After three days of play, Phil Ivey of Las Vegas outlasted what everyone involved called the toughest field ever to play in a poker tournament to win the $500,000 top prize in Fox Sports Net’s American Poker Championships Live from Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York.
The final hour or more of the history-making first live telecast of a final table was a classic "David vs. Goliath" contest. In this instance, David was a Connecticut youngster John D’Agostino who walked off with $250,000.
Besides being great poker, it was terrific television as well. Chip counts alternated between the four-time World Series of Poker winner Ivey and the 21-year-old D’Agostino.
In the final hand, Ivy held a pair of jacks and D’Agostino held a pair of fives. The flop was two, seven and eight. Then a queen. Then a three, and the 28-year-old from Las Vegas was part of poker and television history.
Third place and $125,000 went to John Juanda. The rest of the final table finished: Robert Williamson III with $75,000, Paul Phillips with $50,000 and Randy Jensen with $25,000.
"We extend our congratulations to Phil on his brilliant win here at Turning Stone," said Oneida Nation Representative and resort CEO Ray Halbritter. "This was an exciting final table and a wonderful tournament overall. Fox Sports Net is to be congratulated for staging an excellent tournament and bringing live television to poker tournaments and Turning Stone."
Howard Lederer, one of the top players in the U.S. and a commentator for the night’s broadcast said, "America just found out that playing poker is one part science, one part art and hugely entertaining."
Halbritter also praised the large number of poker fans who came to the resort to watch the opening two days of play. He said the players, Fox and officials were very pleased with the large and enthusiastic crowds of spectators.
Play began on Monday to come up with the field for the finals. Most of the top players in the world of poker, 112 in all, came to Turning Stone, a rare visit to the eastern U.S. for many.
By the end of the first day, the field was reduced to 36. By the time play ended in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the final table of six had been chosen.
Wednesday night’s telecast of the event was the first time the final table has been shown live on television.