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World Series of Poker Crowns Youngest Ever Champ

11/11/2008
At the tender age of 22, Danish poker pro Peter Eastgate clinched the World Series of Poker in the early hours this morning at the Rio in Las Vegas, having spun a wheel straight on the ultimate hand to become the youngest WSOP champion in the no-limit Texas Hold 'em Main Event’s history.

Eastgate nailed an ace-to-five straight when the turn card came down and automatically called Ivan Demidov’s river all-in bet, holding a two small pairs, to scoop the last remaining chips of the tournament, the 2008 title, the bracelet and, of course, the winner’s haul of cash amounting to $9,152,416.

On the record front, we have to go all the way back to 1989 when Phil Hellmuth won the title when he was 24. Eastgate even got a good luck call from Hellmuth before head’s-up play got underway at 10pm, and after a four-month break from the Main Event to final table action, a first in WSOP history.

"It feels good to beat Phil's record," Eastgate said after finally allowing himself to breathe a sigh of relief that it was all over. "I was not focused on the record that I could break, I was just focused on the game. My motivation was $9 million and a bracelet."

The win eventually became a foregone conclusion when Eastgate built a mammoth 7-to-1 chip lead after cracking a couple of bluffs from Demidov.

Eastgate, from Odense, Denmark, put Demidov on the back foot by stopping him from bluffing a pot worth around 44 million with an ace high. Eastgate bravely called with a diamond flush.

Four hands later, Eastgate used a full house to make another significant dent in Demidov, from Moscow, who also bowed out third in the WSOP Europe Main Event in October. For the runner-up’s effort, he got $5,809,595.

"I'm someone who's not going to cry," Demidov commented afterward. "I'm disappointed, but I'm going to be happy. That's the way it turned out." He also said he hopes his performances will help poker grow back home in Russia and he plans on honing his high-stake tournament game.

"A few years ago it was mostly U.S. players," Demidov continued. "Now you see more European, South American and Asian players. Poker is growing in the world."
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