Eric Afriat Collects Second Career WPT Title

At the weekend, Eric Afriat collected a second career WPT title after taking down the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City for $651,928. The victory comes almost four years after the Canadian pro won the $3,500 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in Hollywood, Florida for $1,081,184, which still represents his biggest score to date.
Since cashing in a his first live tournament in 2008, Afriat has now earned $2,585,391 in winnings, with his recent success also providing his confidence with a massive boost. As the jubilant 48-year-old player then commented after the win:
“The excitement of a second title, I think it brings me to another level. You win one WPT, but when you win the second WPT, I think you are considered a great poker player. I knew I was a good poker player and maybe even a great poker player, but to come in and have two of them, I think I put my stamp on what I do.”
While a touch exuberant and self-promoting, on both occasions that Afriat managed to capture a WPT he had to first best large fields containing a high proportion of pros. In 2014, for instance, he had to overcome a final table featuring such players as Matt Glantz, Chance Kornuth, Jacob Bazeley, and Mukul Pahuja. This time around, Afriat saw off the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion Joseph McKeehen in 4th, and Zachary Gruneberg in 3rd, a player with 9 career titles to his name, before battling Justin Zaki heads-up.
Going into the final battle, Zaki held a nearly 2:1 chip lead over Afriat, and continued to maintain an advantage until a dramatic hand in which he reraised all-in preflop holding K-8. Afriat made the call with A-K, and following a 7-3-2-9-K board Zaki was reduced to a whopping 14-to-1 chip disadvantage.
The very next hand, Afriat pushed his remaining chips to the centre of the table with 10-5, which in the end proved no match for his opponent’s K-2. Eric Afriat was then crowned the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open champion, while Justin Zaki collected $434,614 for his runner-up finish. As a result, Zaki now increases his career winnings to $2,232,896, with his latest payday representing his biggest score to date.
Final Table Results:
1: Eric Afriat $651,928
2: Justin Zaki $434,614
3: Zachary Gruneberg $321,533
4: Joseph Mckeehen $240,251
5: Michael Marder $181,329
6: Stephen Song $138,254
7: Chase Bianchi $106,497
8: John Sill $82,888
9: Steven Greenberg $65,192

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