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Hellmuth Show Takes Over at 2011 WSOPE
Win or lose, Phil Hellmuth loves to be the center of attention in any poker room.
With his 12th bracelet looming in the distance, a WSOP Player of the Year title to play for and the spotlight shining directly on him, today at the World Series of Poker Europe in Cannes was a Hellmuthian dream come true.
Active at his table and bantering liberally with his opponents, Hellmuth was in the center of the action all day and played the kind of poker he's staked his reputation on for the past 20 years.
The end result was Hellmuth stacking up over 401k in chips to sit second heading into the final day of play in Event 1, €2,680 No-Limit Holdem Six-Max.
The only name ahead of Hellmuth in the chip counts is Guillaume Humbert, who was the only player to break half a million in chips and who finished the day with 541,000.
Coming in to the 2011 WSOPE with a 51-point lead over Ben Lamb in the POY race, Hellmuth has assured himself of at least another 24 points to stretch his lead out a little further heading into the final six events in Cannes.
More importantly to Hellmuth, however, is another chance to play for his 12th WSOP bracelet - a bracelet he came tantalizingly close to three times this summer in Vegas with runner-up finishes.
Benyamine, Wigg Chasing
Other notable names in contention tomorrow are high-stakes cash game icon David Benyamine (253k), Swedish pro and 2010 EPT Copenhagen champ Anton Wigg (201k) and American pro Casey Kastle (119k).
Rounding out the final 12 players are Azusa Maeda (295k), Marton Czuczor (210k), Matan Krakow (203k), Alexander Salabaschew (183k), Adrien Allain (125k), Bruno Benveniste (102k) and Roy Finlay (72k).
Action starts up again tomorrow at 3 pm from the Hotel Majestic Barriere in Cannes and will play down to a winner.
Hinrichsen Leads €1k After Day 1a
Meanwhile outside of the Hellmuthian bubble that took over much of the casino, Day 1a of the €1k No-Limit Holdem event also got underway.
At the end of nine levels played out today, Australian pro Andrew Hinrichsen holds the chip lead with 63,900.
Of the 381 players who registered for Day 1a, just 54 will return for Day 2 on Monday.
Among the notable names coming back with a stack are Toby Lewis, Randy Dorfman, McLean Karr, Erik Cajelais, Nicholas Chouity and 2011 November Niner Eoghan O'Dea.
Notable names eliminated today include 2011 November Niner Matt Giannetti, Justin Bonomo, Eugene Katchalov, Chris Moorman, Jonathan Duhamel, Erik Seidel, Jason Mercier and Tom Dwan.
Day 1b kicks off at noon tomorrow with another nine levels of play to determine the remaining players to make the merged field on Monday.
PokerListings.com will be picking up the action live on Monday and you can catch the highlights in our WSOPE updates section.