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French Pro Cazals Breaks U.S. Dominance at WSOP
French professional poker player Aubin Cazals snapped a streak of six consecutive wins by American players at the 2012 WSOP this week.
The Vallesvilles, France, native beat U.S. pro Joseph Cheong heads-up in the final match of the inaugural $5,000 Mixed Max event for $480,564.
The 21 year old was cheered heartily by a collection of French players, including pros Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Nicolas Levi, when he collected his first WSOP bracelet at a ceremony earlier today.
“I feel great,” said Cazals. “I’m proud of what I did and how I played.”
Despite the bracelet and the cash, Cazals will likely be remembered best for the epic, record-setting heads-up match he played against Warwick Mirzikian in the semi finals of the Mixed Max.
For a total of nine hours and 25 minutes Cazals and Mirzikian traded blows before Cazals was finally able to bust his opponent.
The match easily beat out the previous record, where it took Chip Reese seven hours and six minutes to beat Andy Bloch in the $50k H.O.R.S.E. championship.
The Cazals/Mirzikian match will have an asterisk beside it, however, as the Mixed Max was heads-up only tournament in the final three days while the $50k H.O.R.S.E. was a standard freezeout.
The marathon match actually extended the $5k Mixed Max another day and it took five, instead of the originally scheduled four, days to settle a winner.
Cazals has only been playing poker professionally for two years and got his start playing online poker. Over the last eight months Cazals transitioned to live poker.
“This is my first major win so I’m very happy,” he said.
European players usually have a huge presence at the WSOP but this year Americans had a stranglehold on bracelets until Cazals won the Mixed Max.
“I didn’t pay attention to that when I was playing but they told me after the match,” he said. "It’s pretty cool.”
Cazals mentioned the French poker playing community is quite tight knit and the entire group supports each other.
“We will share hands and talk about them,” said Cazals.
Cazals, who is currently living in Malta so he can play online poker, isn’t heading home anytime soon. He has plans to play 20 more events at the 2012 WSOP.