Moroccan born, Farid Yachou, has won the World Poker Tour Amsterdam Main Event after beating, Steve Warburton, in heads-up action, to take the first prize of $239,559, and a seat in the WPT World Championships.
Farid Yachou is a World Poker Tour (WPT) champion.Who, I hear you ask?
I was thinking the same thing. It was 3am on the eve of the final table. I was lying in my bed, laptop sizzling my semen, as I wrote the bios for the final six players.
Country – I don’t know.
Live tournament results – I don’t know.
Best live tournament result – I don’t know.
It wasn’t a very awe inspiring summary of a man who had found his way past 341 entrants wearing one of the largest smiles I have seen at a poker table.
Fortunately, I managed to grab a few minutes with him as he prepared for one of the most exciting few hours of his life. What I learned maintained my faith in a game like none other. It remains a game that has no boundaries when it comes to class, race or gender.
As it turns out, Yachou was playing his first live tournament outside of his local home game. He knew how to play poker. He had learned how to play cash games against friends. But the casino was a new experience for him. One he felt he had to befriend if he was going to get the opportunity to sit and play with the world’s greatest poker players.
He entered the final table second in chips. Only Jason Wheeler had fewer. That didn’t last too long. Yachou flopped a set, Wheeler turned two pair, and the rest, as they say, is history. Yachou merged his stack with Wheeler’s, and started to apply the pressure.
It was a tough exit for Wheeler. He was in fine form, amongst good company, and in his favorite city. Earlier that week he secured his second largest live tournament score to date with a €125,000 victory in the WPT Amsterdam High Roller. I have no doubt, he would have looked at his final table opponents and thought: “I fancy this.” He will be disappointed with his $45,973 score.
With Wheeler out of the way, Joep van den Bijgaart took the lead role of ‘Star.’ The Supernova Elite player had bought in four times, and only secured a profit when he passed the 12th place position. He wouldn’t last too long in that starring role, however, after losing all of his chips in a flip to Steve Warburton.
Fredrik Andersson had a final table he would rather forget. He was the only player to finish at the head of the chip counts on two occasions (Day 1A & Day 4), but he didn’t take the handbrake off in this one. His stack dwindled like a pile of strooplewaffles on a fat kids plate, until eventually Kees van Brugge handed him a fatal bad beat: his KT rivering a straight to beat the AK of the Swede.
And then there were three.
And then came the boredom.
It took 45 hands to lose the first three players. It took another 75 before we reached heads-up. Those 75-hands had a familiar feel. Steve Warburton was in total control. He picked his spots extremely carefully. This meant the main action fell between Van Brugge and Yachou. It was Van Brugge who repeatedly pushed the pace, and as so often happens in situations like these, he was the next to go. He opened jammed the button holding A8, and Warburton found one of those spots to take him out with AQ.
The final encounter was set: Warburton v Yachou; Professional v amateur; guile v guts; stern face v happy one. Warburton couldn’t lose. He had been in this game for a decade. Yachou owned a cafeteria. It reminded me of the EPT Deauville Main Event clash between Martin Jacobson and Lucien Cohen. The skill and sophistication of the Swede v a loud mouthed Frenchman swinging a rubber rat around his head. We all know what happened to the outcome of that one.
This one would end the same way.
Two crucial hands separated the pair.
In the first, Yachou flopped a pair of nines, Warburton turned two pair, and the chips went into the middle. It seemed as if Yachou slow-rolled Warburton, but Yachou thinks that’s a term used when cooking a pig. Yachou had the chip lead, and he would take them all after his pocket sixes dodged ace and eights on the race to the river.
Farid Yachou was a WPT Champion.
I have never seen a happier one.
Final Table Results
1st. Farid Yachou – $239,559
2nd. Steve Warburton – $167,134
3rd. Kees van Brugge – $100,281
4th. Fredrik Andersson – $75,768
5th. Joep van den Bijgaart – $56,826
6th. Jason Wheeler – $45,973