Eric Afriat entered Wednesday’s final table in fourth place with 6.7 million chips, well behind the 19 million of leader and poker pro Mukul Pahuja, but gained momentum after cracking Bazely’s aces with a flopped two pair. Afriat continued landing great cards all night and would continuously flash his hands after opponents folded to his raises to show he was ahead.
Afriat grew his stack, playing aggressively and check-raising often. He built up to 38 million to Pahuja’s 15 million when the two made it to heads-up play. The heads-up battle, only took seven hands, when Pahuja shoved all-in with a king and a nine for his final 10 million. Afriat had a pair of 8s which held up. Pahuja collected $691,965 for finishing in second place.
Afriat bested a field of 1,795, the largest field recorded in a World Poker Tour championship event in the tour’s 12-year history. The organizers at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida guaranteed a prize pool of $5 million for this $3,500 buy-in event. By the end, the prize pool reached a staggering $5,788,875, which ensured over a million dollars to the winner.
Afriat,44, an importer from Montreal has played poker for 25 years. Prior to this WPT win, he had won a couple of smaller tournaments, one for $32,590 in Florida and $110,128 in the Bellagio Cup in Las Vegas, his 1st WPT final table appearance back in 2010.
His total career recorded poker winnings are $1,506,270.
Afriat and his family, who are of the Jewish faith, were visiting his mother, Elize Wizman, in South Florida to celebrate Passover. Eric decided to take a shot at the WPT tournament. Eric advanced and made it to Day 3 which took place on the Monday where his family were celebrating Seder, the Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of Passover. Day 3 went especially long and Eric felt bad about not being with his family and at one point, Eric considered ditching his seat.
“Here I was moving up the ladder in a big poker tournament, yet I kept getting more depressed,” Afriat said.
“I was so sad I thought about just leaving my chips at the table Monday night and going home. But I’m now delighted everyone was in town to see me win.”
Eric had huge family support from the rail cheering him on Wednesday night that included his wife, mom, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Stay tuned for Canada Poker interview with newest WPT Champion Eric Afriat.
2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Results