British poker pro Zimnan Ziyard has won EPT8 Loutraki for €347,000 at the first ever EPT event in Greece. A total of 336 players from 38 countries competed in the €4,400 Main Event at Club Hotel Casino Loutraki, creating a €1,344,000 total prize pool and making it the biggest poker tournament ever held in the country.
As well as the EPT Loutraki title and cash prize, Ziyard, who won his seat on PokerStars, also takes home a stunning bracelet from EPT Season 8 Official Bracelet Sponsor Shamballa Jewels worth more than €10,000.
Ziyard, 25, from Eastbourne, triumphed following a marathon final. Although five players were eliminated by 5pm, it took a further six hours before third-placed John Taramas was knocked out, ending Greek hopes of a local champion. A two-hour duel then commenced between Zinyard and fellow PokerStars qualifier Hauke Heseding, 24, from Berlin, a part-time player currently doing a year’s national service in the army.
Ziyard, whose previous live results include 20th place at EPT Deauville last season and sixth in a $3,000 WSOP PLO event last summer, said: “I feel great. It was a very tough day. I had an easy run the first few days but this was totally different. When we were three-handed, I thought I had it but then I started wondering if I would even get second! It was definitely the most challenging table I’ve ever played.”
A total of 92 players won their seats to the event on PokerStars – and five made the final. As well as Ziyard and Heseding, Florian Schleps came fourth for €100,800, Pierre Mothes fifth for €67,200 and Mario Puccini eighth for , €27,000.
EPT7 San Remo champion Rupert Elder had potential to become the first ever double EPT winner until he was eliminated in 13th place by Ziyard, his friend and former university buddy. Team PokerStars Pro Toni Judet from Romania also had a deep run in the event, finishing 21st for €8,700, while Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth cashed in 31st place for €7,400. 48 places were paid.
Third-placed Taramas won the Last Longer contest organised by Skrill, the Official Payment Provider Sponsor for EPT Season 8. The former blackjack pro outlasted 77 other Skrill-patched players to get his €4,400 Main Event buy-in credited back into his Skrill account.
Belgian player Kenny Hallaert won two side events: the €2k side event for €50,400, after a tense and protracted battle with Team PokerStars Pros Eugene Katchalov and Vanessa Rousso, as well as the very first side event of EPT Loutraki – the €300 Turbo. American Steve O’Dwyer, runner-up at EPT London, won the €1k PLO side event €18,500. Greek player Evangelia Triantafyllaki, who came fourth at the EPT Grand Final Ladies Event last season, won the Ladies Event for €1,500.
1 Zimnan Ziyard UK PokerStars qualifier €347,000
2 Hauke Heseding Germany PokerStars qualifier €221,800
3 John Taramas Greece €134,400
4 Florian Schleps Austria PokerStars qualifier €100,800
5 Pierre Mothes Germany PokerStars qualifier €67,200
6 Andras Kovacs Hungary €53,700
7 Charalampos Kapernopoulos Greece €40,300
8 Mario Puccini Germany PokerStars qualifier €27,000