Big Development: Eric Afriat Takes Shot at Third WPT Title, Second in Showdown

Apr 16, 2019

By Sean Chaffin

Eric Afriat

It’s a bit of deja vu here at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Two-time WPT Champions Club member Eric Afriat (pictured) has a chance to win this event for a second time and can’t believe he’s on another deep run at the property.

“It feels incredible,” he says. “I did it [six] years ago, and that was the first time I won a WPT, and with 1,795 players it was just really impressive. Every year I would come back, and when you do it once you just expect that you’re always going to run good. But I’ve been in a little slump for a few years here, so it feels good to be back and in the top 18 and hopefully going for the final table.”

He entered Day 4 with just a bit over 1 million in chips and has a chance to add his name to the Champions Cup for the third time. While Day 3 proved to be a bit of a struggle, he was happy to make it through.

“It was tough – up and down, up and down,” he says. “It was just maintaining. The timing just wasn’t right. I was getting good cards, but at the wrong time.”

Afriat won this event in Season XII for more than $1 million and now has a chance to do it again. He added his name to the Champions Cup again in Season XVI when he won the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $651,928.

WPT SHR Poker Showdown Champion Eric Afriat_WPT Seminole HR Poker Showdown_Giron_7JG2897

A real estate developer, Afriat splits time between his hometown of Montreal and South Florida, where he has some commercial projects underway. Before getting into real estate, he worked in the clothing import and export business for 25 years and also worked as a clothing designer.

Poker was a part of his life from an early age The game became a way to make a few extra dollars growing up, and he remembers raking many pots in games like Seven Card Stud and Five Card Draw in high school.

Afriat later left the game behind for about 10 years and started playing again after watching poker more on television. He was attracted to Texas Hold’em and wasn’t afraid to jump in the action.

“I said, ‘If they can do it, I can do it,’” he says.

That attitude certainly proved accurate. Afriat now has more than $2.3 million in winnings on the tour including 15 cashes, and five final table appearances. He may have found plenty of success on the poker table, but Afriat insists he’s a recreational player and that won’t ever change. His business interests keep him busy and he plays when his schedule allows.

“I enjoy the game, a little more than I used to because I feel there’s a little more etiquette than there used to be,” he says. “The players are more respectful, and there are a lot of the same faces. There’s a lot more respect in poker than there used to be. I enjoy it much more.”

What would it mean to win not only another WPT title, but a second Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown trophy? The prospect seems just a bit overwhelming.

“Winning at the Borgata and at the Hard Rock, two of the biggest tournaments in the world, that was just incredible,” he says. “And then to win this one, maybe I’d just be ready to quit after this.”

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.

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