WSOP 2011: 'I'm not here to min cash'

wsop2011-thumb-blog.pngDaniel Negreanu's day had not gone well. Down to 64,000 from his 207,500 starting stack, he was dangerously short with the bubble looming large over the tournament floor. We were two spots off the money and playing hand-for-hand. While most players sat in their seats, silently praying they would not fall in the coming moments, Negreanu was still joking with the rail behind him, signing caps and shirts and chatting to a rather attractive blonde lady.

Time for another hand, and the Team PokerStars Pro hopped back to his seat to play his big blind, a forced bet that left him with 59,000 behind. Ahead of him, Andrea Vazzeni raised to 16,000 and got a call from the button. Negreanu stared at his cards and, despite being so short, elected to just call as well. "I want to see the flop," he said. There were murmers of excitement from the rail.

The dealer put out A♣7♦6♠ and Negreanu checked. The Italian Vazzeni made it 21,000, forcing the other player to fold. But Negreanu cleared his throat loudly, twice, and declared: "I have an announcement to make; a very simple one. I am all in." With that, he pushed his remaining 43,000 into the middle. "Daniel's all-in," said the rail as one, leaning closer to get a better look. Negreanu turned over A♠Q♥, nicely ahead of Vazzeni's A♥[10h].


Daniel Negreanu on Day 3

"This is the first time I have been all-in in the whole tournament," the Canadian said. "It's kind of scary. Let's not see a ten, please." But the turn was a harmless 6♣ and the river bricked J♣. Negreanu held his hands aloft. "I got it," he said triumphantly. The rail erupted in joy as one of the most popular pros on the circuit survived, shot up to around 160,000, and more or less secured his place in the money.

"Nice hand, brother. Nice double up," said a voice from the crowd who was certainly not Negreanu's brother.

"A nice hand, yes, but I'm not here to min cash, bro," Negreanu replied. "I'm here to win."

While the min cash of $19,359, which everyone would be guaranteed when the bubble burst just a few hands later, would be handy for the vast majority of players left, it was not of such great significance to Negreanu, a man who has won more than $14.6 million.

But how far could that double-up take him? The answer was not very far, as before long he was down to 35,000. He had opened the action to 13,500 from the cut-off and the player on the button moved all in. The big blind tanked before folding and Negreanu made the call.

Negreanu: A♠K♣
Opponent: K♦J♣

The player in the big blind then revealed he had folded an ace-jack, which left Negreanu's opponent looking for one of the only two remaining jacks. "It's always so scary," Negreanu said. "I can't do anything anymore." But a jack fell on the flop, sending him tumbling down to 35,000. He lost another chunk, was down to 15,500, and then got it all in five ways with A♠3♣ which went on to make the nut flush. Now he sits with 89,000 heading to dinner.

"Yes that's short playing 3k-6k," he said, "but I'm just happy to still be playing. Back in 2 hours. 15 bbs feels good."

We have 562 players left in the main event, the inevitable carnage after the bubble burst accounting for a whopping 130 victims. Team PokerStars Pro has two players near the top of the counts. Sebastian Ruthenberg is up to 1,140,000, while Vanessa Rousso has had a tremendous day so far, shooting up to 1 million from her starting stack of 298,000.

We'll be back after dinner.