The €500,000 GTD 9 days long poker festival winmasters Poker Open has concluded on Monday December 21st 2015 in WTC Dome, Bucharest, Romania with the last act, the final table of the €550 Main Event.
Overall, there had been 24 tournaments, over 1,500 unique participants, 12 trophies and over €700,000 awarded in total prizes.
The Main Event gathered 1,060 entries which generated a whopping €503,500 worth prize pool with €100,500 put aside for the winner.
There were players from 15 countries involved but the final table consisted of 5 Romanian and 4 Israeli players. The ratio was absolutely remarcable for the Israeli field, as at the start of the Main Event they were only about 12% of the overall player field. The final table of nine commenced on Monday at 14:00 hrs and lasted almost 11 hours with an unusual amount of ups and downs for all the players.
The steep payout structure (only €7,150 for 9th, €8,600 for 8th, etc. and €100,500 for 1st) determined the big stacks to adopt a sub-optimal strategy: they preferred to just get uninvolved and wait for developments without putting their own stack under fire. This stance favored the short-stacks who could find more room for their moves. So this course of actions was the golden opportunity for the Israeli Yonatan Koko who managed to sail through the tournament as a short stack. Meanwhile chips were moving mainly to the “table captain” the speculative and very loose Mayan Yehoshua who kept dismantling all the attempts of the other medium stacks to build up. Yehoshua’s will to fight was ironically accompanied by an unprecedented run of luck, so he signed most of the eliminations. After a deal was stricken among the last three – Yehoshua, the short stack Koko and the conservative Lucian Dragan – €10.000 were left along the trophy to be played for.
After a 2 to 3 hour-long chicken game, Dragan was the first to lose patience and risked all his stack with a mere gutshot and the third pair on the turn and exited 3rd. The headsup play between the two Israelis left started with an unusual chip-ratio: 10:1 against Koko. That is, 12 blig blind versus 120 big blinds. But the endgame brought the final surprise: the forever short stack Yonatan Koko managed to recoup the handicap for 3 times. The last time it was definitive: while almost even with Yehoshua (2 or 3 big blinds shy) he doubled up by spiking a spade on the turn for a flush against a mere top pair which drew dead on the very turn. The last hand was a formality and the first WPO trophy landed into the hands of an ecstatic Yonatan Koko, a player who fully deserved this honor given his patience and finesse proven during his 10 hours short-stack play at a final table teeming with hungry and deep-stacked opponents.