Setting numerous records, this World Poker Tour event was entertaining from start to finish. The pros showed up in force but only three would survive to make it to the final table. Kido Pham and J.C. Tran both sat down, but were unable to last as they would be the first two casualties here tonight.
The third pro, all-time WPT money leader Daniel Negreanu, came into the day second in chips and ended up finishing the night in second place, earning $502,691. In addition to having already earned the most cash in WPT history, Daniel set the record for the most consecutive cashes tonight at four.
The most unusual feature of the night though was the way the final table played out. Setting the record for the most hands played before the first elimination at more than a hundred, it was a much different structure than both the players and the spectators were used to.
Once the bubble broke, so to speak, the eliminations came fast and furious. Considering the blinds had reached a staggering $40,000/$80,000 when the first player busted, it's not surprising that the match became somewhat of a crap-shoot. In a fraction of the time that it took to get one player out of his seat, the tournament went from five players to just two with the heads-up match lasting only a few hands.
With Daniel out-chipped and the blinds astronomically high, Negreanu was forced to take a stand. Unfortunately for him he picked the wrong spot to do it. With A-3 against Sumner's pocket eights, the flop came 8-5-4, giving Brian the set but also giving Danny an inside wheel draw. They both had to sweat it, but after the board finished 3-Q, the tournament was over and Brian Sumner was the victor.
In a short congratulatory conversation with Mike Sexton after the match had ended, Daniel commented on how much the long period of six-handed play had impacted his strategy. "I've played a lot of poker in my time, but this was completely different. Everyone was playing so hard, no one wanted to be the first one out."
Less loquacious than runner up Daniel Negreanu, champion Brian Sumner was stunned having just beaten one of his poker idols. Emphasizing his objective of playing a solid game Brian was in shock over the near million-dollar win.
From blow-ups of Hellmuthian proportion to champions reserved in victory, the 2007 World Poker Open certainly had a lot of gamble. Tournament director Johnny Grooms, perhaps the most outstanding man in the business, made covering this event a pleasure and for that he has our thanks. Congratulating winner Brian Sumner and all the players who cashed in this event, this is Matt Showell.