Georgios Skarparis Wins Mini Main Event After a Promise to His Student ($554,925)

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Georgios Skarparis of Cyprus displayed unwavering determination as he clinched his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and a substantial $554,925 cash prize in Event #78: $1,000 Mini Main Event at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. Overcoming a field of 6,076 contenders that created a massive $5,361,840 prize pool, Skarparis emerged victorious after a grueling battle.

The atmosphere at the rail was poignant, particularly with one of Skarparis’s students, Nikolas Kiourtzides, from Cyprus, fervently cheering him on, alongside the spirit of another student, Kyriakos Oxinos, who was there in memory.

In a tense final showdown, Skarparis outlasted Alexandre Barbaranelli of Italy, known for his numerous cashes yet securing his largest payout yet at $369,994. Barbaranelli’s journey was highlighted by strategic plays, including a pivotal hand against Adam Rothschild and a crucial double-up through Mikhail Zavoloka during the final table.

Winner’s Reaction

Georgios Skarparis
Georgios Skarparis

Skarparis’s emotional reaction underscored the significance of his victory, fulfilling a promise he made to honor Kyriakos Oxinos, a dear friend and mentee tragically lost in a car accident. Determined to dedicate a bracelet to Oxinos’s memory, Skarparis has relentlessly pursued this goal, fueling his journey through numerous tournaments, including an ongoing quest for the Main Event title.

Transitioning from a legal career to professional poker just four years ago, Skarparis expressed gratitude to his mother for supporting his unconventional career choice. Despite setbacks during Day 2, where his chip stack took hits, he maintained composure and steadily rebuilt his position, ultimately dominating the field until the final hand.

Reflecting on his achievement, Skarparis acknowledged a sense of belonging in the poker world since his 2021 win in Cyprus, now solidified by his latest triumph and bracelet. His journey symbolizes the rewards of dedication, study, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in the game.

WSOP Event #78: $1,000 Mini Main Event Final Table Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Georgios Skarparis Cyprus $554,925
2 Alexandre Barbaranelli Italy $369,994
3 Mikhail Zavoloka Russian Federation $276,695
4 Kyle Williamson United States $208,444
5 Dirk Bruns Germany $158,191
6 Joshua Prager United States $120,950
7 Kaihung Hu United States $93,171
8 Stefan Widmer Switzerland $72,316
9 Hunter Frey United States $56,557

Day 3 Action

When play resumed today, each player was assured of taking home at least $158,191. The first to cash out was Dirk Bruns of Germany, whose journey ended in fifth place when his big slick failed to surpass pocket eights.

Following him in fourth was Kyle Williamson from Ohio, who started Day 2 as the chip leader. After doubling up with a straight, Williamson had his sights set on the top prize and made a crucial call against the chip leader from the small blind. He ultimately secured $208,444 for his impressive performance, cheered on by a strong contingent of supporters from California. This marked Williamson’s inaugural final table appearance and the largest win of his career, although he’s also renowned for his skills in house flipping and DIY projects back home.

Shortly thereafter, Mikhail Zavoloka from Russia, boasting a robust poker portfolio with over $1,000,000 in lifetime earnings, finished third, earning $276,695. With a short chip stack, Zavoloka was forced all-in and despite calls from both opponents, the hands were checked down to conclude his tournament run.

The heads-up duel was swift and decisive. Within just five hands, the bracelet was placed on the table as the players collided in an ace-versus-ace showdown. Ultimately, Barbaranelli faced a kicker dilemma that went unresolved, solidifying the victory for the opposing player.

Skarparis’s achievement adds to the rich tapestry of WSOP history, outlasting esteemed players like Main Event champion Stoyan Madanzhiev and Ryan Hughes who owns three bracelets, while icons like bracelet winner Marsha Wolak and legend and three-time bracelet winner Sam Farha also made notable appearances in this year’s event.

For comprehensive coverage of World Series of Poker 2024, stay tuned to PokerNews for updates on all the action and highlights from the series.

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