The Day 1b of the 55e edition of the Marrakech Poker Open has wrapped up after 10 hours of play inside the luxurious Es Saadi Resort. The Moroccan Ismail Fath-Eddine had a reason to celebrate at the end of the day as he bagged best and will return to the felt with a 380,000 chip stack.
This second of three starting flights has wrapped up with 43 out of 177 entrants surviving the first day, surpassing the number of 70 entries from yesterday.
In the wake of Fath-Eddine, players like Mostafa Boukri (275,(00), Isabel Baltazar (265 000) , Karim Lehoussine (250,000), recent FPS Main Event paris winner Alan Goasdoue (211,000) and MPO High-Roller Dinesh Alt (199,000) are also in the top 10 at the end of the day.
Notables such as Rachid El Yaacoubi (175,500), WPT Paris winner Fabrice Bigot (140,500), German player Carsten Mawick (116,000), Sonny Franco (103,000) and Amine Seif (61,500) also punched their tickets to the second day.
The regular of Marrakech events and colourful player Anas Tadini ended up busting in the last 30-minute of play after he shoved with two pair on the flop against Thierry Gogniat, who hit a gutshot straight on the river.
A total of 295 entries has been reached through the three flights, as Day 1c turbo saw 48 contestants join the party. 73 will be back on Day 2, which means over half the field has already been shed. Hopefuls such as Cecile Ticherfatine, Paul Tedeschi, Guillaume Darcourt, Jerome Zerbib and Omar Lakhdari fell along the way.
The survivors return on Saturday at 1 p.m local time, at blinds 1,000/ 2,500 with a 2,500 ante, to play on as the money stages will be reached quickly and the plan is to play until the final table is reached.
PokerNews covers this event start to finish until a winner has been crowned on Sunday night, so make sure to check back regularly who will lift the MPO trophy in Casino de Marrakech.
Hafid Kinany Alaoui started the action by raising before Thierry Gogniat three-bet to 11,000 in late position. Ali Habbad shoved in the big blind for 39,800 and after some thinking, both his opponents called.
The flop came and Alaoui bet 30,000, which was enough to get a fold from Gogniat and the two remaining players tabled their cards:
Hafid Kinany Alaoui:
Habbad was in desperate shape for a triple up, and couldn't find any help on the turn and river to be eliminated from the event while the big pot was sent to Alaoui.
In the early hours of Friday, March 17, the long battle at the final table of the €2,000 buy-in High Roller of the Marrakech Poker Open finally came to an end with the crowning of a well-known French figure, Moundir Zoughari, who took home the biggest trophy of his career as well as the €55,000 first-place prize.
With 124 entries recorded, the event created a prize pool of 2,157,900 MAD (€195,200). This was by far the biggest cash of Moundir's career according to his Hendon Mob profile and his first significant victory on the live circuit against a strong field.
With four players left, the famous Survivor contestant even managed to eliminate all his competitors, not the least of which was recent EPT finalist Fabrice Bigot, cash game grinder Samiyel Duzgun and finally Swiss pro and multiple SCOOP winner Dinesh Alt in the final heads-up.
MPO 2023 High Roller Final Table Results
Prize (In MAD)
Aggressive play, perseverance, and immense joy
Aware of the high level of his opponents, Moundir nevertheless did not give up and continued to play an aggressive game that paid off, until the very last hand, and also as it should be sometimes, a little help from variance.
On the final hand, Moundir four-bet shoved for about 30 big blinds with the and found himself snap-called by Alt with a better hand, . The flop came and a on the turn giving Moundir more hope. The river gave him a straight and the win.
"There are emotions that can't be explained. I never normally cry, but I couldn't help it, it was too intense"
"What I'm feeling are the emotions of 10 years, 10 years of looking for that big win in a high roller, 10 years of investment in the professional and amateur poker scene, and days spent studying the game with those close to me," he told PokerNews the day after his win.
"Winning in Marrakech has a special significance too, I got married here, I know all the family of the casino, and the field was difficult, it is enjoyable. There are emotions that can not be explained. I never normally cry, but I couldn't help it, it was too intense," he added.
Zoughari indeed had to face a tough final and go through many ups and downs. "I fell to seven big blinds, made some good calls, folded the queens when I could have easily been eliminated, and I was also helped by the cards sometimes, moments like that are unforgettable. I was aware that I was the fish at my table, which makes this win even more beautiful. "
The Winamax Team member lets Alt take comfort with 400,000 MAD (€36,000) while Duzgun completed the podium in third place for 258,000 MAD (€23,000).
10 years of evolution and most of all of fun
"During all these years, where I have learned the most is in listening, perseverance, and discipline in continuity. Yesterday I met players who were stronger than me and I finally got to know their weaknesses, it was a real pleasure. I train about two hours a day, because I also have a busy family life!"
"I always give it my all, keeping my zest for life. And I'm happy to democratize poker and make it visible to the general public."
And what's next for the man who's always teeming with projects?
"Of course there is the promised land of every poker player, the WSOP in Las Vegas. I'm going to do everything I can to win a bracelet and I'm going to start preparing for this summer. I'm going to stay there for at least 18 days, work on my with several pros I know and maybe extend depending on my bankroll and my results."
After an open from Leandro Dirlewanger and a call from Fabrice Bigot in the small blind, Lucia Navarro three-bet to 11,500 in the big blind. After some thinking, both Dirlewanger and Bigot called.
The flop revealed and Bigot checked to Navarro who continued for 12,000. Dirlewanger made the call and Bigot considered it for a minute before folding.
A hit the turn and this time both players checked.
When the appeared on the river, Navarro chose to check and Dirlewanger thought about his move before firing 52,000 into the pot. Navarro went deep into the tank and eventually called, but quickly mucked her hand when Dirlewanger showed for a pair of aces.
The flop was in a pot with more than 10,000 in the middle. Henri Dupont bet 5,800 and faced a raise worth 17,200 from Isabel Baltazar, with only one 5,000-chip left behind. Dupont raised and Baltazar called with her last chip:
Baltazar had hit two pair and took down the pot and the double up after the rest of the board brought .
After some back-and-forth betting, Anas Tadini, who just entered the event, and Gilles Gouhier got all their chips in the middle before the flop, with both players being around the starting stack:
Gouhier had the dominating hand and was in great shape for an early double up, but the board revealed to give Tadini a set of nines while Gouhier crumbled down to only 600 chips left and busted a few minutes later.