The Opener is now closed

The first event of the 2022 World Series of Poker Europe, the €350 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em “The Opener,” may have started Monday’s Day 3 with more players than originally planned, but it still ended up in the same spot, crowning the first champion of the Series. Emerging from the field of over 2,400 entries with all the chips was Italy’s Fabio Peluso, who captured his first career WSOP gold bracelet and the €95,670 first prize.

Peluso said afterward that he has only been playing poker professionally for about two years and really only in the past year has he increased his focus on live tournaments after being primarily an online player. According to TheHendonMob’s poker database, Peluso now has over $460,000 in live tournament earnings, all coming since last summer, so he has quickly made the most of his professional turn.

And though this is Peluso’s first major win, it is not his largest cash. That came in a runner-up finish in the France Poker Series Main Event at EPT Monte Carlo in April, where he banked €217,340.

“I have been studying a lot and discussing spots with my poker friends” he told after the victory. “And, of course, the run-good helps, too.”

One of the cool things about the event is that not only did Peluso earn a spot in the 2023 Tournament of Champions, but the top six finishers all won seats in the €10,350 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.

Phung dominates PLO

The 566-entry field of Event #2: €550 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Max was whittled to the nine-handed final table on Monday and, as I have been writing this on Tuesday, Germany’s Helmut Phung won the tournament and his first-ever WSOP bracelet.

Phung entered final table play as the chip leader in a close race. With 3.5 million chips, he was slightly ahead of countryman Pascal Foged, who had 2.925 million. Martin Almaas was the only other player above 2 million, holding 2.580 million going into Tuesday. In fact, there were only two other players above 1 million.

And in the end, it was those three chip leaders who were the last three players standing. After eliminating Foged in third place, Phung took a sizeable chip advantage into heads-up play against Almaas, sitting on 11 million chips.

It was over fairly quickly, as Phung was just too far ahead for Almaas to make a big move without getting very lucky.

On the final hand, Phung raised to 360,000 pre-flop and Armaas called. After an all-heart flop of A-T-4, both players checked to bring about the Ad on the turn. Almaas checked, Phung bet, and Almaas moved all-in for 1.8 million. Phung called immediately and showed K-9-6-6 with three hearts for the nut flush. Almaas had 8-7-7-6, also three hearts, for a worse flush. He needed a 7 on the river to stay alive and couldn’t find it, giving the pot and the tournament to Helmut Phung.

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