Saturday, December 26, 2009

Grand Prix de Paris Returns to World Poker Tour, by Dan Cypra - 25th December 2009

From May 8th to 13th, the World Poker Tour (WPT) will return to the Aviation Club for the Grand Prix de Paris. The €10,000 buy-in tournament will be filmed for television and beamed around the world.

The Aviation Club opened back in 1907 and makes its home on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, the city’s famous boulevard. The cozy club’s poker consultant, Bruno Fitoussi, commented in a press release distributed by the WPT, "The Aviation Club de France is delighted to welcome back a WPT event in Paris. The WPT Grand Prix de Paris is guaranteed to be a high-class tournament in the highlights of the international poker scene and will, for sure, attract players from all around the world."

The 2010 visit to the Aviation Club marks the first WPT event in Paris since 2006. That year, Christian Grundtvig defeated Finnish poker player Jani Sointula to take home the Grand Prix de Paris title and its corresponding €712,500 first place prize. Sointula earned a €356,250 consolation prize and others at the final table included Thomas Wahlroos (third place for €243,750), Henrik Witt (fourth place for €168,750), Phil Yeh (fifth place for €131,250), and Pat Schuhl (sixth place for €93,750). A total of 232 players entered and the top 27 finished in the money.

Land-based satellites for the 2010 WPT Grand Prix de Paris will kick off on May 1st at the Aviation Club. Adam Pliska, President of the WPT, told Poker News Daily, "France is an important part of WPT's world and will continue to be key for WPT as it expands across Europe and beyond. While WPT's television shows continue to expand their global reach, the introduction of non-televised events will also provide WPT and its partners with even more opportunities to connect with its consumers.” Earlier this year, the WPT was sold to Party Gaming, the parent company of the popular site PartyPoker.

In 2005, Roland de Wolfe bested Juha Helppi in the Grand Prix de Paris, outlasting a field of 160 players. That year, Alan Goehring also made the final table, taking sixth place for €74,950. The 2004 installment was perhaps the most memorable, as it featured runner-up Tony G lambasting eventual winner Surinder Sunar. The Club’s layout was unique in that the assembled audience watched the action from the final table in an adjacent area via television monitors.

Lyndsay Lagree, Senior Public Relations Manager for the WPT, added, “We're thrilled to be back in France for the WPT Grand Prix de Paris. WPT looks forward to building on its longstanding relationship with Aviation Club de France and to welcoming many poker fans through its doors.” The first WPT Grand Prix de Paris took place in 2003 and saw David Benyamine best Jan Boubli for the title. Also at the final table was Full Tilt Poker pro Erick Lindgren, then a relative unknown. Lindgren recorded his second WPT cash at the Paris poker tournament, earning €53,600 during the Season 2 stop.

The Grand Prix de Paris comes one month after the WPT Championship at the Bellagio, the $25,000 buy-in end-of-season event, and the French feature tournament includes two starting days. In March, WPT staff will head to Bucharest for an event at the Regent Casino. The WPT Bucharest Main Event boasts a €3,300 buy-in and begins on March 27th.

Also to be held during the Grand Prix de Paris is a €20,000 buy-in High Roller event that begins on May 15th and runs for three days. WPT representatives noted that French gaming regulations were to blame for the tournament series’ absence from the Aviation Club for the last three years. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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