WSOP Europe Main Event at Cannes Continues
Early Report:  Dutch Player Constant Rijkenberg is Chip Leader as Players Heads Towards the Money
News Flash:  Barbara Martinez Wins Ladies Championship, Breaking France’s Cold Streak

Cannes, France (18 October 2011) – The 2011 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Championship continued today at Cannes, on the fabulous French Riviera.
Following two intense sessions of play, the current chip leader appears to be Constant Rijkenberg, according to an (estimated) early chip count.  OFFICIAL CHIP COUNTS WILL BE AVAILABLE HERE.  Also among the chip leaders are two seasoned pros and former WSOP gold bracelet winners -- Hoyt Corkins (USA) and Jake Cody (UK).  It should be noted that Corkins is making another strong run this year, after finishing 13th in last year's championship.
The chip leader Rijkenberg appears headed for what would be his first-ever WSOP-related cash.  He is the former winner of the European Poker Tour's (EPT) championship in Sanremo, Italy in 2009.  Rijkenberg, from Holland, is noted as a high-stakes cash game player at various casinos in Europe.
Meanwhile, the first-ever WSOP Europe Ladies Poker Championship was completed with a French woman taking the top prize.  Barbara Martinez, a Barriere Poker-sponsored player from St. Gratien, France topped the field and can now claim the title of being WSOP Europe’s first-ever ladies’ champion.  Martinez was awarded 16,128 (Euros) for first place, plus a gold ring to commemorate her victory (see photo which accompanies this feature story).
Ms. Martinez’s victory, plus the fact that seven of the top nine finishers were from France, provides some degree of redemption for French players at this year’s WSOP Europe.  Up to this point, the host nation has achieved disappointing results.  While the French have served as fabulous hosts for poker players who attended Cannes from all over the world, the actual tournament play of the French has not matched their extraordinary level of hospitality.
After winning and unprecedented four gold bracelets at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas, French players were expected by many observers to add significantly to their victory total and emerge as a potential poker powerhouse on the global tournament stage here as the host nation.  Instead, French players have all but disappeared from the lists of top finishers.  Through the conclusion of six gold bracelet events, the best showing by any French player has been a single third-place finish.
Perhaps poker players from France are saving their best effort for the end.  After all, the one tournament to win is most certainly the WSOP Europe Main Event.  Entering Day Three, about two dozen players from France still remain alive in the field, which will return with about 130 players (early estimate -- unofficial). 
The 10,000 +400 (Euro) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament -- otherwise known as the Main Event -- attracted an all-time record number of entries.  With 593 entrants, this tournament was the most ever for any WSOP Europe championship during its five year history.  Moreover, the 5,692,800 (Euro) prize pool is the biggest prize pool for any poker tournament ever held in France.  Indeed, not many tournaments can ever claim to jump more than 71 percent in attendance from one year to the next – as was the case when comparing the Cannes turnout versus the solid numbers posted the last four years when WSOP Europe was played in London.  But once again, the World Series of Poker stands as the benchmark in terms of prestige and popularity.
The Main Event Championship winner will receive 1.4 million (Euros), which is another record for the host nation.  This is equal to about $1,931,175 (USD).  The winner's prize figure nearly broke the record as the biggest prize ever for any WSOP tournament ever, aside from the Main Event(s).  Only the $50,000 Poker Players Championship played in 2008 won by Scotty Nguyen, stands above this first-place prize (which was $1,989,120).
Among the former WSOP gold bracelet winners who also survived the first two days of play and will return for Day Three action were:
Also, James Bord, the defending champion from Great Britain was among those who survived.  Bord won last year’s Main Event Championship in London.  He returns to Day Three in the middle of the pack and will most certainly face a monumental task in pursuit of a title defense.
The Day Three session begins promptly at noon (Cannes time).
The tournament began on Saturday at noon with 310 players who participated in the first of two starting sessions.  The second session with 283 starters was played and completed on Sunday.  Day Two combined the two fields from the starting days into one group for the first time and took place on Monday.
This year’s WSOP Europe Main Event Championship attracted just about every top player in the game.  Indeed, if anyone ever needed a reason to visit the fabulous French Riviera, this was most certainly the perfect occasion.  Perfect weather, an exciting international city, and an exceptional venue have all contributed towards what many are labeling one of the best poker tournament series ever held, anywhere.
All the action is taking place at the Hotel Majestic Barriere, located on the famous Le Croisette esplanade facing the Mediterranean Sea.  The tournament is being played in the same ballrooms which customarily showcase movies nominated in the annual Cannes Film Festival.  The G20 Economic Summit is scheduled to take over the host hotel, after the WSOP ends.  Several national leaders are reported to being staying in the Hotel Majestic Barriere after the tournament concludes.
This year’s edition of WSOP Europe was record-setting in just about every way possible.  Event #1 was up 48 percent.  Event #2 was up 32 percent.  Event #3 was up 50 percent.  Event 5 was up 21 percent.  Event #7 was up 71 percent.  Event #4 and Event #6 were first-time additions to the schedule.  The total amount of prize money awarded for all events amounts to 10,620,330 (Euros), which is equal to about $14,740,285 (USD).
Live coverage of WSOP Europe continues through Thursday, 20 October when the new Main Event Champion will be determined.  The finale will be televised and shown later all over the world on ESPN and other networks. 
Be sure and tune in Thursday for the live stream of the Main Event Championship final table, which is scheduled to begin at noon (Cannes local time).  For viewers in the United States, this will take place at 3 am.  Play expected to run most of the day and night.