Ilija Savevski
Ilija Savevski was one of three first-time WSOP bracelet winners as the World Series of Poker Europe festival in Rozvadov began with drama.

The World Series of Poker has arrived in Rozvadov, the small town on the border between Czech Republic and Germany. With the world’s biggest travelling poker circus comes the prospect of 15 WSOP bracelet events – but who will win them?


The first three events are in the bag and despite the presence of some big names, three first-time bracelet winners celebrated becoming the envy of the poker world.


Fabio Peluso Wins NLHE Opener for €95,670


The first event of the 2022 World Series of Poker Europe festival cost €350 to play and attracted an incredible 2,454 entries. With a prizepool well in excess of €730,000, two Italians ended up battling for the bracelet as it took three days to find a winner. Peluso, who hails from the tiny Italian town of San Nicandro Garganico, has already had a very profitable year, coming second in Monte Carlo in the FPS Main Event of April, where he won a career-high score of $228,545.


This time out, he landed his first bracelet in his third career WSOP cash. The final table of nine players began with four Italian players making up almost half the remaining field, but after Brazilian player Gabriel Baleeiro left in ninth place for €8,809, that number was reduced as the popular poker player Simone Andrian left in eighth place for €11,254, his 6h6d dominated and destroyed by chip leader Dennis Wilke’s AsAd.


It was the only Czech player to make the first final table of the series who busted next, as Miroslav Navratil departed in seventh place for €14,509. His all-in with TdTc was called by Carlo Savinelli with AdQd and the board of 9c8h7d8d3d was favorable to the Italian in cruel fashion, handing Savinelli a runner-runner flush and skittling the home crowd’s pick.


Italy vs. Germany in Final Six Drama


Exactly half the remaining six players were Italian, with the other half all German. Gennaro Proscia reduced Italian hopes when he crashed out in sixth place, his AsAc taken out in dramatic fashion by the eventual winner Fabio Peluso. He called Proscia’s four-bet shove holding AhKh and while he remained behind after the Kc7h4c flop, the 3h turn was followed by the Kd on the river, giving Peluso trips to send Proscia home with €18,875.


A trio of German eliminations followed as Dennis Wilke went in fifth from hero to zero, his QhJh shot down by Savinelli’s AcTh for €24,773. Next out was Kevin Fluegel, who cashed for €32,801 in fourth place, his AdKh outrun by Peluso’s QcJd when the board came QhJc4dJhAc to give the Italian chip leader an unassailable full house by the turn.


Stefan Vogt went out in third place for €43,813 after his QhTh was unable to overtake Savinelli’s Ad9h. The AcJc8d flop was followed by an 8c turn and Jh river. That left Savinelli with 31.6 million and Peluso with just 17.5 million chips, but those roles were about to become reversed.


It took just 30 minutes of play for that role reversal to take place as Peluso took charge of the final duel, his recent form proving more valuable than the years of experience Savinelli had on his side. Eventually, Savinelli’s Ac7c couldn’t hit against the 5d5c of Peluso to leave the latter celebrating a famous win as the first WSOP bracelet winner of the 2022 festival, claiming a top prize of €95,670. Savinelli had to be satisfied with €59,032.


“I have been playing a lot more live poker in the past year,’ said Peluso afterwards. “I used to play only online and I have now been playing professionally for about two years. I have been studying a lot and discussing spots with my poker friends.”


Peluso not only took home the gold and the biggest prize on offer, but he’s the first of 15 bracelet winners this WSOPE series to win entry into the $1 million free-entry 2023 Tournament of Champions which will take place following the 2023 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas.


WSOP Europe Event #1 €350 NLHE Opener Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Fabio Peluso Italy €95,670
2nd Carlo Savinelli Italy €59,032
3rd Stefan Vogt Germany €43,813
4th Kevin Fluegel Germany €32,801
5th Dennis Wilke Germany €24,773
6th Gennaro Proscia Italy €18,875
7th Miroslav Navratil Czech Republic €14,509
8th Simone Andrian Italy €11,254
9th Gabriel Baleeiro Brazil €8,809


Phung Claims German Title after Almaas Goes Close


The second event of the series, the €550-entry Pot Limit Omaha Event #2, was won by German player Helmut Phung as he outlasted a field of 566 entries. The nine-handed final table saw local anti-hero Martin Kabrhel bust out first as the controversial trash-talker barely got his opening lines out before his exit in ninth for €4,057.


Next to go was Bosnian player Misel Bosancic for €5,210, before Polish pro Bartlomiej Staszczak left the event in seventh place for a score worth €6,815. Andreas Zampas lost his stack to Jakob Madsen in sixth place for €9,078 as the latter flopped the nut straight to skittle the Greek player. With five players left, no-one had less than 17 big blinds or more than 47 with Phung the leader.


After French player Greg Sellam left in fifth place for €12,310, Madsen found it was his turn to run out of luck, as his opponent Martin Almaas called a ten out of the air on the turn to knock him out for €16,987. Down to three, it would be Pascal Foged who missed out on taking on his compatriot heads-up, instead busting to Phung, as his AsKdQc5s lost to Phung’s 9h5c4h3c with the chips committed pre-flop. “I hope I can win one time because I get very bad cards at the final table all the time,” Foged said shortly before fulfilling his own prophecy to bust.


That left Phung with 11 million chips, a stack that dwarfed Almaas’ own pile of 3.3 million. Heads-up was a brief and brutal affair, Phung’s flopped flush trumping Almaas’ own flush at the last. That gave Almaas the consolation prize of €34,051, with Phung claiming the top prize of €55,132 and the WSOP gold bracelet which he won for the first time in his career.


WSOP Europe Event #2 €550 Pot Limit Omaha Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Helmut Phung Germany €55,132
2nd Martin Almaas Norway €34,051
3rd Pascal Foged Germany €23,848
4th Jakob Madsen Denmark €16,987
5th Gregory Sellam France €12,310
6th Andreas Zampas Greece €9,078
7th Bartlomiej Staszczak Poland €6,815
8th Misel Bosancic Bosnia & Herzegovina €5,210
9th Martin Kabrhel Czech Republic €4,057


Savevski Slays Schoss Heads-Up for Maiden Gold


The third event of the 2022 WSOPE saw Macedonian Ilija Savevski claim the €245,319 top prize in the €1,350 buy-in Mini Main Event, which mirrors the €10,350-entry Event #12 which kicks off on the 10th of this month. The final table was an entertaining affair, with nine players battling it out for over €750,000 that remained at that point.


French player Clement Cure was the first to go, his prize of €21,162 also coming with a 2022 WSOP Europe Main Event ticket like all the final table players would receive. Cure found his 3s3h no match for Peter Kamaras’ AsAh, with the board of Qc9h4s8hJd no help to the Frenchmen.


Only one Italian player made this final table and Emanuele de Lemmi crashed out early in eighth place, busting for €27,109 when his KdJd couldn’t triumph against Stefan Schoss’ QcTc, a board of QdTh3d2h8h seeing all the money go in on the turn and miss De Lemmi’s straight and flush draws on the river.


Out in seventh place was the Portuguese player Braz Fagundes Junior, whose result of €35,124 was bettered by the first South Korean final table player in sixth place, as Yunho Choi cashed for €46,027. Choi’s Kc3c was drawing live against Savevski’s AdTh, but the board of Ts6d2h8s4s took it away from the South Korean in dispiriting fashion.


Of the final five players, three players hailed from Germany, but one of them was to bust next. Jochen Kaiser was that man as he busted in fifth for €60,990. Kaiser’s Kd9h was drawing dead to the river against Savevski’s QdTc on a board of QsTh3cTs and the 6d river meant nothing as another combatant was swept away.


Kamaras was the next player to be eliminated, missing out on the podium places when his chances ended in the same hand as the third-place finisher Dennis Magro. Kamaras had Ad4c, while Magro held TcTd, but both of the lost their stacks to Savevski’s KdQd when the board of Jh6d4s8cKs broke two hearts on the river.


That gave Savevski a crucial lead, as his 78.8 million chips faced off against Schoss with 64 million. The final hand came about soon after, with Savevski’s Kc4c ahead of Schoss’ Kd5c on the flop of Ks8h4s when the chips went in. A turn of 7c and river of 3s later and the Macedonian Savevski was a first-time bracelet winner for €245,319, Schoss taking the runner-up prize of €151,554.


WSOP Europe Event #3 €1,350 Mini Main Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Ilija Savevski Macedonia €245,319
2nd Stefan Schoss Germany €151,554
3rd Dennis Magro Germany €110,686
4th Peter Kamaras Hungary €81,716
5th Jochen Kaiser Germany €60,990
6th Yunho Choi South Korea €46,027
7th Braz Fagundes Junior Portugal €35,124
8th Emanuele de Lemmi Italy €27,109
9th Clement Cure France €21,162