Hellmuth, Negreanu and Other Notable Pros Absent From 2018 WSOP Europe

Hellmuth, Negreanu and Other Notable Pros Absent From 2018 WSOP Europe

The 2018 WSOP Europe is almost halfway through its 10-event schedule in the Czech Republic, and has already produced some interesting storylines. The first two events, for instance, were won by Israeli players, including Asi Moshe winning a second career gold bracelet. Nevertheless, many top US players familiar to poker fans appear to be largely absent from the series, including the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, as well as many other pros who put in impressive performances at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas.

Player of the Year Incentive

Launched in 2007, the WSOP Europe was always expected to be just a minor draw compared to its world famous counterpart, which takes place each summer in Nevada. However, the WSOP Player of the Year race is determined by result accrued across both competitions, which in the past has motivated some of the game’s greats to make the more than 9 hour journey across the Atlantic in an attempt to lock up the prestigious title.

In 2013, for instance, Daniel Negreanu claimed the POY race after winning two bracelets that year, including taking down the WSOPE €25,600 High Roller for €725,000 ($979,955). Similarly, Chris Ferguson won last year’s title after an unprecedented run of scores which saw him record 17 cashes at the WSOP for $380,200, and 6 cashes at the WSOP Europe for $56,144, including winning the €1,650 PLO event for €39,289 ($45,677) and a sixth career WSOP bracelet.

Sean Deeb a Lock

This year, Shaun Deeb ended the US version in pole position on a commanding 4,386.84 POY points, with nearest rivals Ben Yu (3,746.04), Joe Cada (3,531.86), John Hennigan (3,499.91), Scott Bohlman (3,155.88), and Paul Volpe (2,859.76) a fair distance back. It would appear that this group of players are now content to allow Shaun Deeb to run away with the title as none of them seem to be in attendance at the series.

Interestingly, even Sean Deeb initially expressed reservations about traveling to the Czech Republic, but as he explained during a cardplayer interview this month:

“To be honest, it’s probably unprofitable for me to go there, when you consider the buy-ins and the travel expenses. If it was strictly about money, I would never bother going there, but I really want to win POY, and this is the best shot I’ve had at doing it.”

Meanwhile, a number of players, including Ben Yu, have also abstained from taking part in the series following revelations last year that the King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik failed to repay a $3 million loan made by Australian pro Matt Kirk whilst playing at the Aria in Las Vegas.

Hellmuth and Negreanu Absent

In addition, two of the biggest names in the game, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, announced ahead of time that they would not be attending the 2018 WSOP Europe.

Throughout his illustrious career, Hellmuth has won an unprecedented 15 WSOP bracelets, including a single European version after taking down the 2012 WSOPE €10,450 No Limit Hold’em Main Event for €1,022,376 ($1,333,841). Hellmuth claimed his latest bracelet in Sin City this summer, possibly making the WSOP legend feel more relaxed about missing out on more accolades in the Czech Republic. As Hellmuth subsequently tweeted a few days ago:

“I believe that this is the first @WSOP WSOPE or WSOPA that I’ve missed since 1989. Love @PokerRoomKings, but long long flight from California!! It seems to take me 5 groggy days to adapt to Europe…If they have WSOPE in 2019, I will be there… #HardToMissWSOPE”

On the other hand, Negreanu probably feels little incentive to take part in this year’s WSOP Europe having experienced one of his worse WSOP’s to date after cashing just five times in Vegas for $185,103. While that may not seem too disastrous a result, bear in mind that the Team PokerStars Pro announced before the 2018 WSOP that he intended to spend $2 million on buy-ins, and play 39 events during its 50-day run.

Although many of the more recognizable pros have given the WSOP Europe a wide berth this year, there are still plenty in attendance to bring an extra spark of excitement to proceedings. This includes the likes of Roland Israelashvili, Maria Lampropulos, Anthony Zinno, Ryan Riess, Jeff Madsen, Chris Ferguson, Dutch Boyd, and, of course, Shaun Deeb.