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World Series Of Poker Europe Underway, Three Bracelets Awarded

The World Series of Poker Europe does not attract the crowds that are seen when the WSOP hits Las Vegas, Nevada, in the summer. That does not mean, however, that some of the top players in the world have not traveled to France to try their skills against the best Europe has to offer.

The WSOPE began on Friday, and already three bracelets have been handed out. The first event of the series was a Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em tournament. Over 225 players entered the tourney, and it was Imed Ben Mahmoud that came away with the top prize. Mahmoud outplayed Yannick Bonnet in the heads-up battle.

American professional and poker legend Phil Hellmuth entered the inaugural event at this year's WSOPE, and he fared well, finishing 24th. Jennifer Tilly, the actress turned poker pro, also cashed in the event, finishing 17th. The only other American to place in the tournament was David ODB Baker, who finished 14th.

The first No-limit Hold'em tournament ended with a familiar face holding up the gold bracelet. Antonio Esfandiari outlasted hometown France player Remi Bollengier, and took home the top prize. Over 600 players entered the event. For Esfandiari, it was another win in what is becoming one of the best year's any player has ever had. Esfandiari won the $1 million buy-in No-Limit tournament at the WSOP this past summer, setting a record with his $18 million first place prize money.

Another popular pro made waves in Event #3, a Pot-Limit Omaha event that ended just moments ago. Michael Mizrachi played well in the 97-person field, but ended up in third place. Roger Hairabedian of France defeated Ville Mattila of Finland to win the tournament. Mattila was one of three Finnish players to place in the top five of the event.

Two additional events are in their final stages. In Event #4, a No-Limit Hold'em Shootout, Dan O'Brien, Giovanni Rosadoni, John Monnette, and Oleksii Kovalchuk are battling it out for the top spot.

Tilly, Mizrachi, Esfandiari, John Juanda, Phil Ivey, and David Benyamine highlight a who's who of players remaining in Event #5, a Mixed Max - No-Limit Hold'em tourney. Tilly is the current chip leader.

One more tournament will be played before the Main Event starts on Saturday. Unlike the WSOP held in Las Vegas, which has over 50 events and lasts over two months, the WSOPE is only a two week series with eight events.

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