WSOP Roundup: PartyPoker’s Joao Simao Wins Second Bracelet; France, Bulgaria, Cyprus Score Big

As the action continues playing out in Las Vegas at the World Series of Poker, international players continue finding some big wins and nice finishes over the last week.

That included Brazilian and Team PartyPoker ambassador Joao Simao scoring a huge payout and second WSOP bracelet. The last week also brought wins by players from Bulgaria, France, and Cyprus. 

The coming weekend also brings the first flights in the $10,000 Main Event and another online bracelet event. Here’s a look at the latest WSOP action from Bally’s and Paris.

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Event 53: $5,000 Mixed NLHE/PLO

Brazil continues to be a hotspot for online poker and the country is also seeing some nice wins in the live arena as well. PartyPoker ambassador Joao Simao (pictured in lead image, courtesy WSOP) became the latest this week, topping a field of 788 players for a score of $686,242 and career bracelet No. 2.

The tournament produced a $3.6 million prize pool. The mixed format featuring these two popular games brought some interesting dynamics for Simao at the final table.

“I had some very hard spots at the final table,” he said. “Some players were better than me in Hold’em, others were better than me in Omaha, but I felt that on average I had an edge because I play both well.”

Germany’s Marius Gierse took second place for $424,122 and another Brazilian, Dante Goya, finished fourth for $219,472.

Event 49: $2,000 No Limit Holdem 

Simeon Spasov with his WSOP bracelet. (photos courtesy WSOP)

Bulgaria’s Simeon Spasov staged quite a comeback to score some hardware in this event. On the short stack entering the final table, he was able to rally for the win. 

That included besting well-regarded Canadian pro Mike Watson in heads-up play. Spasov scored $527,944 in the only WSOP cash of his career. The event saw 1,977 entries for a $3.5 million prize pool with Watson taking home $326,296 for runner-up.

The final two tables featured quite an international cast of players including Brazil, Germany, Greece, South Korea, Bulgaria, Australia, Canada, Portugal, France, Belgium, and the United States. The other top five finishers included:

  • 3rd – Daniel Custodio (Portugal), $239,679
  • 4th – Ioannis Angelous Konstas (Greece), $177,761
  • 5th – Walter Ripper (Brazil), $133,129

Event 48: $1,500 Eight Game Mix Six-Handed

Menikos Panagiotou

No player from the country of Cyprus had ever won a WSOP bracelet in the history of the series. That changed on Saturday when Menikos Panagiotou found the winner’s circle for $180,783.

The restaurateur served up some excellent poker skills to beat a field of 695, which produced a $927,825 prize pool.  Before launching into the restaurant business, Panagiotou played poker professionally.

After leaving the game behind for a few years, he only began playing again recently. He was pleased to represent his country and bring home a win.

“It means a lot,” he said. “Although we are a small country with a small population, we actually have a lot of poker players. I can’t wait to go back to see all my friends because they’ve already started sending me messages, congrats and everything. It’s amazing.”

Chile’s Nick Yunis finished runner-up for $111,724.

Event 46: $5,000 Six-Handed NLHE

There was quite a French contingent cheering on countryman Jonathan Pastore at the PokerGO set on Friday. The good vibes may have helped and he came on ahead of a 920-player field for $771,765.

Jonathan Pastore collected some hardware and $771,765.

“Having all of my friends on the rail really helped me,” he said. “We are a big group of friends and poker players who live in Malta and came to play the World Series. Coming from the amateur poker circles in France, with all my friends around me, I feel I mixed those two worlds today and it’s beautiful.”

The event brought a $4.2 million prize pool. This is Pastore’s first bracelet and the biggest score of his poker career. Canada’s Tamer Alkamli took third for $331,503 and Paraskevas Tsokaridis, of Greece, finished fifth for $167,882.

A look at other winners

More players may not have won bracelets, but found some deep runs and nice payouts. France’s Daniel Tordjman finished runner-up in Event 45: $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha for $192,674. Italy’s Biagio Morciano took fourth in Event 47: $1,000 Seniors Championship for $244,664.

Event 50: $250,000 Super High Roller brought plenty of big names to the final table including Phil Ivey, Alex Foxen, and Spanish poker superstar Adrian Mateos.

Mateos ultimately finished fourth in the nosebleed-level stakes for $1.4 million. Foxen scored his first bracelet in the event for $4.6 million.

In Event 52: $2,500 Nine Game Mix Six-Handed, Brazil’s Andre Akkari found the runner-up spot for $135,848. The United Kingdom’s Phil Long finished third for $90,411.

A couple of European players also produced nice finishes in Sunday’s online bracelet event. Pavel Plesuv, of Prague, Czech Republic, finished runner-up in the $600 Online Deepstack Championship for $92,350. The UK’s Yudhishter Jaswal took fifth for $36,415.

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Upcoming events

The week ahead brings more poker action including the start of the Main Event. Here’s a look at what to expect.

  • $500 Online Event 6: $500 NLHE Turbo Deepstack – June 29
  • $1,000 Ladies Championship (Event 61) – June 29
  • $1,500 Super Turbo Bounty Freezeout (Event 62) – June 29
  • $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship (Event 63) – June 30
  • $600 Pot Limit Omaha Deepstack (Event 64) – June 30
  • $3,000 Freezeout NLHE (Event 65) – June 30
  • $1,000 Mini Main Event (Event 66) – July 1
  • $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty (Event 67) – July 2
  • $1,000 Million Dollar Bounty (Event 68) – July 2-4 (three starting flights)
  • $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Eight-Handed Championship (Event 69) – July 3-6 (four starting flights)
  • Online Event 7: $500 NLHE Deepstack –  July 3

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