Ship it to Eric Afriat three times! The Canadian won his third WPT title and the first on Canadian soil north of the border. He struck it big in Atlantic City and down in Hollywood, Florida, but he finally won a historic event in Fallsview.
Two final tables on the World Poker Tour played down to a champion on Sunday. In Germany, the 2019 WSOP Main Event champion Hossien Ensan went deep and final table the WPT Germany. Alas, he busted in seventh place and missed out on a shot at winning both a WPT title and a WSOP bracelet. Germany's Christopher Puetz emerged as the victory at the 2020 WPT Germany, which he won for €270,000.
The other final table played down at the border of the USA and Canada. Niagara Falls is one of the natural boundaries separating the two neighbors in North America. There had been a casino on the Canadian side of the border for as long as I can remember.
The Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Canada has been hosting a stop on the World Poker tour the last few years. A couple of well-known pros shipped the WPT Fallsview, in case you had not been paying attention to one of the events that gets lost in the shuffle in between the Aussie Millions and LA Poker Classic.
American pro, Darren Elias, won more WPT titles than anyone else in history. Elias shipped his third WPT title at the 2017 WPT Fallsview Classic for $449K CAD. At the time, the third WPT score tied him with Gus Hansen and a few others for most WPT titles. He's won more since then, but at the time, Elias' run at Fallsview was a momentous occasion.
In 2018, Canadian pro Mike Leah took down the WPT Fallsview. It's cool when a Canadian player ships a title on their home turf and own soil. Leah shipped the 2018 Fallsview for a score worth $353K USD.
Last year, Demo Kiriopoulous outlasted 602 entrants to bink the 2019 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. Kiriopoulous bested a final table that included Andrew Pantling and Jake Schwartz. He banked $517,420 or approximately $383K USD. Not too shabby, eh?
The 2020 WPT Fallsview attracted 594 runners. This year's prize pool topped $2.7 million CAD. That's approximately $2 million in Benjamins. Not too shabby, eh? Only the top 75 places paid out.
Vanessa Selbst, still retired from full-time poker, played in this event in Niagara Falls. She went deep and even bagged up the lead late in the tournament. However, she couldn't get anything going on the penultimate day and busted in 22nd place, which paid out $14,743.
Other notables who cashed in the 2020 WPT Fallsview included Sam Zhu, Jan Steinberg, Parker Talbot, Shawn Wilson, Joe Dwek, Yuri Siniak, Ricky Tang, Vanessa Selbst, Noeung Troeung, Kyle Chang, Giuseppe Galluzzo, Tim Rutherford, William Blais , Jordan Fisch, Dan Kwon, Chris Lockhart, Hiro Harada, Ami Alibay, Matthew Wilkins, Mike Leah, Blair Hinkle, Andrew St. Jean, Jeff Madsen, Gene Bogue, Matt White, Kevin Rabichow, Wing Yeung, Andrew Chen, Chanracy Khun, Louis Boutin, Rayan Chamas, Vincenzzo Leonardo, and Alex Foxen.
Paul Brar bubbled the final table in seventh place.
The final table of six included last year's champ Demo Kiriopoulos, Eric Afriat, Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault, Adam Hui, Trung Hien Nguyen, and Zuhair Al-Pachachi.
Zuhair Al-Pachachi hit the road first at the final table with a sixth-place finish.
The defending champ went on a remarkable deep run with a final table appearance and a fifth-place finish. Heck of a run, for the 2019 champ. Demo banked $126K CAD for another deep run.
Trung Hien Nguyen bounced in fourth place and Adam Hui hit the bricks in third place. Hui's elimination set up the heads-up bout between Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault and Erc Afriat.
On the final hand, Carpentier-Perrault got it all-in with against Afriat's pocket sevens. The Sevens held up despite the fact that MOCP turned a nut flush draw. Alas, he failed to four-flush on the river and busted with an unimproved Ace-five.
Afriat took down the hand and the tournament. He earned a first-place payout worth CAD $508K or roughly $379K in US bucks.
Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault busted in second place, which paid out CAD $356,180 (or approximately $266K USD). Not too shabby, eh?
The victory at Fallsview marked the third WPT crown for Afriat and his first on Canadian soil. Quebec's Afriat won over $3.4 million USD playing in tournaments. Back in 2014, he shipped the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in Hollywood, Florida for a cool million. In 2018, he won a second WPT title with a victory at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, which paid out $692K USD. Just last year, Afriat was the runner up at the 2019 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
The final table played out in Vegas at the HyperX eSports Arena at the Luxor. Maria Ho came into that with the chip lead, but she finished in third place. James Carroll knocked out Afriat heads-up to win the WPT SHR title and deny a third WPT crown to Afriat.