Two out of six players could have rewritten history yesterday night. But an amateur ruined everything.
Daniel Brits is the player who conquered South Africa by winning $132,128 for besting the field in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Emperors Palace Poker Classic Main Event. He denied German pro, Dominik Nitsche, who was trying to become the first-ever player to win back-to-back WPT titles at the same venue. Nitsche won the event in 2012. He started the last day third in chips but was coolered by Rob Fenner. The German flopped trips and bet three streets, including an all-in river. Fenner slowplayed his full house and snap-called the last bet. Eventually, the ex-champ moved all-in next hand with Ace-Jack suited and was called by the future champ with Ace-Queen. The flop actually put Nitsche in the lead with a pair of Jacks, but the next street turned things around with Brits making the straight. The German finished fourth and was ready to hand over his crown to a new champion. And the amateur was ready to seize the opportunity.
Brits immediately took control of the table. He watched as Fenner finished third and then began heads-up play with the chip lead. He battled with co-national Eugene Du Plessis three hours straight and eventually eliminated him. In the last hand, Brits raised all-in on a Q-7-2 rainbow flop with top pair and was called by Du Plessis, who had middle pair. The river finished the deal for Eugene and he took home the runner-up prize of $92,708.
Ronit Chamani was the second player who could have made history in South Africa. If she had won the WPT Emperors Palace Poker Classic, she would have become the first female to ever win a WPT open event. But her dreams were shattered as she had to move quickly in order to build a healthy stack. Chamani was the shortstack of the final table and moved all-in twice in the first five hands. The second time, two players called: Wesley Wiegand and Fenner. Chamani’s Ace-Jack suited was no good, resulting in a sixth place finish and $26,504 in prize money.