Elie Farah Upsets Felipe Ketzer in Merit Poker Carmen Series Main Event

Elie Farah

The 2024 Merit Poker Carmen Series $3,300 Main Event has wrapped up at the Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino, and it took nearly 12 hours for a winner to emerge from the 41 players who entered the final day.

After the dust had settled Elie Farah was the last player standing, scoring five final table knockouts and last defeating Felipe Ketzer in heads-up play to take home the title and top prize of $338,500.

Farah notably was down to his last 125,000 chips on the stone bubble during yesterday's Day 3, worth just five big blinds at that time. His previous best score before this comes from an eighth-place finish in the 2022 Merit Poker Retro Series Main Event for $30,255. Today's victory not only exceeds his previous best more than tenfold and triples his total live tournament earnings, which stood below $150,000.

Carmen Series Main Event Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize (USD)
1Elie FarahLebanon$338,500
2Felipe KetzerBrazil$249,200
3Dinesh AltSwitzerland$153,000
4Bart LybaertBelgium$113,100
5Dmitry GromovRussian Federation$84,700
6Tahsin CankurtaranliTurkey$68,400
7Andrey LitvinovRussian Federation$56,600
8Maher AchourTunisia$45,100
9Danut ChisuRomania$33,900

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Final Day Recap

The Main Event was another success for Merit Poker, attracting 664 total entrants to generate a prize pool of $1,832,640, smashing the $1,000,000 guarantee. Of those 664 entrants, only 41 players made it to the final day. Some notable players to begin the final day with chips but fell before the final table included Simone Andrian (28th - $10,445), Day 2 chip leader Fausto Tantillo (22nd - $13,560), and Andrey Pateychuk (20th - $15,205).

Bart Lybaert got off to a hot start today after a brutal runout saw him eliminate Maciej Komorowski. Lybaert would soon surpass start of day chip leader Ketzer and rode that momentum to enter the final table atop of the counts. Not far behind him was Ketzer, who dealt a mortal blow to Umutcan Ipekoglu on the final table bubble to enter the FT with the second-largest stack.

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The Final Table

Main Event Final Table
Main Event Final Table

Play was very conservative at the start, with two players starting with very short stacks that forced the other players to tread carefully in an attempt to outlast them. It took over an hour before Danut Chisu became the first final table casualty courtesy of Ketzer. The Brazilian pro would also claim the next two final table knockouts, with Maher Achour and Andrey Litvinov following Chisu out of the door in eighth and seventh place respectively.

Farah was under the radar for most of the day today and began the final table with only the sixth-largest stack. He made an excellent river call with pocket kings against Lybaert shortly after the final table began to double up his short stack and never looked back from there, consecutively eliminating Tahsin Cankurtaranli, Dmitry Gromov and Lybaert.

Play between Ketzer, Farah, and Dinesh Alt began with all three players very close in chips. After a short battle, Ketzer claimed most of Alt's stack after making top pair on the river and getting max value. Farah finished off Alt shortly afterwards to set up heads-up play.

Felipe Ketzer
Felipe Ketzer

Ketzer, who placed third in the Merit Poker Western Series Main Event this past January, began heads-up play with a modest lead but it would not be long before Farah picked up top pair and called off Ketzer who had both a straight and a flush draw. Ketzer was left with crumbs after missing his draw and bowed out in second-place while Farah claimed the last pot of the night, the trophy at the top prize of $338,500.

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