Tunisia's Imed Ben Mahmoud can be seen as an inspiration. Coming from Tunisia, Ben Mahmoud won WSOPE Event 1 to earn his country its first WSOP victory. It's an underdog story that resonates to all players and a story that encourages players from all countries to take a shot, even if there hasn't been a history of success. Francisco Da Costa Santos wasn't a true amateur like Ben Mahmoud, but he followed in his footsteps. In Event 6, the 1,650 euro buy-in six-handed pot-limit Omaha event, Da Costa Santos earned gold and 83,275 euros as he defeated a field of 206 players. He became Portugal's first WSOP champion and as he defeated Spain's Ana Marquez heads-up, also became the top dog on the Iberian peninsula.
"Poker is still very new in my country," Da Costa Santos said to the WSOP. "We do not
have so many players right now. But I think it's going to catch on and be more
popular. There are a lot of younger players now who are starting to get interested in the
Da Costa Santos began playing poker more than a decade ago, but his passion for pot-limit Omaha began only four years ago. Elated after he eliminated Marquez, he lifted her up in the air in celebration. Marquez didn't mind.
"I am so happy for him," Marquez said. "Francisco winning is almost like me winning that's how happy I am."
This was Da Costa Santos' third WSOP event, all coming at WSOP Europe.
"It means a lot to win. Since I started playing, my goal has always been to get a World Series gold bracelet," he said. "I wanted to be the first [player from Portugal] to win the bracelet, but I did not think that would happen because of the taxes. If we go (to Las Vegas) and we win something, they will tax us at 30 percent. But we can come here and it's much better for us."
According to the WSOP, after a near simultaneous bust of Andy Frankenberger (seventh) and Nikolay Volper (sixth), only five players remained in contention when final table began on Saturday. Leading the final five was a player many consider to be on the top of the best without a bracelet list, Andrew Lichtenberger. "LuckyChewy" held a small edge over Da Costa Santos, but that lead vanished nearly instantly after he doubled up Petteri Kalenius during the first level.
Da Costa Santos took the next piece of Lichtenberger's stack to surge into first and to the surprise of many, Lichtenberger was eliminated in fifth. His elimination almost appeared to be a green light for the rest of the final table to become aggressive. With that change of pace came a flurry of eliminations and after Kelenius (fourth) and Aku Joentausta (third) fell in the next hour, it was time for heads-up play which lasted 10 minutes.
Marquez held As-Ks-10d-5d and moved all-in preflop to face the 10s-9c-7d-6h of Da Costa Santos. The flop 8d-7c-5h gave Da Costa Santos a straight and Marquez never caught up. She earned 54,443 euros for second and added another incredible result to her tournament resume that already included a 10th-place finish in the 2011 PCA main event.
Da Costa Santos had never had a live tournament cash for more than $14,154 prior to this event.
Other notable finishers included Mike McDonald (11th), Dan Shak (13th) Daniel Negreanu (19th) and John Monnette (14th). This was Monnette's eight WSOP cash of 2012.
Below are the complete results of WSOPE Event 6:
Event 6: Six-handed pot-limit Omaha
Buy-in: 1,650 euros
Prize pool: 302,820 euros
Players in the money:21
1. Francisco Da Costa Santos (83,275 euros)
2. Ana Marquez (51,443)
3. Aku Joentausta (36,351)
4. Petteri Kalenius (25,831)
5. Andrew Lichtenberger (18,463)
6. Nikolay Volper (13,273)
7. Andy Frankenberger (9,596)
8. Micah Smith (9,596)
9. Antoine Pacaud (6,977)
10. Christophe Lesage (6,977)
11. Mike McDonald (5,103)
12. Raul Paez (5,103)
13. Dan Shak (3,752)
14. John Monnette (3,752)
15. Fabien Perrot (3,752)
16. Jacob Dahl (3,752)
17. Dan Smith (3,752)
18. Arvin Golrang (3,752)
19. Daniel Negreanu (2,774)
20. John Eames (2,774)
21. Jamie Pickering (2,774)