Anestis Metsas: Betfair Million-Dollar Freeroll winner

Anestis Metsas: Betfair Million-Dollar Freeroll winner

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The 2009 World Series of Poker Europe kicked off in style when, on the opening day, Betfair made one happy man a millionaire. Beginning the day as one of 18 amateur online qualifiers competing in Betfair’s Free Million Dollar game, 23 year-old Anestis Metsas from Greece walked away from the Casino at the Empire in Leicester Square a millionaire after defeating the field.

We caught up with him to see how it felt to...well…have so much bloooooody money!

First of all, congratulations on winning the Betfair Million-Dollar Freeroll. You managed to make $1 million from a $0 investment.

Thank you

In order to qualify for the Million dollar tournament, how many freerolls and people did you have to beat?

There were two online qualifiers I came through. In the first there were about 100 entrants and I had to finish in the top 18. In the second qualifier there were 108 entrants and I had to finish first. Then the twenty winners from the Greece qualifiers came together to play in the live final and I had to come first in that too.

Where was that held?

In the Republic of Macedonia

Is that due to the strict laws in Greece regarding poker and casinos etc?

Yes, it is difficult to play poker in Greece, which is why I go and play in a casino on the border between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. It’s only 40 minutes from where I live so it’s not too far.

How popular is poker in Greece?

It is becoming more and more popular. There are a lot of young players coming through. Greek players can be very tough to play against as they are aggressive.

Well we know a few here in London, such as Bambos. Do you know who he is?


Oh ok. Anyway tell us a little about your heads-up opponent Kevin Michaud – he looked like he was in control for most of the final table…

Well he was very aggressive. I could see this from the early stages of the tournament when we were on the first table together. Then on the final table he was on my right and kept raising my big blind – but I had to fold as I had nothing. I remember telling myself that if I get heads-up against this guy, I will be very aggressive - because I am usually an aggressive player. When we were heads-up, we started with the same stacks and after half an hour I had 120,000 and he had 60,000. I took control. Then I got dealt K10 and flopped two pair on a K 10 6 board. We got it all in on the flop and he had QJ for an open-ended straight draw. He hit a nine on the river and hit his straight. My confidence dropped after this – and he now had the 2:1 chip lead.

How did you come back?

I have seen a lot of things in poker. He was waiting for good hands after that and so I had a lot of opportunities to raise and take the blinds. Then I got very lucky in a hand where I had middle pair and he had an overpair - jacks. I hit two pair and once again took control and the chip lead. Then on the final hand I had AJ and hit top pair and his flush draw didn’t come.

It must have felt good to win three tournaments in a row in order to reach the million dollar prize.

It felt very good.

Will you be spending it on girls, cars and the likes?

Ha ha, I don’t know - I am still studying back in Greece so I think I will finish doing that and then... who knows.

Oh ok, and now that you have a bankroll do you think you will compete in other tournaments around Europe?

Definitely, I would like to play a lot more tourneys, side events EPT’s, WPT’s etc. Even online, I was not playing that regularly but I will certainly play a lot more now – and maybe try and play professionally.

Well I was about to ask, so you think that will be your next move – to turn to poker as a career?

Yes, we’ll see.

Tags: Poker News, Anestis, Metsas:, Betfair, Million-Dollar, Freeroll, winner,