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Around the WSOP: A surging Daniel Negreanu claims bracelet No. 4

13 June 2008

Can things possibly get any better for Daniel Negreanu?

It's safe to say that Kid Poker is clicking right now – both at the poker table and away from it. Negreanu's whirlwind week saw him join an elite list of players with four World Series of Poker wins, scoop up $155,000 during a "friendly" golf match and take the upper hand in a prop bet with Phil Ivey that could land him another six-figure pay day.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu took home his fourth WSOP bracelet Thursday night. (photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

The highlight of his streak came Thursday night when he prevailed in the $2,000 Limit Hold'em event at the WSOP. With the win, the 33-year-old Negreanu collected $204,863 for first place and picked up his fourth bracelet, his first since 2004. He is now part of list of four-time champions that includes Huck Seed, Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, Scotty Nguyen, Tom McEvoy, Lakewood Louie, Allen Cunningham, David Chiu, Bobby Baldwin and Mickey Appleman.

"I rock at Limit Hold'em tournaments," the "modest" Negreanu wrote on his blog after the win. "I am super duper confident in Limit Hold'em tournaments as the game has been my bread and butter for years. As a teenager and in my early 20s that's exactly how I made a living, grinding it out in Limit Hold'em."

Negreanu, who won the first WSOP tournament he entered at the age of 23, was in fourth place heading into the final table with 308,000 in chips. In his video blog Negreanu credited his run to the final table to landing a 10-7 hands, which, as he says in the video blog, should be "illegal" for him to have because he's so "lucky and good" with it as a starting hand.

Before play began at the final table, Negreanu was supremely confident, saying on his blog that he "forgot how cool of a game [Limit Hold'em] is, especially in tournaments. I'm probably going to win it."

He did and it happened without him barely breaking a sweat.

"The final table went, well, close to perfectly," he blogged after knocking out Ugur Marangoz in heads up play. Marangoz is originally from the Republic of Turkey and with his runner-up finish became the highest Turkish-born finisher in WSOP history.

"I was in the zone and felt like I had a good read on what my opponents were capable of. Reading players actually happens well before you have to make that big decision. Before you are in that spot, you need to have an idea as to what kind of plays your opponents may try."

Not only did the win give Negreanu his 29th cash at a WSOP event, but it also helped him in the "bragging rights" department, something he needed little help with to begin with. In his blog, he said that the win puts him ahead of Ivey in their "200K bracelet bet." Negreanu also said after the win that he was motivated by friend and rival Mike Matusow's victory in the No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball championship the previous night. With that win, Matusow moved up into a tie with Negreanu with three-career WSOP wins.

Negreanu half-jokingly said he could not stand for Matusow to be in the same gold bracelet category and promptly went out and "did something about it."

The win also came on the heels of a hilarious golf match Negreanu played earlier in the week when he and Patrik Antonius hit the links for a high stakes golf match .

Facing a huge deficit at the turn, Negreanu came storming back on the back nine and ended up winning a combined $155,000 from Antonius and Ivey, who made a side bet against Negreanu. See it all with your own eyes, below:

The Ivey Tower is tipping

While Negreanu is in the midst of a major roll, Ivey has been downright stymied.

Ivey reportedly made a $500,000 side bet with a few poker pros before the WSOP began on whether or not he would win a bracelet this year and has been doing everything possible to accomplish that feat. He's been much more active this year than in previous years and, according to Tao Poker, he dropped $60,000 in the $5,000 No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball w/ rebuys, and didn't even make the final table. He also lost his side bet with Negreanu on the golf course.

But Ivey's biggest problem has nothing to do with poker or golf. It involves the NBA Finals. According to Wicked Chops Poker, rumor has it that Ivey has risked $2 million on his beloved Los Angeles Lakers to beat the Boston Celtics, who on Thursday night put together the largest comeback in Finals history to stun the Lakers at the Staples Center and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

Things are just 'ducky' for Vanessa Selbst

Traffic at poker Web site Deuces Cracked can expect a big boost in the next few days after its producer, Vanessa Selbst, won the 2008 $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event on Thursday.

It wasn't difficult to spot Selbst at the final table since she had two squeaky rubber ducks stacked on top of her chips as her lucky charms. Go ahead, poke fun at her, but Selbst and her ducks left the Rio $227,933 richer on Thursday.

The 23-year-old law student and poker professional from Brooklyn, N.Y. became the first woman to win a WSOP open event since Katja Thater last year in the 2007 Razz championship. She earned her first WSOP gold bracelet and joined an elite list of 12 women to win a gold bracelet open WSOP events.

The Yale University graduate plans to return to school to study law and wants to eventually work on behalf of human rights issues. In addition to serving as a producer for Deuces Cracked, she's also a poker teacher/coach and commands fees of up to $350 per hour. That, of course, was before her breakthrough victory.

The 90-minute heads-up match between Selbst and the runner-up, Jamie Pickering was a boisterous event. A crowd of hundreds of spectators ringed the final table area and cheered on both players in a see-saw match.

Incredibly, Pickering often raised the pot blind without looking at his hole cards. He sometimes played hands to the river without peaking to see his hand. Selbst and her good-natured personality was the perfect foil for Pickering's unconventional antics and the two finalists developed a witty dialog of jokes between them which made this finale unquestionably the most entertaining sideshow of the 2008 WSOP.

Pickering, by the way, is a 44-year-old nightclub owner and during play he handed out hundreds of "free drink" tickets to people in the crowd. But wait, there's a catch. Pickering is from Surfer's Paradise, Australia, meaning the people with those free drink tickets will have to travel some 160,000 to cash them in.

Top pros still alive in H.O.R.S.E. tournament

Jennifer Harman is in decent position to become the second woman to win an event in two days. With 16 players remaining in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament, the two-time WSOP bracelet winner trails just two players on the chipleader board with 249,500.

If she does prevail, she's going to have to earn it. Plenty of tough opponents are alive and kicking, including Marcel Luske, the chip leader with 350,000, Hoyt Corkins (220,000), Steve Zolotow (144,500), Todd Brunson (124,000), Eric Froelich (118,000) and David Levi (36,000). Top prize in the event that attracted 414 players will be $298,253.

Harman's last WSOP bracelet came in 2002 and she has 21 cashes to her name.

Around the WSOP: A surging Daniel Negreanu claims bracelet No. 4 is republished from CasinoVendors.com.
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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT