EPT11 Grand Final: Daniel Negreanu: eats pepper and leaves


Daniel Negreanu: A short, but happy stay

Daniel Negreanu had prior commitments yesterday which precluded his usual arrival a few levels into Day 1. Instead, he accepted the option extended to players at EPT festivals to join the fun the following morning, and was in confident mood as he prepared for the start of his Main Event.

As Negreanu had noticed, the starting stack, which represented 300 big blinds at this time yesterday, still has a 37.5 big blind value right now. In the €100,000 Super High Roller a few days ago, Dzmitry Urbanovich did something similar (that is, he bought in at the start of Day 2) and ended up finishing second overall. It's by no means an unworkable stack.

Negreanu, chipper as ever, bounced into the conference centre about ten minutes before play was due to start, picked up his tournament ticket from an assistant and then safely navigated his way through the crowd looking for their seat assignment on the information board. Negreanu carried a red cool bag/backpack slung over his shoulder, and skipped into the room like a youngster heading to the woods for a family picnic.

Christoph Vogelsang and Max Altergott, also new arrivals to the Main Event this morning, sat beside one another on a table at the front of the room, but Negreanu, now having attracted the usual phalanx of camera operators, danced past towards the tournament officials' desk at the far side of the room.

From there, he was sent up to the back of the room, now more resembling the Pied Piper of Hamelin leading a multimedia throng a merry dance. He was bounced away from another information desk and eventually landed at the table alongside Vogelsang and Altergott, who were collecting their seat assignments from the table allocated for that precise purpose.

Naturally the efficiency of the Germans meant they expended little energy in finding the right destination. Negreanu, meanwhile, had travelled along opposite and adjacent sides of a triangle and then a traversed the hypotenuse too. Negreanu's Theorem is largely brilliant when applied to the problems presented at a poker table, less so when attempting to get there.

Negreanu was given his tournament ticket, sending him to Table 29, Seat 9. "Good luck!" he said to the man in Seat 8 (Atanas Kavrakov). "Good luck!" he said to the man in Seat 7 (Mesbah Guerfi). "What's up, Ike!" he said to Isaac haxton, finding a seat on a neighbouring table.

Negreanu then wandered over to greet Vanessa Selbst, then returned to see Jason Mercier heading in his direction. "What's up buddy," Mercier said. "You here?" Negreanu asked. "No. But I'll hear you from here," Mercier said, taking a seat on Haxton's table.


Negreanu checks in on Jason Mercier

"Big girls don't cry!" Negreanu broke into song. "I don't know why that's in my head," he added. "Kinda random."

Christophe Benzimra, the only EPT champion at Negreanu's table, peered on in silence. Negreanu answered a few text messages as the Haxton/Mercier table grew ever more fierce. Daniel Dvoress, Joao Vieira, Mayu Roca and Jack Salter also sat down, producing one of the most dangerous line-ups since the final here two years ago.

Negreanu delved into his portable fridge and hoiked out what looked like a cricket ball. On second examination, however, it turned out to be a shining red bell pepper. He took a first bite as the first couple of hands of the day played out. Negreanu folded them. Indeed, he folded a full orbit, lasting longer with his Day 2 stack than Antonio Esfandiari managed in the €100K. (Esfandiari busted after five hands.)


Daniel Negreanu: Eats pepper and leaves

However, just when it seemed that Negreanu was settling in for the long haul, his day came to an abrupt end. Negreanu opened from mid-position and picked up three callers: Benzimra in the hijack, Anton Astapau on the button and Roman Korenev in the small blind.

They took a flop of T♦6♦2♥ and only Astapau called Negreanu's 3,700 bet. The turn was the J♠ and Astapau also called Negreanu's 7,200 feeler. It took them to an A♣ river.

Negreanu checked, but Astapau now moved all in. Negreanu had the effective stack, of about 26,000, and was tormented by his decision, cursing the arrival of an ace on the river. Eventually he made a crying call with what turned out to be pocket kings, but it wasn't the ace that had killed him. Astapau flipped J♣J♦ for the turned set.

Negreanu picked up his bag, bade farewell to his opponents and headed out of the door. It was brief, it didn't have the chance to be brilliant, but Negreanu will of course return to fight another day.


The full list of late registrants for this tournament would make a very tough sit n go:

Yury Gulyy, Russia
Chistoph Vogelsang, Germany
Ziv Vachar, Israel
Daniel Negreanu, Canada
Gianluca Trebbi, Italy
Mads Wissing, Denmark
Max Altergott, Germany
Igor Kurganov, Russia
Dzmitry Urbanovich, Poland

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