For a while it appeared as though the second preliminary event of the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) was going to wrap up a full day ahead of schedule. The £2,500 buy-in Pot Limit Hold’em / Pot Limit Omaha event flew through Day 1, beginning the day with a field of 159 and finishing with just 22 players. The event came extremely close to the 18-man money bubble and on Day 2 the action continued at a rapid fire rate with the final table set in a matter of hours. However, play finally slowed down with five players to go and that quintent returned on Day 3 to play down to a champion.
That champion was 27 year-old American pro Erik Cajelais, who has $1.7 million in tournament earnings, but no bracelets on record prior to this event. Cajelais came close to victory during the 2007 WSOP, finishing runner up to Burt Boutin in the $5,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha with rebuys event, but his first taste of WSOP victory would come two years later in London.  Cajelais defeated a tough final table that boasted four different bracelet winners: Chris Bjorin, Howard Lederer, Men Nguyen and Hoyt Corkins. There were three hometown pros at the nine-handed final table as well. Richard Gryko, Robin Keston and Party Poker sponsored pro Ian Frazer, who ultimately finished in 8th place.
Though the field for the event was a relatively small one at 159 players, it was a veritable minefield of tough pros. Just a few of the players who showed up for the event were Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, Jeff Lisandro, Brandon Cantu, Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro, Roland de Wolfe, Huck Seed and Vitaly Lunkin.
Lunkin made a run in the event, surviving to Day 2, and it looked as though he might become the second player to win WSOP and WSOPE bracelets this year. WSOPE Event #1 winner JP Kelly won a $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event this summer and picked up his second career bracelet across the pond in London when he took down the preliminary No Limit Hold’em WSOPE event earlier this week. Lunkin, who won the $40,000 buy-in anniversary No Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP earlier this year aimed to match Kelly’s achievement, but ultimately ended up going out in 17th place.
Lunkin was not the only player to lose steam on Day 2. Both Allie Prescott and Nikolay Evdakov began the day towards the top of the chip counts but ultimately fell short of the final table and even the eventual winner Cajelais had a rough go of it late in the evening. After starting the day as chip leader, Cajelais dropped to fourth in chips out of five remaining players when Day 2 came to close. He rallied on Day 3 though and defeated Mats Gavatin, who held the chip lead at the start of Day 3, heads-up for the bracelet.
After his victory, Cajelais spoke with the press about how his desire to avoid another runner-up finish influenced his performance. “It was extra motivation. I felt like I really, really, really wanted to win it”, he explained. “I had to do everything I could to win and today I played well and the cards came out my way.” Cajelais earned £104,677 (roughly $170,000) for his win.
Here are the complete results from the final table of the event:
1st: Erik Cajelais – £ 104,677
2nd: Mats Gavatin – £ 64,705
3rd: Robin Keston – £ 47,858
4th: Men Nguyen – £35,412
5th: Richard Gryko – £26,619
6th: Chris Bjorin – £20,106
7th: Hoyt Corkins – £15,302
8th: Ian Frazer – £11,732
9th: Howard Lederer – £9,117

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