Shawn Buchanan In Top Five In Championship Event, Mike Watson Wins Side Event At WSOP Europe

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As the final three tables were determined for the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe Championship Event Tuesday evening, Canada’s Shawn Buchanan continued his charge towards the championship. While Shawn has been in the hunt for the WSOP-E gold, Mike “SirWatts” Watson picked up something just about as precious – cold hard cash – in winning a side event at the WSOP-E.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the late play on Tuesday was the collapse of former chip leader Constant Rijkenberg. Prior to the dinner break, Rijkenberg went to battle from the big blind against Chris Moorman, with the flop coming J-4-4. Rijkenberg fired out a bet, only to be met by a check raise from Moorman that he called. A five came on the turn, bringing a check from Rijkenberg and a big 114K bet out of Moorman, once again called by Rijkenberg. A nine came on the river, with Rijkenberg once again check calling a 229K bet from Moorman. As Moorman turned up a pair of Queens in his pocket, Rijkenberg saw a huge portion of his chips slide to the Englishman as he slid his cards to the muck.

The dinner break didn’t help Rijkenberg any as he attempted to make his comeback. He pushed the last of his chips in with A-Q of hearts, only to be looked up by an old nemesis, Giuseppe Sammartino’s 10-8 of spades. An Ace came on the flop, but there was also a nine and a seven to give Sammartino an open ended straight draw. The turn was clean, but the river delivered a Jack to complete the straight and eliminate Rijkenberg from the tournament.

The other surprise of the evening play was the ascension of Shawn Buchanan to the top of the leaderboard. Although he has seemingly been hanging around the Top 25 for most of this Championship Event, Shawn kicked into high gear after the money bubble burst. In the hand that built his stack the most, Shawn went to battle against Matt Waxman on a 3-J-9-3-5 board.

On the river, Waxman bet out 164K only to have Shawn announce he was all in, putting Waxman to a decision for his tournament life. After the clock was eventually called on him (the Europeans don’t like “Hollywooding,” remember that!), Waxman called with the clock on four, but was dismayed to see Shawn turn up pocket threes for quads (a potential hand that Waxman had deduced Shawn held). With that, Max Waxman was out of the tournament and Shawn Buchanan rocketed up to 1.28 million, good for fifth place at the end of play on Tuesday.

25 men (Maria Ho was one of the final eliminations on Tuesday in 27th place) have come to the tables Wednesday afternoon in the Hotel Majestic Barriere to determine what will be the final table for the WSOP-E Championship Event. Shawn has not slowed down in the slightest, although there has been plenty of carnage around him. To this point of the day, Antanas “Tony G” Guoga (24th place), Erik Seidel (21st place) and John Duthie (18th place) have been the major departures, but there are still several players battling with Shawn for the final table seats.

With sixteen players remaining, the United Kingdom’s Max Silver, who final tabled the Shootout event earlier in the WSOP-E, is a dominant leader with his 3.49 million chip stack. Moorman is maintaining second place with 2.1 million, while Amir Lehavot is in third with 1.84 million. Shawn is still in fifth place at this time, having expanded his stack to 1.366 million, with Patrik Antonius (1.13 million), Germany’s Moritz Kranich (1.11 million), Arnaud Mattern (388K) and a short stacked Jake Cody (272K) the most prominent names on the leaderboard.

The Championship Event cash marks the fourth event that Shawn has cashed in at this year’s WSOP-E. Along with his five cashes earlier in the summer in Las Vegas, Shawn has earned over $700,000 in just WSOP tournaments in 2011. His deep run in this event also puts him in position – if he makes a run at the WSOP-E championship – to have an impact on the WSOP Player of the Year race.

Outside of the Championship Event, Canada has a couple of celebratory events. Although he didn’t win a bracelet at this year’s WSOP-E, Mike “SirWatts” Watson was able to score in one of the side events at the Hotel Majestic Barriere. A €5000 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em turbo event was put together and Mike made it his personal playground. He reported over Twitter that at the dinner break, he had “148.6K…chip leader with 15 left, six spots pay (with) 105K Euros to first.”

Mike “SirWatts” Watson

Apparently the skills honed on the internet served “SirWatts” well as he cruised into the final table with 145,000 in chips. When they reached the money, Mike had worked his way up to 195K in chips and, late in the evening, was able to report, “Victory!” Along with his second place finish to Tristan Wade in the Shootout tournament, Mike will be bringing back a decent €217,000 (roughly) to make the trip to France worthwhile.

Finally, in the second ever battle for the Caesars Cup, Team Americas – with Canada’s Daniel Negreanu joining Jason Mercier, Ben Lamb, Johnny Chan and captain Phil Hellmuth – vanquished Team Europe, consisting of Jake Cody, Gus Hansen, Max Lykov, Guoga and captain Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, 3-1 to bring the Cup back to North American soil.

Mercier and Lamb defeated Cody and Guoga in the first alternating hand match, while Hellmuth and Negreanu fell at the hands of Hansen and Lykov. That would be the final point that Team Europe would get as Chan defeated Grospellier and Hellmuth stepped back into the fray to win the deciding point against Lykov.

With the final table of the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe’s Championship Event scheduled for Thursday, the curtain is closing on this year’s WSOP. But Canada still has a rooting interest, as the nation watches to see if Shawn Buchanan – who has come so close this year to his first ever WSOP bracelet – can close the deal in taking this major championship.

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