Negreanu entered the final day of the High Roller needing to finish eighth or higher to become the first player in WSOP history to snag Player of the Year twice.
Kid Poker accomplished that and so much more. Negreanu seemed to get a boost from securing POY and went on an immediate heater.
Negreanu eventually beat Brazilian Nicolau Villa-Lobos heads-up to clinch the title. It was nearly a decade ago that Negreanu won his first WSOP POY award in 2004 but the Canadian just seems to get better as time goes on.
“This is something I’m going to appreciate for the rest of my life,” said Negreanu. “People sometimes throw around terms like 'over the hill' and that just motivates me to win.”
Gruissem, Seiver, Koon Fall Short of Bracelet
The day began with 13 payers but Tom Bedell, Byron Kaverman and Phil Laak busted early to set up an intense sweat for the bubble.
Not only was €50,400 on the line for ninth or better but Negreanu, who was short-stacked at the time, had the opportunity to win WSOP Player of the Year by finishing eighth or higher.
2013 November Niner Marc-Etienne McLaughlin became the bubble boy when he busted in 10th place. He joked that he’s saving his run-good for November on Twitter.
Short-stack Joni Jouhkimainen provided some much needed relief to Negreanu when he shipped his last few blinds in the middle with K♥ 5♥ and busted.
Not only did Negreanu win POY but doubled up very early at the final table with A-K over David Peters’ T-T. The double-up was a turning point for Negreanu and he became a force at the final table from that time on.
Villa-Lobos, Peters and Gruissem all spent time as the chip leader but Negreanu never seemed far from regaining the lead.
"I honestly thought I was going to win from Day 1," said Negreanu after winning.
Brazilian Nicolau Villa-Lobos Finishes Runner-Up
Eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel was the first player to bust at the final table.
Jason Koon, Scott Seiver, Timothy Adams and David Peters were the next players to fall to set up an epic three-handed battle between Phil Gruissem, Villa-Lobos and Negreanu.
Gruissem had the unique opportunity to win his second WSOP High Roller this year but ran out of steam three-handed.
Gruissem moved in with A♣ 4♣ but Negreanu snapped him off with A♠ J♦.
That prompted an hour-long heads-up battle between Brazilian upstart Nicolau Villa-Lobos and Negreanu. Villa-Lobos played an inspired tournament but Negreanu would not be denied.
In the final hand Negreanu got it in with pocket jacks to Villa-Lobos pocket fours and the jacks held. Here are the complete final-table payouts:
- 1st: Daniel Negreanu – Canada - €725,000
- 2nd: Nicolau Villa-Lobo – Brazil - €450,000
- 3rd: Philipp Gruissem – Germany - €250,000
- 4th: David Peters – USA - €150,500
- 5th: Timothy Adams – Canada - €100,600
- 6th: Scott Seiver – USA - €74,600
- 7th: Jason Koon – USA - €63,500
- 8th: Erik Seidel – USA - €55,400