Online grinder Dan Smith overcame an elite field to win the $100k Challenge early Tuesday morning at the 2012 Aussie Millions.
Smith, who is known as King Dan online, beat a final table that included Gus Hansen, Joe Hachem, Sorel Mizzi, Nam Le, Tony G, Sam Trickett and Mikhail Smirnov.
He won $1.01 million for finishing first.
Paying $100,000 to play a tournament might seem absurd but Smith was able to justify it in his own mind.
“It’s fun playing the big buy-in tournaments and I’m one of those jackasses that thinks they are the best so I felt obligated to play,” he said.
“I’d been having a good year so I decided to gamble it up and it worked out this time.”
The $100k Challenge, which began yesterday, drew only 22 players but almost every one was a poker superstar with Tom Dwan, Daniel Negreanu and even Phil Ivey all making an appearance.
The final table got off to a fast start with Sorel Mizzi, Nam Le and Sam Trickett busting in the early stages of the day.
Gus Goes Out on Bubble
Mizzi’s elimination brought about the bubble, however, and the tournament went into slow motion with no one wanting to lose $100k when they were so close to winning $242k.
“I played so much tighter than I usually do,” said Smith. “I folded A-3 on the button, which I’ve literally never done.”
Finally Gus Hansen got frisky with chip leader Mikhail Smirnov and busted in fifth place.
Tony G busted shortly after that for a $242k cash. Hachem recorded his biggest cash ever in his hometown of Melbourne when he finished in third for $330k.
Smirnov and Smith Head-to-Head
That brought about a spirited heads-up match between Smirnov and Smith.
Smirnov was perhaps the least known player in the tournament but is a respected Russian cash-game player.
The players went at it for three hours before Smith was finally able to land the knockout blow with pocket deuces versus a crippled Smirnov’s Q-6.
Smith’s hand held up and Smirnov had to settle for second place and $616k.
Smith Going to Super Bowl
Meanwhile Smith, who is an instructor at Leggo Poker and has over $1.3 miilion in career online earnings, records the biggest cash of his poker career.
What does the Manalapan, New Jersey native plan to do with his newfound wealth?
Go to the Super Bowl of course.
Earlier in the day Smith’s New York Giants won a spot in Super Bowl XLV against the Patriots and the young pro is already looking into purchasing tickets for the big game.
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