Keith Tilston entered the biggest buy-in event at the 2019 WSOP with a total of eight World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes indicated on his resume. He’d been digging for WSOP gold over the last few years but remained unsuccessful until Day 3 of Event #83: $100,000 High Roller all of his hard work finally paid off, giving him his first-ever bracelet, plus the top-prize of $2,792,046.
Tilston defeated a field of 99 entries and went through a stacked final table made up of former bracelet winners. His toughest opponent in the event was Daniel Negreanu, a six-time WSOP champ who held the top spot of the All-Time Money List for a long time. The Canadian poker pro was obviously the favorite to win but after an intense heads-up play, victory went to the underdog.
Final Table Results
The final day started with Tilston as the chip leader. Negreanu, who was the short-stack, quickly moved up to second in chip counts after doubling twice. But Igor Kurganov had overtaken him after a failed bluff.
The first accomplished player to leave the final table was Dominik Nitsche. The four-time bracelet champ fell at the hands of Kurganov after the latter rivered a three-outer. Nitsche collected $457,772 for his sixth-place finish. Kurganov found another victim in Brandon Adams who was out of the game on the very next hand. Adams finished fifth, earning $611,258 in the process.
Kurganov’s knock-out streak was halted and his top-prize bid terminated he after went all-in with Ac9c against Tilston’s pocket kings. The board favored Tilston and Kurganov had to go home in fourth place for $840,183.
Kurganov’s elimination enabled Tilston to take the lead from Nick Schulman, a three-time bracelet winner. During three-handed play, Negreanu had the shortest stack, but he managed to climb into second place after scoring his fourth and fifth double of the day through Schulman. The American player, who was left with less than two big blinds, was eventually eliminated in third place for $1,187,802.
Daniel Negreanu began heads-up play holding a slight chip advantage against Tilston after essentially taking Schulman’s entire stack. He was able to expand his lead a bit until Tilston scored a double after calling a shove with trip kings against Negreanu’s pair of aces. But Negreanu was undeterred, and shortly after he was back on the lead.
The subsequent hands would set up Tilston’s victory. He managed to win a major pot with a rivered flush, giving him a massive 4-to-1 chip advantage against his opponent as the match approached its final moments. After four hands, Negreanu went all in with ace-deuce against Tilston’s queen jack. The Canadian pro was looking for a sixth double, but things didn’t go his way. The jack hit the river, and Tilston emerged as the winner.
Seventh Bracelet Remains Elusive for Negreanu
Negreanu won $1,725,838 for his runner-up finish, the eighth time he’s ever come close to a first-place win after his last WSOP victory in 2013. In 2014, he scored two second-place finishes in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship and the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, from which he won more than $8 million. In 2015, he finished third in the $10,000 Tag Team Championship, and also came close to winning his seventh gold two years later with two deep runs.
This summer, Negreanu almost won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship where he also finished second for $151,700. All in all, Negreanu notched a total of 15 cashes at the 2019 WSOP. He is currently tied with Phil Hellmuth for most second-place finishes.
Negreanu was definitely the fan favorite to win the game, but it never bothered Tilston. In fact, it helped him to be even more focused as he knew he was up against one of the all-time poker greats. His patience and strategy paid off in the end when he defeated Negreanu.
Reflecting on his victory, Tilston said he was satisfied with his performance and was happy to bring home his first bracelet. What made his win even more special was the presence of his mother who cheered on him throughout the event. Tilston also finished sixth in the 2019 WSOP $50,000 High Roller for $275,874. His live earnings now stand at $6,417,409.

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