of defeat moniker. With Hairabedian’s elimination, the host nation continued to suffer disappointing results in what is the first WSOP attraction ever held in France. Although French players won four gold bracelets at this year’s WSOP, no one (other than Hairabedian, perhaps) has come close to achieving a victory in Cannes.
For France, the current trend mirrors the unexpected early results of WSOP Europe when it first arrived in London, England. From 2007-2009, a native champion was not crowned by the host nation until the third year of WSOP Europe, when J.P. Kelly won the opener. French poker players still have one more event to win a gold bracelet and make poker history. But they will continue to face an uphill climb, playing against many of the world’s best players from other nations in the Main Event Championship.
This was the first time that a No-Limit Hold’em-Split Format tournament has been included as part of either WSOP or WSOP Europe. The Split Format means there were differing numbers of players at the table during various stages of the tournament. The event began with play at nine-handed. The second day included six-handed tables. Then, the final two days featured heads-up matches, which meant only two players were at the table at any time.
The event was played over four consecutive days and nights, ending on a perfectly warm and mild Saturday evening along the Mediterranean Sea. With ocean waves surging up the nearby beaches, the new poker champion began the early celebration by posing with his first gold bracelet out in front of the Hotel Majestic Barriere.
There’s still more poker to come. The world’s most exciting and prestigious poker series ends a hugely-successful visit to the French Riviera with the the internationally-televised 10,000 (Euro) Main Event Championship, which runs through 20 October.
For more information about the WSOP and WSOP Europe, please visit the portal page at WSOP.com.
THE WINNER – MICHAEL “THE GRINDER” MIZRACHI
The winner of the 10,000 + 400 (Euro) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em-Split Format (WSOP Europe -- Event #4) was Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, from Miramar, Florida (USA).
Mizrachi is 30-years-old. He was born in Miami, FL.
Mizrachi is a professional poker player. He has been playing full-time since 2004. Prior to playing poker, Mizrachi was a college student. He entered college and was studying to become a doctor, but decided to pursue a poker career instead, after performing so well early in his career.
Mizrachi is married. He has three children.
Mizrachi’s father is of Iraqi-Jewish decent. Mizrachi and most of his family are fluent in Hebrew.
Mizrachi won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, played in 2010. His victory was nationally-televised on ESPN and proved to be one of the most thrilling finales in WSOP history. He ended up playing heads-up against his brother Robert, another former gold bracelet winner. “The Grinder” won the battle of the two brothers and $1,559,046 in prize money.
Prior to his first victory in 2010, Mizrachi had won just about every major title in poker except a WSOP gold bracelet.
Mizrachi’s first recorded tournament cash took place in March 2004.
Mizrachi was Card Player Magazine’s “Player of the Year” in 2006.
Mizrachi was one of the 2010 WSOP Main Event “November Nine.” He finished in fifth place and collected $2,332,992.
According to official records, Mizrachi now has 26 cashes, 13 final table appearances, and 2 wins. His career WSOP earnings now total more than $5 million.
Mizrachi is called “the Grinder” due to his never-give-up mentality. Mizrachi certainly does not fit the mold of the traditional poker grinder, however. The term is usually meant to describe a tight player. Mizrachi is actually one of poker’s most aggressive and unpredictable tournament pros.
Other members of the Mizrachi family have adopted the “Grinder” moniker. His is married to Mrs. Grinder. His mother is Mama Grinder. His children each have been called Baby Grinder at various times.
Mizrachi collected 336,008 (Euros) for first place. The payout is equal to about $466,211(USD).
Mizrachi is to be classified as a professional poker player, since he has been playing full time for about seven years.
At 30, Mizrachi is the oldest gold bracelet winner at 2011 WSOP Europe, through the first six events.
Mizrachi became the third American player to win a gold bracelet (through six events) at WSOP Europe. The other players were Tristan Wade and Steve Billirakis. He was also the second player from Florida to win (Wade is from nearby Boynton Beach, which is about 40 miles from Mizrachi’s home).
On his feelings immediately after winning a WSOP gold bracelet: “Everything was going my way and there was nothing anybody could do. It was my day.”
On looking extremely confident throughout the entire finale, even when playing versus top competition: “I strategized about it beforehand, and thought I applied a lot of pressure in different situations. I was trying to be very creative. I did some things that people usually don’t see, including some really crazy stuff. I was doing it nine-handed, then six-handed, and then short-handed. I was trying a lot of different things.”
On what specific strategies he employed that were unusual: “I am known to bluff a lot. So, sometimes I have to minimize that. People will call me down and even call me light. So, I have to minimize that. I got away with a few things, too. Against Shawn (Buchanan), I had a few interesting hands. One came when I was bluffing him and he was bluffing me and I knew it. The river came and he hit a nine. All I had was queen high. I let it look like I was weak and then raised it up when he bet out and got him to fold a pair of nines. It was just like everything went my way. I had that feeling in every match I played.”
On the location of his first WSOP gold bracelet: “It’s locked up in a security deposit box.”
On the runner up, Shawn Buchanan, who is suffering from some of the same experiences shared by Mizrachi earlier in his career (lots of prize money winnings, but no gold bracelet): “Shawn is an unbelievable poker player, very talented. All the good players know and respect him. The public does not know him, but they will. I really think he’s going to be one of the best players of all time.”
On how many WSOP gold bracelets he expects to win during the course of his career: “I think I will definitely end with double digits (at least ten). But I hope for twenty. When I run good, nobody can beat me. And I play all the games pretty well. I might be sitting there with a cane and can barely walk, but I think I can get to twenty.”
THE FINAL TABLE
For the purposes of WSOP records and results, this official final table was comprised of the final four players (top four finishers). The unusual number is mandated due to the Split Format, which means only four payers survived Day Two and returned to play on the final day.
The final table included only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner – Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi.
Three different nations were represented at the final table – including the Canada (1), France (1) and the United States (2).
The runner up was Shawn Buchanan, which is undisputedly one of the best players in tournament poker today. Oddly, Buchanan has more prize money earnings than many gold bracelet winners. But he has yet to win poker’s top prize. This marked Buchanan’s third time to finish as runner up. It was also his second time to finish as runner up this year. Nonetheless, Buchanan now has in excess of $1.7 million in WSOP earnings. He remains one of the game’s most respected players and will very likely achieve victory at some point in the future.
With three cashes in four events entered, Buchanan is the only player so far at this year’s WSOP Europe with three cashes.
This year for the first time in history, WSOP Europe final table action is being shown on live streaming video over the Internet. Poker fans from all over the world are able to log in to WSOP.com and watch all the action live. All final table events at this year’s WSOP Europe will be broadcast live.
Buchanan was behind in chips just about the entire heads-up match, which lasted about two hours. Mizrachi later said he caught a few cards at key points and probably had the better rush of cards during the final session. But he also stated he was able to make some moves and bluff a few times, which moved Buchanan off what was presumably the better hand at the time.
Mizrachi was lucky to win his final hand. Although he began the final hand holding formidable 10 to 1 chip lead, he was way behind when he shoved all-in and was called. Buchanan was all-in holding against Mizrachi, with . But the flopped – good for top pair for Mizrachi. Buchanan failed to improve from that point forward. The pair of tens won the tournament for Mizrachi.
So far, no female player has made it to any final table played at 2011 WSOP Europe. In fact, the last female player to appear in a finale was in 2008 (Event #1) when Linda Lee (Las Vegas, NV) finished in seventh place. The only other two females to make final tables at WSOP Europe occurred in 2007 when Jennifer Harman finished second (Event #1) and Annette Obrestad won the inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event Championship (Event #3).
Final table play began at 9 pm (final two players after two other matches had been completed). Play ended at 11:00 pm. The total duration was 2 hours. In real time, this was one of the shortest final tables in WSOP history. However, since the finale was played with just two players, the shorter playing session was to be expected.
OTHER IN-THE-MONEY FINISHERS
There were three former WSOP gold bracelet winners who cashed in this event – including Michael Mizrachi (1st), Jason Mercier (9th) and Erik Seidel (12th).
Erik Seidel’s cash in this tournament gives him 67 in-the-money finishes for his career. The 8-time gold bracelet winner and Poker Hall of Fame inductee currently ranks third in this category -- behind Phil Hellmuth (with 85 cashes) and Men “the Master” Nguyen (with 72 cashes).
Of the 16 spots paid out in this tournament, six different nations were represented. Nine were American players. There were also three Swedish players that cashed.
There was no defending champion from 2010. This is the first time that a Split-Format tournament has been offered at WSOP Europe.
Through the first six events, only 13 players have cashed more than once. They are as follows:
Buchanan, Shawn 3 cashes
Motorov, Dmitry 2
Ozhenilok, Anatolii 2
Vedes, Tommy 2
Deeb, Freddy 2
Benyamine, David 2
Mercier, Jason 2
Wade, Tristan 2
Billirakis, Steve 2
Peters, David 2
Allain, Adrien 2
Pollak, Benjamin 2
Powell, Brian 2
FOR THE AGES
Players are eligible to play in WSOP Europe events, provided they are 18-years-old or older.
The legal age to participate in a WSOP event in Las Vegas is 21 years. This means players who are 18, 19, or 20 can only play at WSOP Europe, but not at the WSOP in Las Vegas. So far in 2011, no player aged 18-20 has yet made it to a final table.
The average age of players who entered events at WSOP Europe is about 33 years. However, younger players have enjoyed disproportionate success. The average age of players that cash is lower than average. Furthermore, the average age of final table participants is lower still. This trend mirrors what happened in Las Vegas during the first 58 gold bracelet events.
The average age of all entrants for this tournament was 34.1 years. The average age of players who cashed was 31.8 years.
Through the first six events at WSOP Europe, the breakdown of players’ ages by decade that made it to the final table is as follows (50 finalists):
Age 20s – 30
Age 30s -- 14
Age 40s – 3
Age 50s – 1
Age 60s – 2
Age 70s (and up) – 0
So far this year, all six winners of gold bracelets at WSOP Europe have been aged 30 or younger. The six winner’s ages are: 23, 24, 26, 26, 30, and 29.
ODDS AND ENDS
This is the fifth of seven events on the 2011 WSOP Europe schedule. It is the 64th gold bracelet event played in 2011, when combined with the 58 premium events which took place in Las Vegas, plus the WSOP Circuit National Championship, held a few months ago.
The 10,000 Euro buy-in amount is equal to about $13,875 (USD).
This is the 955th gold bracelet event in World Series of Poker history. Note: 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 all WSOP Europe gold bracelet event completed, to date.
This is the 21st gold bracelet awarded at WSOP Europe since its inception, in 2007.
The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony Michael Mizrachi will take place at Hotel Majestic Barriere in Cannes, during one of the breaks of the Main Event. The presentation is open to public and media. Video and photography is permitted by both media and the public.
MORE ABOUT 2011 WSOP EUROPE
Three countries have now hosted WSOP gold bracelet events – the United States, Great Britain and France.
In its 42-year history, WSOP gold bracelet tournament action has taken place at only five venues. They are Binion’s Horseshoe (1970-2003), Rio Las Vegas (2004-present), Casino at the Empire (2007-2010), Caesars Palace Las Vegas (one event in 2011), and now Barriere Cannes (2011). Note: During the 1980s, as few other Downtown Las Vegas casinos also hosted limited portions of the WSOP.
The first four years of WSOP Europe were played in London, UK at Casino at the Empire.
This marks the first time that a WSOP tournament has ever been played in a non-English speaking nation.
This is the first time that any WSOP gold bracelet event has been hosted at a non-owned venue. In other words, Barriere is not a Caesars Entertainment property.
One of the official sponsors of 2011 WSOP Europe is luxury carmaker, Mercedes Benz. Many players have been shuttled to and from the nearby Nice-Cote d’Azur Airport (about 30 miles away) via Mercedes Benz chauffeur-driven cars.
The 2011 WSOP Europe Staff includes longtime Tournament Director Jack Effel, who has overseen all tournament operations, since 2006. He and his staff are present in Cannes. However, much of the set-up and actual operations have been conducted by Barriere’s excellent poker staff. This group includes – Eric Cavillon (Head of Poker Operations), Alain Fabre (Casino General Manager), Jean Etienne Bouedec (Vice President of Operations), Gregory Chochon (Barriere Poker France), and Lucille Denos (Tournament Director) and many other fine industry professionals.
Official WSOP rules typically specify an “English Only” rule, which means all table discussion relating to play must be conducted in English. However, at WSOP Europe (Cannes), there is a duel “English or French Only” rule, which means players can communicate in either language at any time.
Tournament play is split between two first-class venues – Le Croisette Casino Barriere and Hotel Majestic Barriere. The casino and hotel are nestled neck-a-neck along the coastal esplanade facing the Mediterranean Sea. Tournament Day Ones and final table action are played at the hotel. Restarts (Day Twos, Day Threes, etc.) are played inside the casino.
The two poker venues are unquestionably the most glamorous settings for any poker tournament ever held. Poker action takes place inside the same ballrooms which host the world-famous Cannes Film Festival, held annually every May. Many of Hollywood’s most-famous movie stars have stayed at the Majestic Barriere. The hallways are filled with photographs of Hollywood royalty from the 1930s to the present day. The hotel also hosts various global economic summits, which attract many of the world’s leaders.
2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for the French poker scene. Not only is France hosting its first WSOP Europe tournament ever, French players also won four gold bracelets at this year’s WSOP, so far. However, they have come up short in WSOP Europe events, thus far. One French player finished third and another finished fourth through six events.
Total Cashes for Players (By Country) -- through end of Event #6:
United States 64
United Kingdom 20
South Africa 1
Ratio of Entries to Cashes (By Country) – through end of Event #6
United States 64 403 0.158808933
France 50 705 0.070921986
United Kingdom 20 130 0.153846154
Canada 13 87 0.149425287
Italy 10 131 0.076335878
Sweden 9 65 0.138461538
Russia 6 73 0.082191781
Switzerland 4 21 0.19047619
Germany 4 34 0.117647059
Hungary 4 11 0.363636364
Belarus 3 7 0.428571429
Ireland 3 18 0.166666667
Portugal 3 11 0.272727273
Ukraine 3 26 0.115384615
Finland 3 48 0.0625
Austria 2 3 0.666666667
Australia 2 25 0.08
Japan 2 16 0.125
Lebanon 2 10 0.2
Norway 1 19 0.052631579
Serbia 1 1 1
Chile 1 5 0.2
Slovenia 1 4 0.25
Brazil 1 4 0.25
Belgium 1 26 0.038461538
South Africa 1 13 0.076923077
Spain 1 17 0.058823529
Israel 1 12 0.083333333
The 10,000 + 400 (Euro) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em – Split-Format tournament attracted 125 entries.
This tournament has become widely-referred to among players as the “Mixed-Max.”
The total prize pool amounted to 1,200,000 (Euros). At the present-day exchange rate, this is equal to $1,663,246 (USD).
The top 16 finishers collected prize money.
This was the first time a Split-Format tournament has been offered at either the WSOP or WSOP Europe. The first round matches were played nine-handed (30 tables). The second-round matches were played six-handed. The final table was technically the last four players. The finalists played down to two, and then down to the winner.
The tournament attracted a highly-competitive field, including most of Europe’s top poker players. Events in Cannes are unquestionably the most internationally diverse fields in WSOP history.
The tournament officially began at noon on Wednesday, 12 October. The tournament officially ended on Saturday night, 15 October at 11 pm (Cannes time).
WSOP AND WSOP EUROPE NOTES
Through Las Vegas Event #58 and Cannes Event #5 (all gold bracelet events), WSOP events have attracted 77,366 combined total entries, to date.
Through Cannes Event #5, 2011 WSOP Europe events have attracted 1,694 combined total entries (360+771+180+258+125). Two more gold bracelet events are still to be played.
Through Las Vegas Event #58 and Cannes Event #5 (all gold bracelet events), in 2011 for all events combined the WSOP has paid out $197,191,819 – the most of any single year in history.
Through Cannes Event #5, 2011 WSOP Europe combined events have paid out 4,411,140 (Euros) in prize money. This is equal to about $6,112,747 (USD).
Through the conclusion of Cannes Event #5, the breakdown of nationalities of gold bracelet winners has been:
United States (3)
Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #5 (WSOP Europe), the breakdown of nationalities of gold bracelet winners this year has been as follows:
(Note that 2011 WSOP Main Event is still pending):
United States (38)
Great Britain (3)
Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #5 (WSOP Europe), the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been as follows:
United States (34)
Great Britain (3)
Through the conclusion of Event #57 (WSOP Las Vegas) and Event #5 (WSOP Europe), the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and
amateurs who won gold bracelets has been as follows:
Professional Players (48): Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast (2 wins), John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payan, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros, Marsha Wolak. Maxim Lykov, Nick Binger, Andrew Hinrichsen, Steve Billirakis, Tristan Wade, Michael Mizrachi
Semi-Pros (6): Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis, Alexander Anter
Amateurs (8): Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko, Guillaume Humbert
Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP/WSOP Europe has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 54 out of 62 events being won by pros or semi-pros.
Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 13 of the 62 winners (22 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.
The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners is currently at 217-consecutive events. Aside from the annual Ladies Poker 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.
The highest finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was accomplished by two players. Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em). Kim Nguyen also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).
The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.
Defending world champion Jonathan Duhamel played in his first WSOP Europe tournament (Event #5). He did not cash. Reigning world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their victory. Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001. Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of the fields. But there’s also great pressure on the champions to perform well. What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold bracelet after winning the world championship during the previous year:
Johnny Moss (1975)
Doyle Brunson (1977)
Bobby Baldwin (1979)
Stu Ungar (1981)
Johnny Chan (1988)
Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)
Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)
New tournament records set at 2011 WSOP Europe (to date):
First WSOP winner in history from Switzerland – Guillaume Humbert
Largest tournament attendance in WSOP Europe history – 771 entrants (Event #2)
Most international final table in history – 8 nations (Event #3)….TIES RECORD
Highest WSOP finish ever by a player from Japan – Azusa Maeda – 2nd (Event #1)
Highest WSOP finish ever by a player from Portugal – Michael Dattani – 2nd (Event #6)