Playground Winter Festival: Nicolas Le Floch Wins Omaha Title

Nicolas Le Floch

A relatively quiet day at the Playground Winter Festival 2017 saw just one event play to completion. Only 13 players were left when Day 2 of Event #9: $550 PL Omaha 8-Max Re-entry resumed on Thursday evening.

When the final hand was played, Nicolas Le Floch was the last man standing, scoring the champion’s trophy, and a top prize of $8,495.

Manfred Gunther entered play on Thursday with the chip lead and the top six players earning an in-the-money finish. Alexander Matveev was the first casualty to fall, followed by Miltiadis Mavrigiannakis a hand later.

Ron Farber then eliminated James Hardy and Michael McKinnon to the rail in quick succession to form the final table of nine.

Three more would have to fall before the bubble broke and action quickly set the tone. Kevin Rivest scored a near triple up through chip leader, Gunther, and eliminated Brian Birenbaum in the process. Rivest then went on to bust Albert Elkaim to bring on the bubble and Gunther popped it by trapping Randy Vermette to the tune of all his chips.

After leading for most of the event, Gunther’s chips had been fleeing his stack and soon found himself in a three-way pot with Rivest and Andre Markovinovic.

Markovinovic’s aces would hold, sending Gunther to the rail in sixth and dethroning Rivest. Rivest would lose another pot, doubling up Farber, before Farber got all in against Le Floch. Le Floch flopped best and held to knock out Farber in fifth.

Markovinovic would add to his lead with the elimination of Constantinos Zafiriou, sending the event to three-handed play. After flopping a set of aces, Rivest’s stack moved to the middle but had to fade a slew of outs against Le Floch’s open-ended straight and flush draws. Unfortunately, the turn made the flush and Rivest could not improve, bowing out in third.

With chips moving back and forth, the final two competitors decided to lower the stakes and restructure the remaining prizes. Instead of playing for $2,985, they lowered it to $1,495, increasing the prize for the runner-up.

After an hour of play, Le Floch had chipped away at Markovinovic to gain the chip advantage. With about a 3:1 lead, the final hand played out. Markovinovic made a move on the turn with a flush draw and Le Floch made the call, turning two pair with an overpair in the hole. The river bricked out for Markovinovic and his chips were slid over to the PLO champion, Nicolas Le Floch.

Final Table Payouts:

1Nicolas Le Floch$8,495
2Andrej Markovinovic$7,000
3Kevin Rivest$4,200
4Constantinos Zafiriou$2,830
5Ron Farber$1,900
6Manfred Gunther$1,280

Le Floch will be one to watch during the Main Event over the next couple of days. With over $500,000 in career-tracked tournament earning, Le Floch sits 107th on the France all-time money list and also has a deep run in the 2013 WSOP Main Event for $230,000.

According to the Playground blog, Le Floch flew over from France after winning a package to the WPT Playground Main Event. A great way to start his trip, to say the least.

The $1,000,0000 guaranteed WPT Playground kicks off on Friday with Day 1a slated for 11 a.m. local time. Late registration will remain open until the end of the break following Level 6. One re-entry is permitted for each Day 1 flight and anyone needing to fire multiple bullets will have another chance on Saturday during Day 1b.

The Playground Winter Festival runs through Feb. 15 and PokerNews will bring you daily updates of all the happenings throughout the festival. For full coverage and details check out the Playground event blog here.

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