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Day 1 of WPT Grand Prix de Paris is played today starting 14.00 CET. Stay tuned for the live updates.

If you missed day 1a, check the recap here or the full live updates post here.


Day 1b Ends

Day 1b has come to a close and it is Frenchman Guillaume Darcourt who has managed to survive an American onslaught and finish at the top of the chip coutns with 198,500 chips.

The end of day recap can be read here and please make sure you join us at 14.00 (CET) later today for all the coverage from day two.


Jerome Brion v Mike Sexton Heads Up

Jerome Brion was the first player to qualify for a WPT live event whilst playing on He survived day 1a yesterday finishing with an impressive haul of 107,900 chips. His prize for being the first person to qualify through was a heads up match against the legend of poker Mike Sexton. If Brion could beat Sexton he would win himself a seat to WPT Amneville. Here are Brion and Sexton both talking about the heads up encounter.


Mr Consistency

With four WPT cashes already to his name Shawn Cunix is obviously someone to keep an eye on at the WPT Grand Prix de Paris. Cunix, who is not a regular on the European circuit, has been in the top five chip counts all day. He tells us he has 200 employees cheering him on to win and so far he is not letting them down with a stack of 120,000.

Cunix, who owns 100 Verizon and Wireless stores back home in the States, has decided to travel to Paris to play in this event, the high roller and then is heading down to Cannes. If he wins he gives some of his prize money to his employs. Nice boss!


The World’s Number One Tournament Player – Jason Mercier

Jason Mercier talks about playing the cash games in Paris, his Global Poker Index number one ranking and what it means to win a WPT event and secure that triple crown.


Ben Wilinofksy Eliminated

Ben Wilinofsky will not be adding a WPT title to the EPT title he won in April after just being eliminated in Paris.

We joined the action on the flop and the trio of players involved were Natalia Nikitina (early position), Alexandre Viard (middle position) and Ben Wilinofsky (button).


Nikitina checked as did Viard, and when the action fell to Wilinofksy he bet 2,350. Nikitina made a quick call and then Viard surprised the table with a 8,400 check-raise. Wilinofsky had a stack of around 20,000 and a pained expression on his face when he made the call and the petite Russian moved out of the way.


Viard didn’t get fancy and just announced all-in and Wilinofsky called instantly.


Wilinofksy needed a jack or a club but instead a hit the river and the EPT Berlin winner was left to pack his bags.

Viard ~ 60,000

Photo: Viard counting Wilinofsky’s chips


Vamplew Doubles Up

We just reported that Jack Ellwood had doubled up and now we can report that his fellow Brit David Vamplew has also doubled up.

We joined the action on a board of and Ville Haavista was in the hand with David Vamplew. Haavista was seated in the big blind and Vamplew was in early position. Haavista checked to Vamplew and he bet 2,300 and Haavista raised it up to 6,050. Back to the Scot and he took his time before moving all-in for 16,000 and Haavista called.


Vamplew must have thought all of his Christmases had come at once as his King high was ahead. Neither the turn or the river changed anything and Vamplew was back to 34,000.


What Do The Royal Flush Girls Do During The Break?

They get smashed drinking champagne!

Honestly, have a look for yourself.


Ellwood Flying The British Flag

The WPT Grand Prix de Paris has not been a good tournament for the British contingent thus far, but maybe Jack Ellwood is on his way back after having a pretty average day. Ahmed El Fatah raised to 1,500 in early position and Ellwood three-bet to 4,075 from the cut-off and El Fatah just flat called.


El Fatah tapped the felt and all eyes fell to Ellwood who bet 5,300. Action back to El Fatah and after working through his options decided the best move was an all-in one and Ellwood snap-called.

El Fatah:

The turn and the river meant that El Fatah was eliminated and Ellwood was up to 45,000.


The Karr Keeps Grinding

We joined the action on the flop. The board was showing the world the and virtually everyone on the table was in the hand! When the action checked around to McLean Karr the former WPT Champion bet 3,975. People ditched their cards in quick succession until the player in the small blind check-raised to 10,000. Karr removed his Dr Dre headphones, “10k?”

The dealer confirmed the amount and Karr called the bet.


The player in the small blind checked and Karr took 11,775 from a stack of 52,000 and dumped it over the line. The small blind had 20,000 behind and so the bet was significant. He took his time and removed his sunglasses until finally the clock was called. All the time Karr sat motionless and just stared directly ahead. The floor person indicated that there were a few seconds of time left and he released his hand.

Karr ~ 85,000


Top Chip Counts

  1. Shawn Cunix 166,000
  2. Martin Jacobson 135,000
  3. Joe Ebanks 125,000
  4. Hichem Ben Halima 110,000
  5. Elio Fox 100,000


A Few Eliminations

Jean-Robert Bellande has been eliminated after running [ax][ax]into [qx][qx]. A queen on the turn ending the Americans hopes of WPT glory here in Paris. Anton Wigg has also left the building but we do not have any information on his exit. Last but not least Michael Tureniec has been eliminated after four-betting jamming [ax][tx]into the [kx][kx]of Elio Fox.


Jacobson Propels Himself Into Contention

Martin Jacobson and Elio Fox both had substantial stack sizes when they clashed in the following hand. Fox raised to 1,000 in middle position and Martin Jacobson defended his small blind. Michael Tureniec folded in the big blind and the two of them shared a flop.


Jacobson, arms outstretched in front of him, tapped the felt and Fox bet 2,000. Action back to the Swede and he check-raised to 6,200. Back to Fox, who was hiding his eyes behind aviator style sunglasses, and he picked up the chips with a very shaky hand and made the call.


Jacobson had 70,000 in his stack whilst Fox had around 100,000. It was Jacobson to act first and he bet 13,250 and Fox studied the face of Jacobson hard before again making the call.


With the pot now boasting 42,000 Jacobson fired his third bet of 25,500 into Fox. Fox took his shades off for the first time in the hand, studied Jacobson, then the board and finally his hand before calmly sliding it to the dealer.

Jacobson ~ 135,000
Fox ~ 40,500


Hichem Ben Halima Wins a Pot But Loses The Chip Lead

David Vamplew raised to 900 from early position and Hichem Ben Halima defended his big blind.


Ben Halima checked and Vamplew bet 1,900 and Ben Halima called very quickly.


Both players checked.


Ben Halima decided to have a stab at the point with a 3,200 bet and it was respected by Vamplew who laid down his hand.

Ben Halima ~ 110,000


90 – Minutes Break


A Little Bit of Luck Gets Darcourt Back in The Hunt

Guillaume Darcourt raised to 625 from first position and the player seated to his direct left three-bet to 3,325. The action folded around to the player in the big blind who called as did Darcourt. The dealer gave us a flop of and the action checked to the three-bettor who bet 4,200. The big blind called but then Darcourt moved his stack across the line. The total amount was 18,000 but the initial three-bettor wasn’t waiting for a count when he moved all-in for around 21,000. All eyes were now on the big blind who had both players covered and he also made the call.

Big Blind:

The lads with the hearts were dismayed to see each others hand. The entire room flocked around the table and the dealer was just about to deal the turn when the players started to ask where the side pot was? Ignoring the table the dealer dealt a turn of and then the controversial .

“Yes!” Shouted Darcourt before shrinking a little sheepishly in his chair.

Everyone was laughing and joking and the three-bettor thought he was out until the dealer handed him around 1,500. The rest of the players were trying to explain to the dealer that the side pot should be around 6,000. Guillaume Darcourt decided to end the dispute by handing the three-bettor 6,000 out of his stack and the player dutifully accepted it, but the floor should have been called for.

Darcourt ~ 65,000


Sam Holden – November Niner

Sam Holden was one of a few November Niners to make the trip to the WPT Grand Prix de Paris. Tune in and listen to him talk about Late Night Poker, backing and his preparation for the WSOP final table set to take place in November.


Bruno Solo Has The Last Laugh

Bruno Solo made a massive raise from under the gun, when playing 150/300 blinds he made it 1,700 to play. Only Guillaume Darcourt made the call and the two of them shared a flop of . Solo checked to the aggressive Darcourt who bet 1,600 and the French comedian made the call.


This time Solo took the betting lead when he made it 3,550. This action was followed by a lot of dialogue between the two (in French) before Darcourt moved all-in for 23,675 and Solo called (Darcourt had Solo covered). Both players were huge but unfortunately for Darcourt his hand was just that little bit smaller than Solo’s.


With both players hitting sets Darcourt was drawing very thin going to the river and the was not the card he was looking for. The hand propelled Solo to around 60,000 and dragged Darcourt back to around 18,000.


Raw Deal? Not a Chance!

Life is pretty good for Tony Dunst right now. Our intrepid reporters caught up with him during the break here at the Aviation Club de France where he is playing on day 1b. Tune in to hear him talk about France and what is happening next for the presenter of the WPT Raw Deal.


WPT Champions Clash and Gromov is Out!

Former WPT Champions McLean Karr and Dmitry Gromov have just butted heads and Gromov is the one left with the headache. On a board of Gromov and Karr raised back and fore before the Russian eventually moved all-in. Karr called instantly.

Gromov: 7d]

Gromov was nowhere to be seen as the dealer placed the down on the felt and Karr now has up to 75,000.


The Payouts

  1. €500,000 (+€25k Bellagio Cup entry)
  2. €311,100 (+€3,500 WPT Amneville entry)
  3. €211,100 (+€2,000 WPT National Paris Open of Poker entry)
  4. €155,550
  5. €133,330
  6. €88,900
  7. €77,770
  8. €66,665
  9. €55,555
  10. €44,445
  11. €44,445
  12. €44,445
  13. €44,445
  14. €33,330
  15. €33,330
  16. €33,330
  17. €33,330
  18. €33,330
  19. €22,220
  20. €22,220
  21. €22,220
  22. €22,220
  23. €22,220
  24. €16,665
  25. €16,665
  26. €16,665
  27. €16,665
  28. €11,110
  29. €11,110
  30. €11,110
  31. €11,110
  32. €11,110
  33. €11,110
  34. €11,110
  35. €11,110
  36. €11,110


The Chip Leader Grows His Stack

How many tournaments have we seen where one person just seems to keep getting the goods just when it matters? At the WPT Grand Prix de Paris day 1b that person is currently Hichem Ben Halima. The chip leader now has 160,000 after the following hand.

There was a limper and a raise before Ben Halima put the pressure on with a three-bet. A few folds later and there was an open jam to his left and once everyone folded Ben Halima had the easiest call of his life.

Ben Halima:
Unknown Opponent:

The hand was given to us by intrepid reporter David Vamplew who could not remember the exact bet sizes.

Ben Halima now ~160,000


David Vamplew Wins a Few Pots

David Vamplew has found himself sandwiched between two big stacks in Hichem Ben Halima and Shawn Cunix but the Scot has enough experience not to worry about such trivial things these days. He has a stack of around 50,000 himself after winning the following few hands.

Vamplew opened up the action with a raise to 500 from middle position and former WPT champion Davidi Kitai called on the button. When the dealer delivered the flop it was a trio of nines and both players checked. The turn of broke the pattern up somewhat and Vamplew bet 825 and Kitai called. The final card to hit the deck was the and Vamplew bet 2,175 but Kitai quickly mucked.

Next there was an early position raise and two callers before Vamplew added 1,575 to his stack with a well-timed three-bet of 2,425 causing everyone to fold.


Nicolas Fierro

Nicolas Fierro was representing PartyPoker during the WSOP Main Event and he finished an impressive 34th place for a pay day of $242,636. The Chilean player has found his way to Paris and is here in the ACF seated to the direct left of live tournament grinder Dominik Nitsche. Fierro is currently sat on a stack of 20,000 after losing the following hand.

We caught the action on the turn with the board a rather co-ordinated looking . Fierro was seated in the cut-off and he checked to his sole opponent, Jeffrey Vertes who was seated on the button and he bet 1,600 and Fierro made the call. The river was the and once again Fierro called and Vertes bet 2,600. Fierro thought about the hand before making the call and Vertes nervously turned over and Fierro mucked his hand which was met with an almighty sigh by Vertes who must have thought he was behind.


Top Chip Leaders

We realise it is early but here are the front runners.

The final day 1b attendance was 172 players resulting in a combined total of 312 players for the 2011 WPT Grand Prix de Paris.

  1. Hichem Ben Halima 105,000
  2. Guillaume Darcourt 80,000
  3. Antoine Junillon 60,000
  4. Shawn Cunix 60,000
  5. Tony Dunst 55,000


Calling the Clock

Yesterday we reported on a hand that had former WPT Champion Roberto Romanello steaming when the clock was called after one minute of thinking. We have just witnessed an even more remarkable display of poor officiating involving Ivan Freitez and his opponent.

We joined the action pre flop with Frietez sat in middle position and his opponent on the button. It looked like a four-bet pot with 1,525 in front of his opponent and 5,600 in front of Freitez. Literally seconds after the bet had been made Freitez called the clock and amazingly the dealer called for the floor. Neither the dealer nor the floor person spoke to each other in any language.

After a few seconds Freitez’s opponent took his earphones off.

“What is happening?” Asked the player.

“The clock has been called on you,” said the dealer.

“Well how long do I have?” Asked the player.

“40-seconds,” said the dealer.

The player was gobsmacked but moved all-in and Freitez called.



“Yes!” Pumped Freitez.

“Why did you call the clock on me after 10-seconds?” Asked the player.

“To tilt you,” said Freitez “It is part of the game.”

Whether it is or not, one thing is for certain, Freitez can only call for the clock, it is the officials who determine whether or not the call is fair and is seems they are not even trying to dispute them.

Freitez ~ 43,000


Full House For Mercier

According to the Global Poker Index (GPI) Jason Mercier is the best tournament player in the world. Yesterday he had a rough day at the cash tables but looks well slept, refreshed and ready to play the game he is best at.

On a flop of a player from middle position bet 650 and Mercier made the call. The turn was the and this time Mercier’s opponent went for the check-raise and it was for 3,800. Mercier didn’t take too long before making the call. The final card was the and both players checked and Mercier took down the pot.



Early Chip Leader – Hichem Ben Halima

How about this for a hand!

On a flop of [3x] all the money went in the middle from three separate opponents. The end result was a 92,000 stack and chip lead for Hichem Ben Halima and two random eliminations.

Ben Halimas: [ax][ax] Unlucky Player No.1:
Unlucky Player No.2: [tx][tx]

The turn brought he diamond but also made Ben Halima his full house . The river was an inconsequential card.


November Nine Round Up

We reported earlier that Phil Collins had gotten off to a bad start after his flopped set of threes were cracked by his opponents turned straight. He has since been eliminated after the following two hands.

On a flop of Phil Collins (small blind) was in a pot against Mathas Antonis (early position). Collins went for the check-raise on the flop and Antonis just called. The turn was the and there was 4,000 in the pot when Collins bet 3,750 and Antonis called. The last card flung out by the dealer was the and Collins made a very quick bet of 8,600 and Antonis called. Antonis revealed and Collins mucked his cards unseen. That debacle left him with 4,250 in front of him.

Then in an all-in shovefest with Max Lykov Collins lost and was eliminated after his [8x] [8x] could not survive the deck versus the [ax][jx]of the Russian after he hit two pair.

The last remaining November Niner is the Englishman Sam Holden. He too is also struggling with a stack size of just over 10,000.


WPT Champions

Both Dmitry Gromov and McLean Karr are sharing table space and both are former WPT Champions. Gromov won WPT Vienna last season and Karr won the Bay 101 Shooting Stars event the season prior. Also joining them is top French Pro Emile Petit who finished in 16th place when the WPT sponsored the National series at the ACF last season. We have just caught both Gromov and Petit in the following hand.

A smartly dressed man limped under the gun and Petit raised to 325 from the next seat to his left. The next person to act was Gromov and he three-bet to 875 and after the action folded around both the limper and Petit both called. Three players went to a flop worth 2,625 and it looked like this:


The limper and Petit checked to Gromov who bet 1,675 and only the limper called.


The limper check-called a 2,875 Gromov bet.


Both players quickly checked and after the showdown it was Gromov who won the pot after the smartly dressed man mucked his cards unseen.


Photo: (L-R) Limper, Petit, Gromov


Long, Long Way to Go

Phil Collins knows how to plough through a poker field – as he so adequately showed us by getting through 6,685 players in the WSOP Main Event to form part of the magical November Nine – so today should be a cake walk for him! He must have started the tournament like lightning because by the time we saw him in the following hand he was well above his starting stack of 30,000.

We joined the action on the turn. There was 13,000 in the pot and the two players in the hand were Phil Collins and Matthieu Gullienne. The board was and Collins made a 8,500 bet from under the gun. Gullienne moved all-in for 15,675 and Collins made the call.



Gullienne pump fisted the air, “you win some and you lose some” said the Frenchman as he collected his chips. Collins seemed unperturbed and still had around 20,000 in front of him.

As his namesake Phil Collins sang on No Jacket Required, there is a Long, Long Way to Go and nobody knows that more than the November Niner.



In two minutes time PartyPoker Ambassador Mike Sexton is surely going to announce “shuffle up and deal” but as usual there are more people trying to register than are actually sat in their seats!

But when we do get started we are in for a poker treat. We have already seen the former WPT Champion Mclean Karr – who is in red hot form, recent WSOP bracelet winner Joe Ebanks, November Niner Sam Holden, the number one tournament player in the world right now Jason Mercier and the WPT Raw Deal presenter Tony Dunst.

Yesterday we saw 140 players register and 70 survive, there will be a few more levels until we can announce the total combined number but are expecting more than that figure today.

Stay tuned for all of the action right here.

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