The poker tour is filled with Cinderella rags-to-riches stories and we saw another one this weekend at the WPT Tournament of Champions. 36-year-old Farid Yachou overcame a challenging field and a lot more to win the WPT's inaugural event.
Yachou, a businessman from the Netherlands, earned his spot in the field as the winner of WPT Amsterdam, which was held last May. It didn't look particularly good for Yachou at times, as he managed to make it to the final table of six but was fifth in the total chip count. As we all know, though, in poker, all you need is a spot at the table and a couple of good hands and things can start to go your way.
That's exactly what happened for Yachou as he took out Darren Elias, a two-time WPT winner. After stunning him, Yachou then moved on to beat Michael Mizrachi, another huge name on the poker tour. Then it was on to the last battle against Vlad Darie and by this time Yachou had the lead going into this heads-up clash, which was a big advantage.
It took Yachou 12 hands to finish off his adversary as he went all-in on the final hand, pushing $1.6 million to the middle of the table. Darie went for it with the king of clubs and a seven of diamonds, but he had just a pair of deuces from the flop. Yachou had the ace of spades and a two of diamonds, and then when the eight of diamonds came up on the river Yachou wound up with a full house, deuces full of eights.
Yachou went home with a total of $381,600 as the winner as well as a 2016 Corvette courtesy of Monster while Darie still took home a respectable sum of $224,190 for his efforts. Mizrachi finished in third place with $140,450 while Jonathan Jaffee was next with $95,400. Noah Schwartz came in fifth at $74,200, Elias was sixth at $58,300, Andy Frankenberger took home $47,700, and finally Yevgeniy Timoshenko rounded out the payouts at $38,160 in eighth place.
But Yachou was definitely the champion of them all as he also took home a goodie bag that included 24k headphones, a Hublot watch, a gold MasterCard and a spot at next season's Tournament of Champions.
That concludes another season of the World Poker Tour for now, and you'd have to say that the 21-event season was a success. The final table was particularly exciting as few people gave Yachou a shot. Afterwards, he stated that he would have been happy to finish somewhere in the thirties because he was surrounded by so many former champions, but he just chipped away at it hand-by-hand and eventually pulled out the win.
The WPT Tournament of Champions was held at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and lasted from April 22 to April 24. There were 64 total entries, but the only players were WPT champions from the past while those that won tournaments this season got in for free. There were eight payouts up for grabs, with a total prize pool of $1,060,000.