The finals of the PokerStars “Million Dollar Challenge” aired on Sunday afternoon on Fox. Daniel Negreanu is the poker pro on the show taking on challengers. For the final heads-up match, the challenger was 21 year old Jessica Cupini, a young mother of one and college student at West Virginia University. At stake was a $1 million grand prize.
A four-man sit and go to play Negreanu heads-up was held featuring four previous “Million Dollar Challenge” contestants. Cupini, the first challenger to appear on Season 2 squared off against Johnny Whitt from Texas, Ray Reid, the son of a preacher; and Carmenlita Cothron a sign language interpreter who was the season’s only $100,000 winner.
Cothron and Whitt were eliminated in 4th and 3rd place respectively to create a heads-up match between Cupini and Reid with the winner to square off against Negreanu. On the final hand, Cupini flopped a set of jacks. The board came A-J-3-A and Reid checked with A-8 for trips. Cupini shoved with pocket jacks for a full house and Reid called all-in for his tournament life. Cupini earned $100,000 and received a chance to play Negreanu for the million dollars.
Daniel Negreanu was unstoppable during the match and Cupini had to be satisfied with a second place finish and $100,000 in prize money plus a trip to the PokerStars Carribean Adventure next month.
Cupini told Negreanu, her coach throughout much of the show, “I got to play the best poker player in the world twice” and the credits rolled. Negreanu also defeated Cupini in a $100,000 match in the season opener on September 19th.
Negreanu played for Make-A-Wish foundation and would receive $100,000 for the global charity if he outlasted the challenger. Each player was stacked with 40,000 in chips and the price of poker kicked off at a hefty 500/1,000.
This was the second season of the “Million Dollar Challenge”. A season 3 has not been announced but if you would like to try to qualify, sign up here to PokerStars. There are also qualifiers running for the PokerStars Carribean Adventure taking place next month in the Bahamas.
Asian Pacific Poker Tour
Daniel Negreanu made his second final table in the past two months at the Asian Pacific Poker Tour in Sydney, Australia, this weekend. Daniel went into the nine man final table as the short stack but he finished in a respectable ninth place which paid $36,002 AUD ($36,184 CAD). Daniel’s other final table was a 4th place finish at the EPT Vienna last October.
The winner of the APPT was 22-year old Australian Jonathan Karamalikis who has been very successful in live poker tournaments in Australia. He beat out a field of 289 players to win $454,304 AUD.
In addition to Negreanu, the final table included some other well known poker pros like Roland De Wolfe and Eddy Sabat. De Wolfe went out eighth in this event. Sabat, who traveled with Negreanu to the event took in $78,861 AUD for 6th place.
Here’s the rest of the final table:
1. Jonathan Karamalikis ($454,304)
2. Ben McLean ($291,440)
3. Tom Rafferty ($162,864)
4. Peco Stojanovski ($120,005)
5. Antoine Amourette ($96,860)
6. Eddy Sabat ($78,861)
7. Manuel Hansimikali (64,288)
8. Roland De Wolfe ($49,715)
9. Daniel Negreanu ($36,002)