Just 420 entered the 2012 WSOPE Main Event, down big time from the 593 who played last year and thus continuing that trend of lower turnouts in Cannes this time around.
Phil Hellmuth, seeking his 13th career WSOP bracelet after winning his 12th this past summer in Vegas in the $2,500 razz event, came into today’s final day of play with the chip lead. He continues to sit on top with four left with a stack of nearly 5.5 million.
The Ukrainian Sergii Baranov is currently in second (with about 3.75 million). Baranov has just a few prior scores from the European Poker Tour and the Russian Poker Tour, his highest-earning performance to date coming from having won a preliminary event at EPT Vienna in 2010.
In third right now is Joseph Cheong (with 2.1 million), who we all remember from his deep run at the 2010 WSOP Main Event where he finished third. A mostly dominating performance at that final table led most to assume we’d hear more from Cheong, and indeed he’s put up a number of impressive cashes since including another near-miss at the WSOP this summer in the $5,000 “mixed-max” event where he finished second. Cheong also went fairly deep in the WSOP Main Event this summer, finishing 116th.
Finally in fourth is the Frenchman Stephane Albertini who sits with 1.26 million. This was the first year for any French players to win bracelets at the WSOPE, with both Roger Hairabedian and Giovanni Rosadoni grabbing gold. Albertini has collected some nice cashes over the last couple of years, mostly in Europe. He also made a relatively deep run at the 2011 WSOP Main Event where he finished 46th to earn $160,036.
Will probably have to check in on the PokerNews updates once they restart things about 90 minutes from now. Might have to see as well about the live stream situation, although as I’ve mentioned here before I’m shut out from the ESPN3 applesauce and so probably am going to remain in the dark as far as that’s concerned.
over on the Betfair Poker blog this summer, his tournament poker record is pretty much without parallel.
Sure, like many I kind of instinctively root for Hellmuth to fail, the resulting schadenfreude being just too damn sweet to resist. That said, it is remarkable (and impressive) to see him in the mix for yet another big poker prize. And his presence certainly makes the playing out of a WSOPE Main Event final table that much more interesting to follow.