2010 World Series of Poker Europe

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This week saw the conclusion of the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe event series that was held from Tuesday September 14th, until Tuesday September 28th. The events saw some of the world’s finest poker players gather in an attempt to win not only the huge financial rewards that were on offer but also to compete for the reputation that winning such an established event brings with it.

All in all the World Series of Poker Europe comprised of 5 events, which is small, compared to its’ American peer, the WSOP. But it is still one of the largest, most respected tournaments in the world of poker.

Here is a summary of the 5 events, their highlights and their big winners:

Event No.1: Six Handed No Limit Hold’em

The opening event saw 244 entrants compete to win the first event of the WSOPE. The tournament started ferociously, which isn’t surprising given that the total prize pool was set at £610,000 with money going to the top 24 players. The buy-in was set at £2,650.

The final table saw history made as Chris Bjorin not only leveled with Howard Lederer for the most final table appearances in the WSOP Europe but he also exceeded Daniel Negreanu for the largest amount of WSOP Europe cash wins. Other big names at the final table included Phil Laak, David Peters and Andrew Pantling.

After an epic battle the final table came down to a heads up between chip leader Andrew Pantling and the tenacious Phil Laak. The heads up lasted for an enduring 2 hours and 30 minutes before Phil Laak dramatically hit a queen of clubs on the river to complete his amazing comeback and steal the opening event win and first prize of £170,802 from under the nose of Andrew Pantling. Pantling still earned £105,506 for his efforts and 2nd place finish but this was all about the pride for Laak as his storming finish saw him grab his first World Series of Poker bracelet.

Event No.2: Pot Limit Omaha

The second event of the WSOPE attracted less than half of the entrants that the first event managed with just 120 players participating. The increased buy-in of £5,250 was a little more demanding on the pockets for the players but it was money worth parting with for the elite 18 who would finish the tournament in the cash positions.

The cash prize field was dominated by British and American names including Willie Tann, Jeff Madsen and Chris Bjorin, who was involved straight from his success in the opening event.

After three days, the tournament boiled down to two of poker’s big names. Joe Serock, a man who is fast gaining a reputation for being a perennial ‘nearly man’, was pitted against a poker legend in the making, Jeff Lisandro. The experienced Italian Lisandro lived up to his nickname of ‘Iceman’ to stick to the form books and condemn Joe Serock to another 2nd placed finish by winning the final hand with a mere Ace high. As a result, Jeff Lisandro added a fifth WSOP Golden Bracelet to his collection and walked away with the £159,514 1st placed prize.

Event No.3: No Limit Hold’em

The central, and perhaps most popular, event of the World Series of Poker Europe saw 582 entrants pay £1,075 per player to get involved and compete for a prize pool worth £582,000. With anyone finishing in the top 54 places winning money the temptation was huge for those thinking about entering.

The field of players hailed from all over the world. Jeppe Bisgaard, Mehdi Senhaji and Stefan Nitschke were representing Denmark, Morocco and Germany respectively with other players originating from Italy, France, Britain, America, Sweden, Canada and many more countries.

This 5 day event went the distance with no-one keen to let their chips go easily. The arduous tournament was finally narrowed down to the final table of 9 players with six British players dominating the event’s final stages. However, it was not looking good for the Brits as the first three players eliminated came in the form of Nicholas Katz, Karim Jomeen and Jack Lyman.

After almost 5 hours of play the final table came down to Jeppe Bisgaard, JP Kelly and Scott Shelley. Bisgaard suffered premature elimination falling to an Ace high at the hands of JP Kelly, despite being on the brink of a flush. This win for JP Kelly put him in a cracking position for the heads up but it wasn’t enough as just over an hour later Scott Shelley turned the tie around to win the deciding hand with a three of a kind of 3s as JP Kelly’s queen of diamonds and jack of hearts failed to deliver. In the process, Scott Shelley notched up a 1st prize of £133,857 and prevented JP Kelly from becoming the youngest ever player to win three WSOP Golden Bracelets.

Event No. 4: No Limit Hold’em High Roller Heads Up

This is the big money game where only 103 people entered. This could be something to do with the £10,350 buy-in. On the flip side, the prize pool is outrageously high at over £1 million. With this being the high roller tournament a player who finishes in the top 16 can expect to take away at least £22,847.

The field was jam packed with American talent such as Daniel Negreanu, Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey, aiming for his 9th WSOP Golden Bracelet. but it was the lesser known names that made an impression. Jim Collopy, Ram Vaswani and Andrew Feldman all finished higher than those previously mentioned illustrious names but none of them could prevent the legend that is Gus Hansen from stealing the 1st prize of £288,409.

Gus Hansen has been a regular on the World Series of Poker since 1996 and his experience proved vital as he saw off a challenge from Jim Collopy with a simple pair of 4s. Collopy’s king and 4 of spades couldn’t match. Hansen, despite a glittering career thus far, had finally got the elusive WSOP Golden Bracelet he’d been craving for years. Congratulation to Gus Hansen for this momentum occasion. 

Event No.5: WSOPE Championship No Limit Hold’em

The final event of the World Series of Poker Europe was a magnificent epic that was to last 6 days, cost £10,350 to enter, include a prize pool of over £3 million and would involve 346 participants. This would be a tournament to win!

The participants spanned the globe and it was an awesome tournament. With the top 36 places offering big money wins it was a tournament that everybody wanted to succeed in. After 5 days of classic poker playing, it came down to a final table of 9 players in what was a huge Anglo-American affair. Three of the finalists were British, four were American, one was French and one was from Monaco.

Danny Steinberg and Dan Felyshman failed to capitalize on their impressive starting chip counts by getting knocked out early on. Unsurprisingly, Marc Inizan was knocked out early too with his poor chip count.

After 12 hours of play it came down to a heads up between James Bord and Fabrizio Baldassari. It wasn’t until after a further 2 hours of grueling poker that the big break came. On a dramatic final hand, Baldassari confidently turned over a pair of 5s but he was shocked to see Bord turn over a pair of 10s. A redundant flop and river saw Bord’s hand good enough and allowed him to take away the 1st prize of £830,401. The likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth had fallen earlier in the tournament but Bord had outlasted them all in a vintage finale that saw him tally up his first WSOP Bracelet and add to his numerous cash prizes. What a way to end the WSOP Europe.