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2012 World Series of Poker Europe: The Biggest Poker Hands From Week 1

World Series of Poker Europe

For the past week, the Casino Barrière in Cannes, France, has played host to the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe. Thanks to PartyPoker sponsoring PokerNews’ coverage, we’ve been on hand to capture all the great action. The week has included some entertaining Phil Hellmuth antics and Antonio Esfandiari winning his third bracelet while simultaneously over the WSOP Player of the Year lead.

All told, the stop will host seven events, and three are already in the books. Here’s a look at some entertaining , interesting and influential hands from the first week of the 2012 WSOP Europe.

Romanello Inspires a Classic Hellmuth Blowup

The 2012 WSOP Europe kicked off with Event #1: €2,700 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em, which attracted 227 players and created a prize pool of €544,800. A number of notable players were present for the three-day event, but all eyes were on 12-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, who made a deep run and was eying up No. 13. Unfortunately for him, Roberto Romanello made that feat substantially more difficult, as seen in a hand from the PokerNews Day 2 Live Blog sponsored by PartyPoker.

When we arrived at the table, Phil Hellmuth and Alessandro Meoni had all the chips in on the {8-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{2-Spades} flop. Hellmuth held {A-Spades}{3-Spades} for a combo draw against Meoni's {Q-Spades}{Q-Clubs}. The turn was the {7-Hearts} and the river was the {9-Diamonds} to give Meoni the double-up.

Roberto Romanello seemed a little confused with what had happened and asked Yannick Bonnet what happened preflop. Bonnet told him there was a raise from Meoni, a call from Hellmuth, and that then Bonnet three-bet. Romanello took this information and asked Hellmuth what he was doing in a big pot on the flop after calling a three-bet preflop with ace-three of spades.

Hellmuth didn't like that Romanello was getting on his case a bit after losing. "They always come after you after you lose a pot," he said out loud. "You're a real classy guy, real classy."

"I was just wondering what you're doing in that pot after it was three-bet preflop to 7,500 and you had ace-three of spades," needled Romanello.

"You're a real classy guy," was all Hellmuth could add as he slipped his headphones back on and went to the next hand.

Not long after, Romanello did the honors of eliminating the “Poker Brat” in 24th place for €4,887, giving Hellmuth his 92nd career WSOP cash.

From the small blind, Phil Hellmuth raised to 3,600. Then, Roberto Romanello reraised to 10,600 from the big blind.

"All right, I'm all in," said Hellmuth.

"I call," quickly came the response from Romanello.

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth

Romanello turned over {A-Spades}{Q-Clubs} and Hellmuth {10-Hearts}{10-Clubs}.

"Wow, you called off 50,000 with ace-queen off," commented Hellmuth. "Unreal!"

The flop came down {J-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{2-Diamonds} and Hellmuth's tens stayed in front. The turn was the {6-Clubs} and that also kept Hellmuth in the lead, but did give Romanello some additional outs to a flush. When the river hit with the {8-Clubs} to deliver Romanello's flush, Hellmuth's gasket blew.

"Unbelievable!" cried Hellmuth. "This guy finally gets it in with me and calls off 50,000 with ace-queen off."

"It was standard, Phil," Romanello replied.

"Standard?!?! Yeah, standard for a guy who hasn't won any tournaments!" Hellmuth fired back. All Romanello could do was laugh.

The stacks were officially counted down and Romanello's 59,500 had Hellmuth covered, who had roughly 42,000. Hellmuth collected his things quickly and stormed off but not before stopping off to talk to Brandon Cantu and let him know what happened.

"This guy called off 50,000 with ace-queen," Hellmuth complained to Cantu. "And then said it was standard! Yeah, standard like Durrrr! Jeesh, these guys are all so bad!"

Hellmuth mumbled a bit more to himself as he exited the room, while Romanello was busy stacking up his chips with a big smile on his face. For his finish, Hellmuth took home €4,887.

The Magician Continues to Dominate 2012; Captures Third Bracelet

The lowest buy-in tournament on the 2012 WSOP Europe schedule was Event #2: €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em, which just so happened to inspire some of the most interesting action and storylines. Over the course of four days, 626 players battled for the bracelet and €126,207 prize. Plenty of notables made a run at the title including PartyPoker Pro and Day 1b chip leader Marvin Rettenmaier (47th - €2,133), John Monnette (23rd - €4,489), Joe Kuether (12th - €9,423), Ashly Butler (7th - €18,798) and McLean Karr (6th - €24,309), but all eyes were on another man who made it to heads-up play — Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari.

Coming off a great summer where he won $18 million in the biggest buy-in event in poker history, The Big One for One Drop, the two-time bracelet winner and all-time WSOP money earner was eying yet another title. Standing in his way was Remi Bollengier who was looking to become the first player from France to ever win a WSOP Europe bracelet. Esfandiari, who began the final 15 second in chips, was the fan favorite, but Bollengier had the hometown crowd on his side headed into the final hand.

Antonio Esfandiari opened for 33,000 on the button and received a call from Remi Bollengier, bringing about a flop of {10-Clubs}{8-Spades}{A-Spades}. Bollengier checked, Esfandiari bet 37,000, Bollengier check-raised to 91,000, and "The Magician" made the call.

Antonio Esfandiari
Antonio Esfandiari

When the {Q-Diamonds} turned, Bollengier check-called a bet of 126,000 and then checked the {5-Diamonds} river. Esfandiari took about 15 seconds before announcing that he was all-in, and Bollengier, who had 525,000 behind, shifted in his chair. The Frenchman tanked for a solid five minutes before whispering "I call."

Esfandiari proudly rolled over {Q-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} and immediately headed over to his supporters on the rail to celebrate. Bollengier's face said it all as he sheepishly flipped over {Q-Spades}{7-Spades} and finished as the Event #2: €1,100 No-Limit Hold'em runner-up.

A Frenchman Finally Wins in Event #3: €5,300 Pot-Limit Omaha

The first pot-limit Omaha event of the 2012 WSOP Europe attracted 97 players and after three full days of play, Roger Hairabedian was able to rise above the field to claim the €142,590 first-place prize, becoming the first French winner of a WSOPE bracelet. He did so in impressive fashion by defeating a stacked final table that included Jason Mercier, Joe Hachem and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi.

Mercier and Hachem fell relatively early, but Mizrachi made a run at the title and soon found himself in three-handed play against Hairabedian and Ville Mattila. It was there that Hairabedian took on Mizrachi and emerged victorious thanks to a fortunate turn card. Here's Mizrachi's final hand as reported in the PokerNews Live Blog.

In back-to-back hands, Michael Mizrachi just lost all of his chips. First he raised from the button to 17,000 and Roger Hairabedian three-bet to 55,000 from the big blind. Mizrachi called with only 99,000 left behind.

Roger Hairabedian
Roger Hairabedian

"A gift for you," Hairabedian said as he bet 100,000 before the dealer could put out the flop.

The flop came down all rags and Mizrachi had to decided for his tournament life.

"I wish I had a pair. I've just got low cards and hearts," Mizrachi said eventually folding his cards. On the very next hand, Hairabedian completed from the small blind and Mizrachi checked in the big blind.

The flop came down {7-Clubs}{7-Spades}{3-Spades} and Hairabedian checked. Mizrachi bet pot, just 16,000, and Hairabedian quickly reraised the pot. The bet was 64,000 and Mizrachi instantly moved all in. Hairabedian called.

"I've got a full house," Mizrachi said to his friends on the rail.

Showdown:

Michael Mizrachi: {2-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}

Roger Hairabedian: {5-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}

Hairabedian needed a seven, eight, or five to take the lead, and the turn brought the {8-Diamonds}. Mizrachi didn't make another comeback as the river was the {2-Hearts}. Mizrachi was knocked out in third place, and the heads-up battle will now go between Hairabedian and Ville Mattila.

Hairabedian entered heads-up play with the chip lead, but Mattila didn't give up. The two battled for hours, but in the end, Hairabdian emerged victorious and became the first Frenchman in the six-year history of the World Series of Poker Europe to win a coveted bracelet!

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