Another two rounds went into the books on Friday for the inaugural PokerGO Tour Heads-Up Showdown. From the Sweet Sixteen to the Final Four, there was some surprises along the way. A trio of players are known commodities in the poker community, but the fourth is a newcomer to the “High Roller” world who is quickly making his bones.

Sweet Sixteen to Elite Eight

The first four of the matches on Friday saw the “chalk” – the expected victors – come to the fore in the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas. In one match, perennial fan favorite Daniel Negreanu was able to defeat Tamon Nakamura. While that fight went on, Darrem Elias ended the shot by Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel at this heads-up crown. Elsewhere, Eric Persson handled Dan Shak with much less drama than his first-round fight with Phil Hellmuth. Finally, while Isaac Kempton took out Scott Ball to set half of the Elite Eight.

The top side of the brackets featured a prime matchup between Sean Winter and Alex Foxen, with Foxen emerging victorious in the quarterfinals. Justin Young seemed to have found his heads-up skills of year’s past, taking out Shannon Shorr. Bill Klein (over Jake Daniels) and ‘Chino’ Rheem (over Jeremy Ausmus) set the field for the second half of the tournament bracket format.

Final Four an Excellent Mix

The matchups in the Elite Eight went as such for the Friday evening fight:

Alex Foxen v. Justin Young
Daniel Negreanu v. Darren Elias
‘Chino’ Rheem v. Bill Klein
Eric Persson v. Isaac Kempton

Two of the matches were rather uneventful. In both their bouts, Kempton and Elias were able to get out to leads over their opposition and did not have much problem getting to the Final Four. In fact, it was an ill-timed bluff for one of those matches that would bring about the end.

Elias would limp in on his button and Negreanu pushed the betting up to 14K at 2K/4K blinds, which Elias called. A K-4-2 flop greeted the duo and Negreanu checked his option. Elias was OK with the check and did so himself, letting a nine come on the turn. Now Negreanu chose to fire, and Elias decided to simply call his bet. A second nine on the river was the one that lit the fireworks.

Negreanu checked the river nine and, after Elias put out 35K, Negreanu went for his throat with an all-in move. Elias nearly beat Negreanu into the pot with the call, showing his 9-8 for turned and rivered trips; Negreanu could only meekly show a 6-5 for a complete bluff as he went to the sidelines short of the Final Four.

Two slots were left in the Final Four and, after Young and Rheem took care of their opponents, Saturday’s slate for the PokerGO Heads-Up Showdown was set:

Darren Elias v. Justin Young
‘Chino’ Rheem v. Isaac Kempton

Action is set to begin at noon (Pacific Daylight Time) on Saturday. It will be a long day as play will continue until the champion of the PokerGO Heads-Up Showdown is crowned – literally. A Gold Crown is the trophy of the tournament and one of the awards awaiting the winner. The four men are guaranteed at least $100,000, but the top two slots will divvy up $600,000 between each other. The champion will take home $400,000 for his efforts, while second gets $200,000. If you are looking to watch the finish live, the action can be found on the streaming PokerGO outlet beginning at 1PM (PDT) on Saturday.

(Photo provided by PokerGO.com)

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