Eric Afriat of Montreal, Quebec had a choice to make: He could either go to the Passover Seder his mother was hosting in West Boca Raton, Florida, or he could compete in a Hollywood, Florida poker tournament. Though it pained him to miss out on an opportunity to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, or Pesach, with his family, he decided to go to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. As the Sun Sentinel reports, it was the right move.
Mr. Afriat said that he was “brooding” throughout the beginning of the tournament, unhappy to miss out on time with his family. He told the Sentinel, “Here I was moving up the ladder in a big poker tournament, yet I kept getting more depressed…I was so sad I thought about just leaving my chips at the table Monday night and going home." He decided to stick it out, and it’s good a thing he did. He missed Seders on both Monday and Tuesday, but since he kept advancing, his family was able to come to the casino on Wednesday to watch him compete. Afriat says he was delighted to have his family there to cheer him on. His mother, Elise Wizman, told the Sentinel she didn’t know a lot about the card game, but that she was proud of her son.
Card Player notes that the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown featured many “up-and-coming players,” all of them defeated by Mr. Afriat. He won his first WPT title and a total of $1,081,184. He had come into the final table in fourth place and it only took him seven hands in heads-up play to win it all.