Cannes, France (18 October 2011) – Whether you’re a poker player or poker fan, if you’re anywhere near Cannes this week, the view is absolutely perfect.

The 2011 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event Championship continues playing down towards the final table, along the fabulous French Riviera.  As of late Tuesday night, three playing sessions have been completed.  Two more playing days still remain, with Wednesday’s action set to determine the composition of the what is the richest WSOP Main Event Championship final table ever in its five-year history.

Wednesday will also feature the reincarnation of what’s becoming one of poker’s most intense rivalries – the Caesars Cup competition.  The series of poker matches between Team Europe and Team Americas includes two distinct collections of the world’s best poker players who will ultimately decide the international bragging rights for poker supremacy.  Based on what happened during the memorable Caesars Cup 1 event held two years ago and some tensions which continue to loom between battle-scarred players, there’s a lot more at stake this time around than just a crystal trophy or a quick headline trumpeting the winner’s names.

Indeed -- no matter where you are in the world, the view can be perfect – provided you enjoy following WSOP action.  Be sure and tune into wsop.com on Wednesday and follow the live streaming coverage of both exciting events.  Live coverage is also available online, with hand-by-hand reports and written commentary of all that’s happening.

Caesars Cup 2 is set to start the day beginning at noon (local Cannes time).  This means the grudge match will be broadcast during the afternoon in Europe and during the very early morning in North America.  Viewers across the Atlantic can tune in and watch what promises to be an all-day marathon of poker action, starting at 3 am (PST).
Once the Caesars Cup concludes, the live stream will shift back to Main Event coverage which is expected to run much of the night until the final table players have been determined.  NOTE:  This final table will begin at eight-handed.



Following three intense sessions of play, the current chip leader is Max Silver, from London, UK.  He has one lone previous WSOP cash, which took place in the NLHE Shootout, which took place last week here in Cannes (WSOP Europe Event #4).  However, Silver certainly has demonstrated the ability to win a big tournament.  He won an Event last year held at the EPT's London stop.
Second place belongs to Chris Moorman, from Benfleet, UK.  He appears headed for another impressive run at the WSOP.  He took a second and third place finish in various event at the most recent WSOP in Las Vegas.  This will mark his sixth WSOP cash, which now amounts to nearly $1,139,000 in career earnings, to date.

Also among the chip leaders are Amir Lehavot, Shawn Buchanan, Jake Cody, and others.  There are 25 players remaining, entering Day Four.

The prize money payout was reached during Day Three at about 7 pm.  When three-time former gold bracelet winner Barry Greenstein unceremoniously busted out one spot off the 64-play field, that gave all the remaining players a guaranteed paycheck of at least 20,000 (euros).                                                                                                                                                             
The €10,000 +400 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 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 stands to 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).  
Also of note:  James Bord, the defending champion from Great Britain was among those who was eliminated during Day Three.  He busted out a few spots short of the money.  Bord won last year’s Main Event Championship in London. The next session (Day Four) begins promptly at 2 pm (Cannes time).

The inaugural Caesars Cup was played two years ago in London, England.  At Caesars Cup 1, Team Europe, captained by Annette Obrestad, demolished Team America’s, captained by Daniel Negreanu.

When millions of viewers tuned into the initial broadcast of the first Caesars Cup competition they witnessed a spanking delivered by Europe’s best poker players on many living legends of the game.  The defeat was a rude wake-up call for some that poker is not really just an American game, any longer. 

Moreover, the global epicenter of poker has certainly shifted towards a new Euro-super continent booming with major tournaments just about every week and millions of players who are enjoying the freedom to play poker both live as well as online.  Alas, the victory of Team Europe over Team Americas symbolized a number of emerging trends, in fact -- ugly realities -- if you happened to be a player from North America. 

The European victory was not just endemic of a geographic shift, but a generational one.  Last time out, the younger lesser-known European team not only beat an American team loaded with far more bracelet winners with loads more playing experience, they humiliated each and every player on Team Americas.  Team Europe also exposed the very real vulnerability of players above a certain age and instilled seeds of doubt that they may not be quite as good as the game’s newer, younger wunderkinds.

Two years have since passed.  The Europeans have rightfully been celebrating.  They currently retain bragging rights as the premier poker team in the world.  Conversely, Team Americas has been simmering in frustration for 24 long months.  They’ve been waiting for the opportunity to exact revenge, regain their wounded pride, and restore themselves as the kings of the green felt.


PHIL HELLMUTH, JR. (team captain)

TEAM EUROPE LINEUP (reigning champions)

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 overall 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, 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.