The inaugural Monster World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions crowned its winner on Sunday night, with Farid Yachou walking away with the title and $381,600 in first-place prize money.
Additionally, Yachou earned himself a 2016 Corvette, courtesy of Monster, a Hublot King Power Unico Titanium watch, an Aurae® Solid Gold MasterCard, a pair of gold Monster® 24K Headphones, a custom premium poker table from BBO Poker Tables, a seat in Tiger's Poker Night Presented by World Poker Tour, and a round of golf for you and two guests at the world-class Shadow Creek Golf Course with Matt Savage. All told, the additional prizes are estimated to be worth more than $150,000.
With the victory, Yachou moved to over $600,000 in career live tournament earnings. While that number isn't exactly a headline stealer, Yachou's story to the winner's circle is quite an amazing one.
First, Yachou is scared of flying. Actually, we were told he is petrified of it. When he won WPT Amsterdam at the beginning of the current season in May 2015, he was told he also won entry to this event, which was to take place in America. Because of his fear of flying, Yachou didn't want to make the trip. Then there's the fact that Yachou had never been to the States at all. Additionally, Yachou needed a visa to come over and play in this event, and he nearly missed the deadline for submission, getting it approved on the final day in order to make this trip possible. Oh, and if you check Yachou's live tournament results, he only has two on record. Those two are his WPT Amsterdam win and this Monster WPT Tournament of Champions win.
Final Table Results
|1||Farid Yachou||Leeuwarden, Netherlands||$381,600|
|2||Vlad Darie||Satu Mare, Romania||$224,190|
|4||Jonathan Jaffe||Fort Lauderdale, FL||$95,400|
|5||Noah Schwartz||Sunny Isles, FL||$74,200|
|6||Darren Elias||Cherry Hill, NJ||$58,300|
The eliminations got started on Hand #38 of the final table, when two-time WPT winner Darren Elias fell to Yachou. With the blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000 in Level 21, Elias moved all in from the cutoff seat for 261,000. Yachou reraised all in on the button for nearly 700,000, and everyone else folded. That left Elias all in and at risk with the to Yachou's . The flop, turn, and river ran out , and Elias was eliminated.
Just two hands later, Noah Schwartz busted in fifth place. He moved all in from the small blind for 229,000 over the top of a button min-raise to 40,000 from Michael Mizrachi. After Jonathan Jaffe folded from the big blind, Mizrachi called with the . Schwartz had the for the best hand, but only a 53.71-percent favorite, according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator. After the flop, Schwartz stayed in front and moved to a 70.3-percent chance. The on the turn gave Mizrachi some additional outs to a flush, but Schwartz was still very much the favorite heading to the river. That didn't matter, though, as the spiked on the river to deliver one of Mizrachi's outs and win him the pot.
Jaffe was next to go in fourth place, despite starting the final table as the chip leader. He busted on Hand #45 when his couldn't come from behind against the for Vlad Darie.
After Jaffe's elimination, Mizrachi held half of the chips in play. With double the chips of either of his two opponents and an extensive amount of experience sealing the deal in big events, this one seemed like a formality until Mizrachi hoisted the trophy. But then, Mizrachi started to fall. First, Yachou took a big chunk from him to move into the lead. After that, "The Grinder" slid down to third place on the leaderboard. Darie then jumped into the lead, and Mizrachi got shorter and shorter. Finally, and Hand #60, he made what would be his final move.
With the blinds up to 12,000/24,000/4,000 in Level 22, Mizrachi raised on the button to 50,000. Yachou moved all in from the big blind, and Mizrachi called to put himself at risk for 366,000 with the . Yachou had the . Although a king hit the flop, a four joined it when the dealer spread out the . The turn was the and the river the to finish off Mizrachi and set up heads-up play between Yachou and Darie.
Entering the duel, Yachou held a slight lead with 1.656 million in chips to Darie's 1.545 million — just five big blinds ahead.
Heads-up play took just 12 hands, with the final one occurring on hand #72 of the final table. On that hand, Darie raised on the button to 50,000, Yachou called from the big blind, and the flop fell . Yachou check-raised Darie's bet of 50,000 to 250,000, and Darie made the call. The turn was the , and Yachou bet 200,000. Darie called, then the river was the . Yachou moved all in for nearly 1.6 million, having his opponent covered. Darie made the call with the for the two pair on board and king high. Yachou showed the for a full house, deuces over eights, and he had won it all.
For his runner-up finish, Darie was awarded $224,190.
*Photo courtesy of Joe Giron/WPT.