The Casino de Spa hosted the very first APAT Benelux Championship, where the event also marked the Grand Final of the highly supported inaugural season of the APAT Belgian Amateur Poker Tour.
With the classic €110 Main Event and no less than 9 Side Events, the 6-day festival was a feast for the recreational player! Not surprisingly, besides of course the home players, the festival saw a good number of players from Holland and Germany who were lured to Spa by the intense schedule.
The Main Event, with 2 starting days, saw a total of 205 entries and 65 of them returning for Day 2. Amongst them was Niki Raskin, who won the very first APAT regional event here back in January. Unfortunately for him, his run for a 2nd Gold Medal ended in 18th place.
Another player making another deep run was Salvatore Pino. Two months ago he finished 4th in the Belgian Amateur Poker Championship, this time he had to settle with 12th place.
Once the Final Table was reached, it only took 1 hand for the first player to be eliminated. That player was Claudia Boelaers, the last remaining woman in the field. The next hour went by very quietly, but all of a sudden the bustouts followed in quick succession.
It looked like we had an elimination every hand, and before we knew it, only 3 players remained. Another 2 hands later we lost Jorden Verbraeken in 3rd place. Throughout the Main Event he was a force to be reckoned with, entering the Final Table 2nd in chips. Early on he suffered a big blow when his Queens were outflopped by Wouter Depuydt’s pocket Jacks, nevertheless he always managed to keep the pressure on. Eventually he had to settle for a very worthy APAT National Championship Bronze Medal.
Trifon Pappas and Wouter Depuydt started the heads up almost even in chips, and it took a very long time before we would crown a Champion. The lead changed a few times throughout the match, but finally (after 113 HU-hands), Trifon was able to grab the Gold Medal! On top of the prize money he also earned a seat into the WCOAP Main Event, plus he earned the right to represent Belgium during the WCOAP Team Championship over Easter 2016.
The 2nd big event of the week was the very first APAT Belgian Team Championship. Seventeen 6-man teams from across the country, including teams from Holland and Germany, were looking to get their hands on the title. The event started with 11 tables of Sit-and-Go’s, with the last 4 remaining players on each table taking their stack into the final MTT.
3 teams managed to get 2 players onto a very tactical Final Table, but that didn’t seal the medal race just yet. Although ‘Skut 2’ soon managed to secure the Gold, for the places below it was still a long battle. MEC Poker Events, The Red Jacks and Pokahnights Antwerpen all knew what to do to get their hands on a medal, and that made it very exciting to watch!
In the end, Yves Bormans won the individual tournament to secure 2nd place for his ‘The Red Jacks’ team. Pokahnights Antwerpen, with Tom Vervaeck and Laurens Van De Sype on the FT, finished in 3rd.
The other big story of the festival was the remarkable performance of Joachim Wallaert. On Tuesday he won the opening Turbo Bounty event, 2 days later he was the best Crazy Pineapple player, and on Sunday he defeated all his opponents in a NLH Side Event. And, as if 3 victories is not enough, he final tabled the MTT in the Team Championship and won Silver with his team ‘The Red Jacks’.
Finally we also noted victories for Rudi Mulders of France (High Roller), South-African Adrian Brown (Mix Max), Belgian Alexander Frederickx (PLO) and Stefan Fischer from the Netherlands (NLH).
Next up for APAT are the UK Championships in Newcastle 28th November, and the packed UK Team Championship in Luton 30th January. After that, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for, the big finale to Season 9… the World Championship Of Amateur Poker (WCOAP)! Full details will be announced as soon as possible!