On Sunday night, Fox Sports Network continued its broadcast of Season X of the World Poker Tour with Part I of the Grand Prix de Paris from the Aviation Club de France in Paris.
Last season, the event attracted 247 players for the €10,000 Main Event, which generated a prize pool of €2,347,797. That final table featured a strong lineup that included Nourredine Aitaleb, Fabrice Touil, Mickael Guenni, Per Linde, Antoine Amourette and Theo Jorgensen, the latter capturing the €633,902 first-place prize.
This season, the buy-in was lowered to €7,500, which resulted in an attendance increase to 312 players, creating a prize pool of €2,252,650. The tournament, which took place from Sept. 5 through 10, 2011, boasted a top prize of €518,750, so it was no surprise some of poker’s biggest names turned out to compete.
This year, the WPT’s television coverage was expanded and now includes three hours of airtime from each event, including in-depth coverage of the tournament’s early days and more comprehensive coverage of the final table.
Prelude: The broadcast got under way with footage from Day 1a of the tournament, which saw players from around the world pay a visit to the Aviation Club including Joseph Cheong, Michael Benvenuti and Mike Sexton. Not all managed to find success, though Sexton, who bagged 67,500, was among the 70 players to survive Day 1a. Mikko Sundell finished as the chip leader with 203,800.
On Day 1b, 172 new players entered the field including Phil Collins and Jason Mercier, who were seated at the same table. Unfortunately for Collins, he lost a big pot with pocket aces before finding himself all in with against Max Lykov, who was holding .
The flop gave Lykov the lead, and the turn improved him to trips. The river was a blank, and Collins’ day came to an early end. Jean-Robert Bellande was another notable who hit the rail on Day 1b; in fact, only 97 players survived including Guillaume Darcourt, who bagged up 198,500 for the Day 1b chip lead.
On Day 2, 167 players returned to duke it out. As fate would have it, Sexton was seated next to Surinder Sunar, who defeated the boisterous Tony G back in Season 3 to capture the Grand Prix de Paris title. Unfortunately for Sexton, his pocket aces were cracked by an opponent’s flopped flush and his day came to an abrupt end. He was soon joined on the rail by fellow WPT personality, Tony Dunst.
Franck Pepe led the final 61 players into Day 3 with his 432,000 chip stack. With 36 places set to be paid, 25 players needed to be eliminated before the money would be reached. McLean Karr wa one player who couldn't get anything going. He began the day sixth in chips but was one of the pre-money bust outs. Once the money bubble burst, the eliminations mounted including Evgeny Zaytsec (23rd - €22,220), Eric Rabl (22nd - €22,220), Shawn Cunix (21st - €22,220) and Christophe Lesage (21st - €22,220).
Although the tournament was on French soil, it was American Matt Waxman, who took the chip lead into Day 4, where the final 18 players played down to the final table. Darcourt, the pink-haired former WPT champ, was dispatched in 17th place (€33,330), while other notables such as Nesrine Kourdourli (10th - €44,445) and Dmitry Stelmak (8th - €66,665) joined him on the rail later in the day.
Here is a look at the seating assignment at the start of the final table:
WPT Grand Prix de Paris Final Table
First Hand: With the blinds at 10/000/20,000 and a 3,000 ante, action folded to Mikko Sundell in the small blind. He raised to 48,000, which Matthew Waxman called from the big blind. When the flop fell , Sundell fired out 68,000 only to have Waxman raise to 138,000. Sundell thought for a moment before relinquishing the hand.
Nice Little Balance: “It’s a very international field. You’ve got two Europeans . . . two Frenchmen, and two Americans. So it’s actually a nice little balance there,” Matthew Waxman said in an interview. Obviously the Americans are the favorite. No American has ever won this tournament? Now I have to win. It would be amazing to be the first American to ever win this tournament, that would be a huge accomplishment.”
The Finn's Got Some Moves: Action folded to Martin Jacobson in the small blind and he limped with . Mikko Sundell checked his option from the big with , and the two were heads-up to the flop, which saw Jacobson lead out for 24,000.
Sundell made the call, the appeared on the turn, and both players checked. When the paired the board on the river, Jacobson bet 57,000, but Sundell wasn’t quick to fold. Instead, he came over the top for 146,000 total. Jacobson quickly released and Sundell took down the pot.
On the Road: The WPT aired a new segment called “On the Road,” which follows the WPT family from stop to stop and features their adventures and exploits. In this week’s segment, Paris and the Aviation Club were featured. Vince van Patten gave a tour of the casino and production area, and Mike Sexton explained his successful history at the Aviation Club.
Martin Jacobson Eliminated in Sixth Place: In the last hand of the episode, Byron Kaverman raised to 48,000 from the cutoff with , only to have Martin Jacobson look down at and move all in for 470,000 from the button. Mikko Sundell was in the small blind and called with , and Kaverman got out of the way.
Jacobson only had a 25 percent chance of winning the hand, which dropped to just 9 percent after the flop. The turn left Jacobson drawing to an ace on the river, but it was not meant to be as the blanked. The Jacobson shook hands with the table before making his way to the payout desk to collect €88,900.
To Be Continued: Who will be the next player to join the prestigious list of Grand Prix de Paris winners and take home the €518,750 first-place prize? Part II is set to air on Sunday, March 18, on FSN, so be sure to check your local listings. If by chance you miss it, check back next week for the latest recap of all the action right here on PokerNews.
Past Grand Prix de Paris Champions
|4||Roland de Wolfe||€479,680|
*Called Euro Finals of Poker
*Picture courtesy of World Poker Tour.