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Mike Kosowski Wins Pokerstars Million Dollar Challenge
12/20/09 - The PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge poker tournament, which pitted everyday poker fans against some of the big name pros in the business, has culminated in a million dollar boost for retired NYPD detective Mike Kosowski (53), who beat pro Daniel Negreanu in the final.
Kosowski's victory will be screened on Fox network television at 5pm on the 27th December, providing some great holiday entertainment.
Speaking to the New York Post after his triumph, said he and his wife still found it hard to believe. “We’re still on an emotional high every day. Every day I wonder, ‘Am I living a dream,’” he said.
Kosowski said he was able to live out a real life David vs. Goliath story and beat pro Negreanu by using a combination of good cards and the ability to read people, which he learned on the police force.
“I said this guy’s a pro, if he gets a chance to read me he’s going to pick me off,” he said. “So, being a detective sergeant, I knew I couldn’t let that happen.
“Playing against a pro is difficult,” he added. “Because you know he knows the game inside and out. You can’t take as many risks as you would against some guy in Atlantic City.”
Kosowski, who lives on Staten Island, retired in 2004 and took up poker to stave off boredom after watching a televised match involving Negreanu. He joined some 16 000 applicants for the PokerStars.net spectacular and finished in 4th place, entitling him to submit a video to the show’s producers explaining why he would make a good TV contestant.
He was successful and was flown with other finalists to Los Angeles where the action took place and Fox taped the game for later screening.
The ex-detective won two consecutive 4-person qualifier games and then faced Negreanu. Kosowski had already done his homework, reading a book written by Negreanu and studying his television performances to figure out his 'tell'.
“The only read I picked up on him was . . . you knew he didn’t have the best hand because he puts his hand behind the back of his head.”
The lucky and talented poker fan plans to pay off his mortgage and donate some money to charity.
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