Live or online, Georgios "GeoManousos" Sotiropoulous has proved himself in both
The Super Tuesday generated a first prize of $120,960 yesterday, a significant sum for this midweek highlight. So it was perhaps hardly surprising that it was a player of fledgling talent who earned top spot.
If you've never heard of Georgios "GeoManousos" Sotiropoulos, and let's face it it's a name you're likely to remember, he is perhaps most noted for a near miss on the European Poker Tour nearly a year ago. It was then, back in December 2013, that he reached the final table of the EPT main event in Prague.
It was a tense match that went to the wire, finishing at some regrettable hour close to sunrise, even in the deepest Bohemian winter. At the time it looked likely to favour Sotiropoulos given that he was up against Julian Track, a tall, pale German pro who was in the middle of a bout of flu which looked set to wipe him out. He looked ready to capitulate at any moment. Surely Sotiropoulos just had to bide his time.
But, as history now records, Track did no such thing and instead battled through to the end, proclaiming the event to be the last live one he'd ever play, except for that season's PCA which he'd already qualified for (and several others at which he'd subsequently appeared).
The forgotten second place finisher, who at least walked away with his health, was Sotiropoulos, who collected a not insignificant €700,000 as runner-up, which for a student from Greece was a life changing number.
While Sotiropoulos admitted that the thing he remembered most from that day was his father cheering him on from the rail, he also said that on seeing Track, all sweaty and ailing, he figured he could beat him. But, as he put it, nothing worked well in the heads-up. "I was happy with the deal and the result though. Julian played good."
That was nearly a year ago, a result that for Sotiropoulos followed with a win and runner-up finish in EPT Grand Final side events in May. And now, the now second highest earning Greek player in the game has added a Super Tuesday to his resume. I asked him what it was like to achieve such a feat.
"This is my third time I've final tabled Super Tuesday," he said, having previously finished eighth and ninth. "Super Tuesday is one of the toughest online tournaments, so winning this feels amazing and priceless."
His journey to the final had been eventful. As the bubble burst he had been second in chips. Then he lost a good portion of them, leaving himself with an average stack which he maintained all the way through the to the last nine. It was a final table boasting formidable opposition.
"The hardest opponent was Dani Stern," said Sotiropoulos. "He was playing extremely good. The good thing was though that he was on my right!"
Stern may have been one of the favourites, but it was Sotiropoulos who eliminated him in a hand that left Stern out in third and Sotiropoulos with an enormous heads-up lead--a seven-to-one advantage over dynamoM that he would never concede.
"Three-handed I won a massive pot against Dani, knocking him out. So yes, I felt really confident knocking out the best player of the table and going to the heads-up with such a big advantage."
This win echoes his success in the live world, and validates the decision he made four months ago to move to Vienna and turn pro. And what with the results, live poker has almost taken precedence over the online game.
"Well, I always prefer online," he said. "But lately I have played so much live poker and I've really fallen in love with it!"
It appears Sotiropoulos has little trouble with either format, and regardless of where he plays his father will still be cheering him from the rail, or watching the screen over his shoulder, which is how he taught his son how to play in the first place. It was then, all those years ago, that Sotiropoulos fell in love with the game. Right now it's very easy to see why.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.