If player’s names were engraved on the World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets then Athanasios Polychronopoulos would need a WSOP belt to fit in all those digits. The New Yorker, of Greek decent, has just won his second WSOP bracelet in the past two years after taking down Event #17: $1,00 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) for $518,755. Polychronopoulos defeated 2,104 other players to win his second bracelet, and when you consider that he had to wade through 2,712 players to take the same title back in 2011 then you have to say, ‘stand up and take a bow.’
The New Yorker (well you try typing it out every few sentences!) defeated Manual Mutke in heads-up action, in another WSOP final table featuring the 2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada. That man isn’t knocking on the door he’s whacking it with the proverbial sledgehammer; Cada once again settling for fourth place as he did just eight days ago in Event #4.
The man of Greek descent (there I go again) was wearing his emotions all over his face as he settled down to speak to the PokerNews sideline reporter Lynn Gilmartin after his monumental second victory.
“I am blessed…I run good…life is good…there is not much more to say.” Said the charming man.
“He is one of the nicest guys in poker.” Said Faraz Jaka from the rail.
“He’s unbeatable in heads up poker.” Said Simon Charette, who was his heads-up opponent when he won his first bracelet back in 2011.
Taylor Paur Wins his First Bracelet
As the 2012 WSOP Main Event entered the business end of the tournament, the name of Taylor Paur was on a lot of people’s lips when it came to quoting the name of the next champion. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t meant to be, as he had to settle for a 33rd place finish bagging his highest live career score to date ($236,921), a record he has just beaten by winning Event #18 $1,000 NLHE for $340,260.
“As far as poker goes it’s my greatest achievement.” Paur told Gilmartin after his victory.
As you would expect for a $1k event the field was typically huge – 2,071 players – but we once again saw a few top quality players heading into the final stages including WSOP bracelet holder Dominik Nitsche and the world’s greatest player Phil Ivey.
“In the last few tables I had Phil Ivey on my table but he got unlucky and busted early. He’s an intimidated character at the table…the best player in the world in my opinion, so it’s good when he busts.” Said Paur.
Paur’s mettle was severely tested after getting heads-up against the amateur Roy Weiss. The pair returned after the dinner break where Weiss moved all-in for around 20-consecutive hands. When you consider the gulf in class between the two opponents’s you have to say that the Weiss strategy was a sound one, but it did not meet with Paur’s approval.
“I felt he was disrespecting the whole process of it and I thought ‘man this is how I’m going to lose my bracelet?’” Said Paur.
But Paur kept his cool – despite several double ups for Weiss – finally calling an all-in with [Ad] [5d] to pip the [Kc] [8c] of Weiss to the post to become our latest WSOP champion.
Finally, one for Europe
After 18 events the Europeans have finally broken the Americas stranglehold over this series after Belgium bags itself the 19th bracelet courtesy of the Winamax Team Pro Davidi Kitai. Just how good is Kitai…the Triple Crown winner defeated a compact and bijou field of 195-players to win Event #19: $5,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em (PLH) to secure his second career WSOP bracelet and $224,560 in prize money.
Kitai did it the hard way after coming through one of the toughest final tables that the WSOP has played host to at this years series. Cary Katz (2nd), Dimitar Danchev (4th), Eugene Katchalov (5th) and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier (7th) all providing stern opposition for the hooded Belgian.
“It’s amazing. I feel really good. It’s my second title in PLH. I think I can adapt my style good to this game.
“I had a small stack on Day One, started making some chips on the bubble on Day Two…then at the final table I had about 70% of the chips so it was good until I was heads-up where he owned me to be honest.” Kitai told Gilmartin after his victory.
Kitai is talking about his heads-up encounter against Cary Katz, who was very unlucky after getting it in with pocket kings against Kitai’s jacks only to see a third Knave emerge from the deck, on the flop, to hand the title to the Belgian.