Sonny Franco Wins 2019 WSOP International Circuit Marrakech Main Event ($156,862)
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Sonny Franco has won the 2019 WSOP International Circuit Marrakech Main Event and took home the gold WSOP Circuit ring and the first place prize of 1,500,000 MAD (~$156,862). Franco beat professional football player Jimmy Kebe heads-up after a gruelling 17-hour day in Casino de Marrakech, part of the Es Saadi Resort. Kebe had to settle for second place and 950,000 MAD (~$99,340). The bronze medal went to Day 2 chip leader Robert Julien, who claimed third place for 650,000 MAD (~$67,970).
Franco won his fourth World Series of Poker International Circuit ring and his second Main Event ring after he took down the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Cannes in March 2018. The 2019 WSOPC Main Event drew a total of 544 entries, setting a new record for Marrakech.
2019 WSOP International Circuit Marrakech Main Event Final Table Results
|Position||Name||Country||Prize (MAD)||Prize in €||Prize in $|
|1||Sonny Franco||France||1,500,000 MAD||€138,000||$156,862|
|2||Jimmy Kebe||France||950,000 MAD||€87,400||$99,340|
|3||Julien Robert||France||650,000 MAD||€59,800||$67,970|
|4||Edoardo Mortera||Italy||480,000 MAD||€44,200||$50,193|
|5||Najib Bennis||Morocco||365,000 MAD||€33,580||$38,166|
|6||Hassan Fares||France||283,000 MAD||€26,000||$29,591|
|7||Isabel Baltazar||France||222,000 MAD||€20,500||$23,213|
|8||Brahim Hajji||United Kingdom||183,000 MAD||€16,800||$19,134|
|9||Abdelhamid El Khayati||France||156,000 MAD||€14,400||$16,311|
2019 WSOP International Circuit Marrakech Main Event Final Day Action
The day started with a lot of eliminations and the tournament was down to 17 players after the first one-hour level was done. Not much later, the final table was set in the beautiful Es Saadi Resort.
It took about two hours for the first elimination to take place at the final table. El Khayati, the player who busted Pacifico on the final table bubble, was the first one out of the door. He got his pocket aces all in on a six-jack-ten board with two diamonds against the seven-six of diamonds of ex-premier league footballer Jimmy Kebe. Kebe immediately hit his flush when the nine of diamonds landed on the turn and the queen of clubs on the river was just a courtesy to complete the board.
El Khayati came fresh of a runner-up finish in the WPT DeepStacks Main Event in Deauville back in December where he cashed for €68,000. He cashed for a little less in Marrakech as he got to collect 156,000 MAD at the cashier (~$16,311).
It took another two hours of play for the next player to be sent to the rail. United Kingdom's Brahim Hajji battled with a short stack and he got his last chips in the middle with pocket fives on a jack-seven-deuce flop with two spades. He needed to avoid a ton of outs as he was up against the nine-eight of spades from Hassan Fares. Fares hit, just like Kebe, his flush on the turn as the king of spades fell. The king of diamonds was dealt and the tournament was officially over for Kebe who got to take 183,000 MAD (appr. $19,134) back home.
The speed of play didn't go up after the bust of Hajji and it took another two hours for the third elimination of the final table. About 200 hands in at the final table, Isabel Baltazar got her last eight big blind in the middle with pocket queens. She was called by start-of-day chip leader Julien Robert from the small blind with ace-queen. The flop brought king-six-ace and she was left with one out or she could chop with runner-runner straight cards. The turn was the seven of clubs which left her with just one out and her dreams of winning the Main Event and the WSOP Circuit gold ring got crushed on the four of hearts river card. She won 222,000 MAD (appr. $23,212) for her deep run.
Only a couple hands later, it was Fares who hit the rail. He got his last couple of big blinds in the middle with king-jack against the ace-queen of Edoardo Mortera. Fares lost the race and received 283,000 MAD (approx. $29,591) for his sixth-place finish in the main event. He was followed by Najib Bennis, who had moved all in for his last seventeen big blinds to the middle from the cutoff with ace-nine. Franco called him with ace-queen and a queen flopped to send Bennis to the cashier in 5th place for 365,000 MAD (appr. $38,166).
After two-and-a-half-hours of four-handed play, there finally was some movement after Mortera got eliminated at the hands of Franco. It was Robert who opened the action and Mortera who three-bet shoved with ace-queen. Franco woke up with pocket kings and called to knock out Mortera after the board ran nine-high. Mortera collected 480,000 MAD (appr. $50,193) for his fourth-place finish.
It took 16,5 hours of play for the tournament to arrive at the heads-up stage. Robert got short stacked after losing a pot against Franco and then doubling up Kebe. He lost the rest of his chips when he ran queen-ten into the ace-four of Franco. Kebe folded his big blind and Franco immediately hit two aces on the flop. The turn and river were bricks and Robert was eliminated in third place. The start-of-day chip leader cashed for 650,000 MAD, roughly $67,970.
Kebe started the heads-up very short stacked but doubled up twice to get himself back in contention. In his third all in, Kebe was ahead with pocket nines against the pocket fives of Franco, but Franco managed to hit a five on the turn to claim the WSOP Circuit gold ring and the first-place prize of 1,500,000 MAD (approx. $156,862). Kebe had to settle for second and 950,000 MAD (approx. $99,340).
With that, Franco won another WSOP Circuit Main Event ring in a Main Event after taking down the WSOP Cicruit Main Event in Cannes in March 2018, bringing his lifetime WSOPC ring total to four as well.
That wraps up the coverage of the 2019 World Series of Poker International Circuit Marrakech with Sonny Franco as the winner of the 15,000 MAD (€1,350) Main Event. Read back all about the event in the PokerNews.com Live Reporting section