Having spent the early morning hours anxiously clicking the refresh button – hoping to catch the latest updates from Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – poker fans woke up today knowing Daniel Negreanu is one opponent away from securing his seventh WSOP gold bracelet.
For the second time in a week, Negreanu ducked and weaved his way through a stacked final table – one which included fellow bracelet winners John Monnette (ninth place, $29,582), Mike Matusow (eighth, $37,361), Anthony Zinno (seventh, $48,287), Ray Dehkharghani (sixth, $63,831) and Fabrice Soulier (fourth, $119,109).
But as was the case in Event #2: $10,000 NLHE Tag-Team, where he finished in third place to start his summer, “Kid Poker” found his momentum waning when three-handed play began.
Squaring off against bracelet winner Abe Mosseri and skilled recreational player Yarron Bendor, Negreanu began the three-handed stage with 3.7 million chips per the PokerNews live updates – well ahead of both Mosseri (2.4 million) and Bendor (1.6 million). A quick win against Bendor seemed to put Negreanu in position to finish things off, but poker can be a fickle mistress indeed.
Instead of closing in on his seventh gold bracelet – a plateau only eight players have ever reached – Negreanu dropped a pot to Mosseri and the proceedings ground to a halt. Over the next five hours, all three players experienced peaks and valleys, each alternating between the chip lead and the edge of elimination.
The blinds swelled as a result, leaving stack sizes at an average of five big bets per player – a fact notorious stickler Allen “Complainsaw” Kessler opined on via Twitter.
Eventually, Negreanu clawed his way back from the brink, eliminating Bendor in third place ($166,895) to take the lead once again. Omaha is a game of swings, however, so when the night came to a close and forced an extra Day 4, Negreanu held 2.6 million to Mosseri’s 5.1 million.
The two will return at 2 p.m. Las Vegas local time to settle the score, with a $391,313 first-prize payout on the line.
Two other tournaments have set their final table lineup. Erkut Yilmaz leads the nine survivors from Event #5: $565 NLHE Colossus III, which drew an astounding 18,053 entries. And the tandem of D.J. MacKinnon and Esther Taylor top the counts in Event #10: $1,000 NLHE Tag-Team.