European Poker Tour Players, Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams caused one of the biggest upsets when he won the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo in 2006, but he has not played much poker since then. The American University of Georgia freshman was one of the youngest players to lift the title of the richest Poker Tour outside of the United States.

The youngster, only nineteen at the time, had to overcome some really tough competition. Of the 298 other contestants, there were literally dozens of top ranked professionals to contend with, as well as three World Champions – Carlos Mortensen, the 2001 Champion, Greg Raymer who claimed the title in 2004 and Joe Hachem who lifted the World Champ title in 2005.

The political science student was the only American at the Final Table when play began, and he was the only player left standing when play finally ended. The underdog came of age and was paid out over $1 million for his sparkling efforts.

What is so remarkable about these events is that virtually anyone can qualify online should they be good enough, and Williams was no exception. His initial outlay was a paltry $41 to reach the €10 000 buy-in No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Grand Final. He qualified at the premier internet poker room, PokerStars.com.

The Final Table at the EPT Grand Final 2006

The Monte Carlo based Grand Final reached its climax when Williams faced a heads-up showdown against Britain’s Arshad Hussain. Hussain had also had an inexpensive road to the final – he won a Frequent Player Point tournament on Pokerstars and literally just had to turn up in Monaco. He left with a much heavier pocket however as his winnings were well over €450 000!

Both players had big hands in the final face-off – AT for Williams and A8 for Hussain, and it was Hussain who made the last raise to about 700K in total. Williams took some time out to ponder his next move, and move he did. “In the end, he did call, and with a final board 59773, his ten kicker played”, said spectator Rolf Slotboom.

"Arshad and I have played each other a lot in heads-up tournaments on PokerStars and Arshad normally wins. So I was pretty nervous but by then I had a big chip lead which makes a difference. This whole event has been just amazing. To reach the final table and then find myself sitting next to Marcel Luske, one of my poker heroes, was incredible. I am still taking the whole thing in. I can’t really believe it," said Williams clutching his oversized chip stack.

Williams must be putting most of his free time into his studies as he hasn’t been seen on the pro poker circuit for quite a while!