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Wheel straight gives Eastgate WSOP title, jackpot worth $9 million-plus

11/12/2008

LAS VEGAS -- A 22-year-old Danish poker professional won the
World Series of Poker early Tuesday, turning a wheel straight on
the last hand to become the youngest champion in the history of the
no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event.

Peter Eastgate hit an ace-to-five straight on the turn and
instantly called an all-in bet from Ivan Demidov on the river to
win the title and $9,152,416. Demidov held two pair, twos and
fours.

The previous youngest champion was 11-time gold bracelet winner
Phil Hellmuth, who was 24 when he won the tournament in 1989.

"It feels good to beat Phil's record," Eastgate said after
taking pictures with stacks of $100 bills and his new gold
bracelet. "I was not focused on the record that I could break, I
was just focused on the game."

Eastgate said he got a call from Hellmuth wishing him luck
before the more than three-hour session.

Eastgate built a 7-to-1 chip advantage before the decisive hand
by sniffing out two bluffs by Demidov for big pots.

Eastgate, of Odense, Denmark, put Demidov on his heels by
stopping the 27-year-old from bluffing a pot worth roughly 44
million chips with an ace high. Eastgate called with a diamond
flush.

He won a significant pot four hands later with a full house and
immediately began putting pressure on the final opponent standing
between him and the title.

"My motivation was $9 million and a bracelet," Eastgate said.
"That's what kept me focused."

Demidov, a 27-year-old semiprofessional poker player from
Moscow, took home $5,809,595 for second place.

"I'm someone who's not going to cry," Demidov said. "I'm
disappointed, but I'm going to be happy. That's the way it turned
out."

Demidov erased Eastgate's initial 24 million chip advantage in
their quest for the gold bracelet in less than 30 minutes to start
the night.

But Eastgate regained his chips and then some by the first break
- taking a 35.8 million chip lead after hitting two pair, aces and
queens.

Eastgate took a nearly 2-to-1 chip advantage after calling a 7
million chip river bet with a pair of jacks. A queen was on the
board, but Demidov turned over an ace high. The call indicated that
Eastgate sensed his hand was good despite the large bet and plenty
of cards that could have beaten him.

"He was playing me very aggressively so I was kind of looking
to kind of trap him," Eastgate said. "It worked out in different
spots."

One player had to collect all the chips in play -- some 137
million -- to win the tournament. Chips have no monetary value and
each player started the no-limit Texas Hold 'em tournament in July
with 20,000 chips.

The players were deliberate in their decisions, not rushing to
shove their chips in the middle early on. As Eastgate distanced
himself from Demidov, it became apparent that Demidov would need to
double his stack to keep his options unhindered.

"I learned that I need to improve my hands-on game," Demidov
said.