Mahmoud wins WSOPE bracelet

Becomes first Tunisian poker champion

Updated: September 24, 2012, 3:49 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

Players from around the world returned to the World Series of Poker felt in Cannes, France, for the first of seven bracelet events at the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe. The 2,700 euro buy-in six-handed no-limit hold 'em event featured a field of 227, with Imed Ben Mahmoud emerging victorious to win his first WSOP bracelet and 147,099 euros.

[+] EnlargeBen Mahmoud
WSOP.com Ben Mahmoud earned 147,099 euros and his first WSOP bracelet in Event 1 of the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe

"For me, (the win) is exceptional," Mahmoud said to the WSOP. "And for Tunisia it's fabulous. It's priceless. I'm very, very happy."

Winning a bracelet allows a player to enter their names in the record books, but Mahmoud made further history by becoming the first Tunisian champion in WSOP history. The 37-year-old kitchen worker was born in Tunisia and plays recreationally in France, where he now resides. Mahmoud picked up the game only a few years ago, but has been an active participant on the WSOP felt. Prior to this victory, he had cashes on the tournament trail in four different countries.

According to the WSOP, the final table included no previous WSOP champions, but one very familiar face, Roberto Romanello, who was looking to become the latest owner of poker's triple crown. After Sylvain Ribes was eliminated in sixth running Q-Q into Mahmoud's K-K, Romanello, who was seemingly unable to build his stack at the final table, finished in fifth pushing all-in with J-10 against Yannick Bonnet's J-J. This finish was Romanello's 15th career WSOP cash and second final table.

Bonnet knocked out Senh Ung in fourth (A-8 over A-Q all-in preflop) and had more than half the chips in play with three players remaining. Mahmoud evened the counts by taking most of Matan Krakow's chips, and after less than 20 minutes of heads-up play, one pot would decide a champion. Mahmoud opened, Bonnet raised and Mahmoud moved all-in. Bonnet called and flipped over A-K and hoped to win the race against Mahmoud's J-J. The board ran 10-9-2-5-9 and Mahmoud became the newest WSOP champion.

The champion is planning to use his prize money to buy an apartment for his family.

The turnout for this event was down significantly to the opening event a year ago, which had 360 players. Many are attributing the shortfall to the fact that the World Championship of Online Poker was still in progress at the start of WSOPE and players were unable to participate in WCOOP from France.

Other notable finishers included David Baker (14th), Jennifer Tilly (17th), Brandon Cantu (20th) and Phil Hellmuth (24th). Baker's cash in this event places him fourth in the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year race.

Below are the complete results of WSOPE Event 1:

Event 1: Six-handed no-limit hold 'em
Buy-in: 2,700 euros
Entries: 227
Prize pool: 544,800 euros
Players in the money: 24

1. Imed Ben Mahmoud (147,099 euros)
2. Yannick Bonnet (90,884)
3. Matan Krakow (63,671)
4. Senh Ung (44,913)
5. Roberto Romanello (31,925)
6. Sylvain Ribes (22,876)
7. Demis Hassabis (16,529)
8. Romain Chauvassagne (16,529)
9. Ruben Velasco (12,040)
10. Sandy Denis (12,040)
11. Freddy Darakjian (8,842)
12. Igors Kalinicenko (8,842)
13. Alessandro Meoni (6,548)
14. David Baker (6,548)
15. Arnaud Durif (6,548)
16. Yann Migeon (6,548)
17. Jennifer Tilly (6,548)
18. Serge Chechin (6,548)
19. Andrity Mushak (4,887)
20. Brandon Cantu (4,887)
21. Govert Metaal (4,887)
22. Christophe Julien (4,887)
23. Paul Guichard (4,887)
24. Phil Hellmuth (4,887)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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