Black Belt Poker sponsored pro Sam Razavi has become the APT [Asian Poker Tour] Player of the Year after winning the final leg of the season at the Casino Carnival in Goa, India.
With a background in SNGs, the 150,000 rupee Main Event was well-suited to a man of Razavi's experience as just nine players entered, and after the opening day's play, he found himself heads-up for the title.
With 190 versus 255 big blinds, there was more space to play than a game on Mars, but nevertheless, Razavi managed to double through relatively early with J-J versus T-T all in preflop, before securing the title just a few hands later.
With blinds at 300 and 600, Razavi limped with before calling a shove from . Although the flop teased defeat, justice prevailed on the turn before hammering in the final nail on the blank river.
Not only did victory earn him a 790,000 rupee first prize (circa $14,500), but it also crowned him Player of the Year ahead of nearest rival Martin Nilsson of Sweden.
Razavi's first notch on the poker bedpost came in February when he finished second in Cebu for just under $45,000, followed by two more final table appearances in Macau and Bavet City.
With victory in Goa, he can now look forward to playing the entire next season free of charge, including the opening leg in Jeju, South Korea, an event that will mark the sixth year of the Tour.
"I didn't realise there was actually a POY title to be won on the APT until midway through the year," admitted Razavi, "but as soon as I noticed, it became one of my main targets. It was never about the money for me; it was all about being number one.
"The competition was tough and I'm obviously over the moon to have won, but I really worked hard to attend as many events as possible and winning the title here [in Goa] really rounded things off nicely."
With a near one-million in tournament winnings, globetrotting sensation Razavi has dominated Asian poker over the last 12 months and can now add a POY title to the UKIPT leaderboard trophy he won on home soil last year.
The only question left is: where next? With an ANZPT title in Melbourne and an Aussie Millions final in the bag, he's quickly running out of continents to conquer, unless he fancies a trip to Antartica.
"I'm thinking South America…" pondered Razavi.
Lead image courtesy of Anne Laymond