Toronto-born but Vegas resident poker ace Daniel Negreanu (34) almost stole the limelight from Daniel Alaei in Event 18 – the $10 000 buy-in World Championship Omaha Hi/Lo at the World Series this week. Alaei won the respect and the cash as a winner, but there was a groundswell of sympathy for Negreanu who just missed his fifth WSOP bracelet for the second time this year.
It's not for want of trying; Negreanu has put in long hours at four of the tournaments at this year's 40th World Series of Poker, achieving two final tables and two other cashes worth a total of $310 022….but no wins and no bracelet to add to his collection of four. Despite a career record that shows 25 firsts in major tournaments, 118 cashes and over $11 million in winnings, that fifth bracelet continues to elude Kid Poker.
On this occasion Negreanu finished fourth after three days of split-pot poker against many of the world's top players including Alex Kravchenko, Doyle Brunson, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Barry Greenstein, Annie Duke and Chau Giang. 179 players turned out for the big buy-in championship event.
The final table saw Scott Clements holding the chip lead on 1 445 000, with John Monnette as his closest rival on 940 000, Ben Boyd on 855 000, Daniel Negreanu (635 000), Daniel Alaei (540 000), Greg Jamieson (350 000), Annie Duke (225 000), Tom Koral (220 000) and Yueqi Zhu (170 000).
Once Negreanu busted out in fourth place, it did not take long for third placed Ben Boyd to follow him to the exit and collect his winnings of $182 730, clearing the way for a David Alaei vs. Scott Clements heads up that turned out to be fast and ruthless, with Alaei leading and continuing to dominate play to knock out his opponent and collect $445 898 and his second WSOP bracelet.
For second place, Clements enoyed a $275 946 reward and what he later described as the ‘bitter-sweet' experience of just missing a bracelet.
Just two days after finishing as runner-up in the Six Handed Limit Hold ‘Em event, Negreanu's fourth placing must have been disappointing, although he still has other WSOP opportunities ahead this year and is playing well.
"It's a dream World Series really," said Negreanu. "I didn't win any bracelets yet, but I've put in more hours, I can guarantee you that, than anyone else in tournaments this World Series, being here until three in the morning every single night, for nine consecutive nights."