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.
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.
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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, some $3.3 million less than Eastgate.
"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 in play -- 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," said Eastgate, who said he felt Demidov was not helped in the hand by the river queen. "It worked out in different spots."
Eastgate 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.
Demidov's finish concluded a dream tournament run that included final table finishes at the series' main events in Europe and the United States. The Russian said he hoped his performances would help poker grow in his native country, and said he planned to play in more high-stakes live tournaments.
"A few years ago it was mostly U.S. players," Demidov said. "Now you see more European, South American and Asian players. Poker is growing in the world."
Eastgate eliminated five players, including Demidov, at the final table to take the title. The nine players met Sunday at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to settle the title after taking a 117-day break to build hype for the tournament.
Eastgate started fourth in chips on Sunday with 19.7 million chips, more than 4 million away from Dennis Phillips, the chip leader at the time. Phillips finished in third and won $4,517,773.
The final grouping emerged from a field of 6,844 players that whittled down to nine over 11 days in July.