If the World Poker Tour (WPT) were a knife-sharpening stand, then Eric Afriat would be one of the sharpest utensils in the cast. Blink, and the Canadian wraps up another title, and his latest places him in esteemed company.
Only four people had won three WPT Main Event titles until the weekend. That number’s now five after Afriat won his third, topping a field of 594-entrants in the CAD 5,000 buy-in WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. The win sees him join Chino Rheem, Carlos Mortensen, Gus Hansen and Anthony Zinno on three wins. Darren Elias is out front with four.
Had Afriat been able to subdue James Carroll during the heads-up phase of the $3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in April, then Afriat would have joined Elias at the top of that heady chart.
“When I finished second,” said Afriat, “I was depressed. I came in as the chip leader heads-up, and I was excited. I said, ‘This is it, it’s my third title.’ But I left empty-handed, and it hurt so much. But who hurt the most was my son. He told me, ‘Daddy, you didn’t come back with the trophy.’ I said, ‘I’m going to get you another trophy.’ I told my wife, ‘That’s the motivation I needed to go and win another trophy.’
Final Table Seat Draw
Seat 1: Adam Hui – 8,515,000
Seat 2: Eric Afriat – 1,200,000
Seat 3: Trung Hien Nguyen – 3,945,000
Seat 4: Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault – 4,960,000
Seat 5: Demo Kiriopoulos – 3,060,000
Seat 6: Zuhair Al-Pachachi – 2,135,000
The Nutshell Action
Afriat came in as the shortest stack in the room, and more often than not, it’s that position that exits stage left, first. Not on this occasion. Instead, that dubious honour fell to Zuhair Al-Pachachi who, at blinds of 50k/100k/100k, got it in with ATo versus the AKo of Trung Hien Nguyen. The best hand pre-flop won the hand after a flop, turn and river. Al-Pachachi exited in the sixth spot.
Afriat’s stack fell to as low as eight big blinds when he got it in holding pocket deuces. Hoping for a fold so that he could pick up the blinds and antes, Afriat had that unpalatable feeling in his gut when Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault called and turned over a pair of aces. Afriat asked the Poker Gods for a third deuce, and they delivered on the flop to give him the double-up.
Cracking aces once at a final table is an excellent feeling. To do it twice is like having baby powder patted on your bum. Afriat got it in with pocket kings, Nguyen held aces, and a king on the turn handed Afriat the chips.
Then we lost the defending champion, Demo Kiriopoulos who moved all-in from the small blind holding T9s and found a caller in Afriat holding pocket jacks. A third jack hit the flop, and despite turning a flush-draw, Kiriopoulos missed the river and left in the fifth place.
Nguyen was the next player to feel as black as a raven’s wing after moving all-in holding A6o, only to find a caller in the shape of Adam Hui and AQo. The board contained four hearts to give Hui the nut flush, and Nguyen would have to wait a little longer to clear that cobweb patch in his trophy cabinet.
Eric Afriat – 8,650,000
Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault – 7,875,000
Adam Hui – 7,275,0000
It was during the three-handed play that Afriat sneezed into his handkerchief and blew his two opponents away. Fortunately, it was Carpentier-Perrault that eliminated Hui to secure a heads-up confrontation with Afriat. Otherwise, as a spectacle, this one would have been all over.
With blinds at 125k/250k/250k, Hui moved all-in for 3.175m holding Ah9d, and Carpentier-Perrault called with QcJc. Going to the flop, Hui was ahead, but it was a deck chair, not a pier’s length. The flop of JsTh7h would have stopped babies from crying. Carpentier-Perrault took the lead with a pair of jacks, but there were enough outs for everyone to remain interested. The 6h on the turn, increased those outs for Hui, handing him a flush draw, but the river card was as black as activated charcoal, and Hui exited in the third place.
Eric Afriat – 13,150,000
Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault – 10,625,000
The church bells rang, the action began, and before you could pick up a program, the match ended. Carpentier-Perrault opened to 500k and then jammed after Afriat raised to 2m. Afriat called with pocket sevens and beat A5o over the final five-card sprint of the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic.
Here are the ITM results.
- Eric Afriat – $379,120
- Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault – $265,805
- Adam Hui – $170,905
- Trung Hien Nguyen – $122,361
- Demo Kiriopoulos – $93,917
- Zuhair Al-Pachachi – $77,027
Two high stakes players finished ITM in this one. From the past, Vanessa Selbst finished 22nd, and from the present, Alex Foxen finished in 75th.