Eric Afriat was the short stack of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Fallsview Poker Classic with ten players remaining. He was the short stack going into the official six-handed final table. But as we know in poker, all it takes is “a chip and a chair.” Afriat came back from the brink to take the tournament down, becoming just the sixth player in poker history to win at least three World Poker Tour titles.
Afriat was so close to that third title last season when finished as the runner-up at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
“When I finished second,” Afriat told WPT.com after his win Sunday night, “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 added. “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.’”
Damn, tough crowd.
It goes to show how unpredictable tournament poker can be. Afriat was the chip leader going into heads-up at Seminole and lost. He had just 15 big blinds going into the final table yesterday and won. Hell, he was down to eight big blinds five-handed. And even then, he should have hit the rail.
Afriat was all-in was pocket Deuces, facing Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault and his two red Aces. That’s it, he was done. But a Deuce flopped (he actually asked for the Deuce of clubs and got it – hey, it can happen once in a while) and he doubled-up to stay alive.
“I had the pair of deuces against the aces,” Afriat recounted, “and I called for the deuce of clubs. When the deuce of clubs came, I said, ‘Okay, maybe there’s some magic in the air, but I’m still short-stacked.’”
He got lucky again a few hands later, going all-in pre-flop with Kings, only to once again be up against Aces. A King on the turn gave him the double-up against Trung Hien Nguyen and while his new 3.240 million chip stack didn’t put Afriat in amazing shape, it gave him a little breathing room.
When Afriat knocked out Demo Kiriopoulos in fifth place, though, his stack grew to 7.210 million and he was on his way.
Going into heads-up play against Carpentier-Perrault, Afriat had a 13.150 million to 10.625 million chip lead.
And then it only took a handful of hands for it to be over.
Carpentier-Perrault raised pre-flop, Afriat re-raised, and then Carpentier-Perrault moved all-in for 9.520 million chips. Afriat called with pocket Sevens against Carpentier-Perrault’s A-5. The board improved neither player’s hand and just like that, Afriat had his third WPT title.
2020 World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic – Final Table Results
- Eric Afriat – CAD $508,021 (USD $379,120)
- Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault – CAD $356,180 (USD $265,805)
- Adam Hui – CAD $229,013 (USD $170,905)
- Trung Hien Nguyen – CAD $163,965 (USD $122,361)
- Demo Kiriopoulos – CAD $125,850 (USD $93,917)
- Zuhair Al-Pachachi – CAD $103,217 (USD $77,027)