The last time Daniel Negreanu (pictured above) was heads-up for a bracelet, it was an epic battle with Barry Shulman for the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe Main Event title with Shulman ultimately denying Negreanu the victory.
Last night at Crown Melbourne, it was a different story as the Canadian turned on a dominant display in the first WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event to win his fifth bracelet and first prize of AUD $1,038,825.
Negreanu defeated Sydney’s Daniel Marton heads-up for the title, leaving the host nation with a single gold bracelet from the five events played at Crown over the past 12 days.
“I’ve had a lot of deep runs in the past couple of years and put up a lot of seconds and thirds, and I’ve had a lot of heartbreak when I got close,” Negreanu said.
Negreanu admitted that, even before the final table, he felt it was his tournament to lose.
“Even from two tables, I went from 1.3 million to 2.6 million without winning a big pot, really small ball poker to the extreme. I won all the pots I was supposed to win, I minimised in the spots where I was beat, and overall I played on feel, which is something that has always made me successful.”
This was Negreanu’s first victory since 2008. He now joins the ranks of other five-time winners like Jeff Lisandro, Stu Ungar, John Juanda, Ted Forrest and Scotty Nguyen. This was Negreanu’s biggest WSOP payday and propelled his career earnings to more than $17 million.
When the final table began, Negreanu and German pro Benny Spindler were the big stacks but the early stages of the final table were not kind to Spindler. He watched his stack dwindle while the short stacks at the table continued to hang on.
The bustouts began with the exit of Octo-niner Russell Thomas in eighth place. Local player Mikel Habb was the next to go in seventh.
While these two short stacks failed to double, that was not the case for Hong Kong-based high stakes cash game player Winfred Yu, who managed to double up eight times over the course of final table action.
While he doubled, Spindler struggled, eventually exiting in sixth place. Two more local players were the next to go, as the popular pick Kahle Burns busted in fifth and satellite qualifier George Tsatsis took fourth place.
That left Yu, Marton, and Negreanu battling for the bracelet and seven-figure payday, but it would be an uphill battle for Negreanu’s opponents, with the Canadian holding 10 million in chips while the other two struggled to grow their stacks over 2 million.
Yu’s luck ran out at his ninth attempt to double-up that set-up a heads-up match between Negreanu and Marton with the former holding a 10-1 chip advantage.
On the 220th hand of the final table and 25th hand of heads-up play, Marton raised to 125,000, Negreanu moved all-in and Marton called, showing As-7s. Negreanu showed pocket deuces, which duly prevailed on a board that was dealt 6d-Js-Kh-10h-4d.
WSOP APAC event 5: $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event end of day three chip count (405 players; 40 players paid; eight players remain; $3,847,500 prizepool)
1 Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $1,038,825
2 Daniel Marton (Australia) $637,911
3 Winfred Yu (China) $423,225
4 George Tsatsis (Australia) $284,715
5 Kahle Burns (Australia) $201,994
6 Benny Spindler (Germany) $146,205
7 Mikel Habb (Australia) $107,730
8 Russell Thomas (USA) $82,721
9 Antonio Esfandiari (USA) $65,408
10 Jordan Westmorland (Thailand) $65,408
11 Tino Lechich (Australia) $51,941
12 Joel Feldman (Australia) $51,941
13 Michael Pedley (Australia) $39,245
14 Raj Ramakrishnan (Australia) $39,245
15 Guden Yasar (Germany) $31,549
16 Eddie Tran $31,549
17 Raymond Rahme $25,778
18 Chane Kampanatsanyakorn $25,778
19 Mark Betts $25,778
20 Matt Rolfe $25,778
21 Michael Weiss $25,778
22 Tom Watkins $25,778
23 Khylon Hanegraf $25,778
24 Todd Terry $25,778
25 Michael Turnley $22,316
26 Balleur Gaetan $22,316
27 Oliver Gill $22,316
28 Tan Seet Pin Calvin $22,316
29 Martin Dimitrov $22,316
30 Kevin Song $22,316
31 Minh Nguyen $22,316
32 Joseph Cheong $22,316
33 Mitch Carle $20,392
34 Omeed Nikdin $20,392
35 Jeff Lisandro $20,392
36 Derek Cheung $20,392
37 Sherrie Krampel $20,392
38 Daniel Koninger $20,392
39 Erik Seidel $20,392
40 Binh Nguyen $20,392
• Additional reporting, wsop.com; pic courtesy of Crown Poker