Afriat Wins Third WPT Title as Puetz Wins WPT Germany
Two World Poker Tour events wrapped up in February. One found a winner at the first WPT event on the main tour at King’s Casino in Rozvadov in the Czech Republic. The other found previous WPT champion Eric Afriat claim his third title at Fallsview Casino at Niagara Falls.
As for the WPT Germany event, it was named for Germany despite its presence in the Czech Republic, but King’s Casino is very close to the border. And though WPTDeepStacks had been to that location, the WPT main tour made its inaugural visit this month for a festival of tournaments held in conjunction with PartyPoker LIVE.
Afriat played for his place in history at Fallsview in Ontario, Canada. In his home country, he not only won the Canadian event but he became only the sixth player in 18 seasons of the World Poker Tour to claim a third title. Only five other players have three or more WPT Main Event wins.
Let’s find out how the tournaments played out.
WPT Germany at King’s Casino
This tournament began on February 18 with a €3,300 buy-in with a €1.5 million guarantee on the prize pool. Players had a chance to compete in either of two starting days online at PartyPoker to make it into the money or play any of the three live starting days.
Day 1A at King’s Casino attracted 72 entries, and 33 of the players survived. Day 1B brought 82 players into action with 37 making it through the night. And an impressive 175 entries showed up on Day 1C, with 77 of them bagging their chips. All in all, when registration closed, these were the final numbers:
Total entries: 510
Total prize pool: €1,453,500 (should have been an overlay but no mention of it in WPT reports)
Total paid players: 73
Minimum payout: €6,000
The 73 players in the money returned to play Day 3 of the tournament and try to find the final nine. They did just that as players like former WPT champions Oleg Vasylchenko, Stefan Schillhabel, Ryan Riess, and Konstantinos Nanos departed early. Finally, the tenth-place elimination of Artan Dedusha for €24,000 ended the night.
Gianluca Speranza led the final table, but he was followed by reigning WSOP Main Event champion Hossein Ensan. Only six would make the official final table.
The final day of action saw Rifat Gegic out in ninth place, Renato Nowak out in eighth, and Ensan out in seventh place for €40K. The official final table then began Joep van den Bijgaart holding a massive lead over the others, with Laszlo Papai in a distant second, Christopher Puetz in third, followed by Farukh Tach, Speranza, and Josef Gulas.
Speranza had trouble from the start but did double twice to stay in action. Papai eliminated Tach in sixth place and eventually Speranza in fifth. Puetz doubled through Bijgaart to stay alive, and the latter ousted Gulas in fourth place. Puetz worked his way up from a short stack and then doubled through Bijgaart. Papai busted Bijgaart soon after.
Papai took 10,775,000 chips into heads-up play, but Puetz wasn’t far behind with 9,625,000 chips. Puetz fairly quickly doubled through Papai, leaving the latter with 125,000 chips. Puetz then won the tournament in the next hand.
1st place: Christopher Puetz (€270,000)
2nd place: Laszlo Papai ($€174,500)
3rd place: Joep van den Bijgaart (€125,000)
4th place: Josef Gulas (€91,000)
5th place: Gianluca Speranza (€68,000)
6th place: Farukh Tach (€52,000)
We have a #WPTGermany winner! Congrats to Christopher Puetz 🇩🇪 for defeating a field of 510 entries to win €270,000 and a $15,000 seat to the WPT Tournament of Champions presented by @Baccarat Crystal 🥂 👍
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) February 23, 2020
WPT Fallsview Poker Classic at Fallsview Casino
On February 21, another World Poker Tour crew was set up to offer WPT Main Event as a part of the Fallsview Poker Classic, just across the Canadian border from America. Players could buy in for C$5K and reenter once. There was no prize pool guarantee.
There was only one starting day, and when registration ended and all of the entries were counted, this was the result:
Total entries: 594
Total prize pool: C$2,708,046
Total paid players: 75
Minimum payout: C$6,720
#WPTFallsview isn't just about the poker! @tonydunsttv and @CaitlynHowe visited the majestic Niagara Falls and the scenes around @fallsviewcasino on Day 1 😍🌊😎https://t.co/X2TK0WlkAn pic.twitter.com/AYzc8X8708
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) February 21, 2020
The first day of action whittled the field down to just 134 players, and Blair Hinkle was the overall chip leader. Former poker pro Vanessa Selbst was sixth on the leaderboard.
When the money bubble burst on Day 2, Alex Foxen was the first player to cash. He was followed throughout the evening by other WPT champions Chanracy Khun and Mike Leah. Selbst busted in 22nd place, and the night ended with just 15 players still in action and Arash Tafakori in the chip lead.
On that final day, Parker Talbot was the first to leave, followed by Tafakori in 11th place and finally Paul Brar in seventh for C$84,939.
The official final table of six players then began with Adam Hui the far-and-away chip leader with Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault in second, Trung Hien Nguyen in third, reigning champion Demo Kiriopoulos in fourth, followed by Zuhair Al-Pachachi and former two-time WPT champion Eric Afriat.
After a dinner break, they began the final table without any significant changes for two dozen hands. On the 32nd hand, Nguyen eliminated Al-Pachachi in sixth place, but Hui was busy in subsequent hands building even more of a lead. Afriat doubled through Carpentier-Perrault and then through Nguyen, and Perrault then nearly doubled through Hui.
Afriat was able to bust Kiriopoulos in fifth place and deny him back-to-back wins. It took a while, but Hui eventually eliminated Nguyen in fourth place. All three remaining players were relatively close, though Afriat did have the lead. He also found momentum, and despite some knockdowns, he continued to climb to a massive lead. Carpentier-Perrault ultimately busted Hui in third place.
Heads-up play began on the 155th hand of the final table with Afriat holding 13.15 million chips to the 10,625,000 of Carpentier-Perrault. It only took a few hands for the shorter stack to push all-in with A-5, but Afriat called with pocket sevens that held up to give Afriat his third WPT title.
1st place: Eric Afriat (C$508,021)
2nd place: Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault (C$356,180)
3rd place: Adam Hui (C$229,013)
4th place: Trung Hien Nguyen (C$163,965)
5th place: Demo Kiriopoulos (C$128,850)
6th place: Zuhair Al-Pachachi (C$103,217)
🏆🏆🏆Eric Afriat wins his third WPT title at #WPTFallsview and becomes the sixth WPT champion to reach #3!
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) February 24, 2020