Antonio Esfandiari sure knows how to make a dramatic splash. First, the man known as The Magician takes down the biggest tournament in poker history on live television this summer. His jubilant celebration over his $18 million victory in the Big One for One Drop was not the last we saw from Esfandiari. He was back in the winner's circle just three months later in a dramatic third bracelet victory that also gave him the lead in the hotly contested WSOP Player of the Year race. The win for Esfandiari is the second bracelet awarded this WSOPE and sets the bar high for great stories and great winners here in Cannes.
The second tournament of the 2012 WSOPE drew 626 entries for the €1,100 buy-in No Limit Hold'em event. This tournament is the first re-entry event in WSOPE history and gave a number of players a second shot in this tournament. The large field resulted in a large prize pool of €600,960. The top 63 players made the money in this tournament and a number of notable pros made this tough final table.
The final table boasted two gold bracelet winners in Antonio Esfandiari and Antonin Teisseire of France. It also featured accomplished American pro McLean Karr, WSOP Circuit success story Ashly Butler, and Salvatore Bonavena, who has more than $2 million in career earnings. The accomplished line-up kept the action fast-paced as players quickly busted, leaving just Esfandiari and Remi Bollengier of France heads-up for title. Once again, the French came up short of a breakthrough WSOPE bracelet and Bollengier had to settle for second place. On the bright side, the €78,059 payday is the biggest cash of his poker career.
With this victory Esfandiari is now the man to beat in the WSOP Player of the Year race, surpassing previous frontrunner Greg Merson. Merson will now need to finish fourth or better in October's Main Event final table in order to pass up Esfandiari. Both of those players will also need to watch out for Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who is still alive in EVent 3 and could make a big impact on the POY race as well.
Here are the final table results from Event 2 of the 2012 WSOPE:
1st: Antonio Esfandiari - € 126,207
2nd: Remi Bollengier - €78,059
3rd: Salvatore Bonavena - €57,079
4th: Antonin Teisseire - €42,356
5th: Valentin Detoc - €31,869
6th: McLean Karr - €24,309
7th: Ashly Butler - €18,798
8th: Jamel Haddad - €14,736
9th: Florian Ciuro - €11,707