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Four events have already crowned winners at the 2018 PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague, with the latest event, i.e. the €2,200 EPT National High Roller, declaring a champion in Latvian pro Yaniv Peretz (cover image). Peretz battled through a field of 954 entries for two action-packed days to take down his first-ever live title for a career-best six-figure payday of €253,965.
The event, hosted at the Hilton Prague, eclipsed last year’s attendance numbers by over 50%, therefore, it was a not an easy task for Peretz. But the champion played very aggressively and even brought about four of the nine eliminations on the final table, including that of eventual runner-up Sonny Franco, with whom Peretz struck a heads-up deal.
In a post-event interview, Peretz talked about the importance of this win as he said, “This is a good one to show to my horses – my stable. I lost online once for a trophy and I got second in Vegas once for a trophy. This is my first big trophy and I’m happy about it. I was short all day yesterday and started the day with just 100,000. As soon as I doubled up, I started going, and I made the final table with a decent stack. I let the big stacks do the work and then I won a big flip.”
Peretz even talked about his heads-up opponent Franco, saying “At some point, I knew I was going to play Sonny heads-up. He’s an amazing player, he played amazing. I gave my best. I really wanted to win the trophy. It went back and forth but I never gave up.”
Pascal Hartmann (14th for €16,900), Phachara Wongwichit (16th for €15,050), Manuel Ruivo (35th for €7,050), Julien Sitbon (44th for €5,980), Ryan Riess (45th for €5,980) and PokerStars Team Pro Fatima Moreira De Melo (87th for €4,330), were among the 143 participants who finished in the money.
1. Evangelos Bechrakis – 6,805,000
2. Sonny Franco – 4,905,000
3. Marc Klausen – 3,760,000
4. Dong Guo – 2,825,000
5. Yaniv Peretz – 2,810,000
6. Ad Schaap – 2,265,000
7. Masatoshi Tanaka – 1,985,000
8. Gergely Bartos – 1,675,000
9. Emmanouil Chrysovergis – 1,480,000
Ad Schaap doubled up through Gergely Bartos leaving the latter with only 240,000 behind. Shortly thereafter, Bartos busted out in ninth place (€25,280), when his were cracked by Yaniv Peretz’ with the latter hitting a clubs flush on the river.
Peretz continued his elimination streak with Dong Guo becoming his next victim. While Guo had a strong hand of against Peretz’ , the flop put Peretz in front with a pair of kings.
Masatoshi Tanaka, who had lost a few pots to Sonny Franco and Schaap before the final table commenced, was one of the shorter stacks at the table after the finalists returned from a 20-minute break. Tanaka jammed from the button with his last 555,000 holding and Peretz looked him up from the big blind with . The board fell and even though Tanaka found three-of-a-kind jacks on the flop, Peretz ultimately won the pot with a rivered clubs flush and Tanaka was railed in seventh place.
Just after Franco won a huge pot against Evangelos Bechrakis to take on the chip lead, reducing the latter’s stack to 4,425,000, Peretz orchestrated the elimination of Ad Schaap in sixth place and bagged the second-biggest stack at the final table. Schaap’s were overpowered by Peretz’ , with the board missing both players.
In a three-way pot between two Greeks and one Frenchman, Emmanouil Chrysovergis was sent to the rail in fifth place. With the board open , Franco scooped the pot with , while Bechrakis lost a chunk of his chips with . Chrysovergis who was the third player in the hand was knocked out holding .
Franco extended his chip lead even further when his pocket kings eliminated Marc Klausen’s in fourth place, with the runout not providing any help to the Danish player.
Down to three-handed play, Evangelos Bechrakis‘s luck ran out first. Franco moved all-in from the small blind and Bechrakis called from big blind.
The community cards brought and Franco’s hand held strong, as Bechrakis was relegated to a third place finish.
The two most aggressive players at the final table, Sonny Franco (20,000,000) and Yaniv Peretz (8,620,000), made it to the final showdown. Both players agreed to a heads-up deal with Franco claiming the bigger share with €293,275, while Peretz locked in €239,965. With the trophy and €14,000 in prize money still left to play for, the heads-up battle finally commenced.
Immediately after the heads-up play started, Peretz doubled up when his bettered to a straight on the river against Franco’s , giving Peretz the chip lead. The chip lead went back-and-forth between the two pros a few times before Peretz ultimately defeated the French star. Franco shoved all-in for his remaining 5,500,000 with and Peretz called holding . The board brought and Peretz picked up two pairs of kings and jacks to clinch his maiden live title for a career-best €340,700 payday.
1. Yaniv Peretz – €253,965*
2. Sonny Franco – €293,275*
3. Evangelos Bechrakis – €144,900
4. Marc Klausen – €108,820
5. Emmanouil Chrysovergis – €84,210
6. Ad Schaap – €62,000
7. Masatoshi Tanaka – €45,060
8. Dong Guo – €32,180
*denotes heads-up deal
Content & Images courtesy Pokernews.com & PokerStars Blog
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