november 9 preview #3 – the Europeans

Picture the scene. You are heads up playing for a World Series of Poker bracelet. You are about even in chips with your opponent when he goes all-in. You look down at ace-king and call in a heartbeat. He turns over his cards and you see he was making a play with 10-4 of diamonds.

Then this happens.:

James Akenhead will be looking to go one better when he takes to the felt on Saturday, but there are a number of things standing between him and the world title, most notably his chipstack, which is dwarfed by those of most of his opponents.

Still, no one would put it past the Londoner to do the unthinkable and walk away with the crown.

Smile, James.

Indeed some might say he has fate on his side. He was on the brink with only two tables left, but his king-queen cracked Jamie Robbins’ aces and he managed to stay alive.

And who knows what Akenhead will be capable of at the final table. The former train driver has a good head on his shoulders and has threatened another big result ever since that hand against Grant Hinkle. Now could be his time.

Six Seven Saouted

There have not been so few non-Americans at the final table since 2006, and the only other European at the table is Frenchman Antoine Saout.

The quiet 25-year-old is something of an unknown quantity, having only turned pro in 2008, but if anyone had doubts about his ability he proved himself by making the final table at the World Series of Poker Europe along with Akenhead, Daniel Negreanu and a host of other top players.

And victory for Saout, known online as ‘tonio292’, could spark another mini-boom in the world of internet poker.

Antoine Saout is currently 8th in chips

Antoine Saout will hope to improve on his 7th-place finish in the WSOPE

He qualified for the modest outlay of $50 in a tournament on the poker site Everest Poker, and his success so far will have repercussions for more than just his own bank balance.

Everest promised a $1million bonus to be divided between the 51 players who qualified for the Main Event through their site, if just one of them managed to reach the final table.

In short, he has made a few people about $20,000 richer.

But now let’s look at the positives for Everest. A site which few had heard of six months ago will now most likely generate a lot more traffic off the back of this promotion. It’s not cheap, but it’s probably more efficient than other forms of advertising.

Yeah, but will they win?

Admittedly neither Saout nor Akenhead is in an ideal position to win the bracelet this weekend, but if one of them gets a quick double-up then who knows what will happen.

Tomorrow I will post my final preview, and then it will be time to shuffle up and deal!


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Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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