Cary Katz won the $100,000 PokerGO Cup finale on Wednesday, but Daniel Negreanu became the overall high roller series champion an hour after suffering a brutal bad beat with pocket aces.
Heading into Day 2 in Event #8, Ali Imsirovic stood atop the overall series standings. He wasn’t among the five players who advanced to Wednesday’s final table, and could only sit and watch as Negreanu and Sam Soverel both had a chance to overtake his lead.
Imsirovic comes up short
Despite winning two events during the series, Imsirovic could only win the PokerGO Cup championship if Soverel failed to win the $100k and Negreanu finished worse than 4th place. His shot came to an end when Dan Smith busted in 5th place, right on the money bubble.
Once that happened, each remaining player was guaranteed at least $230,000, with $1,058,000 headed to the winner. Negreanu and Soverel were both playing for more, however. All “Kid Poker” had to do was finish in 3rd place or better to wrap up the PokerGO Cup championship. Soverel, on the other hand, needed “DNegs” to bust in 4th place and win the tournament.
Bad beat dooms ‘DNegs’
Following Smith’s bustout, Soverel held a massive chip lead (more than 2-1 over any other player). Negreanu had the second shortest stack, but was in a strong position to ship the series crown because Sean Winter had just half the size of his stack.
Unfortunately for the GGPoker ambassador, the cards were unkind. Negreanu got it all-in pre-flop with pocket aces, with the pot at 870,000 (21 big blinds) against Soverel’s pocket 8’s. The board ran out 6-J-6-8-K, giving Soverel the pot with a full house, despite getting his money in as a 90/10 underdog.
Winter benefited from the bad beat as 3rd place paid $368,000 compared to $230,000 for 4th place, which Negreanu received. A few hands later, Soverel busted Winter and had a 2.5-1 chip advantage over Cary Katz when heads-up play began.
Breaks finally go Negreanu’s way
Negreanu, an outspoken liberal poker pro, was forced to cheer on Katz, who owns a number of conservative talk radio stations. He needed Katz to win the heads-up match because if that were to happen, “DNegs” would claim the series title and the bonus $50,000 payout.
The only problem was, Soverel held better than a 2-1 chip advantage at the start of heads-up play. But the match was one-sided in favor of Katz, who pulled off a number of big bluffs and completely dominated the contest. He would go on to rally for the victory, earning $1,058,000. The runner-up took home $644,000 as a consolation prize.
Following the conclusion of the final table, Negreanu cheered and thanked Katz for helping him out. One day after winning his first live poker tournament since 2013, a fact that is hard to believe, Negreanu took down the first ever PokerGO Cup series title. GGPoker captured his excitement in a video as he watched the ending from the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.
Negreanu, who busted on a bad beat earlier in the day, was more excited than the $1 million-winning champion. What a wild conclusion to the 2021 PokerGO Cup.
Featured image source: PokerGO app