A Greek native turned German restaurant owner and lifetime poker hobbyist overcame great odds at an aggressive final table to win his first World Series of Poker bracelet at WSOP Europe in Berlin, Germany, Saturday.
Makarios Avramidis took down the WSOP Europe's Event #1: €2,200 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em to win €105,000 and a gold bracelet, getting the best of a final table that included German standout Marvin Rettenmaier, 2015 WSOP bracelet winner Paul Michaelis, and 10-time WSOP final table participant Stephen Chidwick.
"I don't even understand yet what has happened," Avramidis told PokerNews through an interpreter. "I have played European Poker Tour tournaments for a few years and never even reached the money. This is just a really fantastic feeling. It is probably going to take a bit of time to realize what has actually happened here."
The six-handed final began quickly with a short stacked Rettenmaier bowing out sixth, running into the chip leading Michaelis' aces with inferior holdings.
Michaelis would then hand Chidwick that massive lead, first falling with ace-high against Chidwick's king-queen when the latter rivered Broadway to stay alive, then making a hero call at the wrong time after Chidwick shoved rivered trips.
Chidwick busted Rick Alvarado fifth in a battle of the blinds where he got full value with a big river bet a second time and looked to be running away with things before he started running bad, doubling up four shorter stacks in a row before finally running the into Michaelis' all in preflop, failing to improve and saying goodbye fourth.
With Chidwick out, Michaelis took the chip lead and kept his foot on the gas, putting the pressure on his shorter opponents. But eventually, that strategy backfired when he shoved into an Avramidis raise with pocket tens and Avramidis called it off with jacks.
"I called all in with a hand I felt was best," said Avramidis.
It was, it held, and Avramidis took the lead for the first time. Just a few hands later, Michaelis ironically ran tens into jacks again, with Frederic Schwarzer having him covered this time, and he was out third.
Schwarzer took the lead into heads-up play, but it wasn't long before Avramidis snatched it away and rolled on to victory with his own brand of aggression.
"I thought [Schwarzer] seems a little scared and he was waiting for big hands, so I decided to be more aggressive heads-up," he explained. "I was really putting a lot of pressure on him because I could see he really wanted to win and might be a little scared to lose."
Avramidis, who has owned a restaurant in Darmstadt, Germany for the past 30 years, considers poker his only hobby, having played card games for sweets when he was a child and turning to cash games as a teenager.
"Poker is my passion," he said. "I know that this is a big achievement, but I don't want to brag. It takes a lot of luck to win in poker. I have seen both sides of it."
While he's considering entering more events at the WSOP Europe going forward, for now, Avramidis said he will let this win sink in.
"I know it means more freedom in terms of money and happiness for me and my family," he said. "Right now I just want to get some sleep for sure. I don't drink, but I will have one beer, have a good sleep and think about it all tomorrow. I'll get a good night of sleep and we will see what the future brings."
Here's how the final table ended up:
Final Table Results
As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.