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Watt beats Dwan, claims $614K and WSOP bracelet

7 Jun 2010

Simon Watt beat noted professional poker player Tom "durrrr" Dwan heads up to claim the third $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em Championship (Event #11) at this year's World Series of Poker to win $614,248 and a WSOP gold bracelet early Monday morning.

Watt, a 27-year-old software developer from Auckland, New Zealand, became the first New Zealander in history to win a WSOP title. A software developer by day, Watt is acknowledged as an accomplished part-time player who previously won the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) championship.

Dwan is one of the world's top poker pros, both online and live. He frequently plays for what has been described as "nosebleed" stakes. Dwan has encountered both sides of million dollar swings on multiple occasions in online matches and big cash games.

There was considerable public interest in the outcome of this finale, since many top poker pros are reported to have six- and seven-figure side bets against Dwan winning a gold bracelet at this year's WSOP.

"It was amazing; it was strange," said Watt. "It would have been crazy enough to just make the final table. But to play against Durrrr (Tom Dwan) heads-up made it much better."

While perhaps 500-600 spectators ringed the final table as the final hand was dealt out, Watt had only one close friend in the audience. The room fell deathly silent the instant Watt won (his pocket nines held up against Dwan's queen-six), and there was an eerie pall to what was otherwise a long finale filled with huge emotional and financial swings.


Watt's six-figure win may have seven-figure consequences for many poker pros. (photo by GreasieWheels)

Given intense interest in the outcome of this finale, Watt became a champion who not only collected $614,248 for himself, but may have been the catalyst in what some estimate to be an eight-figure financial swing between several top poker pros.

"Thank you for saving us all millions of dollars!" Mike Matusow reportedly yelled to Watt, after the completion of the tournament. "How does it feel to be every high-stakes gambler's hero?"

Immediately following his runner-up finish, Tom Dwan departed the final table area and did not speak to media.

David Randall from Westerville, Ohio, finished third, while Austin McCormick from Chesterfield, Mo., was fourth. Poker pro Jason Young from Suffern, N.Y., who won the shootout event at the 2008 WSOP, was fifth and now has more than $600,000 in career WSOP earnings.

Shane Smith from Hiram, Ga., was sixth, while Marvin Rettenmaier, a college student from Stuttgart, Germany, was seventh. Kyle Winter, a Carson City, Nev., resident who will begin law school next year at Gonzaga, was eighth, while Eric Ladny from Trenton, N.J. was ninth.

The top 270 finishers collected prize money. Aside from those who made the final table, former WSOP gold bracelet finishers who cashed in this event included Blair Hinkle (96th), Robert Cheung (142nd), Ted Lawson (180th), Brett Jungblut (186th), Erick Lindgren (191st), Jerry Yang (195th), Minh Nguyen (204th), and Steve Zolotow (237th). It was Jerry Yang's first cash in a WSOP event since winning the 2007 WSOP Main Event championship.

The tournament attracted a field of 2,563 players, the fourth 2,000+ player field so far in 2010. At least seven tournaments this year are expected to crack that figure, which would be the most in WSOP history.

This was one of the youngest final tables in WSOP history. The senior player was age 31. The remaining players were 22, 23, 23, 23, 23, 23, 27, and 28.

(Modified from original notes by Nolan Dalla for
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