Brisbane local Dan Smiljanic has broken through for the biggest win of his career after taking out the Opening Event at WPT Prime Gold Coast and a $55,589 top prize.
Outlasting a field of 399 entries, Smiljanic entered the final day’s play as a dominant chip leader and, aside from a brief moment of concern when play was three-handed, never relinquished control – eventually eliminating Dean Stevenson and Jerry Wang in consecutive hands to seal the title.
Speaking with PokerMedia Australia shortly after his win, the small business owner expressed relief after finally turning a deep run into a hefty payday.
“I feel amazing,” said Smiljanic, who revealed he has been working with Sydney-based poker guru and mind coach Brendon Rubie to improve his game
“It has taken a lot of hard work, a lot of effort put in behind the scenes. I just kept persisting. I did a lot of training so I want to thank Brendon and also my wife (Nicky) who supports me playing the game and spending time and money and travel. Having that support makes a big difference.”
A regular at Brisbane’s Cyprus Club, Smiljanic – whose previous biggest result was an APL Ville 600 Shootout title for $12,300 last October – said he was particularly grateful for the mental strength he showed once the title was within reach.
“There was a stage where we were three-handed and things weren’t going my way,” he said. “I felt myself getting out of the zone and getting slightly tilted so it was really important for me at that stage to get back into my zone and focus, and that’s when things picked up again.
“Things could have gone wrong but through all the experience and learning through past mistakes I was able to get back into my zone and focus on what I do rather than focus on micro results.
“But I’m continually looking to get an edge and learn. Whilst the event went well for me, there were probably a couple of spots where I wasn’t happy with my decision making even if it went my way, so I’ll reflect and review those. It’s about minimizing my mistakes.”
As for what’s next?
“I’ll play the Main Event and I’ll go down for the Sydney Champs (at The Star Sydney in July]. I won’t be going to Las Vegas [for the WSOP] this year but that’s the goal next year.”
WPT PRIME GOLD COAST OPENING EVENT: FINAL TABLE RESULTS