It wasn’t exactly a wire-to-wire victory, but it was a victory all the same. Omar Eljach began the eight-handed final table of the 2022 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event on Wednesday as the chip leader, and in the wee hours of Thursday morning, he held all the chips, giving him his first-ever WSOP gold bracelet and €1,380,129 in prize money.
Eljach had never won more than $200,000 in a live poker tournament before; he won around twice as much in this tourney than he had in all his other cashes combined. He now has just shy of $2 million in lifetime winnings.
“It’s really hard to describe,” Eljach told WSOP.com afterward. “So many emotions, all of them amazing. Such a draining battle… I feel relief, I feel incredible joy. Yeah… it’s an amazing feeling.”
He said his next move it to get the heck out of Dodge, as he needs a change of scenery. Probably take a vacation to celebrate, but his plans are up in the air.
As mentioned, Eljach entered the Main Event final table as the chip leader, sitting on 19.480 million chips. Shaun Deeb was close behind with 16.580 million and nobody else eclipsed 10 million.
Eljach got off to a great start, taking the first pelt of the final table when he eliminated Alexandre Reard, the chip leader after Day 3, in eighth place. A-A versus Q-Q will do it almost every time.
Shaun Deeb kept right with Eljach, knocking out the all-timer Barny Boatman in seventh place. After that hand, Deeb and Eljach were neck-and-neck for the chip lead right around the 25 million mark.
Eljach sent Armin Rezaei home in sixth place and the Vladas Tamasauskas knocked out Paul Covaciu in fifth place in short order. Four handed, it was still Ejach and Deeb within a couple chips of each other.
Deeb started to extend his lead, though, and not long after Jonathan Pastore eliminated Vladas Tamasauskas in fourth place, Deeb had more than half the chips in play. Eljach was slipping and Deeb was pulling away.
Then came the turning point. Eljach limped pre-flop with Kd-2d, Deeb raised to 1 million with Ac-7c, Eljach re-raised to 3.5 million, and Deeb called. The flop was a biggie: Kh-2c-7h, giving Eljach two pair and Deeb middle pair, top kicker. With the 8d turn, Eljach bet 3.4 million and Deeb made the call. The river was the 9d, which prompted Eljach to bet 8 million. After about three minutes of pondering, Deeb called and Eljach scooped a huge pot to jump into the lead with 35 million chips. Deeb was down to 16 million.
Eljach then started to pull away himself and Pastore took his turn taking chips from Deeb until Deeb finally succumbed to Eljach and fell in third place.
Eljach went into heads-up play against Pastore with a 43 million to 33 million-chip lead. Pastore jumped out to the lead right away, but Eljach quickly yanked it back. He held for a while, but Pastore regained control and looked like he was going to take down the tournament, running his new lead up to 63 million to 13 million.
But Eljach stayed the course and chipped back up. He grabbed back the lead in a hand in which Pastore went into the tank for a solid 13 minutes (I’m glad I was busy with dinner at that time). The lead switched hands another few times and then, just like that, it was all over.
Holding Ac-8d, Pastore raised to 1.8 million pre-flop. Eljach woke up with Queens and three-bet to 5.8 million. Pastore then decided to move all-in for 32 million and Eljach called immediately. Pastore was in deep trouble. Pastore paired his 8 on the flop, but that was it. Jacks appeared on both the turn and river, giving the pot and the tournament to Omar Eljach.
2022 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event – Final Table Results
- Omar Eljach – €1,380,129
- Jonathan Pastore – €852,949
- Shaun Deeb – €607,531
- Vladas Tamasauskas – €438,978
- Paul Covaciu – €321,838
- Armin Rezaei – €239,466
- Barny Boatman – €180,867
- Alexandre Reard – €138,702