By Sean Chaffin
WPT Fallsview winner Demo Kiriopoulos (pictured) wasn’t planning on heading to Commerce Casino for the WPT L.A. Poker Classic. But now sitting with 1,200 points in the Player of the Year race, Kiriopoulos decided to jump on a plane to give it a shot here in Los Angeles.
“It was last-minute,” he says. “I actually didn’t decide until yesterday,” he says. “I was going to go to Europe, but a few of my friends from back home are here for business. So I thought I might as well come, and got here this morning.”
The Fallsview event attracted a record field of 602 entries, and was the biggest score of Kiriopoulos’s career. Not only did he win $392,059, but also a $15,000 entry into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.
How’d it feel taking home the title and adding his name to the Champions Cup?
“It felt great,” he says. “It was about time.”
The 27-year-old is from Toronto and now has $1.4 million in live tournament winnings. That includes a sixth-place finish in May at a partypoker LIVE event at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal for $312,407. He also came close to winning a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2017, finishing runner-up in a $1,500 Six-Handed event for $242,978.
While he’s played cash games at Commerce before, this is Kiriopoulos’s first time in the WPT LAPC championship event. But he loves playing at the property.
By age 13, Kiriopoulos was playing with friends and in underground games. He found he had a knack for the game and continued playing even more serious in the coming years.
“After high school I took it even more seriously,” he says. “I guess you could say I’ve been playing professionally since I was about 16 really.”
When not playing cards, Kiriopoulos enjoys hanging out with friends and heading to the beach. With some family in Greece, he spends about four months each year on the island. Another interest is playing backgammon, which he says has some similarities to poker because there is plenty of skill involved but also a luck factor.
Kiriopoulos also hopes to do some real estate investing in the future and partner in some business with friends. Eventually, he’s hoping those are producing nicely and he has plenty of cash in the bank. And then, maybe leave the game behind.
“I’m giving myself until age 35,” he notes, “and then I’ll be done with poker.”
While Kiriopoulos may see an eventual end to his poker career, he’s got some poker goals for the near future.
“I’m definitely going to play a lot more tournament this year,” he says. “I’m going to chase after the WPT Player of the Year. There’s now more incentive to play these. I’ll definitely be playing a full schedule until the end of the World Series.
“One of the reasons I came to play here is because I think winning back-to-back would be pretty sweet.”
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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