Andy “Mad Monk” Black was one of the best poker players never to win a large tournament, until now – 20 years into his poker career, Black may finally boast a major win in one of the most important tourney around,

As is to be imagined, Black is ecstatic – he burst into tears after winning, and later made an emotional statement,

It has taken 20 years to finally finish the job, it is a fantastic feeling. I’ve been in so many strong positions before and not ended up winning that sometimes I doubted whether I could actually get the first place. Everybody was waiting for me to blow up. I see this as a turning point – perhaps now I can convert my dominant positions in tournaments into victories.

Black used to be famous for being the eternal runner-up, coming in with the chip lead on countless occasions but never leaving with the prize, be it the WSOP MainEvent, the Aussie Millions or the EPT. Always the bridesmaid but never the bride, Black even quit poker between 1998-2003 to practice Buddhist techniques and try to get over this last hurdle, but success eluded him until now. As a PartyPoker.com spokesman said: “Andy is a deserved winner, he’s finally got the monkey off his back.”

If anything could make this victory sweeter for Black, it is that the field he has just beat was composed by 12 of the best players in the world, carefully handpicked and invited to pay $60,000 to join in the event. Andy faced (and defeated) 11 top caliber pros: Marcel Luske, Annie Duke, Alexander Kravchenko, Phil Hellmuth, Dave ‘The Devilfish’ Ulliott, Tony G, Ian Frazer, Roland De Wolfe, Vicky Coren, Juha Helppi and Eddy Scharf to take the Championship and a very respectable $316,000 prize.

Party Poker officials are already talking of the next Premier league: “I have never seen so many of the world’s top players want a title so badly and Andy Black’s tears sums up just how much this event means. We are already planning Premier League Poker III where there will be a further increase to the $1 million prize fund,” said Eddie Hearn, Head of Online Gaming at Matchroom Sport, the organizers of the League.

The League will be broadcast in the UK’s Channel 4 in March, and distributed internationally afterwards.

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