One of the summer’s best events took place July 1-5 at the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) inside Las Vegas’ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Event #60: $888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed drew 8,120 entrants – making it the fifth-largest live poker event in history -- and created a whopping $6,489,504 prize pool.
That marked a 20 percent increase from the year before. The field was chock full of amateurs, pros, and qualifiers, including 77 who won packages via 888poker.
After four days of play, Alexandru “Papa” Papazian, a member of 888poker.ro, finished as the last player standing to capture an $888,888 first-place prize. In the process, he also became the first Romanian player in history to win a WSOP gold bracelet.
Interestingly, Papazian also qualified for the 2017 WSOP Main Event on 888poker.ro.
The 888poker Crazy Eights journey began on Friday, July 1 with a “Welcome Event,” which saw qualifiers from such countries as Malta, Canada, Spain, Russia and the UK join staff members to receive information on the event and to pick up their 888Live Event kit.
They also had the chance to enjoy drinks at a special meet and greet with 888Poker ambassadors Bruno Foster and Sofia Lövgren. Also present was Stacey Matuson, who last year became poker famous after her highly-publicized rivalry with William Kassouf. All three engaged with the qualifiers and provided some fun photo opportunities.
Michael Ferrer Last Qualifier Standing
Among the 77 qualifiers – which included both “Spin to Win” and freeroll winners -- was one of our very own employees in Paulo Maio, who won his seat in an internet freeroll. Unfortunately for Maio, he wasn’t able to spin his free win into a cash. Of the qualifiers, seven of them managed to make the money, though only MVP-invited Canadian member Michael Ferrer advanced to Day 2.
He started the day short and wound up busting when he got his short stack all in preflop holding ace-ten only to run it into a superior hand. Ferrer earned $4,156 for his 226th-place finish.
Also, cashing in the event was 888poker Ambassador Chris Moorman, who placed 874th for $1,496, as well as the aforementioned Kassouf, who finished in 102nd place for $5,637.
Who is Alexandru Papazian?
Papazian is a 28-year-old poker pro from Constanta, Romania. He had five WSOP cashes prior to his Crazy Eights run with his best previous finish being 254th in the Millionaire Maker earlier this summer, good for $6,043.
An impromptu Day 4 was required to finish the heads-up battle between Papazian and Germany’s Kilian Kramer. Papazian came in with the chip lead, and in what would be the final hand of the tournament – Hand #154 of the final table – Kramer moved all in for 6.275 million holding the 6♠9♠ and Papazian called with the K♠9♣.
The 9♥K♣2♦ flop gave Papazian two pair, and the A♠ on the turn sealed the deal as Kramer was drawing dead. The 5♦ river made it official, and Kramer, who had just made Romania poker history, headed to the rail to celebrate with his friends.
“That's tournaments,” Papazian told WSOP officials after the win. “You can't win without running hot.... I waited for my moment, and then I attacked. It went my way. I ran good; I think I played good.”
He continued: “I do care about being the first one from my country to win a bracelet. I'm super happy for it. I'm hoping it won't be the last one for Romanians, and that there's more to come. You're going to see us around.”
Other Big Winners
Other players to cash the event were big names like:
• 2016 WSOP Little One for One Drop winner Michael Tureniec (7th for $112,888)
• Two-time bracelet winner Ben Yu (9th for $67,126)
• Eric Baldwin (12th for $52,431)
• Jason Wheeler (39th for $16,981)
• JC Tran (68th for $7,893).
For more on the WSOP Crazy Eights event, head on over to Twitter and search hashtags #888poker #crazy8s #888wsop17 and #888live. We tagged all our posts so you can easily find pictures, updates and more.
You can also follow Papazian on Twitter @BetweenJobs21.