The Tournament of Champions kicked off the start of the WSOP festivities at the Rio on Sunday. Twenty-seven players were invited to this epic event including every player who made the final table of the 2005 WSOP main event. The winners of various WSOP circuit events were also invited to participate in the $2 million freeroll where first place would walk away with a cool $1 million in prize money.
Mike Matusow was the defending Champion from last year's event that took place after the WSOP ended. This year, Harrah's chose to start the 2006 WSOP with the TOC. When the final table began, Andy Black held a commanding chiplead. He would end up busting out in 5th place when his K-9s lost to Matusow's pocket Kings. Matusow lost his bid to repeat and ended up in 3rd place when his Ace-rag lost to Mike Sexton's 7-7.
When heads-up began, Sexton held a slight edge over Daniel Negreanu with 1.4M to 1.2M in chips. They would play for several hours as the chiplead switched back and forth too many times to count. After three hundred hands (yes that's not a typo, they played heads-up for over three hundred hands) a winner was finally declared when Mike Sexton woke up with pocket Aces sometime after 6:30am. Negreanu had Q-Js and moved all in on the flop with a gutshot draw. Sexton quickly called and his hand held up. He would walk away with $1 million and bragging rights, while Negreanu won $325K for second place.
TOC Money Winners:
1 Mike Sexton $1,000,000
2 Daniel Negreanu $325,000
3 Mike Matusow $250,000
4 Chris Reslock $150,000
5 Andrew Black $100,000
6 Darrell Dicken $75,000
7 Chris Ferguson $50,000
8 Kido Pham $25,000
9 Daniel Bergsdorf $25,000
Gus Hansen was the bubble boy at the TOC when he finished in 10th place. His A-K lost a race to Andy Black's 9-9. The legendary Texas Dolly took 13th place. 2005 WSOP main event champion Joe Hachem busted in 22nd place. Also playing in the TOC were Aaron Kanter, Scott Lazar, Tex Barch, Clint Baskin, Vinny Vinh, Mike O'Malley, John Spadavecchia, Sarah Strom, Brad Kondracki, Jeff King, Steve Dannenmann, Peter Feldman, Gregg Merkow, Phil Hellmuth, and Abraham Korotki.
"Maybe I proved that the old school guys still got some game," Sexton said moments after his victory.
In a classy move that explains why he's the considered "The Ambassador of Poker," Mike Sexton donated 50% of his TOC winnings to charity.
source: 2006 World Series of Poker Blog.
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