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Yes He Cannes

Elio Fox Wins 2011 WSOPE Main Event

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Nov 30, 2011


Elio FoxThe WSOPE was held in Cannes, France for the first time and it turned out to be the series; most successful iteration since its inception, with attendance and prize money all exceeding previous years.

New Yorker Elio Fox triumphed over a record field of 592 in the €10,000 buy-in main event to take home the title, his first bracelet, and the top prize of €1.4 million ($1,927,310). The 25-year-old poker pro, who earlier this year won the Bellagio Cup VII in Las Vegas, overcame the largest field in WSOP Europe main-event history filled with top quality poker professionals from all over the world to become a major contender in the Card Player Player of the Year race.

When play got down to 12-handed, Fox accumulated enough chips for the lead and kept it upon entering the final table. After nine hours, he finished what he started to take the lion’s share of the €5,692,800 ($7,836,414) prize pool in his first WSOP Europe main event.

Max Silver was unfortunately the first player to go from the final table. Silver collected €115,000 for eighth place and left at the hands of Chris Moorman. Jake Cody was next on the casualty list when his pocket jacks lost to the pocket tens of Fox. The triple-crown winner took home €150,000 for seventh place.

The next elimination came when Fox made it 120,000 on the button and Dermot Blain moved all in from the small blind. Shawn Buchanan, on the big blind, moved all in also, and Fox folded, leaving it to the Irishman and the Canadian. Blain revealed ADiamond Suit 4Club Suit while Buchanan flipped over 10Heart Suit 10Club Suit. The flop was dealt QDiamond Suit 3Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit for a nice sweat. The turn was the 7Club Suit keeping Buchanan ahead but the river was the AClub Suit sending Buchanan out in sixth place for €200,000. This is the third time this year that Buchanan has finished in the top six in a WSOP event.

Blain was however next to go, following Buchanan to the rail. He raised to 175,000 from under the gun and Brian Roberts reraised it to 350,000 from the small blind after asking for a count of Blain’s chips. Fox folded his big blind and Blain moved all in. The amount was 1.76 million and Roberts thought about this for some time. He eventually called and flipped over AHeart Suit JDiamond Suit while Blain revealed KSpade Suit QHeart Suit. The board fell AClub Suit QClub Suit 2Diamond Suit 9Heart Suit 2Club Suit and Blain received €275,000 for fifth place.

The pattern continued with Blain’s slayer hitting the rail next. Roberts was already leaking some chips when Moorman took a heap of them with the nut flush versus the second-nut flush. Moorman soon finished the American off, moving all in with QHeart Suit 4Heart Suit and getting called by Roberts after a little consideration. Roberts showed JClub Suit 8Heart Suit and was ahead on the 8Spade Suit 7Diamond Suit 6Diamond Suit flop. The 2Heart Suit turn kept him there, but a dramatic 5Diamond Suit on the river gave Moorman a straight and ended Roberts’ tournament life, three places short of the finishing line. He received €400,000 for his efforts.

Fox then put Moritz Kranich out in third place for €550,000 with pocket nines versus 5Heart Suit 4Heart Suit respectively, which left a Brit and an American to slog it out for the bracelet.

Fox started heads-up play with a 2-1 chip lead over Moorman but went on to win many key hands during the 40-minute battle. Fox damaged Moorman’s stack terribly in a hand where he raised to 200,000 from the button and Moorman made the call. The flop was JClub Suit 6Club Suit 5Club Suit and Moorman checked. Fox bet 250,000 and Moorman pumped it up to 625,000. Fox called and the turn was the ASpade Suit. Moorman bet 950,000, Fox made the call, and the two saw the 10Club Suit river. Moorman then checked, as did Fox and the American flipped over JHeart Suit 2Club Suit for the flush. Moorman mucked his cards as he saw the title slip a little further away.

The champion was found 15 minutes later. Fox held a 6-1 chip lead and had been raising preflop non-stop. Moorman eventually re-raised him all in with AHeart Suit 7Spade Suit but it wasn’t to be for the online phenomenon, as Fox called, flipping over ADiamond Suit 10Spade Suit and the board ran out 6Spade Suit 4Spade Suit 3Heart Suit 6Diamond Suit 8Heart Suit, the ace-high enough to make Fox the champion and send Moorman back to England €800,000 richer.

If Moorman won this event, he would have had a shot at taking the lead in the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year race depending on where Ben Lamb finishes in the WSOP main event final. His second-place finish left him short and Lamb is now guaranteed the title. Moorman does, however, have the lead, for now, in the Card Player Player Of The Year race. Impressively, he is also in sixth place on Card Player’s Online Player Of The Year leader board at time of writing.

Final results and payouts:

1 Elio Fox €1,400,000
2 Chris Moorman €800,000
3 Moritz Kranich €550,000
4 Brian Roberts €400,000
5 Dermot Blain €275,000
6 Shawn Buchanan €200,000
7 Jake Cody €150,000
8 Max Silver €115,000

Fox is the fifth WSOPE champion in its history and he follows in the path of James Bord (2010), Card Player publisher Barry Shulman (2009), John Juanda (2008), and Annette Obrestad (2007).

Some notables who went deep in this year’s main event include Patrik Antonius and Arnaud Mattern who finished in ninth and tenth place respectively for €90,000; Amir Lehavot in 15th place for €43,000; John Duthie and Erik Seidel in 18th and 21st place respectively for €37,000; Maria Ho and Matthew Waxman in 27th and 30th place for €32,000; and Melanie Weisner and Liv Boeree finished in 33rd and 36th place respectively for €27,500.

American Triumphs In Europe

It was when Elio Fox graduated with an Economics major from the prestigious Bard College in New York that he decided it was time to go pro. He says, “I started playing poker between my freshman and sophomore year in college. I started to get better and better. By the time I graduated with my degree, I had saved enough money where I didn’t have to work. So, I continued playing. Ever since then, I have played professionally – mostly online.”

Fox, who is based in Manhattan, has been playing full-time for the past three years. He has a second residence in Canada, which he primarily set up to play online. Aside from poker, Fox has a passion for scuba diving. He started diving when he was 14 and his goal is to get his dive-masters certificate and travel around the world visiting all the best places to dive. He says, “The thing I like about scuba diving and possibly being a dive master is you get to travel to all these exciting locations. You are never in the same location because the dive seasons change. So, I find that very compelling. It’s also why I find poker so compelling. These big tournaments are often at very different locations and you get to visit what’s going on all around.”

This was the first time Fox cashed in a WSOP event. The new champ entered 17 bracelet events at this year’s WSOP in Vegas and did not cash in any of them. It wasn’t until he visited his first WSOP Europe that he had his moment in the poker spotlight. Speaking about the win, Fox said, “I ran really well. I think I am pretty good at poker. But people put too much stock into somebody winning a tournament and I think that all the time when the media talks about a new player winning some tournaments… there’s a lot of luck in tournaments. Short-term results in tournaments really does not matter that much. There are a lot of great players with no wins to their name and some mediocre players with a lot of wins to their name. But, I was really fortunate to run this well. I certainly hope it continues.

“I think the most important thing to me is knowing whether I played well, or not. I get really hard on myself when I play poorly. Obviously, winning a lot of money is a great feeling. But as a poker player, I think it’s extremely important to be tough on yourself, especially when you are playing badly. Even if your results have been good, and vice-versa. Obviously, I am ecstatic that I won this. It’s an amazing feeling. But it’s also important to keep the important stuff in mind. I mean, winning a big title isn’t everything.” Fox now has plenty of ammo to fulfill all his diving and poker ambitions as he returns to Manhattan with just under $2 million.

Preliminary Events Draw Big

Six preliminary events in Cannes got the poker action going at the 2010 WSOPE. Here is a look at each event.

Event No. 1 — €2,500 Sixhanded No-Limit Hold’em

Barman Guillaume Humbert decided against heading to Vegas this summer to take part in his first WSOP but to wait and go to Cannes instead. It turned out to be a good decision as the Swiss man took down the debut event of this year’s WSOP Europe for a payday of €215,999.

The 26-year-old topped a field of 360 in his first major live tournament to become the first WSOP bracelet winner from Switzerland.

All eyes were on this event and not just because it kicked off proceedings in Cannes but because Phil Hellmuth was at it again — The 11-time gold bracelet holder was once more in search of his 12th but he fell one short from the final table receiving €24,183 for seventh place. He also increased his lead as the player with the most cashes with this, his 84th, cash.

Final-table results and payouts:

1. Guilluame Humbert — €215,999
2. Azusa Maeda — €133,471
3. Roy Finlay — €92,629
4. Matan Krakow — €65,068
5. Adrien Allain — €46,250
6. Marton Czuczor — €33,255

Event No. 2 — €1,090 No-Limit Hold’em

Cannes witnessed some explosive poker action when Australian Andrew Hinrichsen topped a record-breaking field, to become the sixth ever Australian WSOP champion. Hinrichsen lined his pockets with €148,030 for topping a massive 771-strong field; the largest turnout ever recorded in the WSOPE’s history.

When Hinrichsen reached threehanded play there was no clear chip leader. The two Italians remaining weren’t going to make it easy for him and his stack was soon slashed down to just over 200,000, but soon Hinrichsen got the double up he needed and from there he didn’t look back. He quickly moved into the lead and then finished things off with ASpade Suit KSpade Suit, out-kicking his heads-up opponent Gianluca Speranza on a king-high board.

Final-table results and payouts:

1. Andrew Hinrichsen €148,030
2. Gianluca Speranza €91,262
3. Tarcisio Bruno €67,281
4. Bernard Guigon €50,146
5. Roberto Romanello €37,874
6. Eric Baudry €28,977
7. John Eames €22,449
8. Nabil Nedjai €17,608
9. Gregory Lejolivet €13,982

Event No. 3 — €5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship

The 2011 WSOPE then added an American to its list of winners when Steve Billirakis earned his second gold bracelet and €147,171 ($202,587) for topping a 180-strong field. The first player to hit the rail was this year’s WSOP main event finalist, Eoghan O’Dea. The Irish pro’s father Donnacha won a bracelet in a pot-limit Omaha event in 1998. If Eoghan had of hung around long enough to take it down, he and his father would be the only father-son duo to win bracelets in the same game. Doyle and Todd Brunson are, to this day, the only father-son combo to win WSOP bracelets.

The chip leader at the start of the final table was Trickett but his tournament life was cut short by Michele Di Lauro who put him out in fourth place for €77,642. Billirakis then went on to clean up and the final hand came when he called Di Lauro’s all-in on a flop of ASpade Suit KDiamond Suit 7Club Suit. Billirakis held AHeart Suit KHeart Suit QDiamond Suit 3Heart Suit, which held to make him the third champion of this year’s Series.

Final-table results and payouts:

1. Steve Billirakis — €238,140
2. Michele Di Lauro — €147,171
3. Ramzi Jelassi — €105,937
4. Sam Trickett — €77,642
5. Jerome Bradpiece — €57,912
6. Konstantin Uspenskiy — €43,950
7. Erich Kollmann — €33,922
8. Sam Chartier — €26,610
9. Eoghan O’Dea — €21,221

Event No. 4 — €3,000 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout

Tristan Wade bumped America up to two bracelets when he bested a field of 258 players from more than 24 nations to receive €182,048 in the WSOPE’s first ever no-limit hold’em shootout. Wade’s final opponent was 27-year-old Canadian Michael Watson and the final hand came when Watson raised to 60,000 from the button, Wade three-bet to 144,000 from the big blind, and Watson made his all-in move. Wade insta-called and the two flipped over their cards. Watson showed AHeart Suit 5Heart Suit and Wade flipped over JHeart Suit JSpade Suit. The board ran QSpade Suit QDiamond Suit 4Heart Suit 10Club Suit 2Heart Suit to ensure another American victory.

Final results and payouts:

1. Tristan Wade – €182,048
2. Michael Watson – €112,526
3. Richard Toth – €84,016
4. Max Silver – €63,151
5. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier – €47,763
6. Steve O’Dwyer – €36,357
7. Emil Patel – €27,842
8. Taylor Paur – €21,459
9. James Dempsey – €16,637
10. John Armbrust – €12,981

Event No. 5 — €10,400 No-Limit Hold’em Split Format

Michael Mizrachi topped a field of 125 to take home the first-place prize of €336,008 plus his second gold bracelet (in two years) in this new event. The four-day tournament started off ninehanded, changed to sixhanded on the second day, and on days three and four players went heads up. Mizrachi’s final opponent, Buchanan, had been playing well having cashed already in two other WSOPE events but he had a 2:1 chip disadvantage when it came to the final stand and Mizrachi made sure he wasn’t going to make a comeback. A key hand saw Mizrachi take the best part of Buchanan’s stack when a river all-in move forced Buchanan to fold. However the final hand came when Buchanan raised, Mizrachi moved all in, and Buchanan called flipping over AClub Suit JDiamond Suit. Mizrachi revealed AHeart Suit 10Diamond Suit and a 10Club Suit in the window was enough to get him a shiny, new, gold bracelet.

Here are the final results and payouts:

1. Michael Mizrachi — €336,008
2. Shawn Buchanan — €207,624
3. Roger Hairabedian — €112,092
4. Noah Schwartz — €112,092

Event No. 6 — €1,620 Sixhanded Pot-Limit Omaha

This event was also a new addition to the WSOPE schedule and its debut attracted 339 players. Philippe Boucher, a Quebec-born Canadian currently living in Vegas, was crowned the champion after a 3.5 hour final. It took more than an hour and a half to lose a player but after that Boucher took control of the reins. The ultimate hand came when Michel Dattani was down to just a few chips. Dattani made it 30,000, Boucher bet enough to put him all in if he called, and Dattani did. Boucher held ASpade Suit QClub Suit 10Diamond Suit 9Club Suit while Dattani showed AClub Suit ADiamond Suit JClub Suit 7Heart Suit. The board was dealt 8Club Suit 6Club Suit 6Diamond Suit JSpade Suit QHeart Suit and Boucher walked away €124,584 richer.

Here are the final results and payouts:

1. Philippe Boucher €124,584
2. Michel Dattani €76,982
3. Nicolas Fierro €53,426
4. Alexander Dovzhenko €37,529
5. Jared Solomon €26,676
6. Jack Ellwood €19,181