WSOP EUROPE: Andrew Hinrichsen joins list of Aussie bracelet winners

Andrew Hinrichsen celebrates his WSOP Europe €1000 No Limit Hold’em victory

One of the most exclusive clubs in Australian poker has welcomed a new member after Andrew Hinrichsen won the €1000 No Limit Hold’em title in the largest tournament ever played in the five-year history of World Series of Poker Europe. A tidal wave of 771 poker players from dozens of nations packed the Hotel Majestic Barriere in Cannes, which obliterated the previous record turnout for WSOP gold bracelet events held in Europe of 608 players who turned out for the 2009 opener, held in London.

As predicted, this tournament turned out to be a showcase for the host nation. There were 30 players from France who cashed in this tournament. That number represents most French players ever to cash in any WSOP tournament, in history. By contrast, 23 French players cashed in this year’s WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.

However, it was an Australian player who was the star of the three-day battle. Andrew Hinrichsen, a 23-year-old poker pro from Melbourne, Australia won his first gold bracelet. He may have had to travel 16,000 miles on the other side of the world to make poker history, but the trip was certainly worth it, for Hinrichsen.

“It’s a significant achievement, for sure. I am pretty speechless at the moment, to be honest. I have not even had much time to think about it. These kinds of things are always so unrealistic when you think about it. You just don’t think about it much until it actually happens. So, now I guess I will have the next few days to think about this and enjoy it,” he said.

“I think I felt that my extended friends and family did not know that much about poker. But they had the live stream (last summer) on ESPN. I started getting all these messages from cousins and everyone saying they were watching me on TV. It was a pretty weird feeling to experience that. But I have not really spoken to anyone back home (in Australia) in a while. So, I am not even sure if they know what’s happened yet.”

The Aussie, who is currently travelling around the international poker circuit with a group of friends including Daniel Neilson, Jonathan Karamalikis and Ben Delaney, made a stellar comeback run and spoiled what seemed to be a sure-victory for one of two Italian players.

“There are four of us travelling around. So, we decided to make a trip of it (to Cannes.). We were already here for some EPT events. We spent a week in London. Then, we all came here. Next, we are off to San Remo for a bit longer. Some poker trips are usually not as good because you end up staying at the casino, you play all the time, and then you drink in the bar and that’s it. But here on this trip, there is so much more to do because we are in Europe. We try to do some touristy things, as well,” he said.

At one point when play was three-handed, Hinrichsen was down to a single stack and seemed destined for third place. But the Australian stormed back and eliminated both Tarcisio Bruno (third) and Gianluca Speranza (second) in what can only be considered to be a staggering turn of events. Hinrichsen collected €148,030 in prizemoney.

“I got a bigger stack early, so I was never really in jeopardy, until the second day. On Day Two, the key hand for me was when I got into a big hand against Vanessa Selbst. I four-bet called with A-T. It was for like 40 big blinds. She had A-8, so I was fortunate to run into the bottom end of her range – my read was right on the hand but I was also a bit lucky since she could have had a better hand than me at that point,” he said.

The 23-year-old Hinrichsen had hoped to forge a career in the AFL but found a new arena in which to focus his competitive nature three years ago. He said that if it were not for poker, he would probably be studying for a business degree at university.

The Melburnian is one of the better performed players on the regional scene in recent years, having captured preliminary titles at the 2009 APPT Sydney and 2010 Aussie Millions series along with runner-up finishes in the 2009 ANZPT Queenstown Main Event and 2011 ANZPT Melbourne High Roller tournament. He also finished 23rd in the 2011 WSOP Main Event, earning USD $302,005 in prize money for that effort, competing against 6865 entries.

“I was really shattered afterwards. To get there is such an unbelievable result. But I was shattered for weeks. You go so deep, and then …” he said.

“This year has been really amazing. I had a bit of an up and down year last year. I spent some time away from poker. But this year has been really good for me and I have done really well.”

Event 2: €1090 buy-in No Limit Hold’em (771 players; 81 players paid; total prizepool (€740,160)

1 Andrew Hinrichsen (Australia) €148,030
2 Gianluca Speranza (Italy) €91,262
3 Tarcisio Bruno (Italy) €67,281
4 Bernard Guigon (France) €50,146
5 Roberto Romanello (UK) €37,874
6 Eric Baudry (USA) €28,977

7 John Eames (UK) €22,449
8 Nabil Nedjai (France)€17,608
9 Gregory Lejolivet (France) €13,982

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