After a shaky start and a “two day adrenaline hangover,” Daniel Negreanu has his mojo back. The Canadian pro took third in the Aria’s $25,000 buy-in High Roller event over the weekend. He cashed for $108,000 after an unfortunate three-way all-in took him and Johan Gilbert out of play in one go at the final table.
In the past few months, Negreanu has taken beating after beating. First the Doug Polk challenge, then both rounds of High Stakes Duel against Phil Hellmuth. His first two showings at the Aria High Roller series — his first live poker outside a TV studio since COVID began — ended with him whiffing.
So the cash, which puts him in profit for the series, must have been a pleasant confidence boost.
The event’s large buy-in made for a small field. Just 27 players showed up, making for a $675,000 prize pool. The tourney paid out four spots with $310,500 up top.
The competition was all the stiffer for the small field. Negreanu tweeted that his starting table was made up of Ali Imsirovic, Stephen Chidwick, Sergio Aido, and Alex Foxen. They’re all brutally sharp high stakes sharks.
The Aria’s high-roller events are part of PokerGO’s new tour. In addition to the PokerGO live coverage, Negreanu tweeted his experience as it played out. We got a ringside view of everything from bad beats to the vegan milk situation in the Aria poker room.
“I’m not being a diva I promise,” Negreanu wrote, while being a diva. “But I am SHOCKED @ARIAPoker doesn’t offer soy, almond, or any milk other than cow milk for coffee. […] In 2021 I figured it would be an option pretty much anywhere?”
He was more complimentary about his opponent’s play than the beverage options.
Play went well for Negreanu early on. Starting with a stack of 125,000 chips, Negreanu soon ran that up to almost 400k.
He rivered a straight to take down a big pot, and quickly followed that up with another big score when his trips turned into a full house. The result was that he had tripled up nice and early, going into the middle game strong.
He was able to convert his large stack easily into a final table appearance.
At the final table, things turned against Negreanu. With 8-players left Negreanu took a series of bad beats.
“Played 3 hands with 8 left and I’m short now,” Negreanu tweeted. “QQ folded to turn jam on 864K. AA on AJ4 flop vs JT and QJ lost. KK on A44Q2 did not win.”
“Ain’t poker fun?” he concluded, lamenting the turn in his fortunes.
Still, he was able to hold on until the bubble broke with four players left.
This is the end
The final hand came for Negreanu when he picked up Ks-Td in the small blind. The stakes were at 20k/40k with a 40k big blind ante. Jake Schindler min-raised to 80k. Negreanu flat called, and Johan Guilbert moved in from the big blind for 260k.
Schindler and Negreanu called, making a side pot of 820k.
The flop came Kd-Qd-4h. Schindler fired 135k into the empty side pot. Negreanu came over the top for the rest of his stack, a move he later described on Twitter as having “truly punted the last hand.” His all-in was for a total bet of 720k. Schindler snapped him off.
Schindler showed the two black aces. Guilbert had an ace-high diamond draw. Negreanu was drawing to a king, a ten, or a runner-runner straight. He also had to fade a diamond to avoid losing the side pot to Guilbert.
The turn was a rag and the river came black four. Schindler knocked Negreanu and Guilbert out in one go. Negreanu took third, as his stack was larger than Guilbert’s at the beginning of the hand. Guilbert took $67,500 for fourth.
With his substantial lead in the heads up game with Eric Worre (2nd — $189,000), Schindler went on to take first place for $310,500.
Despite the vicissitudes of variance, Negreanu was still largely pleased with the way the game went. He turned a profit for the series and got to play high-level poker in good company.
“Random thought: The regulars in these $25k @ARIAPoker events are incredibly likable,” he wrote. “Some old-school throwback energy with some of these young guns. I dig it.”
And so say all of us.
ARIA High Roller Event #18:$25,000 No-Limit Hold’em full final table results
Featured image source: Flickr by WPT