Quebec native Philippe Boucher claimed the first Canadian 2011 World Series of Poker Europe win on Saturday, taking down Event 6 and a field of 339 players who started in the Six-handed €1,620 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha bracelet tournament.
With this largest and definitely most prestigious poker title added to his tally, Boucher now leaps to nearly $450,000 in total career live tournament winnings and joins the exclusive club of players that can claim to own some coveted World Series of Poker issued championship jewelry. This is Phillipe’s first bracelet win.
A couple of other top Canadian players were also looking for their first WSOP gold this past week in Europe and it wasn’t for lack of effort that they were left waiting for another shot; both Shawn Buchanan and Mike “SirWatts” Watson found themselves Heads Up for bracelets in events, with Shawn finishing 2nd in the €10,400 No Limit Hold’em Split Format, Event 5 and Watson claiming the runner up spot in Event 4, a €3,200 No Limit Hold’em shoot-out.
“SirWatts” navigated his way through a powerhouse final table of players that included Triple Crown winner Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, after winning his first 2 tables in the shoot-out format. Finally finding himself Mano a Mano with Tristan Wade, Michael had a slight chip advantage to begin; 1,378,000 to Wade’s 935,000. The two would exchange that spread several times over the first few hours, but remained very close. After that however, Tristan started to gain some serious momentum, finally bagging the win when Watson’s A5h failed to improve against Jacks. Mike scored €112,526 ($157,649 CAD) for his efforts, while Wade claimed the bracelet and €182,048.
Next up, Shawn Buchanan faced Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi Heads Up in one of the most exciting tournament formats of the year; Event 5, the €10,400 Split Format had Day 1 players seated for some 9 handed No Limit Hold’em, then 6 handed for Day 2 and final facing the final 16 contenders against each other in Heads Up brackets beginning on Day 3. Players carried they chip counts forward from the initial couple of multi table tournament days, creating an interesting dynamic; you could only advance with as many chips as each table draw presented. When Buchanan began the final round against Mizrachi with almost 2-1 disadvantage, added to the fact the Grinder isn’t exactly the softest player out there as one of the top ten players on the all time money lists.
Buchanan however, is also ranked in the top ten of the Canadian all time lists, in addition to working his way up the top tiers of the Global Poker Index, meaning if anyone from up north was up to the challenge it would be “Bucky”.
As it turned out, Buchanan just couldn’t get things going his way in the match, leaving Mizrachi claiming his second WSOP bracelet and the €336,008 first place money and Shawn slightly disappointed after his third 2nd place WSOP finish in just 2 years.
Despite his frustrating track record of runner up finishes for bracelets, Buchanan is left with plenty to proud of and put best by a tweet from the WSOP themselves; “No one has cashed more than @shawnbuchanan1 during the 2011 WSOP. 5 in Vegas, 3 in Cannes…8 total. Includes 3 Top 10s; 4 Top 25s. Amazing!” Shawn pockets €207,624 ($290,880 CAD) for his finish. Always a class act, Buchanan tweeted “Congrats to @TheGrinder44 on another bracelet! Great guy and great player, good guy to lose to if I had to! Have fun partying Mikey!” It’s not every day you see a player congratulating his winning opponent after a match with so much on the line, particularly with the Shawn’s sincerity as the two are truly good friends.
While we are always routing for our top Canadians to achieve the poker milestones they peruse on the world felts, we have to agree here; if both Buchanan and Watson were destined to finish 2nd, we can’t think of much better results than to have it go to our friends at DeepStacks Live and University. As both Mizrachi and Wade are part of the teams top poker instructors, we congratulate them on adding even more solid credentials to their impressive resumes. CanadaPoker.com has met and talked with Mizrachi on several occasions, both at the Deep Stacks Live in Montreal, and the November Nine Reunion at Foxwoods; we can’t pick a nicer guy for one of our best to place second to.
Besides the fantastic results by both Buchanan and “The Grinder” in Event 5, there is another notable finish by a player that we feel worthy of some attention; Dan Fleyshman’s fifth place finish.
While usually dubbed as an “amateur”, Fleyshman certainly doesn’t perform like one; this is the second year in a row that Dan has finished in the final ten of a World Series of Poker Europe event.
Last year, Fleyshman finished 7th in the WSOPE £10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event Championship for the equivalent of over $180,000 and now follows it up with around another $76,000 here. The thirty year old entrepreneur behind VictoryPoker.net and founder of several multi-million dollar companies has won more than a half a million dollars total playing tournament poker so far, but what is more impressive are his wins and final table statistics; of his 20 official cashes, 17 of 20 are final table finishes, which includes 7 wins. One would be hard pressed to find many of these deemed “pro” with a ratio as incredible as this.
Fleyshman will also head a special event at the WSOPE this year; the Model Citizen Fund Charity Poker Tournament. Dan founded and launched the organization earlier this year, which is already providing backpacks filled with 150 supplies for the homeless. Fleyshman like many other players who have “made it”, is a strong supporter of giving back and trying to make the world a bit better of a place. Mizrachi leads an organization dedicated to charitable causes, selling “The Grinder Knot” to fans and donating revenues in support of Troops, Breast Cancer and Animal Shelters.
Getting back to the WSOPE, the €10,400 No Limit Hold’em Championship and final bracelet Event will begin Day 2 on Monday. Buchanan, Watson and a slew of other well known Canadians are also mixing it up in this one; we will, of course, be following their progress. Look for our continuing recaps as the tournament progresses and be sure to visit again soon!