The Week That Was: WSOPE Winners, NBC Heads Up Gone, Lock Returns

James Bord is betting big against the Americans in the WSOPE Main Event

This week the center of the poker world is Cannes, France.  The World Series of Poker Europe shattered record after record and produced plenty of big name winners over the course of six preliminary events.  The WSOPE may have dominated the news this week, but there are other headlines worth keeping an eye on.  We’ve got the news from Cannes and elsewhere around the poker world in this edition of The Week That Was:

You Cannes Do It

When the WSOP announced that they would move the World Series of Poker Europe from its original home in London to Cannes, France, the reactions were mixed.  Concerns about the high costs that come with travelling to France and skepticism about attendance resulted in a mixed reaction.

The WSOP can now officially tell those skeptics “I told you so.”  The series saw uniform increase in field sizes across the board and the newly-introduced €10,400 Mixed Max Hold’em Championship went over well with the pros.  This weekend, the series put an exclamation point on the year by drawing a Main Event field of more than 590 runners, absolutely shattering the previous record set in 2007 and matched in 2008 of 362 players.

The field sizes are impressive and the winners thus far have been as well.  Popular Florida poker pro Tristan Wade showed that the third time was the charm.  Wade made two final tables this summer without taking home the bracelet, but his third final table of the year in the €3,200 Shootout event had a much happier ending.  At a final table that included Steve O’dwyer, Emil Patel, and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Wade prevailed to pick up the top payday and his first bracelet.

Wade wasn’t the only Floridian to thrive in France.  Florida-based pros Noah Schwartz and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi made it to the final four in the Mixed Max event.  Schwartz failed to advance to the finals, but Mizrachi got there and defeated Shawn Buchanan heads-up in the final round to earn his second career bracelet and push his lifetime earnings past $12 million.

Last year’s WSOPE Main Event champ James Bord is willing to bet up to $500 to all comers that the winner of the Main Event will not be an American.  Considering Mizrachi, Tristan Wade, and now two-time bracelet winner Steve Billirakis picked up half of preliminary event bracelets, Bord is going to have quite a sweat as the Main Event plays down to a winner over the course of the next week.

You Like Numbers? We’ve Got Numbers

If you’ve been fiending for your regular fix of BLUFF By the Numbers action, this was a good week for you.  First, we ran down the EPT London, then we brought back the popular feature on a semi-regular basis in honor of WSOPE action.  If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out our first and second installments on France.

Player of the Year Race Heats Up

We’re down to the last ten weeks of the year and the BLUFF Player of the Year race is still wide open.  This week shed some light on just how close the race is, as Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier found himself in a position to overtake the man who has been on top since the WSOP, Eugene Katchalov.  EPT London made Steve O’Dwyer a POY contender and even a small cash made all the difference for players like Matt Waxman and Jason Mercier.

This is one of the tightest races in BLUFF Player of the Year history, so we’ll be monitoring things every closely as the year draws to a close.

Lock Is In, Heads-Up Is Out

The American poker market had a big presence return this week as Lock Poker re-opened their doors to US customers for the first time since the summer.  The online crowd may be rejoicing, but televised poker fans might be more concerned about a notable departure of one of the biggest televised poker events of the year.  The NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship is not going to be on the calendar for 2012.

The invitational event has been airing on NBC since 2005.  In the 2011 tournament, Erik Seidel took the top prize and added another six-figure score to his impressive tally of wins in 2011.

UIGEA Turns Five

A lot has happened since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforecement Act went into effect in 2006, but regulated and legalized online poker in the United States is not one of them.  The week of UIGEA’s fifth anniversary contained several pieces of not so good news for those striving for regulation to, as poker supporter and Senator Harry Reid indicated regulation efforts for online gambling is not a high priority for his team at the moment.

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