Jonathan Bredin Bucks Odds, Wins 2013 ANZPT Queenstown Main Event

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If you ever need to provide someone with evidence as to why poker is a great game, look no further than the 2013 Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT) Queenstown Main Event, which concluded this weekend. As far as main events go, it was fairly small, with just 126 players paying the NZ$3,000 ($2,700 + $300) to play, but while it wasn’t the World Series of Poker or World Poker Tour, it was still a well-respected tournament. Thus, it wasn’t that someone won it that made this event special; people win poker tournaments every day. It is who won it that matters.

The ANZPT champ, winner of NZ$93,600 ($75,469) was Jonathan Bredin, a man living with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition wherein a the motor control centers of a person’s brain are damaged, resulting in severe limitations in movement as well as possibly the ability to communicate, among other things. Bredin is confined to a motorized wheelchair and because of the difficulty he has in speaking, he uses a customized iPad combined with a friend to help him make his thoughts known to others.

That friend, Chris, also served as Bredin’s hands during the poker tournament. Chris showed Bredin his cards and manipulated his chips for him in addition to helping him verbalize his actions to the rest of the players. Chris was only a “tool” of sorts – he did not collaborate on any decision making with Bredin. It was Bredin alone who strategized and made the moves.

Bredin was the chip leader when the final table began, though he was slightly behind in chips when heads-up play against Daniel Laidlaw began. The lead went back and forth and at one point, it looked like the tournament would end with Laidlaw as the champ when Bredin was all-in with K-2 against Laidlaw’s A-K suited. Bredin got lucky, though, and found that deuce to stay alive.

Not long after that double-up Bredin ended it. He min-raised to 80,000 pre-flop, prompting Laidlaw to shove for 700,000. It was an easy call for Bredin, as he held two black Kings. Laidlaw had a bit of a shot to double-up, as his A-Q of diamonds gave him an over card and a chance at a flush. The 3-K-J flop improved Bredin to a set, but also gave Laidlaw a straight draw and one more card to his flush. None of Laidlaw’s draws came to be, though, and Jonathan Bredin had won his first big live tournament.

There is another amazing footnote to this story: Bredin has a tattoo of his exact winning hand on his left arm. Was it a premonition? Bredin said afterward that he had decided to get a poker tattoo, but felt that pocket Aces was too boring, so he opted for Kings. But hey, maybe he knew something we didn’t.

As for what he plans to do with the money, Bredin said he wants to get a special car that he can get in and out of easier. But for him, it really isn’t about the money. Before the final table began, he told Chris that he just was gunning for the trophy.

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