Zimnan Ziyard has become the latest in a long line of British poker players to take down a PokerStars European Poker Tour Main Event after he outlasted 335 opponents to win the inaugural EPT Loutraki Main Event in Greece.
The Eastbourne-based professional poker player cashed twice in small buy-in events at the PCA and then had a deep run in the EPT Deauville Main Event to kick start his year. More recently he finished in sixth place in the $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha event at the World Series of Poker but this latest result is by far his best and most prestigious.
Ziyard started the eight-handed final table as the chip leader but it was far from a done deal and he had to grind it out for 13 hours before emerging victorious. It had initially looked as if the tournament could have been over in record time as five players were eliminated in the first couple of hours but Ziyard, Hauke Heseding and John Taramas played three-handed for six hours before Taramas exited stage left, ending any Greek hopes of a local champion.
With Taramas out of the way Ziyard and Heseding got down to business and put on a fantastic show of heads-up poker. The chip lead exchanged hands on numerous occasions but neither player managed to put any significant distance between themselves and their opponent and the PokerNews Live Reporting team prepared themselves for another long slog!
It looks like this EPT Loutraki business is going to be a stop work and roll straight into a taxi for the airport type of gig.Follow @Chingster23
Then, out of the blue what turned out to be the final hand took place. With blinds at 80,000/160,000/20,000 Heseding raised to 325,000 and Ziyard made the call. The latter then check-called a 325,000 continuation bet on a flop then he did the same on the except this time the bet was 575,000. The on the river saw Ziyard lead out for 1,075,000 chips but Heseding put the maximum amount of pressure on the Brit by moving all in for a total of 3,755,000.
Ziyard considered all of his options for several minutes before saying, “Top pair top kicker is no good here. I've got the nut card draw.” Before adding, “You've either got the flush or you don't...I call!” Ziayrd then turned over for two pair and because it was an all in situation Heseding had to turn over his for a complete bluff, but one that would almost certainly have worked had the Brit not backdoored two pair. The duo were almost level in chips and when the dealer had finished counting the stacks it became apparent that Ziyard covered his German opponent by just 150,000 chips, less than one big blind, and was the EPT Loutraki Champion!
The next stop for the EPT is in Prague between December 5-10. Last year's event was memorably won by Roberto Romanello for a cool €640,000, and saw Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki take third place. Who will become this year's champion? We do not have long to wait to find out.
EPT Loutraki Final Table Results