Before the final day of the €50,000 Super High Roller Second Chance at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona even began, Tom Orpaz sized up the trophy and looked forward to taking a winner’s photo with one of the massive trophies the EPT awards to Main Event winners.
Orpaz had good reason to be optimistic. He came into the day as a massive chip leader, nearly three times the stack of his nearest rival. He was also on a hot streak, having won an earlier €25,000 event here in Barcelona and finishing in third place in the €10,200 Mystery Bounty event.
Orpaz ensured he would have to make additional room on his trophy case, defeating Japan’s Tsugunari Toma heads-up to prevail over a field of 24 entries and take home the €442,440 top prize and his second title in Barcelona.
“I’ve reached my goal. My goal was to make more than a million dollars in winnings and at least one trophy. I’ve got two of them and at least a million dollars. And we’re still here, right,” Orpaz said immediately following his victory.
Orpaz took control of the tournament early on Day 1, busting the likes of Jean-Noel Thorel, Sam Grafton, and Nacho Barbero. A lucky six on the turn spelled the end for Argentinian rapper and PokerStars ambassador Alejandro Lococo in seventh place. Orpaz took on the toughest players in the world, from Timothy Adams, Conor Beresford, Steve O’Dwyer, and even Spanish soccer legend Gerard Pique, and beat them at their game again.
Discover what makes the PokerStars Power Path so awesome.
“Of course, it was a good run. I had some good hands, I had some bad hands, I had to adjust my play,” Orpaz said. “I think most of my winnings are in these high roller ones, the 25K, the 50K, even the 10K, where I saw I could adjust towards the other players, the aggression, the bluffs.”
The Tel Aviv real estate investor and entrepreneur isn’t a professional poker player. The game is just a hobby, an avenue where he can challenge himself and have fun doing it all while making a little money.
“This is not my job. This is a hobby of mine. I have a job outside of poker. I have businesses. I have different things that I do. But this I do for fun, and sometimes fun pays you money,” he said.
“It’s the challenge to beat the best players in the world. It’s the hardest game in the world. And if you can beat that against the best players in the world, then it’s a good challenge, right.”
Orpaz is hard to miss at a poker table, not just for his aggressive, fearless playing style but for the joy he takes in the game. On Day 1, he sat beside the equally gregarious Grafton, and the two exchanged a seemingly endless array of table banter. Orpaz has fun playing the game, and it shows whenever he’s at the table.
“This is just me. I’m having fun at the table. I’m having fun where I am. I don’t think of it as a strategy. I just come here, and I have fun because it is fun,” he said.
Final Table Results
Day 2 Action
Orpaz began the day leading the five remaining players with 2,740,000, far ahead of Biao Ding in second place with 970,000 and Justin Saliba’s 900,000. Orpaz won an early race with two fours against ace-jack to knock out Saliba, who won the €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Freezeout event here in Barcelona earlier in the festival, in fifth place.
Orpaz then tangled with a poker legend and member of the Poker Hall of Fame. He shoved from the small blind and Erik Seidel called for his last 370,000 with king-six. Orpaz was caught making a move with jack-deuce, but the flop gave him trip deuces to send Seidel to the rail in fourth place.
Toma, who was already guaranteed to become Japan’s all-time money-winner leader today, pulled close to Orpaz when he doubled up for 1,290,000 with ace-king to king-queen. Toma then picked up aces the next hand to bust Ding in third place and take the chip lead into heads-up play, 3,250,000 to 2,750,000.
The pivotal hand of heads-up came when Toma three-bet to 400,000 and Orpaz called. Toma bet another 500,000 on the flop, and Orpaz tanked for a moment before shoving all in for 2,475,000. Toma called with a flopped pair of sevens, but Orpaz had pocket queens and held on for the massive double-up, leaving Toma with fewer than three big blinds.
Toma doubled up three times to get back to more than 2,000,000 until he shoved the river on a king-high board. Orpaz called with top pair, and Toma could only show a missed straight draw as he had to settle for a runner-up finish.
Orpaz planned to spend the rest of the day celebrating with his daughter, who came to Barcelona with him. Then it’s on to more high rollers and more fun for the Israeli businessman. Poker may be just a hobby for Orpaz, but he’s proving to be quite good at it.
That concludes PokerNews coverage of the €50,000 Super High Roller Second Chance at EPT Barcelona. Stay tuned for more updates from the remainder of the festival.