With the World Poker Tour finally back to traveling the world, as evidenced by its recent effort in Cyprus, the next stop was the highly anticipated Marrakech location. Most players stay within the United States and Europe, sometimes venturing to Macau or Australia, but the opportunity to go to Morocco was one that hundreds of poker players reveled in. The Casino de Marrakech was the location for the poker, though many took the time to explore a bit of Africa during their stay.
But it was the poker that brought 416 players to the tables for the WPT event sponsored by Chili Poker. The sizable field gathered for a single Day 1 and included such players as Tony G, Bertrand Grospellier, Ludovic Lacay, Arnaud Mattern, Bruno Fitoussi, Fabrice Soulier, Antoine Saout, Huck Seed, Antonio Esfandiari, Annette Obrestad, and Liz Lieu. But when the day ended, only 151 were left standing with Guillaume de la Gorce as the chip leader.
Day 2 played down to the money, though many of the recognizable faces were eliminated before the bubble, like Liz Lieu and Annette Obrestad. When the bubble hit and 55 players remained, it was a player named Dali who pushed all-in with pocket aces against the of Benjamin Pollak. But the board came to give Pollak the straight and crack the aces of Dali, who finished in 55th place. That allowed Gerardo Rodriguez to be the first to cash, taking home €8,219 for 54th place. Other notables who cashed through the day included Antoine Saout in 40th place, Thomas Bichon in 38th, and Tony G in 33rd.
The third and final day of play started with 17 competitors. Azziz Abdelmalki was the first to go in 17th place, and as the final table neared, it was Tristan Clemencon who pushed all-in on a board with pocket aces against the queens of Christophe Savary. But another set of aces were cracked when the turn and river gave Savary the straight. Clemencon was out in tenth place with €23,025.
The final table was then set as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Julien Arneodo ||978,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Balazs Botond ||195,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Eughan O’Dea ||1,263,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Ludovic Lacay ||2,183,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Hichem Ben Halima ||767,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Christophe Savary ||1,352,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Adrian Marin ||890,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Benny Spindler ||591,000|
|Seat 9: ||Patrick Meurisse ||217,000 |
When the set-up was complete, play resumed and soon found Meurisse with new life, courtesy of a double through Halima. Spindler also doubled through O’Dea, but it was Halima who took the brunt of the beats. After O’Dea doubled through Halima, the latter was relegated to a stack of about 100K, which was thinned ever further before Halima moved it all-in holding . Spindler called with , and the board came to eliminate Hichem Ben Halima in ninth place with €27,959.
Botond was unable to gather momentum at the table, and when he got involved with Marin on a flop of , Marin’s initial raise led Botond to push all-in. Marin showed , and that was good enough to dominate the of Botond. The on the turn and on the river left Balazs Botond with €34,517 for the eighth place finish.
Meurisse was the next to find himself with a short stack, and the 170K went all-in preflop with . O’Dea called with , and the board only helped O’Dea when it came . Patrick Meurisse was ousted in seventh place with €42,741.
O’Dea continued to climb, and after taking a monster pot from Spindler, he climbed over the 2 million mark. That left Spindler to head to the dinner break with less than 300K, and upon returning, he pushed all-in with . Lacay was the caller from the small blind with . The innocent flop came , but the turn gave Spindler the advantage. However, the on the river gave top pair to Lacay and sent Benny Spindler packing in sixth place with €55,828.
Marin lost several pots to put him in jeopardy, and he finally pushed with . Savary called with pocket sevens, and the board came . An inferior two pair on the board was Adrian Marin’s ticket out of the tournament, and he took home €72,240 for fifth place.
Arneodo was in for a roller coaster during four-handed action. He found his first double-up at the hands of Lacay, and the second came through O’Dea. But he took some subsequent hits to be chipped back down to 395K. That went all-in preflop with , and another doubled looked very possible when Lacay called with the inferior . But the board came , and the turn card eliminated Julien Arneodo in fourth place with €105,077.
Though Lacay won that pot, a previous significant loss to Savary left Lacay as the short stack of the trio. Lacay finally pushed all-in from the big blind after an initial raise by Savary. Lacay’s 1.4 million chips were at risk with , and Savary showed . The flop brought the flush draw with , and the turn completed it with . The on the river changed nothing, and Ludovic Lacay was gone in third place with €164,182.
Heads-up began with the following counts:
|Christophe Savary ||5,060,000 |
|Eoghan O’Dea ||3,260,000 |
O’Dea took the first significant pot of the evening and climbed to within 1.2 million of Savary, but he couldn’t gain much more ground than that.
The two went to see a flop of , and after O’Dea bet out, Savary reraised all-in. O’Dea called all-in for his tournament life holding and top pair, and Savary showed for the open-ended straight draw. And the came on the turn to make that straight. A came on the river to end the match, and Eoghan O’Dea finished the tournament in second place with €262,446.
Christophe Savary from France won the WPT Marrakech tournament, which came with a WPT bracelet and €377,262 in prize money.