Portuguese poker pro Henrique Pinho has done it, winning the 2016 Marrakech Poker Open Main Event to earn the largest live score of his career.
The third and final day of the event saw eight players from a 220-entry field return to Casino de Marrakech. It took eight hours to determine a winner, and ultimately that proved to be Pinho, who emerged victorious after a 90-minute heads-up battle with Patrick Groppi. Pinho earned 390,000 Dirhams (approx. $40,400 or €35,800) for the win.
Pinho entered the event with just over $200,000 in live tournament earnings on record and cashes dating back to 2007, according to his HendonMob profile. His previous best score was worth €20,000 ($28,464) for a 20th-place finish in the 2011 European Poker Tour Berlin €5,300 Main Event. His previous second best was from Morocco when he took fourth in the World Series of Poker Circuit High Roller in January for 250,000 Dirhams (approx. $25,200 or €23,200).
Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (MAD)||Prize (approx. $)||Prize (approx. €)|
|7||Michael van der Ghinst||Belgium||70,000||$7,250||€6,400|
*Denotes a heads-up deal.
Michael van der Ghinst and Mathieu Biague started the day under pressure with less than 10 big blinds. Van der Ghinst doubled on the first hand, but Biague couldn't find the same fortune and bowed out in eighth place. He three-bet shoved with king-jack suited out of the small blind, and the initial raiser, start-of-the-day chip leader Abdenbi Abida, snap-called with ace-king and held.
Despite the early double, van der Ghinst followed Biague out the door 10 minutes later. He defended his big blind in a three-way pot with pocket fours and check-raised all in after a ten-high flop with two sixes. Pinho flopped trips with ace-six and picked him off in seventh place.
Ali Mechiche started the day as one of the bigger stacks, but quickly lost momentum before falling in sixth place. Mathieu Papineau was then bounced in fifth to leave the final four.
Up until this point, everything was still going fine for Abida, but he soon fell to the bottom of the pack. Eventually, he clashed with Fahd in a pot where the two held premium hands — Abida had pocket kings and Fahd had ace-king. Unfortunately for Abida, an ace flopped and he was left with two big blinds following the completion of the board that gave him no help. He was gone on the next hand in fourth place.
Another 90 minutes later, Fahd was sent to the rail in third place. The Moroccan, who already came second in the 2016 Marrakech Poker Open High Roller earlier this week, doubled up five times in total through Pinho at the final table, but eventually the fight with his short stack came to an end. Fahd shoved the button with ace-five, and Groppi re-jammed from one seat over with pocket tens. The tens held, and that was that for Fahd.
Pinho started heads-up play with a solid lead of more than 3-1, but Groppi was not giving him an easy ride and doubled early on. Groppi doubled a second time and even took the lead for a few hands before both players agreed to a deal and left 30,000 Dirhams (approx. $3,100 or €2,750) to the winner.
Ultimately, Pinho flopped an open-ended straight flush draw with king-ten suited and Groppi called his jam with aces on the final confrontation. Another spade appear on the turn to give Pinho a flush and the win.
That marks the end of PokerNews' coverage from Marrakech. Thanks for tuning in and hopefully we'll see you at the next stop on tour. As always, you can find all of our live tournament coverage in the PokerNews Live Reporting section, so check back often.