WSOP 2013: The close-but-no-cigar club

He almost had number six.

As most of the Vegas poker world was getting a good night's rest Friday evening in advance of the Main Event's Day 1A, Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu was on the cusp of another gold bracelet. Heads-up against Eli Elezra in the $2,500 2-7 event last night, Negreanu could almost feel the gold on his wrist. Ultimately, Elezra went on a mad rush, and Negreanu had to settle for a runner-up $107,055. It moved him into first place in the Cardplayer Player of the year race, but it didn't give him anything else for his trophy case.

WSOP Event 59 Day 3_EDM1535 (18).JPG

Negreanu's late-Series performance is one of several highlights coming out of the Team PokerStars Pro stable this summer. He's among several Team Pros who have had banner Series, even if all of them came up a bit short of a bracelet.

And that's the tough part, really. Team Pro has put up some seriously good performances, but none of the Team has grabbed a bracelet so far this summer.

In almost any aspiring poker champion's world, Negreanu's second place finish would be both a reason to celebrate and/or a reason to cry. Negreanu? He simply ran immediately to the $10,000 PLO event and made Day 2. So, today was just another day in the meat grinder for poker's most famous vegan.


Well, the bracelet, of course. The cigar. The fat lady singing your song.

It's hard to ignore Negreanu when the World Series of Poker is happening. So far, Negreanu has cashed six times in this summer's Series. The memory of his WSOP APAC bracelet is still fresh. His EPT Grand Final fourth place finish is even fresher. This is a guy bent on making this a year to remember. A week or so back, he released his stats for the year showing he's profited around $1 million, and July has only just begun.

But the Series is almost over. He just busted in the PLO, so he has to win the Main, which, of course, is a proposition that requires more than a little hope.

Regardless, Negreanu is in good company, including Team Pro who's had a really successful 2013 WSOP but also came up short of a bracelet. Jonathan Duhamel is second in chips in the PLO event and looking to notch a fifth cash for this year's festival. It's only been a few days since the 2010 WSOP champ placed 8th in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $207,630.


Jonathan Duhamel

While we're mentioning notable summers, we have to give a nod to Germany's George Danzer, a Team Pro who has shocked us as much with his good play as his (insert you're your own adjective here) haircut.

After warming up with a High Leaderboard win in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, Danzer came to Vegas with a head of steam (and again, head of hair that we're still struggling to describe). He made two final tables, including a fifth place finish for $388,523 in the $50,000 event. Like Duhamel and Negreanu, Danzer won't be playing the Main Event until another day, as he has business in the PLO Day 2.


Mad Max: Beyond Danzer Dome

Finally, we must tip our hats to Barry Greenstein and his five cashes in this year's WSOP. The Bear nearly won another bracelet himself last month, but ended up having to settle for a third place finish in the Omaha-8 event, another Team Pro in a brotherhood of great performances that didn't end in a bracelet.


Barry Greenstein

So, what of it? Only a few dozen people are going to win a bracelet this year, and as long as the Team Pros ledgers come out in the black, that's all that matters, right?

Well, we're not going to even try to answer that question. It looks somebody is already making his weekend plans.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Photos courtesy Poker Photo Archive.