Sometimes the fish gets get gobbled up by the sharks, but other times, the fish just gobbles up all the chips.
Imad Derwiche called the three-handed battle between himself, Sampo Ryynanen and Sylvain Loosli "two professionals and a fish," but Derwiche outdueled his most experienced opponents and emerged victorious in PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® €10,300 PLO High Roller.
"This is an incredible result," he told PokerStars staff after the win. "I'm here just for having fun with my friends and I won. I'm not a professional poker player like the most who are here, and this means that everybody can win.
"It is a good moment for poker."
Derwiche banked €174,600 for topping the tough 60-player field, which played out over two days and featured a single reentry format. It's his third big score in the past three years at a PokerStars event in Monte Carlo. In 2015 and 2016, he made the final table of the €25K High Roller, including a second-place finish in 2015 for €750,000.
Just 11 players made Day 2 of the PLO event, with Derwiche coming into the day second in chips. After three players went home empty-handed, including Anthony Zinno, the official final table participants were all in the money.
Mike Watson and Dominykas Karmazinas busted early, but then it took a couple of hours before the next couple of eliminations. It happened in a monster three-way all in that, remarkably, wound up going to Loosli with just ace-king high after a trio of treys hit the felt, eliminating Konstantinos Bouloutsos and Minh Phuc Nguyen.
Ami Barer managed to sneak all the way into fourth place after coming in with the shortest stack, but Ryynanen busted him to set up the long three-handed battle.
Each player held the chip lead at various times. Derwiche joked about needing to bluff to win against his two opponents, and he certainly wasn't afraid to do so as he showed a number of brazen bluffs. Eventually, he busted Loosli by getting lucky with a gutshot straight draw against Loosli's kings.
Derwiche and Ryynanen played heads up with only 60 big blinds between them for most of the short match. Derwiche went on a run to retake the lead after he lost it early, and he reduced his Finnish foe to about 10 big blinds. Ryynanen got it in with a flush against Derwiche's top set on an all-spade flop, but the board paired on the river to give Derwiche the spade trophy and first-place money.