Tournament Headlines

Antonio Esfandiari Wins Third Gold Bracelet in WSOP Europe’s Event 2
33-year-old Pro Becomes Third Player to Record WSOP and WSOPE Victory in the Same Year

The Magician Takes the Lead in WSOP Player of the Year Race
Tournament Overview

Cannes, France (September 25, 2012) — Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari won the second-largest tournament in WSOP Europe history and earned his third gold bracelet Tuesday night in Cannes, France. The win comes on the heels of his one-of-a-kind championship performance in the WSOP’s Big One for One Drop this summer for which he received a record-setting $18 million in prize money.

WSOPE Event 2, an €1,100 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Re-entry tournament, boasted a decidedly different field than this summer’s One Drop event. The former’s buy-in was a staggering $1 million and attracted a much smaller, experienced field of 48 entrants. Tuesday night in Cannes, Esfandiari further proved his game is suited to best anyone’s on any playing field -- large or small.

Event 2 drew 626 entrants making it the second-largest tournament in WSOPE history. The prizepool eclipsed €600,900 and the top 63 finishers made the money. Esfandiari took home €126,207 (roughly $163,160) for first.

With 15 players remaining, The Magician began Day 3 second in chips and parlayed his stack into the final table chip lead. Joining him in the late stages of play were WSOP gold bracelet champion Antonin Teisseire, WSOP Circuit champion Ashly Butler and accomplished American pro McLean Karr, who is also one of Esfandiari's close friends.

Much is made of the fact France has yet to record a WSOPE win, especially since the series moved the country’s Gold Coast last year. The final table of Event 2 began with five Frenchmen vying to becoming the nation’s first champion -- but Esfandiari had different plans. For the second time in two days a Frenchmen finished runner-up, as Remi Bollengier called off his remaining chips Tuesday night after Esfandiari moved all-in on the river with two pair to Bollengier's pair of queens, officially anointing Esfandiari champion.

The win marks Esfandiari’s third gold bracelet victory and second in the last three months. He now finds himself in elite company and within shouting distance of some of the very best the game has to offer.  He joins Jesper Hougaard and JP Kelly as the only players to have won WSOP and WSOPE bracelets in the same year.

In addition to being awarded €126,207, Esfandiari also surpassed October Niner Greg Merson in the WSOP Player of the Year race. The season-long race takes into account all bracelet events held within a calendar year and will officially conclude when the Main Event concludes in October. Merson begins the October Nine third in chips and can pass Esfandiari with a fourth place finish or better at the Main Event final table.

Wrap Up

The two-week long poker series in Cannes, France is the sixth annual WSOPE and marks the second year the tournament has taken place on France’s Gold Coast. The event began Friday and will run through the conclusion of its Main Event, set to take place October 4. In all, seven new WSOP champions will be crowned, bringing the year’s total winners to 69.

In addition, a €50,000 Super High Roller Event with Re-Buys is scheduled to take place October 2. Though sure to attract some of the biggest names in poker, the exclusive event will not be recognized as a bracelet event.

Meet Your Champion

Name: Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari

Age: 33

Occupation: Professional poker player

Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada

Family: Single

Total WSOP cashes (including this one): 22

Total WSOP final tables (including this one): 7

Total career earnings at the WSOP: $19,794,890

Other in-the-Money Finishers

Notable entrants to finish in the money include Marvin Rettenmaier (47th), Tristan Wade (43rd), Erik Cajelais (27th), Ashly Butler (7th), McLean Karr (6th) and Antonin Teissiere (4th).

A full list of in-the-money finishers can be found on

Last Year’s Event

2011 marked the first year a re-entry event appeared on the WSOPE schedule and the feedback was tremendous. The €1,100 buy-in tournament drew 771 entrants, blowing the old attendance record out of the water. The eventual champion was Andrew Hinrichson, who was awarded €148,030.

Esfandiari did not participate in last year’s event.