After winning his second World Series of Poker bracelet in three years, Athanasios Polychronopoulos was mobbed by a boisterous bunch of friends, fans, and fellow poker pros. Having navigated the minefield in 2011 to best a massive field for his first piece of gold, Polychronopoulos has once again weaved through thousands of amateurs and experts to claim every chip in play.
A total of 2,105 runners took their seats on Saturday afternoon, and that enormous field was quickly carved down to size, leaving us with a star-studded final two tables that included 2009 Main Event Champion Joe Cada, online legend David "Bakes" Baker, poker sage Barry Greenstein, and of course, Polychronopoulos.
Entering Day 3 of play here today, the New York native Polychronopoulos had amassed a stack of 1.135 million chips, good for third on the leaderboard as the march to the final table began. A large portion of that stack came courtesy of a huge double knockout as Day 2 neared its conclusion, and with momentum on his side, along with a mountain of chips, Polychronopoulos cruised to the final table.
Under the bright lights of the Mothership main stage for the third time in three years, Polychronopoulos went right to work, notching the first elimination of the night and taking control of the table from the start.
Polychronopoulos also tangled repeatedly with Joe Cada, losing a big hand to double the man with his banner hanging from the Rio's rafters, before ultimately eliminating Cada in his second fourth-place finish of this young WSOP.
When it was all said and done, Polychronopoulos controlled the final table with his preflop aggression and creativity, repeatedly taking pots down with three-bets in good spots. Eventually, Polychronopoulos sent Everett Carlton to the rail in 3rd place, and that set up what a heads-up duel that only lasted three hands.
With destiny seemingly on his side, and serenity emanating from every move he made, Polychronopoulos got it all-in against Manuel Mutke holding the , which was dominated by the young German's . A flop of hit both players with top pair, but Polychronopoulos was still looking for ladies, and while the turn failed to help, the hit him perfectly, shipping his second WSOP bracelet in dramatic fashion.
Polychronopoulos earned a whopping $518,755 for his win here today, but more importantly, he proved to the poker world that learning to spell his last name just might be a good idea. After all, with two WSOP wins in three years, Athanasios Polychronopoulos has accomplished something few others have, and with six more $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em events still on the docket, the summer is still young.