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World Series of Poker Europe Delivers in Cannes

WSOP Europe Majestic Barriere

When the World Series of Poker decided to relocate the WSOP Europe to Cannes, France, instead of holding it at its four-year home in London, England, questions swirled regarding whether the series would be as successful as it was in previous years. With all of the preliminary events now wrapped up in Cannes and the Main Event field size known, we can now analyze the data and compare the 2011 WSOP Europe to previous years.

If you’ve been following PokerNews’ comprehensive, ongoing coverage of the WSOP Europe events, you’ll know that numbers across the board have risen. In fact, the largest WSOP Europe event was witnessed this year in Event #2: €1,090 No-Limit Hold'em. That event had a record-breaking field of 771 players and was won by Australian Andrew Hinrichsen.

Not only were numbers up across the board for these events, but the WSOP had implemented the most jam-packed schedule it has ever had for WSOP Europe. In 2007, the inaugural year, only three events were on the slate. In 2008 and 2009, there were four events. In 2010, the number of events was increased to five.

Shown below is a table with the events, field sizes and winners from the first four years when the WSOP Europe was held in London.

YearEventPlayersWinner1st-Place Prize
2007£2,650 H.O.R.S.E.105Thomas Bihl£70,875
 £5,250 Pot-Limit Omaha156Dario Alioto£234,390
 £10,350 Main Event362Annette Obrestad£1,000,000
Total Players623   
2008£1,575 No-Limit Hold’em410Jesper Hougaard£144,218
 £2,650 H.O.R.S.E.110Sherkhan Farnood£76,999
 £5,250 Pot-Limit Omaha165Theo Jorgensen£218,626
 £10,350 Main Event362John Juanda£868,800
Total Players1,047   
2009£1,075 No-Limit Hold’em608JP Kelly£136,803
 £2,650 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Omaha158Erik Cajelais£104,677
 £5,250 Pot-Limit Omaha154Jani Vilmunen£204,048
 £10,350 Main Event334Barry Shulman£801,603
Total Players1,254   
2010£2,650 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em244Phil Laak£170,802
 £5,250 Pot-Limit Omaha120Jeff Lisandro£159,000
 £1,075 No-Limit Hold’em582Scott Shelley£133,857
 £10,350 High Roller Heads Up103Gus Hansen£288,409
 £10,350 Main Event346James Bord£830,401
Total Players1,395   

This year, the WSOP upped the number of events by two and held seven gold-bracelet events. Every event had a great turnout that surpassed equivalent events in previous years. Even the Main Event shattered the previous record of 362 players from 2007 and 2008 as 593 runners came out this year.

YearEventPlayersWinner1st-Place Prize
2011€2,680 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em360Guillaume Hubert€215,999
 €1,090 No-Limit Hold’em771Andrew Hinrichsen€148,030
 €5,300 Pot-Limit Omaha180Steve Billirakis€238,140
 €3,200 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout258Tristan Wade€182,048
 €10,400 No-Limit Hold'em (Split Format)125Michael Mizrachi€336,008
 €1,620 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha339Philippe Boucher€124,584
 €10,350 Main Event593TBD€1,400,000
Total Players2,626   

When comparing the 2010 to 2011 events, there was an increase of 88.2 percent in total players from last year to this year. Of course, a lot of this increase was due to the addition of two events. If you take the average number of players from 2010 (279) and add it to the 1,395 players who came out twice that year, you'd get 1,953 players to be estimated across seven events that year. That still means that in 2011, there was a 34.5 percent increase.

if we look at the two Main Events, we see a very large increase. The field grew from 346 players in 2010 when James Bord won to 593 players this year. To put that growth into perspective, it's a 71.4 percent increase in the Main Event alone — and it was still one the most elite fields ever.

The WSOP Europe Main Event is currently running (check out the Live Reporting blog here), but the field size grew to 593 players and a massive first place prize of €1,400,000 will be awarded in a few days. The only other time a seven-figure payday was awarded using the host country’s currency was in the first year, 2007, when Annette Obrestad won the event for £1,000,000.

As you can tell, the numbers don’t lie, and clearly the WSOP’s decision to move the WSOP Europe from London to Cannes was an excellent decision. Besides making the original decision a few years ago to bring the WSOP brand to Europe altogether, this has been the best decision regarding the WSOP Europe that’s been made. You can expect these numbers to grow even more in 2012 when the WSOP Europe plans to return to Cannes. The French poker market is ripe for the picking, and the WSOP has tapped into a plentiful source to grow the series.

If you have the chance to make it to these events, we’d highly suggest it. We’re certainly looking forward to it and so should you.

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