Poker has seen a huge surge in popularity during the last 15 years as just about every year there is a massive story covering how an ordinary run-of-the-mill individual turns their life around and becomes a millionaire by winning a high stakes poker event. Chris Moneymaker started the trend in 2003 by winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and since then there has been a number of success stories.
The latest rags to riches story in 2017 centers around Spanish poker pro Marti Roca De Torres who used to teach Economics before deciding to quit his job and pursue a career of being a full time poker pro. De Torres has been playing for a few years but has had relatively little success on the poker circuit and prior to the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) which took place at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, De Torres had around $30,000 in career winnings.
2017 WSOPE Main Event – Buy-In
Poker players from all over the world travelled to the King’s Casino as there was two high stakes event scheduled to take place. The first event was the Big One For One Drop and the second was the 2017 WSOPE Main Event as both events had millions in guaranteed prize money and would be a great way for poker players to finish 2017 on a high. However not all poker players could afford the buy-ins for these events as the 2017 WSOPE Main Event had a €10,350 buy-in.
Marti Roca De Torres decided to try out for the Main Event by playing a €220 satellite event which took place on 888poker.es and he ended up winning that event which allowed him to qualify for the 2017 WSOPE Main Event. Kings Casino reported a total of 529 registrations for the Main Event which included some of the top poker players in the world such as William Kassouf, Maria Ho, Mustapha Kanit, Pierre Neuville, Anthony Zinno, Mike Leah and Kristen Bicknell.
The Main Event had a prize pool of €5,025,500 with 35 levels and blinds ranging from 250,000 to 500,000. The action was spread across 5 exciting days and in the end it came down to just 8 players and Maria Ho held the first place in terms of the number of chips while De Torres took second place.
2017 WSOPE Main Event – Winner
De Torres was the least experienced of all the poker players at the final table but he somehow managed to keep his composure and play astutely as he witnessed some of the top poker pros in the game get eliminated. Maria Ho was eliminated in sixth place and finished with €174,365 while UK poker pros Niall Farrell and Robert Bickley finished in fifth and fourth place taking home €239,639 and €335,089 respectively.
The final three players at the table were De Torres, Mathijs Jonkers from the Netherlands and Italian poker pro Gianluca Speranza. Jonkers who runs the Dutch Championship of Poker which sees more than 10,000 amateur poker players participate every year had a good run and the most vocal rail, finishing in third place with €476,585.
Gianluca Speranza had the experience of playing a WSOPE final table before as he finished in second place in 2011 after losing out to Andrew Hinrichsen in Cannes. Speranza wanted to win really bad and fought very well in a battle that lasted for four hours but in the end it was the inexperienced De Torres who managed to win the Main Event and secure his first WSOP gold bracelet. Speranza took home €689,246 for finishing in second place.
De Torres was very candid during his interview and said that there were many times during the Main Event when he felt like it was all over for him and then he would get another surge of confidence and think he would be able to win the event. The Spanish poker pro said one of the things that helped him win the tournament was maintaining composure and focusing only on his current hand and not getting ahead of himself. De Torres has now become the first poker player from Catalan to win a WSOPE Main Event bracelet and has now climbed to 10th place in Spain’s All Time Money list.