Big guns set to gamble at Five Diamond

Doyle Brunson

The $15,000 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic kicks off today at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. As the last big poker showdown of the year in North America, all the top poker pros should be out in force.

One of those pros will be Brunson's good friend Daniel Negreanu, who says he'll be using the same strategy in this tournament as has brought him plenty of WPT success in the past.

"My strategy going into the first two days is pretty transparent and I could care less," says Negreanu. "I won't be doing any reraising pre-flop, I'll be min-raising until the antes come into play, and I won't be playing a ton of big pots.

"It's what I do at pretty much every WPT Bellagio event until day three and that strategy has worked extremely well for me so I don't see any reason to change that up at all. I've cashed in three straight Bellagio events."

Brunson and Negreanu seem to enjoy a friendly rivalry born as much on the golf course as the felt.

"Maybe he can't play golf so well but he is really performing well in the poker tournaments," says Brunson.

Negreanu will be just one of the draws to the Bellagio and the Five Diamond Classic, according to organizers.

"Doyle always has been a strong supporter and friend of Bellagio," said Doug Dalton, director of poker operations for Bellagio. "We cherish our partnership not only with him but all of the players. We expect another strong turnout for December's event and look forward to Eugene Katchalov's attempt to defend his title."

Last year produced a prize pool of more than $9.5 million, with 26-year-old New Yorker Katchalov defeating Ted Kearley in heads-up play, taking the whopping first-place winnings of $2,482,605.

"It was a pretty amazing experience," said Katchalov of what was the fastest final table in WPT history. "I caught cards the whole time. Everything went exactly as I hoped for."

The results of the 2007 Five Diamond Classic final table looked like this:

1stEugene Katchalov$2,482,605
2ndTed Kearly$1,252,640
3rdDavid Ulliott$674,500
4thKen Rosen$433,675
5thJordan Rich$289,070
6thRyan Daut$192,715

The schedule of play for the 2008 Five Diamond Classic Main Event is below. You can also follow all the action live at in our Live Tournaments section.

  • Saturday, Dec. 13: Day 1a
  • Sunday, Dec. 14: Day 1b
  • Monday, Dec. 15: Day 2
  • Tuesday, Dec. 16: Day 3
  • Wednesday, Dec. 17: Day 4
  • Thursday, Dec. 18: Day 5
  • Friday, Dec. 19: final table


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