Cantu Melts Down After WSOP Europe Runner-Up Showing
As the FlushDraw blog returns with a full lineup of poker news and commentary, it’s time to check in at the World Series of Poker Europe, currently well into Main Event play at Cannes, France. There was plenty of action to recap from the preliminary events, including a post-loss meltdown by two-time bracelet winner Brandon Cantu after finishing as the runner-up to Jonathan Aguiar in Event #5 of the 2012 WSOPE, €10,450 Mixed Max – NL Hold’em.
This mixed-max tourney has a couple of things about that should be noted right off. First, it was open to only 96 players, who each bought in for the equivalent of about $13,500. That puts this event solely in the purview of a bracelet being held for bracelet hunters, a special breed of WSOP tourney players, none more famous than Phil Hellmuth… who made the money in this one.
Second, the 96 entries played down to 16 on the first day courtesy of a shifting tourney that saw the event srat as nine-handed (Day 1), shift to six-handed (Day 2), then move to a bracket-elimination, head-to-head format for the final 16 players, who made the money.
Once down to 16, a random draw was held for the 16 spots, rather than seeding the last 16 by chip count, which may have been what some of the entrants were told early on. In any event, that draw produced one of the tourney’s first weird moments, when runaway leader Cantu, with almost 800,000 in chips, ended up facing Phil Hellmuth in the round of 16. Hellmuth was in third, entering bracket play, but with fewer than 200,000 chips, was a heavy underdog to Cantu, and duly lost that match.
Cantu moved on to the semis, against Event 3 winner Roger Hairabedean, where Cantu’s emotions first began to get the better of him. At one point, Hairabedean requested to be moved to a different seat position at the table, purportedly to prevent the nearby rail from seeing his cards… and possibly one of them tipping off Cantu by accident or intent. The TD agreed to allow Hairabedean to reposition his chair, which sent Cantu into a tirade, claiming that this allowed Hairabedean to also get a new angle on Cantu for determining body and facial tells — and overlooking the obvious counter to that in that Cantu would have had a brand new angle on Hairabedean as well.
Cantu unleashed a tirade at that point about how unfair the WSOP TDs were him, historically, but he got by Hairabedean and moved on to the finals, there to meet Aguiar.
That had to be an interesting one for the WSOP staffers — Cantu, a whiner who they may dislike, versus Aguiar, a whiner who they positively hate. The Twitter blowup between the WSOP and Aguiar this past summer had resulted in Aguiar reporting that he was blocked by the WSOP account, which had seen WSOP official use the account to call Aguiar a “whiny bitch” in response to earlier Aguiar complaining. They’d just gotten around to unblocking Aguiar in response to his latest deep WSOPE run, but I doubt he’s a staff fave, regardless.
And on the topic of Aguiar, he’s a controversy magnet. Besides getting into it with WSOP staffers over various and sundry issues, he’s also in recent months had well-publicized tiffs with both Joe Sebok and Matthew “adzizzy” Marafioti. In the one case, Sebok made vague threats on Twitter about potential skeletons regarding Agiuar’s girlfriend, and as for Marafioti, well that guy’s often just off the deep end. Still, Aguiar always seems to get tangled up in that stuff.
Back to the WSOPE Event #5 finale. Did you really think it would go off without controversy? The controversy here happened before the match even started, when Aguiar successfully argued for a day’s intermission because the event had already been lengthened unexpectedly by an extra day, and Aguiar was scheduled to play in the following day’s WSOPE Main Event Day 1B.
Prep the meltdown, and with the timing of tragic comedy, it came when they finally played, with Cantu suffering a couple of crucial river beats that final let Aguiar take first the lead, and then the bracelet and €258,047. The following day, Cantu did a video interview with PokerNews where he accused the WSOPE staff of robbing him of the bracelet:
Cantu PN rant (on You Tube)
Cantu also let loose an extended string of disjointed whines on his own Twitter account.
If there was ever a no-win situation for WSOP staffers, this might have been it. When all the whine and cheese had been consumed, Cantu remained in possession of his two earlier WSOP bracelets, while Aguiar grabbed his first.
About those other prelims? Here’s a quick rundown of the latest WSOPE bracelet winners:
Event 1, €2,700 Six-Handed NL Hold’em, Imed Ben Mahmoud, Tunisia, €147,099
Event 2, €1,100 NL Hold’em, Antonio Esfandiari, United States, €126,207
Event 3, €5,300 PL Omaha, Roger Hairabedian, €142,590
Event 4, €3,250 NL Hold’em Shootout, Giovanni Rosadoni, France, €107,614
Event 6, €1,650 Six-Handed PL Omaha, Francisco Da Costa Santos, Portugal, €83,275