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Team Negreanu Dusts Team Hansen in $150k Challenge
The much-hyped heads-up challenge between Team PokerStars and Full Tilt's Professionals was a bloodbath today with Team Stars crushing Team Tilt 3-0 and collecting all $150,000 up for grabs.
The rules of the online challenge were simple.
Three team members -- Gus Hansen, Tom Dwan and Viktor Blom for The Professionals and Daniel Negreanu, ElkY Grospellier and Ike Haxton for Team PStars -- would three-table heads-up No-Limit Hold’em against one designated opponent with $50k each on the line.
The first player to win 2 of 3 in each matchup would win a point. Blom played Grospellier, Dwan played Haxton and Negreanu wrapped things up against Hansen -- ideally, it was hoped, with the fate of the challenge in the balance.
Unfortunately for both the fans on the rail in London and for Team FTP that scenario never had a chance as Team PokerStars won eight of nine games altogether for a legitimate wipeout.
Dwan Manages One But That's It for FTP
Things started out poorly for the Professionals with Grospellier dismantling Blom, possibly the best heads-up No-Limit Hold’em player in the world, in three straight to take the first battle.
Haxton then beat Dwan 2-1 to scoop another match and give Team PokerStars the overall win before the final match was even played.
Dwan, despite just getting off a plane from Macau, eked out the one game for Team FTP but that was all they could muster on the day.
Negreanu and Hansen finished things off with Negreanu running the table despite timing out twice with the nuts.
Some bragging went around after on Twitter, naturally, with talk of a rematch lingering. For a full recap, check the PokerStars blog.
Here's how some of the participants felt about things according to our tableside reporter from PokerListings France, Fred Guillemot:
"Well, I didn't win. I wanted to win, and I didn't. That's about it."
“It went amazingly well. The whole PokerStars team had dinner together last night, and Daniel Negreanu, Eugene Katchalov and above all Isaac Haxton – because he's played a lot against Isildur and had a lot of information to share – all gave me advice.
"I had also watched a lot of his matches from when he did the SuperStar Showdown on PokerStars, so I had a lot of information about his style, more than he did on mine, since I haven't been playing as many heads-ups as I used to.
"Our game plan went very well, and I had just enough luck too. Everytime I had good hands, they held through, especially that first all-in when I got a straight at the flop with K-J-10 (with 2 diamonds) to match my Q-9, and he had Q-4 of diamonds.
"I think it was very important to win the first match, it put more pressure on him. We also worked on finding what aspects of his game I could use to my advantage, and what I could do in certain situations to make him feel even more frustrated.
"I think that the fact that we played sit-and-gos was also in my favor, because the game isn't as deep, and that's when he's really good. His specialty are overbets.
"It was also good for me that we played these three games pretty fast. He's an excellent player who doesn't need much time to figure out what's going on with his opponent. So no matter how good my strategy was, he could have adapted quickly, so I'm not sure I could have won if we had had to play for a dozen hours.
"Winning, especially 3-0, feels all the nicer because I remember losing against him at the 2011 PCA, in heads-up. It was also an important match for the PokerStars team, because it was supposed to be our toughest match, he was clearly the favorite.”
"Well, I did predict that we'd win all 3 matches and it went just as I'd predicted. Gosh, my heart dropped when I misclicked – twice ! I did it twice, I wasn't used to the software, on PokerStars it has this little beep-beep when you have to pay attention.
"And there I was, showboating, laughing, and I ended up almost screwing the team, so I felt bad about that, but luckily I won anyway.
"I didn't think we'd win 8-1, but I really felt like we were more prepared, we had a really good team, and Isaac actually helped all of us – he had a lot of information on everybody, so he coached us and everything. It was a combination of effort and teamwork.
"I won that first match, which was great. But then when I misclicked, the momentum really switched. I was about to win that match, and then I was down in both matches, and he had me crushed in both.
"I got a little bit lucky, made some hands, and above all I focused, told myself 'forget about that hand, it's over. Just focus.'
(Will there now be a rematch?)
Ah well, it's up to them ! If they'd like to donate some more to our fund, we'd be more than happy to play them again (laughs).
“I am in pretty good shape in the first match and I’m way ahead in the second and third match.
At one point I have a 8 to 1 chiplead when Daniel is all-in, but as time goes by he gets the advantage back and ends up winning with KK against JJ. Of course I am very disappointed.”