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At the 2013 World Series of Poker Europe the past two days, history was denied in one event while two popular pros battled it out for the right to claim their first ever WSOP bracelet.

€2000 No Limit Hold’em

Entering the play yesterday in Cannes, Erik Seidel was on the precipice of history. Already the proud owner of eight WSOP bracelets, Seidel was poised to take down his ninth (and enter some rarefied air), but he had to navigate a tough seven-man field that included former WSOP-E bracelet winner Roger Hairabedian, Kevin Song and Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson if he was going to take that honor.

Seidel was responsible for the first elimination of the final table, going to battle against a short-stacked Max Greenwood only 13 hands into play. After Seidel raised from the button, Greenwood jammed his stack to the center (the second time that he had done that to Seidel at the final table) and Seidel made the call. His A-5 was slightly ahead of Greenwood’s K-9 and, once an Ace came on the turn, Greenwood was drawing dead and out of the tournament in seventh place.

Only two hands later, Seidel would claim another knockout. Watson was the victim this time as, after Seidel opened the betting pre-flop from the cutoff, Watson moved his stack all in against the eight-time WSOP champion. It was a classic race, Watson’s A-K against Seidel’s pocket sevens and, once the board came down Jack high, Seidel added Watson’s chips to his stack and ‘SirWatts’ headed for the exit in sixth place.

Following Watson’s elimination, Hairabedian began to make some moves of his own. He knocked off Erwann Pecheux in fifth place in a cooler of a hand, Hairabedian’s pocket Queens against Pecheux’s pocket Jacks, but would give some of those chips back after Song hit a miraculous river to double up through him. As the players reached the break, Seidel enjoyed an almost 200K chip lead over Hairabedian and Song, while Matan Krakow struggled to keep up.

Krakow would battle from the short stack admirably, doubling up through Song, but it wasn’t enough to delay the inevitable. Hairabedian (who had taken over the lead after a clash with Seidel) looked up Krakow all-in pre-flop and, with an A-10, was behind Krakow’s pocket sevens. A 9-2-K flop wasn’t scary, leaving Krakow only two cards from a huge double up, but the turn ten wasn’t what he wanted to see. A trey on the river also didn’t help as Krakow was eliminated by Hairabedian in fourth place.

Seidel would strike back against Hairabedian, nailing a river six to make a set against Hairabedian (who had outflopped Seidel with his A-Q) to retake the lead, and continued to put on the pressure. In a five hand span, Seidel took three of the hands to move to 942K in chips to solidify his lead. After taking a sizeable portion of Song’s chips from him on Hand 68, Seidel cracked the million chip mark and Song was left with only 250K. The very next hand, Seidel ended Song’s day when Song couldn’t find another six to go with his pocket pair against Seidel’s pocket Queens.

At the start of heads up action, Seidel enjoyed a more than 2:1 lead over Hairabedian. Some preliminary jousting moved the number enough that, by Hand 85, Seidel only held a 150K lead over Hairabedian. By Hand 104, Hairabedian was able to grab the lead when, on an A♠ 5 9♠ 7♠ K♠ board, he extracted a chunk of chips from Seidel with his 10♠ 8♠ to take over first place. The duo would battle for another 40 hands before the championship was determined.

On Hand 145, Hairabedian opened the action for 72K and Seidel three-bet him to 174K, bringing an all-in from Hairabedian. Seidel made the call and saw the bad news; what looked like a great hand to him in pocket eights were dominated by the pocket Kings of Hairabedian. After the board ran Jack high with no eights in sight, Roger Hairabedian captured his second ever WSOP bracelet.

1. Roger Hairabedian (Grasse, France), €148,820
2. Erik Seidel (Henderson, NV), €92,003
3. Kevin Song (South Korea), €67,118
4. Matan Krakow (Jerusalem, Israel), €49,784
5. Erwann Pecheux (France), €37,052
6. Mike Watson (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), €28,683
7. Max Greenwood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), €22,258

Noah Schwartz Earns First Bracelet in Mixed-Max PLO

In the final preliminary event before the start of the €10,000 WSOP-E Championship Event, Noah Schwartz was able to vanquish Ludovic Lacay to take down his first ever WSOP bracelet.

The €3000 Mixed-Max Pot Limit Omaha contest drew out 127 players and, by this afternoon in France, only four players remained:

Ludovic Lacay vs. Vitaly Lunkin
Noah Schwartz vs. Jyri Merivirta

Lacay was able to draw closer to Lunkin in taking a nice pot with a huge bluff. With the board showing 10♠ 8♣ 10 2♠ J♠, Lacay potted and Lunkin tried to make sense of it all. He ruffled through the list of possibilities that Lacay could have (a boat, set and flush were all possibilities) before mucking what he said was pocket sixes. Lacay indicated to him that would have beaten him as he scooped in the chips.

While this was occurring, Schwartz was eliminating Merivirta from the event. On a 4-K-2 flop, the twosome got their chips to the center with Mirvirta’s A-Q-J-7 technically ahead of Schwartz’s J-10-5-3 (Schwartz held a redraw to a flush). An eight on the turn didn’t change anything, but a ten on the river nailed Schwartz to come from behind and take out Merivirta in fourth place. Lacay would join Schwartz on the Mixed-Max final stage after taking out Lunkin following a failed bluff attempt by the Russian.

Lacay held a 780K stack heading to the match with Schwartz (362,500) but, 20 hands into heads up, Schwartz had switched the tables to hold a slim 8000 chip lead. The twosome would swap the lead back and forth until, on Hand 62, Lacay limped in and Schwartz pushed for 32K. Lacay made the call and, on a 5-6-K flop, Schwartz issued a continuation bet of 42K that Lacay pushed up to 100K. Schwartz decided to go for it here, moving all in and, after Lacay’s call, the cards were on their backs.

Schwartz’s A-K-8-7 had nailed top pair and an open ended straight draw, but Lacay was the one with the goods at that point in the hand with his Q-8-6-5 for two pair. The turn changed everything, however, when an Ace gave Schwartz a better two pair leaving Lacay drawing thin to the remaining fives and sixes in the deck. The river three ended the tournament, with Noah Schwartz coming from behind to take down his first WSOP bracelet.

1. Noah Schwartz (Sunny Isles Beach, FL), €104,580
2. Ludovic Lacay (Cornebarrieu, France), €64,600
3. Vitaly Lunkin (Moscow, Russia), €34,500
4. Jyri Merivirta (Helsinki, Finland), €34,500

As we head to press, Day 1A of the €10,000 WSOP-E Championship Event is underway, with Day 1B scheduled for Sunday afternoon (early Sunday morning in the U. S.). There has been tremendous discussion on the size of the early tournaments at the WSOP-E, but players should be coming out in droves for this event. Also still left on the agenda (for those that have €25,000 to burn) is the High Roller tournament, but that won’t begin until Tuesday evening (French time, late morning in the U. S.)

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