WSOP Europe Wraps Up after Drawing Wavering Fields in Defiance of COVID Surge

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The World Series of Poker concluded its European leg Wednesday night, with Josef Gulas, Jr., taking down the Main Event for nearly €1.3 million. The €10,350 ($11,690) tournament attracted 589 entries during a national state of emergency in the Czech Republic declared due to surging COVID cases in the region.

WSOPE Kings Casino
A relatively maskless WSOP Europe Main Event broke an attendance record at King’s Casino Rozvadov despite new COVID restrictions in the Czech Republic. (Image: Tomas Stacha/WSOP)

This 8.9% growth in field size, up from 541 in 2019, was one of a few tournaments to see growth compared to two years ago.

Most of the 15 bracelet events held at King’s Casino in Rozvadov this year, starting Nov. 19, saw underwhelming player numbers. (There was no live WSOPE in 2020.)

The Main Event fell just short of the previous record of 593 entrants, set in 2011.

The €1,350 Mini Main drew 1,123 individual players, with 274 reentries — a surprising 82% increase over 2019’s 766 total entries.

That was the exception, however, not the rule. Other tournaments all met their guarantees but noted significant field-size shrinkage in their comeback year. Here’s a snapshot of some notable field sizes showing how this year’s numbers compared to 2019:

  • €1,350 Mini Main Event: 1,397 entries, up 82% from 766
  • €550 Colossus: 1,916 entries, down 12% from 2,177
  • €2,500 short deck: 98 entries, down 45% from 179
  • €2,000 PLO: 143 entries, down 47% from 271 (with a higher €2,200 buy-in)
  • €1,650 NLH/PLO: 230 entries, down 18% from 279
  • €25K Platinum High Roller: 73 entries, down 14% from 83
  • €10,350 WSOPE Main Event:  589 entries, up 8.9% from 541

And here’s a rundown of the 2021 WSOPE bracelet winners :


Josef GulasJosef Gulas, Jr.

€10,350 Main Event
€ 1,276,712 ($1,444,637)

Gulas won his way into this year’s Main Event through a €250 satellite. The victory nearly tripled his lifetime live tournament winnings, which had reached nearly €726,000 ($820,000) over the course of more than 100 in-the-money finishes going back to 2007. A car salesman by profession, Gulas is a King’s Casino regular.

Antonello FerraiuoloAntonello Ferraiuolo

€350 No-Limit Hold’em
€87,920 ($99K)

The Italian player from Massa Lubrense won his first WSOP bracelet in the opening tournament of the WSOPE, which attracted 1,143 entrants, with 646 re-entries.

Bjorn Verbakel

Bjorn Verbakel

€550 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-max
€60,253 ($68K)

The player from the Netherlands pushed his career tournament winnings to more than $400K and won his first WSOP bracelet by beating Zhao Feng, who was coming off a victory at an EPT event in early November, in heads-up play. 

Emil Bise

Emil Bise

€1,350 No-Limit Hold’em Mini Main
€260,525 ($295K)

The Swiss poker player added a bracelet to the two WSOP rings he won in 2019 playing in on the European Circuit, bringing his career tournament winnings to almost $700K. 

Samuel Stranak

Samuel Stranak

€2,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
€101,764 ($114K)

The Slovakian player made the most of his first live cash in a WSOP event, outlasting 143 entrants (with 98 re-entries) to claim his first bracelet.

Edmond Jahjaga

Edmond Jahjaga

€550 No-Limit Hold’em Colossus
€158,125 ($177K)

The recreational player from Kosovo, who only started playing poker five years ago, scored his first tournament cash and his first WSOP bracelet in the event that attracted 1,916 entrants and 562 re-entries.

Antoine Vranken

Antoine Vranken

€1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha/No-Limit Hold’em Mix
€113,000 ($128K)

The Dutchman won his first WSOP bracelet and pushed his live tournament winnings over the half-million-dollar mark in the event that attracted 230 entrants and 109 re-entries.

Maximilian Kolestermeier

Maximilian Klostermeier

€5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
€204,010 ($230K)

Winning his second career bracelet, the professional from Copenhagen outlasted 104 entrants (with 80 re-entries) to push his live tournament winnings to more than $425K.

Julien MartiniJulien Martini

2,500 No-Limit Hold’em Short Deck
€214,130 ($242K)

The poker pro from Paris won his second career bracelet in this that attracted 58 entries, including 40 re-entries.


Sergiu Covrig

Sergiu Covrig

€1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Bounty Hunter
€79,282 ($89K)

The Romanian poker pro secured his first bracelet in the event that attracted 604 bounty hunters.

Andriy Lyubovetskiy

Andrey Lyubovetskiy

€25K No-Limit Hold’em High Roller
€518,430 ($586K)

The Ukrainian pro won his first bracelet in the high roller event that attracted 57 players and 15 re-entries, pushing his lifetime tournament winnings to more than $810K.

Simone Andrian

Simone Andrian

€1,650 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Max
€158,616 ($179K)

Another bracelet newbie was crowned at King’s Casino when Italy’s Andrian beat 534 other entrants in the short-handed event.

Julien Martini

2,000 8-Game Mix
€33,910 ($38K)

Just days after winning his second WSOP bracelet, Martini struck again, becoming the first French player to claim three career bracelets, putting him ahead of his countrymen Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Roger Hairabedian, who each have two.

Romain Le Dantec

Romain Le Dantec

€10K No-Limit Hold’em 6-Max
€207,267 ($234,637)

Another first-time WSOP bracelet winner, Le Dantec bested a 73-player field and a tough final table that included Martini and Grospellier. 


Alessandro Pichierri

Alessandro Pichierri

€3,000 Closer
€148,008 (1$67,090)

Pichierri closed out a strong WSOPE performance in style, reaching his second final table of the series and securing his first bracelet in the series’ closing tournament that saw 145 entrants, including 83 re-entries. 

Photos by Thomas Stacha, courtesy of the WSOP.

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