Former restaurateur-turned-poker pro Athanasios Polychronopoulos captured his second career World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet early Tuesday morning, winning Event #17: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, good for over a half million dollars.
Polychronopoulos actually made a bit of World Series of Poker history, as his previous title came two years ago in another $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event, making him the first player in WSOP history to win two “large field” events with buy-ins that were $1,500 or less. This year’s field was 2,105 players while the one in 2010 was 2,713. This was his eighth WSOP cash overall in his career, bringing his lifetime WSOP earnings to $1.275 million, already putting him in the top 200 all-time. That’s what winning two bracelets will do for a guy.
The final table was a tough one, as Polychronopoulos had to square off against two guys who were on a tear at the WSOP so far. The chip leader going into the day, David “Bakes” Baker, had already made two other final tables in the past week, plus a 19th place finish before those. Joe Cada, the 2009 WSOP Main Event Champion, had already final tabled the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed event, and of course, he knew how to handle the pressure of the end game.
Surprisingly, Baker was one of the first to be knocked out at the final table, despite entering the day with the most chips of the final 15 players. He ran into trouble early when he doubled-up Cada and was never really able to recover. Everett Carlton eventually used pocket Aces to oust Baker in 8th place.
All the while Polychronopoulos built up his chip stack to put himself in very comfortable position atop the field most of the way through before entering heads-up play against Manuel Mutke with a 5.19 million to 4.29 million chip lead. Though the stacks were fairly close, it took just three hands during the heads-up portion of the tournament to end things.
The two players traded pots on the first two hands. On the third hand, they got into a raising war pre-flop and when it was over, Mutke had called all-in, risking his tournament life. He was in excellent shape, too, showing A♦-J♦ versus his opponent’s Q♦-J♥. Both men paired their Jacks on the flop, but Polychronopoulos spiked a Queen on the river to scoop the pot and win his second World Series of Poker bracelet.
2013 World Series of Poker Event #17: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em – Final Table Results
1. Athanasios Polychronopoulos – $518,755
2. Manuel Mutke – $322,908
3. Everett Carlton – $224,455
4. Joe Cada – $161,652
5. Samuel Taylor – $118,145
6. Michael Kurth – $87,398
7. Joseph Ward – $65,502
8. David “Bakes” Baker – $49,716
9. Thomas Nicotera – $38,178