This week, hundreds of poker players from around the world have walked through the security doors and scanned their fingerprints in the Aviation Club de France (ACF). Yesterday we crowned our WPT main event champion, Natalia Nikitina, who was the only person left sitting after a fourteen hour final table marathon.
That left just one more title to hand out before we could bring the curtain down on this week long festival of poker and all take a bow. The WPT National Series $10,000 High Roller event in Paris was that final event and it belonged to Imad Derwiche.
It was a fantastic and intriguing spectacle to begin with and then it petered out in spectacular fashion. It certainly wasn’t a final table for the poker purists. Basil Yaiche was the youngest player on the table and he was playing fantastic positional poker and in the first few levels he added 100,000 chips to his stack and solidified his place at the top. Then slowly but surely you could see the more mature members of the group adjusting to the young hot shot.
When we lost our first player it had significant undertones for the match in general. Nichlas Mattson had recently won a six figure high roller event in Europe and he was playing pretty well until he found himself in a coin flip. His opponent was Bouali who was holding versus the of Mattson. Mattson lost the flip and all of his chips went to Bouali who overtook the chip lead from Yaiche.
The player holding the unlucky stick throughout the day was Ludovic Lacay. It just didn’t matter what he did – he could not win a pot. He lost his first showdown against Kakoun when Kakoun’s beat the of Lacay. But it was his second showdown that killed him. Lacay getting it in good with against the of Derwiche only for the to show up on the river for Derwiche. Lacay was eliminated soon after and was quickly followed by the largely anonymous Dori Yacoub.
After those two eliminations a very strange poker picture started to emerge. Firas Nassar qualified for this event playing online at Party Poker. He spent just $7 qualifying and it was pretty clear that he was desperate to sneak into the top four spots. As a result he became a virtual passenger in the game surviving on nothing but a few big blinds. Soon to join him scraping the dregs at the bottom of the barrel was Haim Kakoun. Kakoun just couldn’t fold a hand and he kept calling raises out of position and then check-folding the flop. Sayah Bouali then started battering everyone. His modus operandi was to over-bet the pot and his opponents were folding at will. That left Derwiche and Yaiche and they started to play a little side game in the blinds and Derwiche came out on top. Eventually, the top notch Yaiche started to get dragged down with the poor standard of play and he too started to bleed chips.
As the clock struck midnight it had turned into a sit n go with a huge chip leader called Sayah Bouali. The other players on the table were so desperate not to become the bubble boy that Bouali basically had the freedom of the felt.
Then just as all eyes were on either Kakoun or Nassar to be the bubble boy Basil Yaiche sprung a leak and was eliminated in 5th place. It was a limped pot on a board of when Yaiche check-raised shoved with and was called by Bouali holding . The turn was the and the river the giving the chip leader a straight and eliminating Yaiche.
With only three players remaining Bouali fell to sleep and did not take advantage of his chip lead. Then the game reached farcical levels as it crept into its 15th hour. Nassar was happy to let his stack dwindle as low as four big blinds and he incredibly doubled up at that level at least four times. He even managed to get himself second in chips before allowing himself to get ground down again. Then Derwiche found himself down to 90,000 chips and staring defeat in the face when he found a miracle river card against Bouali to stay alive. A few hands later and Derwiche was incredibly our chip leader and eventually eliminated Nassar in 3rd place. Nassar, who qualified online, had turned a $7 investment into a €46,000 profit!
The heads up lasted one hand with Sayah Bouali’s being beaten by Imad Derwiche’s .
After one of the most bizarre, up and down, final tables I have ever witnessed Imad Derwiche is crowned our winner and takes home the €125,000 in prize money.
Final Table Payouts
1. Imad Derwiche €125,000
2. Sayah Bouali €65,000
3. Firas Nassar €46,000
4. Haim Kakoun €20,642
Final Table Image Gallery