Daniel Negreanu put on a signature performance on the way to his fifth bracelet and (AUD) $1 million in the WSOP APAC Main Event on Monday night.
The famous Canadian poker pro entertained the audience, hammed it up for the TV cameras and absolutely demolished the competition.
Despite his status as arguably the most well known poker player, Negreanu had not won a bracelet since 2008.
“When you go through a drought like I did for four years and have all the haters talk about how you’re done… It’s just really nice to see the hard work pay off,” said an ecstatic Negreanu after winning.
While Negreanu essentially cruised through the final table, he had a bit of a scare heads-up when he got unlucky in one of the first hands and doubled Daniel Marton up.
“I’ve had a lot of deep runs over the last few years but I’ve also had a lot of seconds and thirds,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of heartbreak when I get close. I had some flashback moments and my emotions were running high.”
Negreanu regained his composure and Marton, despite putting up a valiant effort heads-up considering he was at an 11-1 chip disadvantage to start, finally fell to Negreanu in a coin flip hand with ace-seven against the Canadian’s pocket deuces.
For a full rundown of every final-table hand, check our live updates right here.
Negreanu the Early Front Runner for WSOP Player of the Year
To say Negreanu had a successful WSOP APAC would be an understatement as the Canadian pro also made the final table of the $2,200 Mixed Event that Phil Ivey went on to win.
Negreanu finished WSOP APAC with two final tables and over $1 million in cashes -- easily enough to give him the early lead in the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year race which includes WSOP Vegas and WSOP Europe.
While the WSOP APAC Main Event was one of the biggest victories of Negreanu’s career, he was light-hearted for the majority of the final table.
“That’s one of the things I realized about poker is that I’ve always been the most successful when I was enjoying myself,” he said.
“That’s what I did in this tournament. I didn’t worry about the fundamentals too much. I played my way and in the end it paid off.”
One of the most well-respected players in poker, Negreanu was mired in a minor controversy earlier this year about his involvement with Choice Center Leadership in Las Vegas.
Several players alleged the Choice Center had some "cult-like" characteristics but Negreanu disagreed.
“People can hate all they want,” he said. “I’m not in a cult. I would never do that. I went through a course and I’m glad I did.”
George Tsatsis Busts in Tournament-Changing Hand
The highlight reel hand of the final table occurred four handed when Negreanu, who was the chip leader at the time, saw a flop of Q-J-J against George Tsatsis, who was second in chips.
Negreanu checked but Tsatsis bet 275,000. Negreanu called and that brought a 4♦ turn. Negreanu checked but Tsatsis fired 500,000 into the pot. Negreanu shoved and Tsatsis snap called, flipping over jack-nine.
Kid Poker needed some serious help from the river but that was exactly what happened as the Q♦ hit, giving Negreanu the massive pot.
The final table actually began very slowly with no eliminations over the first few hours of play.
German Benny Spindler, renowned for his aggressive play, looked to be a serious threat at the final table but ended up busting in sixth place.
Short-stacked Winfred Yu proved surprisingly resilient with numerous double ups throughout the final table.
The most memorable one saw Yu all-in with ace-eight against Negreanu’s pocket fours. Negreanu flopped a set but Yu went runner-runner to make a wheel on the river.
In another unlikely double up Yu cracked Tsatsis’ pocket kings with a paltry jack-ten by rivering a broadway straight.
Despite his good fortune, Yu was never truly in contention to win and finally bowed out in third, getting unlucky to lose with ace-king when Negreanu flopped a flush with jack-nine.
Here’s a look at the complete final-table payouts (all amounts in AUD):
- 1. Daniel Negreanu - $1,038,825
- 2. Daniel Marton - $637,911
- 3. Winfred Yu - $423,225
- 4. George Tsatsis - $284,715
- 5. Kahle Burns - $201,994
- 6. Benny Spindler - $146,205
- 7. Mikel Habb - $107,730
- 8. Russell Thomas - $82,721
Exclusive Winner Video Interview
PokerListings.com is the only outlet that got a winner interview on video so check it out below to get the straight dope directly from Kid Poker himself.