The Hebrew word “Tzabra” or “Sabra” is used to describe native Israelis. A tzabra is a tough desert plant that thrives under harsh conditions. Under its thorny exterior, the “Tzabra” protects a softer, less severe interior.
It's a perfect analogy for our first PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour Seoul champion, Israel’s Ziv Bachar.
The soft-spoken 25-year-old showed no mercy during the final table at the Sheraton Grande Hotel. He brought the chip lead to the final table, and was rarely threatened on his way to the $139,872 first prize.
Bachar, who works in the real estate industry in his native Israel, continues a great year for poker players from the Mediterranean nation of just over seven million people.
At the World Series of Poker earlier this year, high stakes poker pro Eli Elezra captured his first WSOP bracelet in winning the seven-card stud hi/lo event over poker legend Scotty Nguyen (and winning a 10-1 bet from Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein that he would win a bracelet in 2007).
Final Table Summary:
In contrast to the first APPT final table in Manila last month (which lasted well into the early hours), play lasted less than six hours and 111 hands.
Just three players returned after the dinner break – Sid Kim the chip leader on 983,000, Bachar on 740,000 and Jo Berec on 139,000. It wasn’t long until the chips were flying. On hand 97, Berec moved all-in from the big blind for 116,000, and Bachar called instantly. Berec (Ad 6h) was marginally ahead of Bachar’s Qh 10d, and the Australian made two-pair to double through and spark his comeback.
Five hands later, the heads-up line-up was decided after Bachar and Sid Kim watched a flop of Jc 6c 2s. Both players checked and the turn came 3d. Kim bet 50,000, Bachar raised to 100,000, Kim pushed all-in and Bachar couldn’t get the rest of his chips in fast enough.
Final table action
The Israeli showed 6h 3c for two pair, while Kim’s Qc 4c gave him a flush draw. However, the 2d on the river missed the American, and he was out in third place.
Unlike the 60-plus hand heads-up battle at the APPT Manila event, the duel between Bachar and Berec lasted just nine hands.
With a chip lead almost 10:1 over Berec, Bachar picked his mark and made the call when Berec pushed all-in with Kd 9c.
Bachar had his nose in front with Kc 10c, but the drama wasn’t over. The flop came Qh Qc 6d, meaning Bachar’s 10 was still in play, but a Ks on the turn threw Berec some more lifelines.
But a meaningless 2d on the river gave Bachar kings and queens with a 10 kicker to win the tournament.
“It was a relief to get over Jozef so quickly,” Bachar said as the enormity of his victory started to sink in. “He’d been so aggressive and unpredictable, but I thought I was in with a good shot even though K 10 isn’t a great hand.”
It’s back to work in Tel Aviv for the modest APPT Seoul champion, but we’re hoping to see Ziv Bachar in Sydney for the APPT Grand Final in December. And that’s probably when you’ll next hear from me – on behalf of the APPT Seoul team, it’s “anyonghi gaseyo” or goodbye, from the Walker-hill Casino in Seoul, South Korea.