9/11 first responder wins $1 million on PokerStars.net Million Do

Posted by Gerry Poltorak on Dec 20, 2009 Posted in Live Poker News | No Comments »

Mike kosowskiIn an incredibly lucid bit of foreshadowing Mike Kosowski told his wife in 2004 that he would one day play face-to-face with poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, and beat him: And that is precisely what Kosowski did on the TV Show PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge!

Kosowski has been playing online poker since 2004, when he retired from the NYPD, and qualified for the television show through an online poker tournament on PokerStars.

The episode will air on Fox, December 27th at 5pm, where you can watch the retired Police Officer, who was in the thick of things on 9/11 make good on a promise to his wife, and earn a million dollars in the process.

The feel-good aspect of this story should help the ratings of the struggling show. Along with Full Tilt Poker’s dismal failure “Face the Ace” the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge is showing there might not be a market for poker-themed game shows.

9/11 Hero Wins $1 Million Playing Poker on the PokerStars.Net Million Dollar Challenge

The “PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge” is already the world’s most watched poker program in history.
However with 9/11 hero set to win the six figure cash prize for the episode airing December 27th, the show is set to tower over its previous record.  Viewers around the world will see the retired NYPD sergeant Mike Kowoski defeat PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu for the Challenge’s whopper cash prize.
The improbabilities and road to success of Kowoski’s seat on the show is a story in itself for viewers.  Having originally been selected as an alternate on the show, the 9/11 hero – whose bravery is well documented in the book “Never Forget: The Oral History of September 11” –   grabbed the ‘bull by the horns’, so to speak, for his moment in spotlight – after receiving the chance to play in a consolation SNG after previously being knocked out of the preliminary stage by Joanna Krupa.
Taking down all his opponents in the in the two SNGs, Kowoski forced his way through the event to earn the right to face Negreanu in the final for the Million Dollar cash prize.  “After I got knocked out by Joanna Krupa, I thought my shot was over. But with how I played in the sit-n-go, I said I gotta go for it. I knew I could win,” Kowoski said.

Story of a Hero

Forced to retire from the NYPD after picking up life-threatening injuries looking for survivors at the World Trade Centre, the former Sergeant learned the game as a means of passing time while staying at home dealing with his injuries.  Learning the rules of poker and MTT strategy at poker stars, his affiliation with beating 4 time WSOP winner Daniel Negreanu said it made the Million Dollar victory seem like destiny.
“Two years ago, I showed my wife (Fran) the World Series Of Poker on TV and Daniel was playing in it. I told her that one day I would beat him. Later, I had a second dream that I beat him. It inspired me to play better on PokerStars.net and to make the show,” Kosowski said.

Plans for the Money

Kosowski has altruistically declared plans to spend his TV poker winnings on helping those involved in 9/11.  “I’ll be donating to the Families of Freedom 9/11 Scholarship fund and City Harvest New York , and I’ll pay off my mortgage, put some into a nest egg for my daughter’s wedding, fix up the house a little, and put the rest of the money away into retirement savings,” he said.

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