Man misses Seder, wins $1 mil in poker
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Man misses Seder, wins $1 mil in poker

Eric Afriat, 45, almost left the tournament to join his mother's Passover meal, but ends up taking home huge purse

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of poker chips (CC BY-SA Plutor, Wikimedia Commons)
Illustrative photo of poker chips (CC BY-SA Plutor, Wikimedia Commons)

Jews around the world gather with their families on the first night of Passover to participate in the Seder, the ritual meal commemorating the Exodus from Egypt.

This year, Eric Afriat wished he was one of them.

But, as the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s Sun-Sentinel reported, he was stuck in a poker tournament while his mother hosted 20 people at her West Boca Raton home.

Afriat, 45 was playing in the World Poker Tour/Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, and the Monday night session dragged on until 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“Here I was moving up the ladder in a big poker tournament, yet I kept getting more depressed,” he said.

“I was so sad I thought about just leaving my chips at the table Monday night and going home. But now I’m delighted everyone was in town to see me win.”

Two night later, Afriat was $1,081,184 richer.

Surrounded by his mother, Elise Wizman, his wife Yael, and assorted relatives, Afriat rejoiced Wednesday night after winning the tournament, raking in the largest purse in his 25-year amateur career.

Afriat, an importer from Montreal, played aggressively, started Wednesday’s final table in fourth place with 6.7 million chips, far off leader Mukul Pahuja’s 19 million. But by the time only the two of them remained, Afriat sat on 38 million chips to Pahuja’s 15 million.

Yael Afriat anticipated “a really big shopping trip” as she posed for pictures with the trophy Wednesday night, while a babysitter watched the couple’s two children.

The tournament had 1,795 entrants, each of whom paid $3,500 to play.

This isn’t the first time Afriat won a poker tournament. He took home $32,590 in a January 2013 tournament, and $110,128 in 2012 in Las Vegas’s Bellagio Cup.

Wizman wasn’t upset that her son missed the Seder meal. “I couldn’t be prouder,” she said,

A million dollars tends to have that effect.

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