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More Than $10 Million Awarded Through 13 Events At 2021 WSOP Europe

France’s Julien Martini Wins His Second And Third Bracelets

by Erik Fast |  Published: Jan 12, 2022


Before the final bracelets of the 2021 World Series of Poker were handed out in Las Vegas, cards got in the air for the first of 15 gold bracelet events taking place at the WSOP Europe. The first event of the series got underway on Nov. 19, five days ahead of Boris Kolev securing the last bracelet up for grabs at the Rio.

The WSOPE is once again being held at King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The series encountered some logistical problems just a few days in, with the Czech government announcing new regulations in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

One limitation in particular impacted plans for the WSOPE: a 1,000 person maximum for cultural or sporting events. Series organizers made alterations to the schedule, with the tournament most impacted being the Colossus event which saw the originally planned seven starting flights cut down to just four.

All told, nearly 8,500 entries have been made through the first 13 completed bracelet events, with $10,329,257 USD in prize money awarded so far. Below is a look at the results to this point, with the marquee €10,350 main event and the €3,000 Closer event yet to conclude.

Lower-Stakes Events Dominate The First Week of Action

The first six events on the 2021 WSOPE schedule all featured buy-ins of €2,000 or lower. The kickoff event was the cheapest of the whole series, costing just €350 to enter. The affordable price point brought out a healthy field of 1,789 total entries, building a final prize pool equivalent to $601,582 USD.

In the end, it was Italy’s Antonello Ferraiuolo who emerged victorious with the first bracelet of the series and the top prize of $86,878 USD. Ferraiuolo became the first Italian player to win a bracelet since Max Pescatori won two in 2015.

The second event on the agenda was a €550 buy-in pot-limit Omaha tournament. A total of 623 entries were made by the time that registration closed, building a total prize pool of $332,531 USD. After three full days of action, 34-year-old Dutch businessman Bjorn Verbakel came away with the title, his first gold bracelet, and the top prize of $66,360 USD.

The €1,350 buy-in no-limit hold’em mini main event drew a field of 1,397 entries, blowing away the €600,0000 guarantee to create a final prize pool of €1,592,580 ($1,802,801 USD). After three starting flights and two more full days of tournament action, Switzerland’s Emil Bise was the last player standing.

Bise secured the gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $282,698 USD, the largest score of his career. The win surpassed his previous top payday of $213,500, which he earned as the winner of the main event of the 2018 WSOP International Circuit, which was also held at King’s Resort in the Czech Republic. Bise now has more than $580,000 in lifetime live earnings to his name.

The highest buy-in event of the first week saw the lowest turnout. The €2,000 pot-limit Omaha event drew 241 entries to create a $479,107 USD prize pool. The bracelet and the largest chunk of that money went to Samuel Stranak. The Slovakian earned $115,110 for the win.

Despite cutting three of the planned seven starting flights, the €550 buy-in no-limit hold’em Colossus event still drew 2,478 total entries. As a result, the €1 million guarantee was surpassed, and a €1,177,050 ($1,332,068 USD) prize pool was created.

43-year-old business owner Edmond Jahjaga navigated his way through the largest field of the series to lock up the win in his first-ever recorded live tournament score. The Pristina, Kosovo resident earned €147,775 ($165,508 USD) and his first gold bracelet as the champion.

Antoine Vranken earned $126,560 USD and his first bracelet as the champion of the €1,650 mixed no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha event. The Dutch player overcame a field of 339 entries for his first live tournament title, with 30 previous cashes to his name.

Martini Shakes Up France’s Bracelet Leaderboard

Julien Martini won his first bracelet in 2018 as the champion of the $1,500 Omaha eight-or-better event. (His heads-up opponent was none other than his future wife, Kate Hoang.)

The 29-year-old French poker pro only had to wait three years to add his second piece of WSOP hardware. Martini defeated a field of 98 entries to win the €2,500 short deck event at this year’s WSOPE, overcoming Philipp Schwab heads-up to secure the title, the bracelet, and the top prize of $67,210 USD.

That victory took place on Nov. 29. Just three days later, on Dec. 2, he emerged victorious in the €2,000 eight-game mixed event to become the first French player to ever win three bracelets.

Martini topped a field of 61 entries to secure this latest victory, beating German high-stakes player and recent Vegas bracelet winner Ole Schemion heads-up to secure the title. The win saw Martini surpass fellow countrymen Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Roger Hairabedian, both two-time WSOP champions, to become France’s all-time bracelet leader.

“To have one more bracelet than these two legends is very, very special,” he told PokerNews’ live reporters after coming out on top.

Martini now has more than $5 million in career live tournament earnings, with his largest score being the $2,974,000 he earned as the runner-up finisher in the biggest $25,000 buy-in poker tournament event held, the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship. Martini outlasted all but Ramon Colillas in the record-setting event which drew 1,039 entries.

Klostermeier, Lyubovetskiy, And Le Dantec Shine In Higher-Stakes Events

Outside of the €10,350 main event, which is currently in progress at the time of writing, the three largest buy-in tournaments that awarded a bracelet at the WSOPE were the €5,000 pot-limit Omaha event, the €25,000 no-limit hold’em high roller, and the €10,000 no-limit hold’em six-max event.

The PLO event saw 184 entries made, which resulted in a prize pool of $929,936 USD. Maximilian Klostermeier came away with the title and his second bracelet, becoming the first champion of the series with a prior bracelet win under their belt. (Klostermeier’s win came a day before Martini took down the short deck event).

Both of Klostermeier’s bracelet wins have come in PLO events, with his first victory in a WSOP event coming in the $1,500 buy-in PLO $500 bounty tournament held in 2019. He earned $177,823 for that win and $228,491 USD for this latest victory.

Ukraine’s Andriy Lyubovetskiy outlasted a 72-entry field to take down the €25,000 high roller, securing $580,642 USD and his first gold bracelet for the win. This was by far the largest recorded score of his career, topping the previous high score of $68,900 he set by finishing third in a $10,300 buy-in PLO event during the Poker Masters Online series in 2020.

Joni Jouhkimainen had finished second in the PLO event won by Klostermeier. Just two days later he earned $358,865 as the runner-up in this event. This was the largest live score of the Finnish poker pro’s career, increasing his lifetime tournament earnings to just shy of $4.4 million.

Romain Le Dantec defeated a field of 73 entries to emerge victorious in the €10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em six-max event, earning $232,139 USD and his first bracelet for the win. The French player made his first WSOP final table just a few days earlier, finishing fifth in the €1,100 Bounty Hunter event for $20,054 USD. Now he is a bracelet winner with more than $310,000 in lifetime tournament cashes to his name.

Covrig And Andrian Secure The Gold

Amid the high stakes events of the second half of the WSOPE schedule, a pair of more affordable no-limit hold’em events were also contested. The first was the €1,100 no-limit hold’em Bounty Hunter event, which drew 604 entries to create a $444,305 USD prize pool. The lion’s share of that money went to eventual champion Sergiu Covrig. The Romanian earned $88,796 USD and his first gold bracelet for the win.

Simone Andrian topped a field of 535 players in the €1,650 buy-in six-max no-limit hold’em event to earn his first career bracelet and the $177,650 first-place prize. This was by far the largest score of Andrian’s career, who previously cashed for just over $4,000 in a Euro Poker Million event last month.

Andrian was the second Italian to win an event at this year’s series, joining Ferraiuolo who took down the opener. It was the 12th overall bracelet for Italy. Max Pescatori leads his fellow countrymen with four titles. ♠