Daniel Brits is better known by Dian in his native South Africa, but the rest of the poker world may need to learn the nickname sometime soon.
Brits is a proud South African born in the spectacularly scenic Dainfern Valley area of Midrand, but the man with the middle name Johannes made his nation's largest city proud recently, taking down the WPT Emperors Palace Poker Classic for $132,128 last November.
Held in the The Palace of Dreams casino in Johannesburg, that WPT event attracted 191 runners to prove that poker's newest hotbed is ready for the big stage. Fellow South African Ronit Chamani - an accomplished player who has made several splashes on the global circuit while also advocating for the power of a raw food diet - also made the final table to make her homeland proud.
It was Brits who claimed every chip in play though, putting on a performance to remember for South Africa's burgeoning poker community - one which owes much its current vigor to Raymond Rahme, member of the 2007 World Series of Poker Final Table. While Rahme has receded from the game somewhat in recent years, emerging stars like Brits and Chamani are ready and willing to take up the mantle.
Both were in the house here today trying to reach another WPT final table in this World Championship event, and while Chamani went bust earlier in the day, a recent hand saw Brits chip up in style.
The final board read and Brits led out for a 25,000 bet, with Harrison Gimbel tanking a bit before making the call. Brits rolled over bullets though, and his was good for the winner.