The later stages of a World Series of Poker event are usually filled with high drama and suspense. Mourad Amokrane of France ensured there wouldn’t be any today on his way to winning Event #71: $1,500 Bounty Pot-Limit Omaha.
Amokrane eliminated Matt Mamiya on the first hand of heads-up play to cap off one of the most dominant final table performances in recent memory. He earned $132,844 and his first WSOP gold bracelet for outlasting the field of 860 players.
“I have no words. I look at all the poker shows on TV. I know all the famous players and getting a WSOP bracelet is something unbelievable for me. I don’t realize it,” he said.
"It's just a beautiful feeling. My wife is calling from France right now. She was not sleeping all night to follow the updates."
Amokrane is an optician, selling eyeglasses in the suburbs of Paris. He only arrived in Las Vegas a few days before the tournament as the European travel ban was lifted. His first goal was to try to win a seat in the Main Event. Failing to do that, he jumped right into the Omaha event, his favorite game.
“I’m not a professional player. I have a daily job and going to Vegas is my way to relax and enjoy my hobby,” he said.
Day 3 Action
He proceeded to put on a show. Amokrane was the chip leader after Day 1 and came into Day 3 second in chips out of 15 remaining. After eliminating both Ryan Terpstra and Ronald Larsen on the same hand, hitting quads on the river to crack Larsen’s full house, he took a massive chip lead into the ten-handed unofficial final table.
Amokrane’s seemingly magical run to the bracelet, though, wouldn’t be without adversity. He doubled up Kao Chieng Saechao and Dustin Nelson to start the final table. After holding a stack of 7,800,000, he dropped below 1,000,000.
He began his comeback by doubling up through Saechao, spiking a straight on the river holding on a board of . He then finished off the talkative Saechao in eighth place with a pair of aces.
Jeff Gross and Paulo Villena would fall next as Amokrane took firm control of the final table. He held more than half the chips with five players remaining. He eliminated Nelson in fifth place with a pair of aces and Matthew Mlsna in fourth with a set of kings.
During three-handed play, Amokrane had a chip lead of 18,100,000 while Mamiya and Matthew Humphrey had 3,400,000 combined. Amokrane rivered a straight on the river to knock out Humphrey in third and took a 60-1 chip lead over Mamiya into heads-up.
It wouldn’t take long. On the first hand, Mamiya went all in for 350,000 and Amokrane called with . Mamiya made a pair of eights on the turn with the board showing , but the on the river gave Amokrane another straight, the knockout, and the bracelet.
Final Table Results
|2||Matt Mamiya||United States||$82,100|
|3||Matthew Humphrey||United States||$58,733|
|4||Matthew Mlsna||United States||$42,604|
|5||Dustin Nelson||United States||$31,344|
|7||Jeff Gross||United States||$17,712|
|8||Kao Chieng Saechao||United States||$13,610|
“I was really ready for this final day,” he said. “I had some difficult moments at the beginning of the final table. I lost a lot of chips, but I had really good reads all day and my state of mind was just serenity. I was just waiting for the good spots and I was patient. I just followed all my reads and all went well.”
Amokrane is the third Frenchman to win a bracelet at the 2021 WSOP, joining Alexandre Reard and Jean-Luc Adam. He had never cashed in a WSOP event before and estimates he picked up around 40 bounties during the tournament.
He also has the bracelet and ensured “La Marseillaise” will once again play in the Brasilia Room when Amokrane takes his spot of honor following a victory well deserved.