The second annual World Series of Poker Europe began on Monday with the start of the £1,500 No Limit Hold ’em event. A total of 410 players contributed to the £615,000 prize pool, including many of the poker worlds brightest stars. Those famous faces gracing the Empire Casino in Leicester Square, London included Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Howard Lederer and Allen Cunningham to name but a few.
At the end of Day 1a it was one of those marquee names who sat atop the leaderboard, Kid Poker, Daniel Negreanu. He lead the field after a day of play that ended early due to the sheer volume of eliminations. Day 1b was a busier affair, which saw the arrival of feared internet maestros Sorel Mizzi, Shaun Deeb, Isaac Haxton and Adam Junglen. As well as a predictably late Phil Hellmuth.
One female player who attracted attention early on was Annette Obrestad, the winner of last years WSOPE main event. Despite high hopes of becoming the first ever WSOPE double bracelet holder she got caught at the wrong end of a 3-way pot and was sent to the rail close to the start of proceedings. The runner up at last years main event, John Tabatabai, also had a torrid time – primarily at the hands of Shaun Deeb. After losing countless pots to him, his tormentor finally finished the job, eliminating him before the end of day 1b.
Day 2 saw the field cut by 90% from 90 to 9 players, who would comprise a Day 3 final table. One constant throughout the day was the presence of young American whizz Adam Junglen. Both beginning and ending the day as chip leader made him the firm favorite to take down the whole event.
Although there were no superstar names at the final table, a close look revealed a wealth of poker playing talent. Yevgeniy Timoshenko, in seat 2, was the victor at the APPT Macau main event just last month, winning $500,000. Neil Channing and Ian Woodley were winner and runner up respectively in one of Europe’s most prestigious tournaments, the Irish Open, earlier this year. And last, but by no means least, Jesper Hougaard won a bracelet at this years WSOP in a $1,500 No Limit Hold ’em event. The chip stacks going in to the final table were:
Seat 1: Fuad Serhan 61,000
Seat 2: Daniel Nutt 207,000
Seat 3: Yevgeniy Timoshenko 345,000
Seat 4: John Dwyer 511,000
Seat 5: Ian Woodley 153,000
Seat 6: Jesper Hougaard 89,000
Seat 7: Linda Lee 121,000
Seat 8: Neil Channing 199,000
Seat 9: Adam Junglen 795,000
It did not take long for the players to start dropping, Daniel Nutt and Yevgeniy Timoshenko tangling early on. The two got involved in a straight preflop race, with K-Q suited and 9-9 respectively. The board failed to change the situation and Timoshenko’s pair eliminated Nutt in 9th.
Londoner Ian Woodley was the next to fall, this time at the hands of Jesper Hougaard. The victim of yet another race, the Dane with 6-6 and the Englishman with A-Q. Although the pocket pair triumphed again, this time the board made sure of it – Hougaard holding a full house by the time the river fell. The hometown boy received a warm reception from the crowd and will be pleased with his performance at London’s most high profile event.
Linda Lee was the only female player at the final table, and for all her efforts she could not make it further than 7th place. All in pre-flop with K-5, she had the slight edge over Fuad Serhan and his Q-9, although a board of A-Q-3-5-10 would soon change that. There was a hint of retribution on the turn, a 5 of diamonds giving Linda a flush draw, but a black 10 cut short any hope.
Adam Junglen had hoped, with good reason, to become the first American to win a WSOPE bracelet, but a surprising final table collapse brought an end to that dream. Neil Channing moved all-in preflop, with Junglen moving over the top all in. The Irish Open champion was the happier of the two when the cards were flipped, holding an A-K, compared to Junglen’s A-Q. The board brought no help to either player and a healthy chunk was taken out of the American’s stack. It would all be over two hands later after he moved all in with A-5 and was called by John Dwyer. Junglen was way behind with A-5 against 5-5, although a A-K-3 flop did momentarily put him ahead. It was not to be, however, as a 5 on the turn gave Dwyer the set and brought proceedings to a close for America’s young hopeful.
Despite having recently collected Junglen’s remaining chips, it was John Dwyer who next made the trip to the rail. Yevgeniy Timoshenko was delighted to call Dwyer’s all-in with his K-K, even more so when Dwyer flipped his 5-5. The board missed both players and it was all over for the Irishman.
With an Irish national gone it was the turn of the Irish Open champion to face the music. Hougaard moved all-in with A-6 and Channing called from the big bling with 8-8. The flop came down J-J-10 and things were looking good for Channing until a 10 on the turn made a heartbreaking counterfeit. Another 8 failed to materialize on the river and Hougaard’s Ace was enough to take it down.
Three handed play continued for some time without any major shifts, until Jesper Hougaards pushed all-in and was called by Yevgeniy Timoshenko. Races seemed to be the theme of the day, as Hougaard flipped A-J, followed by 4-4 from Timoshenko. The board was again kind to the Dane as an ace hit the flop. With no more help on it’s way for the ATP champion, it was Yevgeniy Timoshenko who finished in 3rd place.
Hougaard and Serhand had started the day 8th and 9th in chips respectively, so it’s safe to say that both were an outside bet for the title. With heads up play getting underway however, Hougaard’s 5:1 chip lead made him the clear favorite. And it was this advantage that proved to be decisive, the final elimination occurring after only 5 hands. The WSOP bracelet holder would need a little more help from the board trailing, preflop to Serhan’s A-K suited with his A-J suited. A spectacular all diamond board handed the first bracelet of this years series to Jesper Hougaard and made him the first person ever to win bracelets on either side of the Atlantic.
The payouts for the final table were:
1. Jesper Hougaard, Denmark, £144,218
2. Fuad Serhan, UK, £89,175
3. Yevgeniy Timoshenko, USA, £55,350
4. Neil Channing, UK, £44,588
5. John Dwyer, Ireland, £36,285
6. Adam Junglen, USA, £28,598
7. Linda Lee, USA, £22,448
8. Ian Woodley, UK, £17,835
9. Daniel Nutt, UK, £13,222