Giovanni Rosadoni Wins WSOP Gold Bracelet in First Try

Frenchman Wins No-Limit Hold’em Shootout at WSOP Europe

Las Vegas Pro Dan O’Brien Misses Chance at First Victory

Third-Place Finisher John Monnette Inches towards WSOP ‘Player of the Year’ Lead

(Cannes, France / September 27, 2012) – When it comes to playing in World Series of Poker events, Giovanni Rosadoni has a perfect record. He’s a perfect 1-0.

Rosadoni has entered only one gold bracelet event in his life, which was two days ago in th3,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, played at La Majestic Barriere in Cannes, France.  He not only surpassed everyone’s expectations, including his own, he also ended up notching a remarkable first-time victory, considering he’s been playing poker for just two years.  Rosadoni collected the handsome sum of  107,614 and became the darling of the European poker press overnight.  

Yet what was most remarkable of all about this most unexpected victory was the manner in which he outshined many of the world’s top poker professionals, including seven gold bracelet winners who made the final stage of the tournament -- including John Monnette, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Philippe Boucher, Phil Hellmuth, Dominik Nitsche, Chance Kornuth, and Daniel Negreanu.

But none of these big names proved to be tougher than Dan O’Brien, who finished second.  The Las Vegas poker pro has come close to victory a few times, taking 3rd and 4th in events over the last few years.  This was unquestionably O’Brien’s best chance to win what has been a most-elusive prize.  When heads-up play began, he enjoyed about a 2 to 1 chip lead.  He also faced a relatively inexperienced opponent.  The stage appeared to be set.

O’Brien may have appeared to be the star attraction, but he was upstaged by Rosadoni, who kept his opponents off their games throughout the many confrontations.  Indeed, no confrontation was bigger, nor longer, than the proverbial death match between Rosadoni and O’Brien, which lasted a mind-boggling five-and-a-half hours.  In fact, play ran so long that the heads-up match had to be postponed at one point, then resumed the following day, due to the mandatory closing time of 5 am for casinos along the Cotes d’ Azur.

During the marathon showdown, Rosadoni was down by about 8 to 1 in chips during his lowest stage.  But he fought his way back and not seized the chip lead.  During the fourth hour of play, he went up about 4 to 1 in chips.  But O’Brien see-sawed his way back to the chip lead and, by the time the whispers began about this match setting some kind of record, the two players were pretty much back to where they started.  Rosadoni proved he was up to the test though.  He finally won the tournament holding a pair of queens.

As a consolation prize, O’Brien won a well-deserved  66,503.  No doubt, the way he played -- not just in this tournament but many others -- O’Brien’s day of celebration will come eventually.

But this day and night belonged to the business owner from Nice, France.  Remarkably, Rosadoni didn’t miss a day of work, even though he was playing in the biggest poker event of his life.  After Day 2 ended at 5 am, Rosadoni revealed later that he dutifully went into the office at 7 am and proceeded to put in a full-day’s work, at least up until the 3pm restart later in the afternoon.

“I am very happy to win,” Rosadoni said through a translator.  “I may not show it because I am a private person.  But I am really celebrating.  It’s just that it’s inside and not on the outside.”

When asked about playing versus so many top opponents, Rosadoni revealed the circumstances mandated some unusual thinking.

“I knew I was not a favorite because these players had much more experience than me,” Rosadoni said.  “So, I decided I had to do something completely different.  I played in a way that I had never tried before.  It was new even to me.  There was no way I would have played the way played, unless it was extreme circumstances against great players.  I think that’s what helped me the most.”

With his victory, Rosadoni becomes the second French WSOPE gold bracelet winner, following Roger Hairabedian’s victory in Event 3.

This was the fourth of seven gold bracelet events scheduled at Cannes. Officially listed as Event 4, the €3,500 (+250) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout tournament attracted 141 entrants. The total prize pool came to €406,080.  The top 20 finishers were awarded prize money.

This event also reshaped the 2012 WSOP “Player of the Year” race, in part.  Through the conclusion of WSOP Europe event 4, John Monnette now ranks in third place, with 541.25 points.  The current leader is Antonio Esfandiari with 683.10 points.  Phil Ivey ranks second with 568.70.  A complete list of payouts from this event is available on
Meet the Champion

Full Name:  Giovanni Rosadoni
Hometown:  Nice, France
Age:  52 
Occupation:  Business Owner (Construction) – with 13 employees
Residence:  Nice, France
Family:  Wife and three children
Poker Experience:  Amateur Player (been playing for two years)
Number of WSOP Events Entered :  1
Total WSOP Cashes:  1
Total WSOP Final Table Appearances:  1
Total Career WSOP Earnings:  €107,614

Winner Quotes (through translator)

On the challenge of playing in his first WSOP tournament and enduring a five-hour heads-up battle:  “The heads-up match was not the most difficult part for me.  The biggest challenge I think was when it was three-handed.  I know the other two players were playing the same style and they wanted to bust me.  It was almost like it was two against one because the way the game was played I was so outside of it, compared to how experienced they were in these situations.  So, I changed my game.  I changed the way I played.”   

More on what it took to win:  “I knew I was not a favorite because these players had much more experience than me.  So, I decided I had to do something completely different.  I played in a way that I had never tried before.  It was new even to me.  There was no way I would have played the way played, unless it was extreme circumstances against great players.  I think that’s what helped me the most.”

On quitting after day two, and going to work an hour later, and then coming back and winning his first gold bracelet on no sleep:  “I was out of here last night at a little past 5.  Then, I was in the office at a quarter to 7.  All of the workers came in and wished me well.  They heard what happened and they were rooting for me.”  
On coming back a few times to win:  “I was very determined.  You have to concentrate so much to win a WSOP event.  It was very tiring.”

On the thrill of victory:  “I am very happy to win.  I may not show it so much because I am a private person.  But I am really celebrating.  It’s just that it’s inside and not on the outside.  I want to keep my feet on the ground.”

On what winning a WSOP gold bracelet means:  “I am very proud, especially because I have only been playing poker for about two years.  I feel that I have progressed some since then.  So, I am so proud.  Thank you very much to all of you.”  

The Final Table

The final playing session began on a late Wednesday night at 11 pm, with seven players remaining.

Two-time gold bracelet winner John Monnette (a.k.a. “Angry John”) finished in third place.  He moved into second place on the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard.  Only three more events remain to be played.

When heads-up play began, the starting chip counts were as follows:
O’’Brien -- 797,000 in chips
Rosadoni -- 473,000 in chips

The duo played heads-up for about three hours before play was postponed for the night.  This was due to French law which requires casinos to close at 5 am.  Play continued the following day, starting at 3 pm.  The tournament finally ended about 5:30 pm.

The third and final day began with Rosadoni enjoying a 2 to 1 chip advantage.  He reversed his disadvantage and at one point had O’Brien down to his last 180,000 -- down by about 7 to 1 in chips.  But O’Brien made a startling comeback.  Two hours into the resumption of play – and into the fifth hour of heads-up action – O’Brien led Rosadoni by about 2 to 1.

Then, the final 30 minutes belonged entirely to Rosadoni.  He won what turned out to be the final hand of the tournament holding a pair of queens.

Other in-the-Money Finishers

1989 World Champion Phil Hellmuth finished in 12th place, marking his second cash at this year’s WSOP Europe.  Hellmuth now has 93 career cashes, placing him well in front of Men Nguyen who sits in second place with 76 on the all-time cashes list.

Ukrainian Oleksii Kovalchuk cashed, finishing in fourth place.  This was his eighth WSOP cash since the start of the 2011 WSOP, which includes three final table appearances and two gold bracelet victories.

Philippe Boucher, who finished 11th, won his gold bracelet last year at WSOP Europe, by winning the Pot-Limit Omaha event.

This was Daniel Negreanu’s 57th career cash in a WSOP event, which ranks in the top 20 all-time.

More Tournament Info

The tournament began September 25th with 141 players who played the initial shootout 7-handed and 8-handed.  There was a random draw to determine the starting seating positions.

There were 20 starting tables, from which 20 players advanced.  Each of those players was guaranteed a payout (which why 20 spots were paid, representing about 13 percent of the field instead of the customary top ten percent). The 20 players who won first-round matches resumed the tournament on September 26th.  Those survivors essentially played a two-table tournament for the prize. The tournament was initially scheduled as a three-day event and ended up going three days, due to the longer-than-usual heads-up match.

2012 WSOP Bracelet Update

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the nationality of 2012 WSOP champions, including the 65 bracelet events that took place in Las Vegas this summer, has been:

United States (43): Brent Hanks, Leif Force, Cory Zeidman, Andy Bloch, Herbert Tapscott, John Monnette, Brian Hastings, David “Doc” Arsht, Brandon Schaefer, Adam Friedman, Matt Matros, Andy Frankenberger, Phil Hellmuth, Cliff Goldkind, Ben Scholl, Randy Ohel, Joe Cassidy, Brian Meinders, Gabe Scott, Ylon Schwartz, Larry Wright, Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman, Carter Phillips, David “Bakes” Baker, Max Steinberg, Chris Tryba, David “ODB” Baker, Ronnie Bardah, Greg Ostrander, Henry Lu, Joey Weissman, Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi, Steven Loube, Kenny Hsiung, Greg Hobson,
Vanessa Selbst, Jim Willerson, Will Jaffe, Antonio Esfandiari (2), Greg Merson, Nick Schulman, Ryan Eriquezzo

France (3): Aubin Cazals, Roger Hairabedian, Giovanni Rosadoni

Canada (2): Simon Charette, Timothy Adams

Vietnam (2): Dung “Gomer” Nguyen, Yen Dang

Thailand (1): Chip Saechao

Bulgaria (1): Nick Jivkov

Iran (1): Ashkan Razavi

The Netherlands (1): Vincent van der Fluit

Belgium (1): Michael Gathy

Japan (1): Naoya Kihara

Great Britain (1): Craig McCorkell

Germany (1): Jan-Peter Jachtmann, Dominik Nitsche

Ukraine (1): Okelsii Kovalchuk

Italy (1): Rocco Palumbo

Greece (1): Pete Vilandos

Czech Republic (1): Tomas Junek

Russia (1): Viacheslav Zhukov

Tunisia (1): Imed Ben Mahmoud

-- Report by Nolan Dalla