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  • Daily 3-Bet: Rafa Binks, Hellmuth Framed, Negreanu Quits Poker?

Daily 3-Bet: Rafa Binks, Hellmuth Framed, Negreanu Quits Poker?

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an insanity-pepper-fueled, spirit-coyote-guided viaje misterioso through the afternoon poker news chili cook-off.

Any suggestions for a future 3-Bet, feel free to drop a note in the comment.

Today in the 3-Bet we find tennis legend and PokerStars signee Rafael Nadal binking his first-ever tourney win, Phil Hellmuth getting framed (in a good way) by the WSOP and Daniel Negreanu pulling out of the NBC Heads-Up Championship and hinting at big life changes.

1) Nadal Wins First Poker Tournament, Scores €152.40

Rafael Nadal joins PokerStars

Rafa wins!

For a guy widely considered the second greatest tennis player of all-time, playing a €10 poker tournament is one of the last things you'd ever expect him doing.

Him dedicating two hours to winning said €10 poker tournament seems like an even less likely scenario.

That’s exactly what Rafael Nadal did yesterday, though, as he beat 47 players on PokerStars.es - knocking out the last five on his own - to win a €10 freezeout for a bankroll-boosting €152.40.

When PokerStars announced the signing of Nadal it seemed like a boon for the industry but still a longshot Nadal would ever put that much time in at the tables. Most figured he'd pop in for a live tourney here and there, do some ads and appearances and that'd be that.

The fact he has the dedication to both play a €10 tournament and win it speaks to just how competitive he is and how great an asset he can be for the game of poker worldwide.

We'll see if he still puts the time in once he returns from injury to tennis but the thought of Nadal making a deep run in a major tournament is almost too exciting to contemplate. Bravo Rafa.

2) WSOP Frames Hellmuth’s Winning Hand from 2012 WSOPE


Hellmuth's WSOPE winning hand.

Speaking of guys with armloads of titles ...

The one-and-only Phil Hellmuth got a nice surprise form the World Series of Poker this week when they presented him with a framed set of the cards that won him the 2012 WSOPE Main Event (see right).

The win made him the first-ever player to win both the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events and added a record 13th bracelet to his collection.

No matter how many times you do it, winning a poker tournament never gets old and it's great to see even the legends of the game still get excited about it.

PIC: my final hand (the winning hand) of the WSOPE Main Event!Pretty cool that they framed it for me! moby.to/w563xs— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) January 23, 2013

Hellmuth will be looking to add another high-profile crown to his collection as he is one of the chosen 64 for the $25k NBC Heads-Up Championship this weekend.

3) Negreanu Drops Out of NBC Heads-Up, Alludes to Changes

Speaking of the NBC Heads-Up Championship and another poker icon ...

Based on a few cryptic tweets, a terrible music video and an official withdrawal from the NBC HU tourney, big things seem to be developing in Daniel Negreanu land.

It's far from clear what it's all about but here’s what we know right now:

I am withdrawing from the NBC Heads Up event this weekend. I love and support this eventand will explain why in a video later today.— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) January 23, 2013

For the record, David "Doc" Sands will be his replacement in the NBC Heads-Up field.

So what's really going on? The latest announcement follows a series of cryptic tweets that started early Tuesday:

I spent about 5 hours on the phone today having deep meaningful conversations. I learned stuff about myself today that's just "woah" lol— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) January 22, 2013

Made one of the most important discoveries of my life this weekend, and a tough decision last night. I am 100% CERTAIN I chose correctly!— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) January 22, 2013

I'll clue you in tomorrow evening. Sorry for the cryptic tweets lol but it will all make sense soon :-)— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) January 22, 2013

Speculation has clearly been rampant. Is he quitting poker? Proposing to the girl from Millionaire Matchmaker? Embracing meat in his diet? Going with Faraz Jaka on a silent monk retreat?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: OK, video is out and it's not quite as dramatic as he implied although clearly an important and moving step for Daniel. He's skipping the NBC HU to honor a commitment to friends (and ultimately to be the kind of guy who attracts the woman of his dreams). Still, Creed? Clip below:

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