World Series of Poker management billed the heads-up portion of the Main Event final table as a heavyweight fight between two pugilists. But 22-year-old Danish poker pro Peter Eastgate had other ideas; he turned the duel into a somewhat one-sided affair and had his Russian counterpart Ivan Demidov on the ropes for the entire night.
The final hand was typical of the win for Eastgate. A seemingly harmless 4c fell on the turn that gave Demidov two pair, fours and twos, but completed Eastgate’s wheel draw. All the money went in on the river and Eastgate’s final knockout punch made him World Champion.
“It kind of summed up the heads up. I had him crippled to below 20 million and I was lucky that he hit two pair where I hit the wheel,” said Eastgate immediately following the win. “It was kind of inevitable for those two hands to get it all in.”
When the night began Eastgate was ahead of Demidov by just over 21 million chips. The early action saw Demidov hit some hands and win enough pots to take over the chip lead. His lead though was temporary as the deck went cold for the Moscowvite.
“I really had no idea how he was going to play heads-up and he has way more experience than me. So maybe I was playing a bit passive and sometimes I made the bad calls when I should have just folded,” said Demidov. “I still called way too much and it cost me a lot of chips. I also made a few big bluffs at the wrong time.”
After re-capturing the chip lead on the 22nd hand of the night Eastgate kicked into high gear and never looked back on his way to the win, the $9 million first place prize and the Main Event champion’s bracelet. At 22 he also broke the record held by Phil Hellmuth for youngest Main Event champion ever, though he admitted to not thinking about anything but the game at hand.
“I wasn’t thinking about the records or anything like that. I just was thinking about playing my game,” said Eastgate. “I spoke to (Hellmuth) yesterday. He wished me luck and gave me a handshake.”
The final table action will be aired on ESPN on Tuesday night beginning with a preview show at 8 pm ET with the two-hour episode covering the November Nine beginning at 9 pm ET.