Eric Afriat Wins Third WPT Title at WPT Fallsview Poker Classic
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The 2020 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic at the Fallsview Casino Resort crowned a familiar face as winner with Eric Afriat, who topped a 594-person field to win CA$508,021 (~$379,120). It was the third WPT title for the Canadian, who followed up on his 2014 win at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown ($1,081,184) and 2018's WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Championship, where Afriat collected $651,928.
Last year, Afriat already came close to capturing his third WPT title, once again at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, but ended up in second place.
"When I finished second I was depressed," Afriat said to the WPT team. "I was depressed. I came in as the chipleader heads-up, and I was excited. I said, 'This is it, it's my third title.' But I left empty-handed, and it hurt so much. But who hurt the most was my son. He told me, 'Daddy, you didn't come back with the trophy.' I said, 'I'm going to get you another trophy,' I told my wife."
"That's the motivation I needed to go and win another trophy," Afriat said.
Afriat defeated Canadian pro Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault heads-up, the latter having to settle for CA$356,180. Defending champion Demo Kiripoulos made another deep run in the event, but his attempt to become the first player in WPT history to win the same event in back-to-back years ended up in fifth place (CA$125,850).
Kiripoulos also missed out on following up in Brian Altman's footsteps, who became the first player to win the same WPT Main Event twice at last month's WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open.
2020 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (CAD)||Prize (~USD)|
|4||Trung Hien Nguyen||Canada||CA$163,965||$122,361|
|6||Zuhair Al-Pachachi||United States||CA$103,217||$77,027|
* Plus a $15,000 seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions
Final Table Action
Afriat sat down at the six-handed final table as the short stack with only 15 big blinds. After Zuhair Al-Pachachi got eliminated first with ace-ten versus ace-king, Afrait slipped even further, down to just eight bigs. According to the live updates, it was a stroke of good fortune — combined with a little precognition — that turned things around for the Canadian. Getting it in with 2♠2♥ versus Carpentier-Perrault's A♥A♦, Afriat specifically called for the deuce of clubs and received it as the window card.
Afriat's good run continued five hands later when he ran his K♠K♦ into Trung Hien Nguyen's A♦A♣, only to catch a king on the turn to escape elimination again. He then took out defending champion Demo Kiriopoulos with pocket jacks against 10♠9♠. Adam Hui proceeded to knock out Nguyen in fourth before he met his own demise about 50 hands later at the hands of Carpentier-Perrault.
It took only five hands of heads-up to reach a conclusion, with Carpentier-Perrault four-bet shipping A♦5♣ into the 7♠7♦ of Afriat. The board ran out Q♥10♦2♦8♦2♣ to seal Afriat's third WPT victory at his seventh WPT final table.
Afriat's third WPT title makes him only the sixth player in the WPT Champions Club history to win three or more WPT titles.
"It's surreal," said Afriat. "It just feels incredible. Three-time WPT champion."
The next big stops on the World Poker Tour Season XVIII schedule are the WPT Rolling Thunder from March 7-10 and the WPT Venetian from March 13-17. Both stops feature a $5,000 buy-in with the Main Event in the Venetian guaranteed to have a $2,000,000 prize pool.
Lead image courtesy of WPT/Jamie Thomson/PokerPhotoArchive.com
A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.