Coming into the final round of the 2013 WSOP Europe Mix Max event, all eyes were on Dan O'Brien. The longtime pro not only had experience at several final tables on his side, he also had a more than 3-1 chip lead over his opponent, Darko Stojanovic of France.
Stojanovic, though, was not to be ignored. He came into the final round of the €5,300 buy-in event firing, doubling up on the second hand and displaying relentless aggression that eventually led to a victory and his first gold bracelet. In addition to the hardware, Stojanovic also collected a career-high score of €188,160 and the first win for France at this year's series.
It took a grand total of 54 hands of heads-up action for Stojanoic to defeat his semifinals opponent Schwartz and his final round opponent, O'Brien. The Parisian worked quickly, acted with assurance, and came out on top.
Now that the French semi-professional has his first bracelet, defeating a field of some of the toughest pros in the game, what is he going to do next?
He's going to Disneyland.
We aren't kidding. The father of two, while thrilled to defeat such a stacked field of pros, doesn't think winning a bracelet is going to change his life. He will continue playing semi-professionally and his weekend plans, which include taking his two children to Disneyland here in Paris, remain unchanged.
O'Brien, on the other hand, will have to wait for another day for his first bracelet. This is the Las Vegas-based pro's second runner-up finish on the WSOP, the first coming last year in the €3,200 Shootout event. He now has two runner-up finishes, a third, and a fourth in WSOP events, but no bracelet victories just yet.
This year’s €5,300 Mix Max drew 140 of the top poker players in the world. The format for this tournament was slightly different than past years with a new section of four-handed play once the field got down to 16 players. On Day 1, players played full ring, on Day 2 they moved to six-handed play, on Day 3 they played four-handed from 16 to four players, then the final four squared off in a heads-up format.
Some of the notables who finished in the top 16 and cashed included November Niners Marc-Etienne McLaughlin (16th) and Mark Newhouse (12th), bracelet winners James Dempsey (11th) and Phil Ivey (10th), and Shannon Shorr (5th).
The semifinals pitted massive stack Dan O’Brien against the shortest of the four stacks, Jason Mann. In the other match, Stojanovic, who was second in chips, against American Noah Schwartz, who had Mann out-chipped by just 7,000 chips and, as a result, was seeded third.
The match between Schwartz and Stojanovic lasted a single hand, while the match between the big stack O’Brien and Mann took just about an hour. The final round needed 53 hands to determine a winner, lasting just about 90 minutes.
Here are the results from the final four of the €5,300 Mixed Max Event:
1st: Darko Stojanovic - €188,160
2nd: Dan O'Brien - €116,280
3rd: Jason Mann - €62,770
4th: Noah Schwartz - €62,770
If you want to see some of the more memorable hands from the final round of play in the Mix Max, check out the highlights on our WSOP Table Tracker: