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Eric Afriat Wins 2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open

Canadian Pro Defeats 1,244-Entry Field To Capture His Second WPT Title

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Eric Afriat has won the 2018 World Poker Tour Borgata Winter Poker Open $3,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, defeating a field of 1,244 total entries to win the $651,928 first-place prize and his second WPT title. Afriat’s p[revious win came in 2014, when he overcame the largest field in WPT history to win the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $1,081,184.

“The excitement of a second title, I think it brings me to another level,” Afriat told WPT reporters after the win. “You win one WPT, but when you win the second WPT, I think you are considered a great poker player. I knew I was a good poker player and maybe even a great poker player, but to come in and have two of them, I think I put my stamp on what I do.”

The 48-year-old real estate investor from Montreal hardly had an easy route to the title, with plenty of top competition to contend with at the final table, including 2015 World Series of Poker main event champion Joe McKeehen, as well accomplished poker pro’s Zachary Gruneberg and Justin Zaki. Gruneberg eliminated McKeehen in fourth place ($240,251) to take a strong lead into three-handed play. Afriat was able to win a key pot off of Gruneberg with a straight that left him as the short stack, and eventually the 28-year-old poker pro from Pennsylvania was eliminated when he ran AClub Suit9Spade Suit into Zaki’s 10Spade Suit10Club Suit and failed to improve. Gruneberg took home $321,533 as the third-place finisher, while Zaki carried roughly a 2-to-1 chip lead into heads-up play against Afriat.

The two battled it out for a while, but eventually, the blinds grew to the point that the average stack was only 19 big blinds. In the key hand of the tournament, Afriat raised to 2,000,000 from the button and Zaki moved all in. Afriat quickly called for his last 17,300,000 with ADiamond SuitKSpade Suit. Zaki was in trouble with the KClub Suit8Heart Suit, but did have Afriat covered by a few blinds. The board ran out 7Diamond Suit3Spade Suit2Diamond Suit9Club SuitKHeart Suit and Afriat’s pair of kings was enough to see him win the nearly 35 million chip pot and take a commanding 14-to-1 lead. On the very next hand, it was all over and Zaki was eliminated in second place, earning $434,614 as the runner-up finisher.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD) POY Points
1 Eric Afriat $651,928 1,440
2 Justin Zaki $434,614 1,200
3 Zachary Gruneberg $321,533 960
4 Joseph Mckeehen $240,251 720
5 Michael Marder $181,329 600
6 Stephen Song $138,254 480
7 Chase Bianchi $106,497 360
8 John Sill $82,888 240
9 Steven Greenberg $65,192 120

Photo Credit: Joe Giron / World Poker Tour.