Europe’s popularity as a poker destination has been historically contingent on the success the World Series of Poker Europe has generated. Nonetheless, Season 4 of the Partouche Poker Tour has billed themselves as “Europe’s [new] Biggest Poker Tournament,” a claim that may not be as far-fetched as it first appeared.
With the biggest names in poker in attendance for their most recent €8,500 buy-in Main Event, the Partouche Poker Tour laid a tremendous €4 million guarantee that was graciously toppled by over €300,000. A total prize pool of €4,342,500 million was reached by the end of Day 1b, with the players of Matt Giannetti, Antonio Esfandiari and Vanessa Selbst leading the long list of pros that were still in contention.
Nonetheless, is was the Titan Poker-sponsored pro Sam Trickett who walked away as the chip leader going into final table play on November 12th, and he has a great chance of walking away with the first place prize of one million euros, and title of Partouche Poker Tour Season 4 Main Event champion.
Similar in scope to the WSOP Main Event, the final table of the PPT Main Event will be set on a delay to help players prepare for their competition in mid-November. Setting in Cannes, France, the decision of the PPT to have players come back shouldn’t require much convincing due to the beautiful locale.
Rather than the luxurious destination, however, U.K. pro Sam Trickett has his sights set on a more familiar environment, the trophy ceremony of a highly-contested multi-table tournament.
Sam Trickett has exuded extraordinary results in 2011, with over $3 million of his $4.8 million in career tournament earnings coming from this year alone. Trickett’s biggest victory came early in the year, when he took down the AUS$100,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship at the Aussie Millions for AUS$1,525,000, and then followed it up by a second place finish in the same tournament in the AUS$250,000 Super High Roller for AUS$1,400,000. In the span of a week, Trickett had put his hands on nearly $3 million in prize money.
Trickett headed into Day 5 towards the back of the field with T512,000, but was able to secure a huge double up with pocket aces versus the pocket kings of his opponent to edge up toward the top of the chip counts. From that point forward, it was a series of strategic plays and seized opportunities that allowed him to surge for the chip lead.
Trickett will head into the final on Nov.12 with T2,605,000.
Despite him holding a big chip stack, in relative comparison to his adversaries Trickett will need to utilize his tournament expertise to come out ahead. There are several other capable players who remain in the field, and several of them have monstrous chip counts as well.
Alexandre Coussy (T2,473,000), Salman Behbehani (T2,446,000), Mads Wissing (T2,144,000) and Mustapha Kanit (T2,047,000) all have over 2 million in chips and will be very dangerous when the final table concludes. With the chip leads being so marginal, in nearly any pot the players could be playing for their entire stack, a scenario tournament specialists strive to avoid.
While the Titan Poker pro does stand as the biggest marquee name left in the final nine, there were a few players worth mentioning that busted just before they could secure a November 12th appearance.
Will “The Thrill” Failla finished in 14th place for €45,000, Anton Lionel in 27th for €24,000, James Bord in 51st for €14,000 and Freedy Deeb in 62nd for €12,000.
Some of the names that were once headliners but never made it to Day 2 were Michael Mizrachi, Joseph Cheong, David Williams, Phil Laak, Phil Hellmuth, and Fabrice Soulier.
There was a smaller field for this year’s PPT Main Event, as last year’s total of 764 players shrunk down to 579. The increased buy-in amount was likely one of the few contributors to this decline. However, there’s probably a much more glaring remembrance of last year’s Main Event that could have led to smaller numbers.
Ali Tekintamgac, a “November Niner” in last year’s PPT final table, was accused of cheating by orchestrating a group of colleagues who were acting as media coverage to relay hole card information to the participant to gain helpful insight on player tendencies. It’s plausible that this detracted players from coming to the event, not to mention that the PokerStars WCOOP was also running parallel to the PPT Main Event.
Winning thousands in your pajamas, typically beats jet lag and the travel expenses of going overseas.
The WSOPE starts next month in Cannes, as it has recently moved its location from England to hopefully incite even more incredible action.
The final table chip counts go as follows:
Partouche Poker Tour Main Event: €8,500 No-Limit Hold’em
Entries: 579 Prize Pool: €4,342,500
- Sam Trickett: €2,605,000
- Alexandre Coussy: €2,473,000
- Salman Behbehani: €2,446,000
- Mads Wissing: €2,144,000
- Mustapha Kanit: €2,047,000
- Roger Hairabedian: €1,890,000
- Oleksii Kovalchuk: €1,626,000
- Ilan Boujenah: €1,241,000
- Alexander Dovzhenko: €944,000