World Series of Poker Europe: Daniel Negreanu Captures High Roller Championship, WSOP Player of the Year Award



In what has been an outstanding year of play for him, poker professional Daniel Negreanu put a cap on his 2013 World Series of Poker efforts by winning the €25,000 High Roller event at the WSOP Europe and sealing his second WSOP Player of the Year award.

80 entries were officially in the books after the Day One action on Tuesday and, by Thursday at noon (France time, early morning U. S.), only 13 men were left to battle it out for the High Roller title. Philipp Gruissem was at the head of the leaderboard at the start of the day with 1.296 million in chips but, as expected, the remainder of the field was stacked with deep-pocketed pros. Erik Seidel, Phil Laak, Timothy Adams, Jason Koon, Joni Jouhkimainen and Scott Seiver were all at the post as the cards hit the air yesterday.

Seiver took care of the first elimination on the day, taking down Tom Bedell on the very first hand of play but not without some work. Bedell committed his final chips with a Q-10 off suit and Seiver’s A-K was in the lead, but the flop pushed Bedell into the lead in coming down J-J-10. A Queen wasn’t what Bedell wanted to see on the turn; in improving him to Queens up, it gave Seiver a Broadway straight to retake the lead. Looking for another Queen or ten to redraw on Seiver to a full house, Bedell saw instead a King and headed for the exits with nothing to show for his efforts.

Laak, on a short stack to start the day, fought valiantly but eventually would fall to Seidel. He was followed by Byron Kaverman, whose A-6 led pre-flop against Nicolau Villa-Lobos’ K-Q but was devastated by a K-Q-2 flop and another King on the turn. After Adams knocked off Marc McLaughlin on the bubble, the nine players were set for the High Roller final table:

1. Philipp Gruissem, 2.1 million
2. Scott Seiver, 1.1 million
3. David Peters, 650,000
(tie) Jason Koon, 650,000
5. Nicolau Villa-Lobos, 550,000
6. Timothy Adams, 510,000
7. Erik Seidel, 335,000
8. Daniel Negreanu, 145,000
9. Joni Jouhkimainen, 38,000

Jouhkimainen, on life support, was gone within the first two hands of final table play. Pushing in his miniscule stack, he was able to get everyone to fold except for Gruissem, who tabled a leading A-J against Jouhkimainen’s K-5. Knowing that his elimination would lock up the WSOP POY award for Negreanu, the flop came down and Gruissem yelled, “King!” as Negreanu paced away from the table. In reality, it was an A-8-10 flop which virtually locked the hand for Gruissem. After a four on the turn, Jouhkimainen was drawing dead and out in ninth place while Negreanu locked up the WSOP POY championship.

With the POY in his pocket, Negreanu went on the attack as the final table continued. He doubled up through Seidel (who departed in eighth soon afterwards) to bring some life back to his stack, then doubled again through Peters when he won an A-K/pocket tens race on an A-2-9-7-Q. At the bottom when the “official” eight handed final table began, Negreanu was now in third place behind Gruissem and Seiver.

It would take 45 hands after Seidel’s departure before the next player left. Negreanu would limp in and, sensing some weakness, Koon popped his remaining chips in the center. In a surprise move, Peters only called from the small blind and, not wasting any time, Negreanu got out of the way. It was a smart move as Peters’ call with pocket Aces was an attempt to draw Negreanu into the action. Against Koon’s Big Slick, the Queen-high board brought no help for Koon as he departed in seventh place.

Negreanu would continue to be busy at the final table, taking down Seiver in a stunning hand. With Seiver all in pre-flop for 415K, Negreanu called off with K-Q and was dismayed to see Seiver sitting on A-J. The 7-3-7-2 flop and turn kept Seiver in the lead, but the Queen on the river changed the course of the hand in favor of Negreanu, eliminating Seiver in sixth place.

Adams would run into some unfortunate luck in being the next player eliminated. On Hand 96, he moved all in and found Villa-Lobos (in the small blind) willing to look him up. Adams’ K-J was in dire straits against Villa-Lobos’ A-Q, but he seized the lead on the 9-J-5 flop. Adams sweat got a little easier on the nine turn, but he couldn’t dodge the six outs for Villa-Lobos on the river. An Ace hit the felt, turning the tables and giving Villa-Lobos the win while leaving Adams with only 90K in chips. He would lose those two hands later to Negreanu in departing in fifth place.

After a dinner break, the four survivors in the High Roller reunited to determine the champion. Gruissem, Peters and Negreanu were well stacked, but Villa-Lobos had some work to do. He immediately went about that task, ramping up his aggression in winning four of the first eight hands after the break. During his attack, Villa-Lobos was able to climb out of the basement as Peters became the new short stack.

On Hand 128, Peters would meet his tournament demise. After Negreanu opened the betting and Villa-Lobos three bet the action, Peters pushed all in and, after a Negreanu fold, Villa-Lobos made the call. Peters’ pocket tens were up over Villa-Lobos’ A-Q, but a Queen on the flop would change the situation. Looking for one of the two remaining tens in the deck, Peters instead saw running Kings to fall in fourth place.

Down to three players, Negreanu once again ramped up his aggression. He would take five of the seven hands following Peters’ departure to bring the trio of players – Negreanu, Villa-Lobos and Gruissem – all within a few thousand chips of each other. It would be a question of who would eliminate the third place player that would take control of the tournament, and that answer came on the 150th hand of the final table.

Negreanu raised to 100K from the button and Gruissem decided to look him up in making the call for his tournament life. Gruissem’s A-4 in three handed play probably looked good to him, but Negreanu had the goods with his A-J off suit for the lead. A Jack on the flop sealed the deal for Negreanu and, as Gruissem headed out in third place, Negreanu held a 2:1 lead over Villa-Lobos going to heads up.

Over the first 20 hands of heads up, Villa-Lobos was able to grind the chip stacks back to even as Negreanu looked for a way to seize the advantage. It would take another 40 hands for Negreanu to do that as Villa-Lobos refused to go away quietly. On the final hand, Villa-Lobos limped in and Negreanu three bet the action. Villa-Lobos pushed his remaining stack in and Negreanu nearly beat him into the pot with the call, tabling pocket Jacks against Villa-Lobos’ pocket fives. No saving five would come for Villa-Lobos on the Q-9-2-K-3 board, earning Negreanu an array of hardware for his efforts.

1. Daniel Negreanu (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), €725,000
2. Nicolau Villa-Lobos, (Brazil), €450,000
3. Philipp Gruissem (Germany), €250,000
4. David Peters (Toledo, OH), €150,500
5. Timothy Adams (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), €100,600
6. Scott Seiver (Las Vegas, NV), €74,600
7. Jason Koon (Las Vegas, NV), €63,500
8. Erik Seidel (Henderson, NV), €55,400
9. Joni Jouhkimainen (Helsinki, Finland), €50,400

In addition to the €725K ($1,000,791 U. S.), Negreanu’s win earned him his sixth WSOP bracelet. This puts him in some elite company as only 11 men have won at least six bracelets in the illustrious history of the WSOP. In making the final table of the High Roller, Negreanu sealed the WSOP Player of the Year award, becoming the first man to ever have won the award twice (he won the first WSOP POY when it was awarded back in 2004). Finally, after his second bracelet win of the 2013 WSOP (he won the inaugural WSOP Asia/Pacific earlier this year), Negreanu has now banked over $19.5 million in career earnings, behind only Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett on that list.

With the High Roller completed, the WSOP-E Championship Event has taken center stage at this time in its efforts to find its next champion. But the buzz after Negreanu’s come from behind efforts to win the High Roller (and the POY) will have the poker community buzzing for some time.

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