WSOP Europe Review
The World Series of Poker Europe Main Event has been won by Marti Roca De Torres, an online qualifier. Also, pariah Chris Ferguson finally wrapped up the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year title in Rozvadov, much to the chagrin of the poker community.
A Dream Come True
When Spaniard Marti Roca De Torres sat down to play a €220 satellite tournament on 888poker, chasing an entry to the WSOPE Main Event, little did he know what was to happen only a few weeks later. The Catalan wouldn’t come close to having the same effect on poker that Chris Moneymaker did, back in 2003 when he won the main event in Las Vegas after also winning his seat on the cheap. But that said, the personal feelings he went home with must have been on the same level.
Roca De Torres had only accrued €30,000 in live tournament winnings prior to travelling to the Czech Republic, but after winning the €10,350 showpiece event the former economics teacher was leaving the joint with €1,115,207 in his pocket. Fellow Spaniard Fernando Pons must have been smiling as he watched on, because he too made his name by winning a satellite tournament into a WSOP Main Event. Pons won a €30 satellite on 888poker, and ended up finishing in ninth place as a part of the November Nine finale in 2016.
The event attracted 529 entrants, only just shy of the 593 we saw in 2011. This was enough to totally smash the €4million guarantee.
The final day saw a couple of crazy hands which captured the attention of the online community. Maria Ho set off the chatter after folding a set of tens on a monotone board. In the big blind Ho saw an open, a call, and a squeeze from the three seats to her right. Many commentators from the online forums suggested this could only ever be a shove or fold situation as it risked around 20% of her stack. But call she did, encouraging the first two players to tag along for the ride.
The flop comes J T X, all hearts, and Niall Farrell over jams from the small blind with AK and the ace of hearts. Ho doesn’t even think for long when presented with this decision, which is surprising considering that Farrell is unlikely to ever play a flush this way four handed when it’s tough for anybody to call.
The second hand of note came right after Ho three bet jammed over Farrell’s open with pocket deuces. Unfortunately for the last woman standing, Farrell was sitting there with pocket jacks and snap called. Six handed, the American went from biggest stack to the smallest. Poker can be a fickle game when you get to the sharp end of events such as this.
Possibly a little irked by what had just happened, and concerned that her shot at victory was slipping away, Ho open shoves AJs from early position, and then disaster strikes. Roca De Torres calls with AA from the small blind, only to see Farrell jam over the pair of them with KK. Roca De Torres insta-calls and takes down the pot after the board brings no surprises. Ho left the tournament in sixth place as she was the small stack, and Farrell followed her out of the door in fifth.
When Chris “Jesus” Ferguson found himself in the firing line after the collapse of Full Tilt Poker, very few people expected that we would ever see him again as a high-stakes regular in tournaments around the world. The reaction was so bitter that it looked to be impossible that Ferguson could ever overcome the shame of what he and Howard Lederer had done.
Time moves on though, and six years after the events of Black Friday Chris Ferguson has returned to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and later travelled to Europe in an attempt to wrap up the WSOP Player of the Year. He was also handed a free seat into the WSOPE Main Event by the organisers after leaving Nevada this summer at the head of the Player of the Year race, following a record 17 cashes.
Ferguson cemented his claim for the POY title after winning his sixth WSOP bracelet in the €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-or-Better event, along with a €39,289 prize. The money is chicken feed to him; it’s the POY points which really counted.
Phil Hellmuth was on hand to take a photo for Twitter with his friend, reminding the world that in his opinion he is innocent. Daniel Negreanu was quick to get his claws out replying
“Couldn’t find time to grab a selfie with Harvey Weinstein, Chris Brown, or Bernie Madoff? Next best thing I guess.”
It is worth noting that before this event was played, Ferguson had racked up another four cashes to add to his 17 from Las Vegas this summer. This marked a serious chance for him to become the first ever WSOP Player of the Year to win the accolade without actually winning a bracelet.
After John Racener was knocked out of the main event before Ferguson, it was confirmed that the POY title had been won. Allowing a rare interview after the dust had settled Ferguson went on to say
“For five years, I hadn’t really thought about poker. I didn’t really miss poker. It had been a big part of my life. I had actually been planning to take a break from poker, and it turned out to be bigger than I expected.”
“Personally, I’ve always found that when I take a break from something, and you come back to it, you come back to it with a fresh perspective, and often you’ll do better.”
It’s arguable that Ferguson’s claims that he did nothing wrong, regarding the mismanagement at Full Tilt Poker, are true. After all, how can we be sure? Regardless of your thoughts on the man, it is definitely true that we should be admiring one of the most consistent runs of high-quality poker we have witnessed in recent years.