Phil Hellmuth is not the only player who made history in this year’s edition of World Series of Poker Europe. Not anymore at least! Daniel Negreanu joined him today after he sealed the top spot in the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. He became the only player to win this award twice. KidPoker first won the prestigious POY award in 2004 when he made five final tables and won a WSOP gold bracelet.
Negreanu didn’t want to give up in his pursuit of this year’s POY after busting out of the WSOPE Main Event in 25th place and rushed to the High Roller Event to keep his dream of making history alive. In spite of buying in to the tournament during level 5, he managed to build a comfortable stack that put him in position to remain in the POY race. Negreanu sensed that momentum could turn in his favor when Player of the Year leader, Matthew Ashton, was eliminated from the tournament by Phil Ivey. Immediately after Ashton was out of the room, Negreanu pumped his fists into the air.
“I waited until he was out of the room. Who knocked him out? My Boy Phil?” the Canadian pro asked. “I got your back Daniel,” Ivey responded immediately. Negreanu knew that the only thing he needed to do to steal the top spot from Ashton was to hang on and go deep in the tournament. The elimination of Marc McLaughlin, a November Niner and another threat to first place, gave KidPoker the real challenge: secure the 8th spot or better to make history.
And 30 minutes later, the dream came true. “I DID IT!!! WSOP PLAYER OF THE YEAR FOR THE SECOND TIME!! AHHHH I CAN”T BELIEVE IT,” the Canadian tweeted after Joni Jouhkimainen was eliminated in the 9th place.
But KidPoker didn’t just settle for another final table. He also wanted to win his 6th WSOP bracelet. He got lucky in the second hand of the final table when he moved all-in with Ten-Nine. Jason Koon tanked and made the call with King-Queen. The pot was eventually chopped with the river giving both of them a full-house (8-8-6-6-8 board). Negreanu doubled-up two hands later in a classic Ace-Jack vs King-Jack battle. And the boards kept hitting the Canadian, giving him a big double-up after he caught an Ace in an all-in preflop battle Ace-King vs pocket tens.
From then on, Negreanu quickly got the upper hand and slowly moved up to become the chip leader with only four players left in the High Roller Event. After an even four-handed game in which chips went back and forth from one player to another, David Peters decided to make a move and put all his stack at risk with pocket tens. He was called by the Brazilian Nicolau Villa-Lobos, who held Ace-Queen. The flop give Villa-Lobos the lead with pocket queens and Peters couldn’t do anything but leave the table with a decent 4th place finish and €150,050.
The three-handed battle was also even before German pro Philipp Gruissem attacked Negreanu’s button open by raising all-in with Ace-Four suited. The Canadian called with Ace-Jack and won the race to enter heads-up play with a 2-to-1 chip lead over Villa-Lobos.
The final showdown lasted 53 hands. Villa-Lobos started heads-up play in fine fashion, value-betting strong and canceling KidPoker’s chip advantage. Nevertheless, experience prevailed. Negreanu played the small-ball style that made him famous and took from the Brazilian one pot after another. Eventually Villa-Lobos, left with a 20 big-blind stack, had to make a statement and limp/reraised all-in with pocket fives. Negreanu snap-called with jacks and won the last WSOP race of the year and with it, his sixth gold bracelet plus €750,000. Villa-Lobos cashed in €450,000 for finishing second.
Asked what’s more important to him, the gold bracelet or the Player of the Year award, Negreanu responded joyfully, “I’m so far behind Phil Hellmuth in terms of bracelets that I’m going to say this: TWO Player of the Year awards to ZERO.”
This is Negreanu’s second WSOP title this year and his tenth cash in a 2013 WSOP tournament. In 2013, he won over $2 million. Below you can see all of KidPoker’s 2013 WSOP cashes and how he managed to win the WSOP Player of the Year award.
WSOP Asia-Pacific A$2,200 Mixed Event – 4th place ($17,096)
WSOP Asia-Pacific A$10,000 Main Event – 1st place ($1,087,160)
WSOP $2,500 Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo – 12th place ($12,279)
WSOP $2,500 Seven Card Stud – 26th place ($3,889)
WSOP $3,000 No-Limit Hold’Em Mixed Max – 49th place ($6,475)
WSOP $5,000 No-Limit Hold’Em Six Handed – 39th place ($11,495)
WSOP $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Six Handed – 34th place ($10,960)
WSOP $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw – 2nd place ($107,055)
WSOPE €10,450 Main Event – 25th place (€21,750)
WSOPE €25,600 High Roller – 1st place (€750,000)