Grigoropoulos wins first Greek Poker Cup
Seven Greeks and one Swede began their ultimate battle on noon, this Sunday, to claim the title of the first ever poker tournament on Greek Soil : the inaugural Pokerstars.net Greek Poker Cup.
Daniel Carlsson from Sweden had the clear advantage from the very beginning. He was the chip leader and the only one past the one million chip-mark. From the very first hands at the final table he wanted to show everyone "who's the boss" by raising every single pot and sending a clear message to his opponents of what was going to follow.
The first two casualties of the day took place during the first two blind levels. Actually, during the first half hour of play, Vasilis Kossivas announced "all-in" after the initial raise of Stavros Kalfas . Vasilis pushed his 10 big blinds in the middle and got the call from Kalfas, who showed A♣K♠. Vasilis was holding pocket Tens T♣T♥ that didn't manage, however, to hold up : The board was 7♠J♠T♠2♥Q♥ and Vasilis was officially our 8th place finisher.
After Panayotis Poulikaratos managed to double up his stack twice, it was time for our second casualty of the day. This time, the guy responsible for the previous elimination was on the ropes : The Greek Pokerstars Challenger, Stavros Kalfas, was dealt A♥J♠ and announced all-in on top of Daniel Carlsson's initial raise. The Swede called Kalfas's bet and was in far better shape holding A♣Q♦. The board hid no surprises : 8♠6♣9♣A♠K♣ and the Greek Pokerstars Challenger was out in 7th place.
Nikos Tsantes was the next guy to hit the rail. He was sitting on the small blind and held 7♦9♦. After the initial raise of Alexandros Kolonias toy 70.000, Tsantes announced all-in (about 145.000 chips). Alexandros thought it for a while, then thought loudly "I was trying to steal the pot... but now, I have to call you" showing Q♣6♠ and calling Tsantes' bet. All of a sudden, he liked his chances! And the board didnt prove him wrong : 2♣Q♠5♥7♠4♣ . Nikos Tsantes was out in 6th place.
A shortwhile later, Panayotis Poulikaratos attempted yet another double-up. This time, he was on the cut-off seat and, holding A♣Q♣ , raised all-in - 300.000 chips (about 10 big blinds, at that time). Calrsson held another great hand : A♥K♠ and made the call, having Poulikaratos dominated. The board made no favors to the greek player : 4♠8♠3♠J♦6♠. Panayotis was our 5th place finisher.
In the mean time, Daniel Carlsson kept applying pressure to his tablemates, raising literally every single pot. Most of the times he was on the big blind he got himself a walk, as his opponents preferred to stay away from him. Many of the railbirds gave him a new nickname... "Isildur" - due to his aggressiveness and his physical resemblance to the well known high-stakes Swede poker player.
However, his march towards the title was held back by "The punisher" of the table. Giorgos Tzimas (aka "timoros" which stants for "The Punisher" in Greek) re-raised all-in from the big blind holding A♥8♦. The Swede, who had initially min raised holding K♠K♦ immediatelly called. being a clear favourite in the hand. However, the board thought otherwise : 3♥5♥A♦Q♥6♣, and all of a sudden, Giorgos had taken the - narrow - chip lead!
The next pots belonged to Giorgos Grigoropoulos. Deciding that he finally has to make a stand, Giorgos doubled up against Carlsson - again - pushing over the top with 6♦6♣. Carlsson, maybe affected by his previous loss against Tzimas, made the call with A♦T♥ but the sixes held after Q♠9♥K♦7♠Q♦ hit the board. All of a sudden, the gap between the shorter and the bigger stacks narrowed down. With the blinds at 25K/50K/ante 5K and the average stack nearing 800K , it was anyones game.
At that point, Giorgos Tzimas began his counter attack. He showed extreme aggression, raising pot after pot and announcing all-in whenever an opponent tried to steal his blinds. The clash between him and one of his opponents was inevitable ... and so it happened : Giorgos Grigoropoulos shoved holding pocket 8's, and Tzimas decided to risk for his tournament life with one of the best hands in Texas Hold'em : Ace-King. Another classic coinflip, another race. The flop gave an Ace to Tzimas - and a third  to Grigoropoulos! Two cards later, Tzimas was giving the majority of his chips to Grigoropoulos, having less than 3 big blinds left .
Tzimas tried to regain its stack - but it wasnt meant to be. He pushed all-in holding A♣8♠ and all three of his opponents, like vultures in the desert over the coprse of a dead camel, instantly called. They all checked a 3♥4♥3♦J♠7♣ board , and Alexandros Kolonias showed [J] to win the hand and eliminate Giorgos "timoros - Punisher" Tzimas in 4th place.
Alexandros may did Grigoropoulos and Carlsson a favor by busting Tzimas - but this didn't mean they were supposed to be kind on him! After all it's poker, isn't it? Only a half hour later, Kolonias shoved from the small blind holding K♥9♠, and Grigoropoulos called with A♠K♣ from the big blind, having his opponent dominated.The board , once again, was fair to the favourite : 5♣A♥J♣2♠8♠ . And , after 6.5 hours of poker on Day 3, we had reached heads-up.
Carlsson had the slim advantage over Grigoropoulos, starting with 2.4 million chips against the greek's 1.58 million. However, Grigoropoulos narrowed the gap and then won the most crucial hand of the heads - up battle :
Calsson was on the button/small blind and pushed all-in with A♦6♦. Grigoropoulos woke up on the big blind with A♠Q♥ and insta-called. This time, he was the one with the advantage - an advantage that gave him this precious (worth about 69.100 Euros) pot, after the board ran 5♣T♠7♥2♥4♥ .
The Swede had only 3 big blinds left, which he threw into the pot preflop after being dealt 2♥6♥. Grigoropoulos called with K♠4♦ and found a King on a 9♥K♦Q♣T♦A♣ board, giving him the last pot of the night!
Here are the final standings of the final table of eight, together with each player's prize money :
1st place - Grigoropoulos Georgios - 69.100 €
2nd place - Daniel Carlsson - 43.900 €
3rd place - Kolonias Alexandros - 24.000 €
4th place - Tzimas Georgios (Pokerstars Qualifier) - 19.000 €
5th place - Poulikarakos Panayotis - 15.850 €
6th place - Tsantes Nikos (Pokerstars Qualifier)- 13.000 €
7th place - Kalfas Stavros (Greek Pokerstars Challenger) - 10.300 €
8th place - Kossivas Vasilis (Pokerstars Qualifier)- 8.140 €
Congratulations to everyone for this amazing event. Especially the participants, and - of course - the final winner, Giorgos Grigoropoulos. This event was only the beginning. More sold-out events, even more lucrative than this one, are bound to follow in Greece. Till next time!