Iconic poker pro Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu proved that he can still read people like a book yesterday.
Negreanu made an epic laydown against Belarusian poker prodigy Mikita Badziakouski during the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl V that some people are calling his best read ever.
Badziakouski is no slouch himself and is in the midst of a year that has seen him win over $14.5 million playing tournament poker. He’s not the kind of player that you intentionally get involved with at the poker table.
That doesn’t mean Negreanu is afraid, however, and the PokerStars pro clearly wanted to play his J-T suited. Badziakouski looked up with pocket nines and that kicked off a roller-coaster of a hand that would eventually see Negreanu lose 47,000 chips but avoid a situation where he could have lost a pot worth over 200,000.
Is it really his best read ever? That’s up for debate but it’s certainly up there.
The prestigious $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl kicked off yesterday with a field of 36 players.
This marks the first time that the SHRB has taken place in December instead of its usual placement in the spring just before the start of the World Series of Poker. It’s a permanent change for the massive tournament in an effort to distance itself from the WSOP and a number of other big tournaments over the summer.
This year’s field includes a large number of the best poker players in the world but also a handful of businessmen/recreational players. The overall prize pool in this year’s event is a staggering $10.8 million, with $3.6 million of that prize set to be awarded to the eventual Sportsbook.
Players in the SHRB start with 100,000 chips and Daniel Negreanu had chipped up to 352,000 when the following hand occurred while Mikita Badziakouski was hanging around 113,000. The other players at the table included Dominik Nitsche, Dan Smith, Jake Schindler, Ali Esirovic and Brian Rast.
Negreanu was UTG and Badziakouski was on his immediate left. The blinds were 1,000/2,000 with a 2,000 big blind ante.
Daniel Negreanu looks down to find J-T of hearts from UTG and decides to get frisky and open to 5,000.
Badziakouski thinks for a minute but then decides to flat-call with pocket nines. Negreanu immediately cheers that someone else is in the hand against him.
The rest of the table folds and that brings out a dynamite 8d-7h-6s, which gives both players a little piece of the action. Negreanu has a gut-shot straight draw while Badziakouski has the superior open-ended straight draw with his nine.
“OK, we’ve got something to work with here,” says a shockingly honest Negreanu. “You and me. Let’s go. We’ve got straight draws, flush draws … So what we’ve got to do here is bet.”
Negreanu fires a single blue chip worth 5,000 into the middle. Badziakouski thinks intensely and eventually raises another 11,000.
Negreanu calls and that brings the 9s, which completes his straight. He continues down the honesty path and exclaims, “Yes! That’s my card,” but then checks. Badziakouski doesn’t fall for it, however, and just checks behind.
The river is a blockbuster 8h, which flips the script and gives Badziakouski a full house. Negreanu immediately checks but Badziakouski fires a huge 60,000 bet into the middle. There is now 107,000 in the pot.
“That’s really bad news for me,” says Negreanu.
Negreanu takes his time in the hand and ends up using two of his time extension chips (the SHRB uses a shot clock). Over the course of the time extension chips, Negreanu talks through the hand out loud and seems to reach the conclusion that Badziakouski has a full house.
Negreanu folds and an emotionless Badziakouski rakes in the pot.
What a fold.
Negreanu shows some incredible discipline to check-fold that river.
After the hand Negreanu tells the table that he had J-T for the straight and no one believes him.
Negreanu is one of the older players in the Super High Roller Bowl but it’s clear that he still has the chops to tangle with the best in the world and make breathtaking reads on opponents.
It’s unclear whether Negreanu’s banter during the hand had much of an impact on Badziakouski but it seemed to help the Canadian eventually make the correct decision.
Negreanu later stated that he went with his gut in the hand and just felt like Badziakouski looked honest.
Kid Poker built a career on his knack for reading opponents but it’s been some time since we’ve seen one of this magnitude. Hopefully there are more in the future.
Super High Roller Bowl Sportsbook Crowned this Week
Daniel Negreanu took the momentum from that incredible fold and parlayed it into a 623,000-chip stack to end Day 1 of the SHRB. That was good enough put him in third place according to chips but the overnight lead went to former Hollywood producer Rick Solomon, who finished with 806,000.
Solomon has been incredibly successful in high-stakes tournaments over the years and now has over $10 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, which would make some full-time professional poker players blush.
Ali Ismisirovic (661,000), Stephen Chidwick (553,000) and Nick Petrangelo were also among the chip leaders after Day 1 concluded.
A total of 27 players remain in the hunt for the $3.6-million first-place prize with two more days of action to come.
You can watch the SHRB in its entirety by subscribing to poker-streaming service PokerGO.