Posts Tagged ‘Afriat’

Eric Afriat Earns Second WPT Title in Coming from Short Stack to Win WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

 Eric Afriat Earns Second WPT Title in Coming from Short Stack to Win WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

Defying the odds by coming off the short stack, Eric Afriat earned his second World Poker Tour championship on Friday by winning the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City.

To say (and don’t groan) the deck was stacked against Afriat would be an understatement. He scraped into the final table with a 2.28 million chip stack and needed a telescope to see chip leader Zach Gruneberg and his 17.6 mountain of chips. There were also other obstacles for Afriat, including former World Champion Joseph McKeehen (5.955 million), Justin Zaki (5.565 million), Stephen Song (2.74 million) and local favorite Michael Marder (3.08 million), that he would have to overcome.

Things would get worse for Afriat from the start. After picking up some chips, he turned around and doubled up Marder to make his task more difficult. Afriat would rectify that by taking down Song in sixth place after flopping a boat against Song’s flush draw that didn’t come home. Afriat continued to be active on the felt as his chip stack fluctuated wildly as he tried to work his magic.

It would take more than 40 hands before the next elimination would occur and, when it did happen, the rich would only get richer in a stunner of a hand. After Gruneberg raised from the cutoff, Marder would call from the big blind to see an 8♣ 8♠ 6♣ flop. Marder would check-call another 300K out of the chip leader and, after a 5♠ on the turn, both players checked the straight possibilities. When the 9♣ came on the river, the fireworks would go off.

After checking the action on the previous two streets, Marder would suddenly wake up with a big 425K bet of his own. Gruneberg, however, was undaunted and moved all in over the top of Marder’s bet. Marder took a moment to ponder the situation, chucking a Time Bank chip into the hand, before making the call and showing his K♣ 3♣ for a King-high flush. That wasn’t good enough, however; Gruneberg turned up a 10♣ 7♣ for the stone nuts, the ten-high straight flush, to take down the hand and send Marder to the rail in fifth place.

At this point in the tournament, Gruneberg had nearly a 2:1 lead over McKeehen, more than a 2:1 lead over Afriat and a 2.5:1 lead over Zaki. It was going to be interesting to see who would come from the three pursuers to challenge Gruneberg, with any of the trio with enough experience to pull off a massive comeback. It almost turned out otherwise, however, as Gruneberg’ s “run good” continued.

On Hand 72, Gruneberg raised under the gun to 450K and McKeehen dropped his stack in the center from the button. Once again, Gruneberg wasted no time in making the call, tabling Big Slick to go up against McKeehen’s A-J (approximately a 70/30 edge). The Queen-high board never came close to giving McKeehen any options on winning the hand and, as he departed in fourth place, Gruneberg stacked up an even 20 million chips, more than his other two competitors had together.

That, however, would be the apex of Gruneberg’s final table. Over the next 20 hands, that 20 million in chips became 16 million as Afriat began to climb the standings. Just as quickly, however, Afriat would get knocked back as Zaki began to move up the ladder. On Hand 121, the tournament’s tide changed as Gruneberg’s mojo began to run out.

After raising the pot off the small blind, Afriat saw Gruneberg call his 525K bet and the resulting ragged rainbow 9-5-3 flop. As he had done the entire tournament, Afriat continued his aggressive play in firing another half-million pot bet, which Gruneberg called. On a turn four, another 750K came out of Afriat and, once again, Gruneberg called. The river seven put many straight options on the table, but Afriat continued to fire with a two million chip bet. Gruneberg, after a moment of pause, didn’t believe Afriat and called. He would then muck his cards as Afriat showed pocket sixes for a runner-runner straight as Afriat scooped the 7.6 million chip pot.

A few hands later, it was over for Gruneberg. Whether a slight bit tilted from the Afriat hand or what, Gruneberg pushed all in over a Zaki raised that Zaki wanted to see. Zaki’s pocket tens were ahead of Gruneberg’s A-9 off suit and the Jack-high flop didn’t do anything to improve Gruneberg. After riding high for most of the tournament, in the span of four hands Gruneberg was out in third place as heads up play was set.

After eliminating Gruneberg, Zaki was nearly a 2:1 leader (24.4 million) over Afriat (12.925 million). For almost 100 hands, Zaki maintained his lead but couldn’t lengthen it out. When the penultimate hand – the hand that truly determined the champion – came down, it brought the drama.

 On Hand 224, Afriat made it two million to go and Zaki moved all in. Afriat immediately called and tabled his Big Slick, which dominated Zaki’s K-8 off suit. That domination held through the 7-3-2-9-K board as the 34.8 million chip pot was pushed to Afriat. With only scraps left from that clash – 2.5 million – Zaki would succumb to Afriat on the very next hand, his 10-5 off suit falling to Afriat’s K-2 after Afriat miraculously went runner-runner in rivering trip deuces to beat Zaki’s flopped pair of fives.

1. Eric Afriat, $ 651,928
2. Justin Zaki, $ 434,614
3. Zach Gruneberg, $ 321,533
4. Joe McKeehen, $ 240,251
5. Michael Marder, $ 181,329
6. Stephen Song, $ 138,254

The post Eric Afriat Earns Second WPT Title in Coming from Short Stack to Win WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year

 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year

There are only sixteen players remaining of the 606 original entries in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event as action moves into Day 4 on Wednesday. Eric Afriat is the chip leader with 2.4 million chips, the only play over the 2 million mark.

Afriat has some unfinished business at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. In February, finished third in the WPT Playground Main Event, winning CAD $ 108,690 (USD $ 82,716). That tournament holds a special spot in poker history, as it was won by Ema Zajmovic, who became the first women ever to win an open WPT Main Event.

Afriat does have one World Poker Tour title under his belt, as he won the 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Championship Event. That victory was worth a bit over $ 1 million; that and his WPT Playground finish make up the bulk of his $ 1.83 million in career live earnings.

I will admit, I have always been a skeptic about the extra prizes awarded at major tournaments. The trophy is cool, the money is fantastic, the prestige is even wonderful, but really, who cares about a pair of overpriced headphones or a gaudy watch? Well, it’s time for me to eat crow, as apparently that watch is something Afriat has been targeting.

Speaking with WPT.com after Day 3, Afriat said he was actually a little peeved that he didn’t grab the timepiece in February:

What I want the most is the Hublot watch, because when I won their contract was signed for the following week. It was the last tournament that didn’t award the watch. They awarded it the following week, and I missed out on the watch. So the watch will be very important to me. Because a watch you can carry it around, you feel like you won something, but I can’t carry the big trophy

You know what? That makes a lot of sense. It’s like being able to wear a World Series of Poker bracelet, except I wouldn’t be surprised if players were more willing to don the Hublot watch over the bracelet, as the watch is both cool and practical, as opposed to just being a large piece of jewelry. Personally (and not that I will ever even come remotely close to this), if I won a WSOP bracelet, I don’t think I’d wear it on a regular basis (or even an irregular basis), as I’m not a jewelry guy. A nice watch, though, I could do, plus it has a neat story behind it.

Normally, the chip leader has a significant hand or two that helped get him to the top, but Afriat said his Day 3 was mostly just a gradual build. His biggest hand was actually a loss when his opponent hit a set of Jacks against his pocket Queens.

Though only sixteen players remain, Day 4 will play down to just the six-handed final table before adjourning.

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1. Eric Afriat – 2,400,000
2. Curt Kohlberg – 1,804,000
3. Ryan Rivers – 1,655,000
4. Maxime Heroux – 1,623,000
5. Duff Charette – 1,583,000
6. Bradley Ellis – 1,563,000
7. Derek Wolters – 1,257,000
8. David Peters – 1,216,000
9. Alex Keating – 1,051,000
10. Brendan Ziyad Baksh – 56,000
11. Feizal Satchu – 633,000
12. Mohammad Abu-Hadbah – 627,000
13. Brady Hinnegan – 579,000
14. Patrick Quinn – 453,000
15. Justin Liberto – 451,000
16. Adam Shannon – 340,000

The post 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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2016 WPT Montreal Day 1: Eric Afriat Leads Three Starting Flights

 2016 WPT Montreal Day 1: Eric Afriat Leads Three Starting Flights

Before last week’s U.S. Presidential Election, there were some people in the States who said they would move to Canada if Donald Trump won. From the sounds of it, it seems that Trump himself kind of wants to run away, too, now that he realizes what the job entails. If some of those people who entertained thoughts of emigration were poker players, they have their chance to cross the border and stay this week, as the latest World Poker Tour Main Event, partypoker.net WPT Montreal, is well underway.

WPT Montreal had three Day 1 flights, starting on Friday. As expected, the flights sizes got progressively larger, with the total field finally topping out at 648 entries. Going into Monday’s Day 2, 274 players remain with Eric Afriat as the chip leader, holding 214,500 chips.

The buy-in for the Main Event was CAD $ 3,500 + 350   The winner will receive $ 317,896 and the top 81 players will make the money, the min-cash being $ 4,552. The prize pool is CAD $ 2,199,960, easily beating the $ 2,000,000 guarantee.

Perhaps interestingly, Afriat came out of Day 1A, smallest of the starting flights. Because there are more chips in play in larger flights, the early chip leaders often come from those flights, so Afriat bucked a trend. Afriat hails from Quebec and is currently 49th on the all-time Canadian live tournament money list with over $ 1.7 million in earnings, according to TheHendonMob.com. He is no stranger to life atop the World Poker tour leaderboard, as more than half of his winnings (about $ 1.1 million) came from a victory in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown championship event in 2014.

Day 2 is already underway at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. The plan is to play nine one-hour levels before calling it a night.

2016 partypoker.net WPT Montreal – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1.    Eric Afriat – 214,500
2.    Thomas Boivin – 175,800
3.    Richard Mask – 174,100
4.    Daniel Le – 167,300
5.    Francois Gobeil – 157,600
6.    David Paredes – 151,000
7.    Scott Montgomery – 149,000
8.    Jeff Gross – 119,700
9.    Andy Hwang – 106,700
10.    Esther Taylor-Brady – 106,000

2016 partypoker.net WPT Montreal – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1.    David Quang – 196,100
2.    Mike Dentale – 187,300
3.    Manig Loeser – 182,700
4.    Senthuran Vijayaratnam – 182,100
5.    Matt Salsberg – 174,400
6.    Samuel Gagnon – 160,000
7.    Adam Shannon – 160,000
8.    Quy Dao – 148,900
9.    Gennadiy Kostrov – 146,400
10.    Ryan Rivers – 137,500
2016 partypoker.net WPT Montreal – Day 1C Chip Leaders

1.    Daniel Maor – 179,700
2.    Ivan Fazal Karim – 163,100
3.    Matthew McDonough – 162,000
4.    Shyam Srinivasan – 161,000
5.    Dakota Vandine – 158,500
6.    Jean-Philippe Binet – 158,300
7.    Simon Charette – 157,300
8.    Chris McClung – 156,900
9.    Garrett Greer – 147,200
10.    Brian Hastings – 141,700
2016 partypoker.net WPT Montreal – Combined Day 1 Chip Leaders

1.    Eric Afriat – 214,500
2.    David Quang – 196,100
3.    Mike Dentale – 187,300
4.    Manig Loeser – 182,700
5.    Senthuran Vijayaratnam – 182,100
6.    Daniel Maor – 179,700
7.    Thomas Boivin – 175,800
8.    Matt Salsberg – 174,400
9.    Richard Mask – 174,100
10.    Daniel Le – 167,300

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