Makarios Avramidis made history today, becoming the first ever World Series of Poker bracelet winner from Greece. Avramidis won the first event at the 2015 WSOP Europe, a €2,200 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed tournament. It was the first bracelet of Avramidis’s career, and he earned €105,000 for his victory.
This tournament made history in another way as well, as it’s the first WSOP bracelet ever awarded on German soil. The 2015 WSOP Europe is being held at the dazzling Spielbank Berlin Casino. Avramidis’s victory marks the first of ten events here at Spielbank.
This was a fitting final table for the first ever WSOP event in Germany. Avramidis, though born in Greece, is a longtime German resident. He’s owned a restaurant in Darmstadt for the past 30 years. On top of that, the second and third place finishers are both local Berliners, Frederic Schwarzer and Paul Michaelis. Michaelis won his first WSOP bracelet in Las Vegas a few months ago, and fell just short of joining the exclusive club of players to win bracelets on more than one continent.
The final table had star power, in addition to the local flavor. Joining Avramidis and company were fan favorites “Mad” Marvin Rettenmaier and Stephen Chidwick.
The final table was almost even more star-studded, with several high profile players just missing out. Jeff Lisandro finished in 7th place (€12,120), Max Pescatori was eliminated in 8th (€12,120), and Dara O’Kearney was knocked out in 9th (€8,790). Lisandro already has six WSOP bracelets to his name, and is one of only two players in history to earn a bracelet on three different continents. Pescatori continues an impressive 2015. He won two bracelets this summer in Las Vegas, bringing his career total to four. O’Kearney has also had a successful year. He just barely missed out on his first career bracelet, finishing runner up in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event.
Avramidis was overwhelmed by his accomplishment after his win. He said through a translator that he was elated, but the magnitude of the achievement hadn’t really hit him yet.
He recalled a key hand, in which he doubled up with pocket jackets against Michaelis’s pocket tens. When the board was being dealt, Avramidis actually walked away from the table and left the main stage. After the tournament, with his voice shaking ever so slightly, he recalled the moment, saying that he had often lost in big spots in the past with the best hand. And this time, he just couldn’t bear to watch. The cards favored him this time, though, and he returned to the table with the chip lead.
Avramidis is an amateur player. He makes his living at his restaurant. But he said with a nostalgic smile that cards and games have been his hobby since he was a young boy playing for sweets. Having spent so much of his life playing cards, he said winning a WSOP bracelet holds special meaning for him. At the same time, he remained humble, well aware that winning a tournament requires a little luck along with his poker skill.
Event #1: €2,200 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed was the first of 10 tournaments at this year’s WSOP Europe. Action began on Thursday, October 8, with 197 entries and a total prize pool of €328,180. The top 21 finishers made the money.
Marvin Rettenmaier was the first player eliminated from the final table. He entered Day 3 with the shortest stack, only 90,000 (15 big blinds). He doubled up after about 30 minutes, improving his chances at this tough final table. But unfortunately for Rettenmaier, he was eliminated shortly after that when his pocket nines ran into Paul Michaelis’s pocket rockets. He earns €16,740 for his sixth-place finish. Rettenmaier is among the most decorated players in the poker world over the past few years, and he’s the first player ever to earn back-to-back WPT victories. However, his first WSOP bracelet will have to wait.
The next player to hit the rail was Rick Alvarado (5th place - €23,310). He flopped bottom pair and turned two pair, but Stephen Chidwick held a better two pair. The players got all their chips in the middle on the river, and Alvarado was eliminated. Alvarado has just recently turned his attention to live tournaments, and has already found quite a bit of success. He cashed six times at the WSOP in Las Vegas this year, including two final tables, and adds a third final table here today in Berlin.
After Alvarardo’s elimination, Stephen Chidwick held about half the chips in play. The remaining players played four-handed for over two hours before the next elimination. During that time, Chidwick lost four all-in pots against smaller stacks. Having lost much of his stack, he was eventually all-in and at risk when his ran into Paul Michaelis’s . Michaelis’s Ace-King held up, and Chidwick was eliminated in fourth place (€32,600). He now adds another final-table performance to his already loaded poker resume. Among other impressive results, this is his 10th career WSOP final table, and the third so far in 2015.
Michaelis then followed in Chidwick’s footsteps. He gained a substantial chip lead with 1,200,000 – about 60% of the chips in play. But then he lost two big all-in pots, one against Makarios Avramidis, the other against Schwarzer. In both hands, he held pocket tens against pocket jacks, and the jacks held up. Just like that, Michaelis is eliminated in third for €45,860, leaving Avramidis and Schwarzer to battle heads-up.
They played heads up for about an hour, and Avramidis dominated play most of that time. Eventually, the players got all their chips in the middle, and Avramidis’s Ace-Six held up against Schwarzer’s King-Nine, securing his victory.
Neither Schwarzer nor Avramidis are professional poker players, but both had the best live tournament cashes of their respective careers today at this tough final table.
Of the 197 players who entered, 35 advanced to Day 2. Those making the money include two-time bracelet winner Scott Clements (17th place - €4,740), Dylan Linde (18th place - €4,740), and Alex Rocha (19th place - €3,520). Andrew Lichtenberger advanced as well, but was eliminated before the bubble.
This event was historic in one more way as well. It marked the first time the WSOP streamed a live tournament on Twitch. That popular platform will be the standard for the remainder of WSOP Europe, and at least part of every event will be shown on twitch.tv/wsop. (Check here for a full streaming schedule.)
Here are the final table payouts. Full results are available here.
1 – Makarios Avramidis – €105,000
2 – Frederic Schwarzer – €64,930
3 – Paul Michaelis – €45,860
4 – Stephen Chidwick – €32,600
5 – Rick Alvarado – €23,310
6 – Marvin Rettenmaier – €16,740