WSOPE TODAY: Oct 1; Lim & Lechich through to Main Event day 3

Highlights from day 11 of the 2012 WSOP Europe (October 1)

Day two of the 2012 WSOP Europe Main Event Championship concluded with 77 of the 420 starters left chasing the gold at the luxurious Majestic Barriere in Cannes, France.

Michael Mizrachi started the day as chip leader but hit the rail along with Vanessa Rousso, Faraz Jaka, Mike McDonald, Phil Ivey, Scotty Nguyen, Roberto Romanello and Antonio Esfandiari. Aussies Joe Hachem, Oliver Speidel, Kyle Cheong and Jeff Rossiter were also KOed.

Russia’s Sergii Baranov leads the field into day three on 607,000 while Phil Hellmuth (364,900), Joseph Cheong (328,400) and Bertrand Grospellier (326,700) also finished the day in the top 10.

October Nine chip leader Jesse Sylvia; recent WCOOP winner Jason Mercier and defending champ Elio Fox will also be back for day three along with Australians Aaron Lim (130,900) and Tino Lechich (88,100).

WSOP Europe event 7: €10,450 No Limit Hold’em Main Event end of day 2 chip count (top 10)

Sergii Baranov (Russia) 607,000
Axel Pergolizzi (France) 419,400
Vladimir Troyanovskiy (Russia) 375,100
Phil Hellmuth (USA) 364,900
Maxim Conte (France) 342,300
Lifeng Chen (China) 340,500
Hui Chen Kuo (Canada) 339,950
Max Silver (UK) 333,600
Joseph Cheong (USA) 328,400
Bertrand Grospellier (France) 326,700

• It was a poker tournament with a combination of dramatic moments, controversies, blistering criticism, and even some uneasy tension. Indeed, the Mixed-Max played at WSOP Europe in Cannes tested the willpower of just about everyone who witnessed the €10,450 buy-in battle royale.

Yet, none of this mattered once the final hand of a gruelling multi-day competition was dealt. In fact, the historical record will likely show little more than a headline with the winner’s name, collecting a well-deserved €258,047 in prize money, along with a long-awaited gold bracelet.

That blazing headline goes to one of poker’s most passionate voices, Jonathan Aguiar (pictured above, with thanks to, from Los Angeles. Previous to this victory, he’d cashed 15 times at the WSOP, including an emotionally shattering third-place showing earlier this year.

The tournament was originally scheduled as a three-day affair. However, as the third day played deep into the night and came around to the next morning, it became necessary to extend the conclusion to an unscheduled fourth day.

The problem was the WSOP Europe Main Event was to begin on what would have been the fourth day. The two finalists agreed to postpone the last stages of the heads-up match until two days later. Hence, this was one of the very few non-Main Events in history ever to span six combined days.

Arguably the most riveting moment came during the gruelling semi-final heads-up match between eventual runner-up Brandon Cantu and Roger Hairabedian, the first French player ever to win a gold bracelet on French soil – a triumph which happened the day before this event started.

During their mind-numbing eight-hour match, the two players argued incessantly, to the point where tournament officials had to intervene. Clashes extended into the row of spectators, where French and American players rooting on each of their native sons became verbally combative. It was a scene more reminiscent of an international soccer match rather than a poker tournament.

Then, there was the blistering heads-up battle following Cantu’s victory in the semi-finals, when (after a one-hour recess) he had to go and face the player who ultimately would come to deny Cantu who would have been a third gold bracelet – the robustly combative John Aguiar.

Part one of Cantu-Aguiar match would initially last five exhausting hours. By the end of the third day, Cantu had played a staggering 15 hours of heads-up poker. The match was forcibly suspended at 5am, due to French law requiring gaming to end at the morning hour. Afterwards, this did not sit well with Cantu, who would later vent his frustration in a filmed interview.

Once both players were eliminated from the Main Event on day 1B, the finalists retook seats. The final scene came about an hour into the resumption of play when Aguiar won a race holding A-K suited versus Cantu’s pocket deuces. An ace flopped, ultimately giving Aguiar the victory.

• Additional reporting,

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