The European Poker Tour's (EPT) inaugural stop in Greece has been a wonderfully exciting experience. The Club Hotel Loutraki has done a fantastic job of looking after everyone, and the tournament has run as smooth as a baby's bum.
We had 336 entrants from 38 different countries, and the winner came from the country that provided only 5% of the players. British pro Zimnan Ziyard played like a titan throughout, and thoroughly deserved not only his victory, but also his biggest ever pay packet since becoming a professional poker player.
The play started quite slowly until Day 1b chip leader Mario Puccini was found playing the short stack. His fold equity fell and Florian Schleps eventually called one of his many shoves. The of Schleps beating Puccini’s on a very unkind board of . The next player to lose his seat was the Greek doctor Charalampos Kapernopoulos. Hauke Heseding finding pocket kings and Kapernopoulos was unable to give himself the kiss of life; eliminated in 7th place.
Next we had the biggest pot of the final table up to that point, and it was Hauke Heseding once again wielding the axe. This time it was Andras Kovacs feeling the full force of the Germans might after his ace-king lost a 2.8 million flip against the pocket queens of Heseding. While Heseding was running riot Zimnan Ziyard was quietly waiting in the wings. He made his grand appearance after eliminating Pierre Mothes in 5th place after flopping a flush versus two pair. Not wanting to be upstaged, Heseding moved back into the lead, after removing Florian Schleps in 4th place. Ace-queen finding trips on the flop to beat the pocket sevens of the man from Austria.
The three-way action between Taramas, Heseding and Ziyard was both intriguing and scintillating. Ziyard dominated most of the early action and for a very long time he seemed to be cruising to victory but try as he might he could not finish his opponents off. Eventually Heseding worked out the Ziyard game plan and started to adapt. After eliminating Taramas in 3rd place it was Heseding who took the chip lead moving into the heads up confrontation.
The heads up battle lasted for two hours and it was a seesaw battle. In fact things were that close between the pair of them, when Ziyard won the final hand nobody knew if he had won the title. There was a tense wait before the dealer announced Ziyard as the winner he seemed as surprised as anyone.
Congratulations to Ziyard and commiserations to Heseding. We are off to bed and will be seeing you all in a few weeks time for EPT Prague. Let’s hope a certain Mr Ziyard will also be joining us!