The inaugural World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions winner is Farid Yachou, a cafe owner from Amsterdam, who had never set foot in a casino before his first WPT Main Event title win in May. Now he has two.
When Adam Pliska and the team decided to dump the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championships into the garbage, replacing it instead with the WPT Tournament of Champions (TOC), I imagine there was a future vision of a TOC Wall of Fame containing mugshots of the WPT’s most famous sons.
If that’s so, the first-ever event didn’t go to plan.Farid Yachou is the first-ever WPT TOC winner. Born in Morocco, Yachou lives in Amsterdam where he runs a local cafe. In May, he decided to take a punt and compete in the €3,300 buy-in WPT Main Event in the Holland Casino, Amsterdam.
He was one of 341 entrants. He never for one second thought he would win. He entered for the opportunity to play with some of the games biggest stars after watching the WPT on TV. It was the first time Yachou had ever played in a live tournament, outside of playing cash games with friends, and he had never stepped foot into a casino.
And then he won.
Throughout the event, he wore this face-wide grin. It never shut down, remaining open 24/7 – dragging energy in from all around him. I didn’t think he stood a chance when he made the final table. I certainly didn’t think he stood a chance when he was heads-up against Steve Warburton. There was no way in hell I thought he had a chance when he flew to Florida to take part in the freeroll of his life.
And now he has $381,600, a ridiculously expensive watch, a gold credit card, a gold pair of headphones, a custom made poker table, a seat in Tiger Woods Charity Poker Night, and a round of golf at Shadow Creek. Oh, I nearly forgot, he will also have a 2016 Corvette parked outside of that tiny cafe.
It’s the stuff of miracles.
Let’s just hope he manages to sell everything before someone mugs him.
Yachou came into the final table fifth in chips. Only Vlad Darie had fewer. The pair of them bided their time and ended up squaring off in heads-up action. Jonathan Jaffe started with the chip lead. Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi hogged the headlines.
It was a swift final table thanks to the 30-second Action Clock, which I believe was a resounding success. 12 hands in total were played out between the two WPT European Champions.
The final hand saw Darie raising to 50,000 and Yachou making the call. The flop was [8h] [2h] [2c], Yachou check-raised to 250,000, and Darie made the call. The turn was the [Tc], Yachou bet 200,000; Darie called. The river was the [8d], Yachou moved all-in; Darie called. Yachou showed [As] [2d] for the full house; Darie showed [Kc] [7d] for two pairs with a king kicker.
64 former WPT Champions entered. And a cafe owner from Amsterdam who barely plays cards beat them all.
And that’s why we love this game.
Final Table Results
1st: Farid Yachou – $381,600*
2nd: Vlad Darie – $224,190
3rd: Michael Mizrachi – $140,450
4th: Jonathan Jaffe – $95,400
5th: Noah Schwartz – $74,200
6th: Darren Elias – $58,300
* Plus a lot of stuff he will have to sell on eBay