Cannes, France (October 3, 2012) – Four days after it began, the 2012 WSOP Europe Main Event has now reached the final table of eight players.
Depending upon what happens next, one of the finalists will collect more than one-million euros plus a gold bracelet, the “Player of the Year” race could be shaken, and poker history could even be made.
Tournament action began last Saturday at the luxurious Majestic Barriere, in Cannes, France. The field included 420 of the world’s top poker players, virtually all of which are now watching from the rail with envy and anticipation of what's to come.
That leaves just eight players left for Thursday's action, who will come back and compete for the title of 2012 WSOP Europe Champion. First place pays 1,022,376 euros, plus the coveted gold bracelet. Final table play commences at 1:30 pm local time in Cannes.
Here’s the final table lineup:
Seat 1 – Paul Tedeschi (Bastia, France) -- 543,000 in chips.....Tedeschi is a 32-year-old poker player from Bastia, France. He burst onto the poker scene earlier this year at the WSOP in Las Vegas, where here made his first final table appearance.
Seat 2 – Joseph Cheong (La Mirada, CA) – 1,966,000 in chips.....Cheong was born in Korea and now lives in La Miranda, CA. He is a college graduate of the University of California-San Diego. Cheong is now a professional poker player, his bankroll fueled in part by his third-place finish in the WSOP Main Event in 2010. He is looking for what would be his first gold bracelet victory.
Seat 3 – Stephane Albertini (Bastia, France) -- 1,162,000 in chips.....Albertini resides on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. He is a 39-year-old poker pro. Brammer's achievements include a 46th-place finish in last year's WSOP Main Event. He's also final tabled EPT events, as well.
Seat 4 – Christopher Brammer (Southampton, UK) -- 851,000 in chips.....Brammer is a 24-year-old professional poker player from Southampton, UK. This marks the fourth straight year Brammer has cashed at the WSOP. He enjoyed his first WSOP final table appearance earlier this year, finishing fifth.
Seat 5 – Jason Mercier (Miami, FL) -- 652,000 in chips.....Mercier is a professional poker player from the Miami, Florida area who is widely considered one of the world's top touring pros. He owns two WSOP gold bracelets, and hopes to earn a third today.
Seat 6 – Sergii Baranov (Odessa, Ukraine) -- 3,339,000 in chips.....Baranov is a 38-year-old businessman and part-time poker player from Odessa, Ukraine. He holds a degree in sports management and law. His poker career includes two wins in European Poker Tour side events. This marks his first time ever to cash in a WSOP-related tournament
Seat 7 – Phil Hellmuth (Palo Alto, CA) -- 3,434,000 in chips.....Hellmuth owns just about every conceivable major record in WSOP history -- including most gold bracelets, most final table appearances, and most cashes. He won this year's Razz Championship, which marked his 12th WSOP victory, and now hopes to win what would be a lucky number 13 here in Cannes.
Seat 8 – Stephane Girault (France) -- 664,000 in chips.....Girault is a 36-year-old professional poker player from Paris, France. He is a commercial contractor. This marks Girault's first time to cash in a WSOP event.
Action will be filmed by ESPN for later television broadcast in the United States. Cards go in the air at 1:45 pm local time on Thursday, which will be shown live on web on Eurosport.com and ESPN3.com and WSOP.com -- and then on live TV in 79 countries in 20 languages on Eurosport -- beginning at 10 pm local time (in Cannes).
Other big news from the last few days leading up to the finale included the following:
- Gold bracelet winner Scott Seiver (Las Vegas, NV) finished in 10th place.
- Steve Dannenman (Glen Burnie, MD), 2005 WSOP Main Event runner up (to Joe Hachem) enjoyed one of his best performances in a top-flight event since his breakthrough run, finishing 12th.
- Gold bracelet winner David Benyamine (Paris, France / Las Vegas, NV) cashed for the first time in a WSOP Europe event, by coming in 15th.
- Gold bracelet winner Andy Frankenberger (New York, NY) finished 22nd.
- Gold bracelet winner Bertrand Grospellier (Paris, France) finished 25th.
- Gold bracelet winner Keven Stammen (Celina, OH) finished 34th.
- Gold bracelet winner Elio Fox (New York, NY), last year’s WSOP Europe Main Event champion, posted another impressive performance, with his second-consecutive in-the-money finish at Cannes. Fox finished in 39th place.
- Gold bracelet winner Eugene Katchalov (Kiev, Ukraine / New York, NY) finished 40th.
- Four-time gold bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu (Toronto, Canada) earned his 60th Career Cash by finishing 43rd in this event. He posted three in-the-money finishes this year at Cannes.
- Tom McCormick (Fargo, ND), a.k.a. “The Shamrock Kid,” finished 45th. This marked his 43rd career in-the-money finished at the WSOP, which ranks second all-time among players without a gold bracelet victory.
- Gold bracelet winner Justin Bonomo (Las Vegas, NV) finished 48th.
Moreover, the 2012 WSOP "Player of the Year" race is closer to being decided after this week’s events (and pending the outcome of the world championship final table, coming at the end of October). Amazingly, two of the five contenders for this prize are still alive in the WSOP Europe finale. They are Phil Hellmuth and Joseph Cheong. The other contenders are Antonio Esfandiari and Greg Merson.