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2006 Tournament of Champions

Copyright (c) 2006-2021

The 2006 Tournament of Champions featured a $2,000,000 prize pool and 27 of the top players in the World Series of Poker competition. 9 came from the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event, 12 came from the winners of the World Series of Poker Circuit Tournament Main Events that have been held throughout the year and six additional players who received exemptions were invited to the competition. It is a freeroll tournament for those who will be playing. So this means that the 9 from last year's World Series of Poker final table were champion Joseph Hachem along with Steven Dannenmann, John Barch, Aaron Kanter, Andrew Black, Scott Lazar, Daniel Bergsdorf, Brad Kondracki and Mike Matusow (who was last year's Tournament of Champions winner). The 12 from the WSOP Circuit Tournament Main Events are Gregg Merkow, Chris Ferguson, Vinnie Vinh, Thang "Kido" Pham, Chris Reslock, Daniel Negreanu, Abraham Korotki, Darrell "Gigabet" Dicken, Jeffrey King, John Spadavecchia, Peter Feldman and Clint Baskin. The mystery six additional players who received sponsorship exemptions are Phil Hellmuth Jr., Mike O'Malley, Doyle Brunson, Mike Sexton, Sarah Strom and Gus Hansen. So this event had all the ingredients needed to be very hot. And it was filmed by ESPN so you can see it in the future. The prize to the winner is $1,000,000.

For Day 1 the blinds started off at $25/$50 with 90 minute levels. Tournament play began at 12:35 p.m. with each player having 10,000 chips each. Action got off to a solid start as Abe Korotki was the first to go when his pocket 5's couldn't hold up to the full house Daniel Negreanu produced. On a side note, Mike Matusow promised to wear tape over his mouth the entire World Series if Chris Ferguson shaves his head. No word on any response from Chris Ferguson. He was too busy sending Phil Hellmuth Jr. to the rail with his pocket A's. Negreanu eliminated both Joe Hachem and Steve Dannenmann on the same hand. And Kido Pham with pocket Q's said good bye to Scott Lazar (A K) when the board showed 8 7 5 4 5, giving Pham two pair. Day 1 ended around 11:45 p.m. with 10 players making the final table cut.

On the second day, play began at 1:00 p.m. for the 10 who sat down at the final table. Once the tournament officials raised the chips of everyone 10x and the blinds as well, eliminations began taking place as Andrew Black sent Gus Hansen home in 10th place when Andrew's pocket 9's held up to Gus's A K. Gus was soon followed by Daniel Bergsdorf in 9th and Kido Pham in 8th. Chris Ferguson left in 7th when his pocket 6's were overcome by the pocket 8's of Darrell Dicken after the board showed no more help to either player. But the victory was not for long as Darrell Dicken was sent packing in 6th place, courtesy of WPT announcer Mike Sexton. Next one out in 5th was Andrew Black (K 9) after his all-in bet was called by Mike Matusow who held pocket K's after nothing else helped either player. Then Mike Sexton helped Chris Reslock away from the table in 4th position. Mike Matusow who won this event last year, ended up going out in 3rd place, capping an excellent level of performance this tournament. This left Mike Sexton and Daniel Negreanu alone for the heads up battle that lasted 6 hrs and 45 min.

This was a very interesting heads up when you consider that one World Poker Tour champion, Daniel Negreanu, ended up playing against a person who has made a career watching and studying every hand the champion has played in WPT competition. But someone had to win. The hand of victory went as follows, Sexton limped in and Negreanu raised which was followed with a re raise from Sexton. Negreanu calls and the flop shows 10d 8d 4s. Negreanu went all in holding Qh Jh which was immediately called by Sexton who was holding....pocket A's. Turn card was an A, river was an 8c giving Mike Sexton 3 of a kind and the championship!

What made this win the icing on the cake for Mike Sexton is that he created the Tournament of Champions in 1998 in order to promote the sport. The victory marks Sexton's second WSOP bracelet. He won the Seven Card Stud High Low event in 1989.


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Tom Howze is a webmaster for sites that relate to the 2006 World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour events, updates and information. http://www.justgambleforfree.com/

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Last Distribution Date:
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