Tournament Headlines

Roger Hairabedian Becomes WSOP Europe’s First French-Born Champion

French Pro Bests Star-Studded Final Table to Score First WSOP Bracelet

Tournament Overview

Cannes, France (September 26, 2012) — The drought is over.

Roger Hairabedian, a Frenchmen who hails from Grasse, was crowned 2012 WSOP Europe Event 3 champion Wednesday night at Hotel Majestic Barriere located in Cannes.

Hairabedian began the final table as the chip leader and seated to the immediate right of none other than Michael Mizrachi. Last year, the pair dueled it out in WSOPE’s first-ever €10,400 No-Limit Hold’em Split Format tournament. Mizrachi, who would go on to win, defeated the third-place finisher Hairabedian in the semi-final round.

Fast forward one year and the finishes are completely reversed. Mizrachi exited the WSOPE’s most recent tournament in third place and Hairabedian hung on to cash in on a €142,590 payday.

The victory marks the first time a French-born player has won an event in the WSOPE’s six-year history -- a statistic that became increasingly notable when the series uprooted from its location in London and moved to France’s Gold Coast last year.  France has experienced much success at the WSOP, laying claim to 10 bracelets prior to the 2012 WSOPE, but that success never carried across the pond until tonight.

Through three events, it’s looking as if 2012 could very well be the year of the French. Events 1, 2 and 3 featured a combined nine French final table participants. In fact, the first two runners up were French, paving the way for Hairabedian to break through for the country’s first win in Event 3.

The victory came following a final table that lasted the better part of nine hours. The win marked the first bracelet of Hairabedian’s extensive career and the 60-year-old pro now boasts more than $3.5 million in career earnings.

Wrap Up

This was the third of seven gold bracelet events scheduled to take place in Cannes, France. Officially listed as Event 3, the €5,000 (+300) Pot-Limit Omaha tournament attracted 97 entrants. The total prizepool came to €475,300. The top 12 finishers were awarded prize money. Hairbedian was awarded €142,590 for first place.

The 2012 WSOPE, a two-week long event 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.

Additionally, 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.

The Final Table

Day 2 saw the field trim to just nine remaining players and Day 3 began at the official final table with Hairabedian leading the way.

Two-time WSOP gold bracelet champion, Jason Mercier (9th), 2005 WSOP Main Event champion, Joe Hachem (6th) and three-time bracelet champion Michael Mizrachi (3rd) were among those to join our eventual champion at the final table.
  • Had he won, Hachem would have become the first Main Event champion to win a bracelet following his Main Event victory since Carlos Mortensen in 2003.
  • Mizrachi won the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship this summer and had he pulled off a follow-up victory in Europe, he would have become the fourth player in poker history to record both a WSOP and WSOPE bracelet in the same year. Additionally, Mizrachi would have become the first two-time WSOPE champion.
Meet Your Champion

Name: Roger Hairabedian
Age: 60
Occupation: Professional poker player
Residence: Grasse, France
Total WSOP cashes (including this one): 7
Total WSOP final tables (including this one): 2
Total career earnings at the WSOP: $403,735

Winner Quotes

What does it mean to be the first Frenchmen ever to win a WSOP Europe bracelet?

I am first?! For one time I’m first in something! (Laughs). I am very happy to represent France in this WSOP because Barriere is making this a big event. Now it’s the biggest event in Europe and it is good that a French man won a bracelet.

I understand you have a background in judo, is that correct?
Yes. I was judo, but now I am sumo! I play poker for competition now. I like competition.

What does the World Series of Poker Europe mean to France?

It’s the best thing we’ve ever done in poker in France. WSOP Europe is a big, big event. In two or three years it will be like Las Vegas, not the biggest, but maybe a quarter of the size.

You placed third last year, did that help push you to your victory today?
Of course. For one year I thought everyday about how I lost the bracelet last year. I didn’t want to make the same mistake. Last year I made a mistake, I gave a big pot to Michael (Mizrachi). If I played like this last year I could have won.

Other Tournament Participants

Though a small field, Event 3 attracted some of the best the game has to offer. Bracelet champions David ODB Baker, David Benyamine, Aubin Cazals, Erik Cajelais, two-time bracelet champions Andy Frankenberger Vanessa Selbst and Mercier, three-time bracelet champion, Mizrachi, five-time bracelet champions John Juanda and Jeff Lisandro, 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Hachem, all-time bracelet leader Phil Hellmuth as well as 2012 October Niner Greg Merson were just a handful of the notables to register.

Of those, Selbst (12th), Mercier (9th), Hachem (6th) and Mizrachi (3rd) were the only participants to cash