Berlin, Germany (18 October 2015) – It’s Greek week at the World Series of Poker Europe! Before the cards were dealt for the first event here at the Spielbank Casino in Berlin, there had never been a Greek bracelet winner in WSOP history. Now there are three. Georgios Sotiropoulos became the latest Greek to earn his way into the winner’s circle, emerging victorious in Event #8: €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo.
“It feels good,” Sotiropoulos said of his victory. “It feels amazing. Winning a bracelet…it’s one of my dreams.”
Sotiropoulos joins countrymen Makarios Avramidis and Pavlos Xantholopolous, and now the Greek anthem will be played at a WSOP bracelet ceremony for the third time in little more than a week. When asked about the run of Greek success, Sotiropoulos offered a simple and sensible explanation. “The Greeks are very good players. That’s it. We play good poker.”
He also had strong words of praise for his competitors at the final table. “It was very tough,” he said. “Brian Hastings is very good. And also John Racener, and Kaverman. And the rest were playing very good.”
As befits the only turbo event here at WSOP Europe, the play was fast-paced and action-packed throughout the tournament. On Friday’s Day 1A, 289 players entered. Soon after the second break, there were fewer than 100 left, and by the end of the night, only 25 bagged chips, led by Byron Kaverman. Then on Saturday, Day 1B attracted another 257 entries. Only 21 made it through the day.
The 46 players who advanced to Day 2 returned to the felt Sunday at noon, and the fast pace continued. Ten players busted out in the first 15 minutes. After 90 minutes, only 18 players remained. By the first break (after two hours), only 11 players were left. An hour later, they were down to the official final table of 9.
The final table got underway just after 4:00 p.m. In one of the first hands after play resumed, Asher Conniff was crippled in a flip against Andre Lommel. He managed to nearly quadruple up a few hands later, but his comeback was cut short, and he became the ninth-place finisher (€10,402). This is Conniff’s eighth WSOP cash, and his third here at WSOP Europe this year, but the former WPT champion is still looking for his first bracelet.
Just about 20 minutes after Conniff busted out, Byron Kaverman became the final table’s next casualty. Kaverman, who won his first career WSOP bracelet earlier this year, got the last of his chips in the middle against Paul Tedeschi, and the Frenchman won with his pocket nines. Kaverman earns €13,094 for his eighth-place finish.
Soon after, Brian Hastings followed Kaverman to the rail. Like Kaverman, Hastings has already had a successful year at the WSOP. He won two bracelets over the summer, and is in the running for Player of the Year. With his final-table performance today, he pulls into second place. However, current POY leader Mike Gorodinsky also cashed in this event to pad his lead, and Hastings now only has two tournaments – the WSOP Europe Main Event and High Roller – to catch him. Full Player of the Year standings are available here.
The next player eliminated is another decorated WSOP veteran. John Racener has 35 previous WSOP cashes, most notably a runner-up finish in the 2010 Main Event. After getting short-stacked, Racener’s lost an all-in confrontation to Tedeschi’s , and Racener exited in sixth place for €21,600.
Five-handed play lasted about 90 minutes, a virtual eternity in a turbo event. Eventually, Rafal Tomczak found himself short on chips and got into an all-in confrontation against Georgios Sotiropoulos. Tomczak’s fell to Sotiropoulos’s , and Tomczak hit the rail in fifth place for €28,318. This is Tomczak’s second career WSOP cash, and the first was earlier this week here at Spielbank.
Soon after Tomczak’s elimination, play was paused for a scheduled break. Thanks to the lengthy five-handed play and the turbo structure, when the players returned to the table, the average stack was only 13 big blinds. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long to see an all-in clash. Georgios Sotiropoulos eliminated both Andre Lommel and Benjamin Zamani on the same hand. Zamani had more chips than Lommel, so he finished in third place (€50,719), and Lommel finished in fourth (€37,636). That hand gave Sotiropoulos a better than 2-1 advantage over Tedeschi entering heads-up play, and the stacks still weren’t deep compared to the blinds. Just a few minutes after the double elimination, the two remaining players had all their chips in the middle. When the dust settled, Sotiropoulos had all the chips, and Greece can now boast three bracelet winners here in Berlin.
Here are the final table payouts for Event #8: €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo. Click here for full results.
1 – Georgios Sotiropoulos – €112,133
2 – Paul Tedeschi – €69,361
3 – Benjamin Zamani – €50,719
4 – Andre Lommel – €37,636
5 – Rafal Tomczak – €28,318
6 – John Racener – €21,600
7 – Brian Hastings – €16,703
8 – Byron Kaverman – €13,094
9 – Asher Conniff– €10,402