Former Boxer turned Poker Pro scores first Circuit gold ring and biggest win of his career.
11 December 2019 (Bell Gardens, Calif.) -- The World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event at The Bike spanned a total of four days, drew 487 entries, and divvied up $737,805 in prize money. By the conclusion of the $1,700 buy-in tourney, Said “Sid” El Harrak was the one who reigned as champion, claiming his first WSOP gold ring.
El Harrak, born in London, England, was a product of Day 1B, bagging an above-average stack. He cruised through most of the second leg.
Then, near the tail end of Day 2, El Harrak successfully knocked out the 12th and 11th place finishers, which provided him with a healthy chip advantage.
Day 2 precisely ended with the final-table redraw of nine players. El Harrak, with virtually four million to his name, was primed to enter Day 3 as chip leader, a position he has encountered in the past, though it previously ended in infamy.
“I’ve been in the WSOP final table before… I was the chip leader and I was so aggressive, so active early, and I ended up busting eighth,” mentioned El Harrak. “I said to myself, ‘Today, I ain’t going to do the same thing.’”
During Day 3, El Harrak dished out spurts of aggression as the big stack, but also wisely kept his chip allocation in check during certain spots.
“The past experience really helped because it just taught me just to be calm and times on my side because I got most the chips,” said El Harrak.
There was plenty of tough competition among the final table participants. El Harrak was pleased to have Brock Wilson and Ping Liu directly on his right, two players with 90 cashes and about $850,000 in WSOP cashes between them.
Liu, as the short stack, ended up going out in 9th place ($13,515). Ring winner Fadi Hamad was next to fall, taking 8th place ($17,045), then came Robert Suer in 7th place ($21,795), and Abbas Moradi in 6th place ($28,250).
Wilson was looking good, until his pocket kings were trounced by an ace on the river, which provided El Harrak with the elimination. Wilson grabbed 5th place ($37,115), and was shortly followed by Sal Rassibi, coming in 4th place ($49,415) and gold ring winner Jeremy Kottler, taking 3rd place ($66,665).
This left El Harrak and Ronnie Tate to duke it out for the Main Event title. Tate had been holding his own all day. However, El Harrak’s play did not waiver, and all chips in play swiftly flocked to his corner. Tate took home $91,100 for 2nd place, while El Harrak banked a whopping $147,435, the biggest score of his career.
“It’s very special,” El Harrak stated after his triumph. The 37-year-old seemed to take much joy and validation from the achievement.
“When I was younger teachers and people would ask me what I want to be when I’m older and where do I want to go to school, and I never had an answer because I never wanted to like work because I believe everybody is a gifted human being. We’re all gifted in our own way,” said El Harrak.
“I barely graduated high school, and then I went into boxing. I became a Professional Boxer. Then, in 2016, I retired,” he continued.” And I love poker. So, I said let me try to take my last paycheck in boxing and put it in poker and now I’ve been doing it nonstop and this is beautiful. I love it. I love the game.”
As a Professional Boxer turned Poker Pro, El Harrak carried over some skills from the ring to the felt.
“Boxing’s about reading your opponent. So, I feel like I can pick up on tells and then betting patterns. I follow the betting pattern,” explained El Harrak. “You know, if someone is playing aggressive, I’m going to play more passive with them. If they’re passive I’m going to be aggressive on them. I like the psychological act of the game.”
El Harrak’s reads and strategy worked wonders in Event #13: $1,700 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event. The California resident’s victory marked his 15th cash with the WSOP and more than triples his WSOP earnings to a total of just over $200,000.