Daniel Negreanu Ends Strong in $111K One Drop High Roller

Daniel Negreanu had a choppy start in the One Drop High Roller but finished strong. (Photo by Jay Newnum)

Daniel Negreanu had a choppy start in the One Drop High Roller but finished strong. (Photo by Jay Newnum)

The 2013 WSOP kicked off the $111,111 One Drop High Roller event on Wednesday. The biggest players from around the world gathered to help charity and play a little cards while they were here. The now legendary Macau businessmen, captains of industry and poker’s biggest stars all gathered to generate a 166 player field that built a prize pool of $17,891,148.

Two of poker’s most polarizing personalities – Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey – both put up the six figure buy-in with their eyes on the $4.8 million first place prize. Professionally, both players have much in common: multiple bracelets, various Player of the Year titles and both among the winningest tournament players on the planet.

However, away from the felt the two couldn’t be more opposite. Ivey is quiet, reserved and shies away from all media requests. Where Negreanu is boisterous, friendly with the public and is open to any and all questions. Below is an account of what it was like to play a six-figure tournament.

12:25 – Daniel Negreanu was at his seat for the start of play and was seated with John Morgan, Shaun Deeb, Bobby Baldwin, Brian Rast, Martin Finger and Noah Schwartz. Negreanu dressed with his usual understated fashion with a grey track jacket, jeans and a black ball cap.

12:45 – The unknown player at the table discussed playing in the Ladies Championship and Negreanu defended the school of thought that men shouldn’t play. “Don’t be that guy,” Negreanu said. “If all people thought like you then it would completely destroy the event. There’s many people that only play that one event.”

“Do you really need that edge in the tournament?” Rast asked the player.

12:50 – Negreanu went to a flop of T 5 3 with Schwartz and Rast. Schwartz checked, Negreanu bet 3,500 and Rast raised to 8,700. Schwartz folded, Negreanu called and the T came on the turn. Both players checked to the 8 river and Negreanu bet 132,000. Rast tank-called, Negreanu tabled A 2 and Rast turned up A 2 for a chopped pot. “Good, I didn’t think I was getting half right there,” Negreanu said. “Remind me not to try and bluff that guy again.”

12:54 – Negreanu stood up to stretch his legs a bit and stopped to sign a few autographs take a few pictures with fans on the rail. WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel and Jessica Welman stopped by Negreanu’s table to chat about the temperature of the room and Negreanu was pleased with the change in temperature.

1:10 – Deeb brought up the subject Pineapple Open Face – a new Open Face Chinese variant where players receive three cards on each draw, play two and discard one.

The subject then turned to each player retelling horror stories of getting hacked online and how much money had been stolen – almsot every player at the table had an experience one way or another.

1:25 – Rast opened in middle position and Negreanu called on the button. The flop fell K 6 3, Rast checked and Negreanu bet 7,000. Rast raised to 21,500, Negreanu called and the turn came A. Rast fired out 26,000, Negreanu tossed in the call and the river came 3. Both players checked, Rast turned up A 5 and Negreanu mucked.

1:42 – The field reached 144 players as new players were slowly filing in the Amazon Room. Negreanu remarked to Finger about how notoriously slow the German players are in a hand, “But I’m not talking about you,” Negreanu said to Finger.

Tobias Reinkemeier was taking his seat at the table next to Negreanu’s and said, “Hey stop it.”

By this time several players were laughing about it and Isaac Haxton walked over and told a story about a hand where Reinkemeier and Fabian Quoss played an eight minute hand with ten big blinds on the table.

“Who ended up winning?” Reinkemeier asked. Haxton said that Quoss did and Reinkemeier said, “I should have thought longer.”

2:20 – The first break in the tournament and Negreanu stopped to take several pictures with fans on the rail, signed a book and rushed off to his private RV parked outside. He had around 220,000 from the 300,000 starting stack.

3:06 – Negreanu was staying loose and chatting with the rail. One female fan noted how much she liked his jacket. He prompted her to feel it and then asked, “Is that boyfriend material?”

3:36 – Negreanu opened for 2,500 in early position and action folded around to Schwartz in the big blind. Schwartz called, the flop fell A 6 2 and Schwartz check-called 3,100 from Negreanu. The turn came K, both players checked and the river came 7. Both players rapped the table a second time and Schwartz showed A Q and Negreanu mucked.

3:48 – Negreanu was talking about Survivor to the player on his left and the whole table started discussing the reality game show. Rast asked Negreanu what he thought his odds were of winning the show if he were chosen to be a contestant.

“Really, really, really good,” Negreanu replied. “The only part I’m worried about are the physical challenges.”

3:52 – Negreanu stopped the southward trend of his chip stack and defended his big blind and called 2,500 from  a Rast open. The flop came Q T 6, Negreanu checked and Rast bet 3,300. Negreanu called, the turn came 2 and he check-called 7,700. Both players checked the 7 river and Negreanu tabled 8 6. Rast mucked and Negreanu’s rail cheered for him.

4:03 – Negreanu stood from his seat and again happily signed autographs and took pictures with fans on the rail. One woman remarked, “You smell so nice, I’ll remember it forever.”

“Oh thanks, I took a shower and everything today,” Negreanu said.

4:18 – Patty, Negreanu’s assistant, delivered a scary looking green juice to him at the table. It was a health shake made from kale, spinach and cucumber.

4:42 – Martin Finger, seated at the opposite side of the table, took the chip lead with around 750,000 at only 3.5 levels into the event. “I bet $500 you don’t win the tournament,” Negreanu needled.

Finger smiled and nodded and Negreanu said, “Oh wait, I don’t want to bet anymore with a snap-call like that.”

4:52 – The tournament reached the second break and Negreanu had a stack of 150,000. On his way out to his RV Negreanu said, “I’m feeling good but it’s way too early to tell at this point.”

5:17 – Negreanu returned to his seat and had a massage therapist waiting at his chair for him. He turned his chair around and silently began to enjoy his massage.

5:25 – Negreanu opened to 3,500 and Martin Finger raised from the small blind to 13,000. “What’s the price?” Negreanu asked. “Ok, you’ll get it,” and he threw in a call.

The board fell J 8 7, Finger bet 15,000 and Negreanu called. Both players checked the turn and river 4 4 and Negreanu tabled 7 5 for just a pair and Finger mucked.

5:40 – Sorel Mizzi joined the table as a late entrant and opened to 3,700. Negreanu raised to 9,000, Baldwin called and Mizzi called. The flop fell A A T, all three players checked and the turn brought the A. All three checked a second time and the river came Q. Baldwin and Mizzi checked, Negreanu bet 15,000 and Baldwin folded. Mizzi thought for a while and ultimately mucked flashing a ten and Negreanu showed that he had pocket queens.

6:15 – Negreanu remained quiet and seated as his extended massage grew longer and longer. Negreanu folded a dozen hands in a row before he joined a four-way pot preflop for 4,500 each. The flop fell Q Q 9 and Negreanu folded to a 20,000 bet from Baldwin.

6:40 – A friend appeared on the rail that Negreanu had not seen for some time. He finally cut his massage short, gave his masseuse a healthy tip and talked golf with his friend. Meanwhile a huge pot brewed between Brian Rast and Noah Schwartz that took quite some time. Rast ended up all in preflop with A K against Schwartz’s K Q and lost when a queen fell on the turn to give Schwartz two pair. Negreanu talked to his friend on the rail for about 20 minutes.

7:10 – Negreanu, a notoriously proud vegan, jumped from his seat and hurried to his RV for a private dinner over the  90 minute break with just over 200,000.

8:45 – The 90 minute dinner break ended and Negreanu returned refreshed after retweeting the BLUFF story.

9:06 – In between hands, Negreanu turns around and winks. Then comments on the coverage of his day so far. “How ya’ doing buddy? Thanks for leaving some stuff out and making me look good.”

9:11 – WSOP Tournament Floorman Bob Smith was walking near the table and Negreanu said, “Six and 12 with a 400 ante everyone,” with a wink to Smith.

9:20 – The player to Negreanu’s left known as “Big Al” by most of the Bobby’s Room regulars was cold and complaining about the temparture of the Amazon Room. “You should have been here the last two weeks,” Negreanu said.

He then produced a digital thermometer that measured the room at 71.6 degrees. “Does no one complain to management?” Al asked.

9:31 – Negreanu didn’t play a single hand for over 20 minutes and spent most the time sitting quietly watching the players at this table or speaking quietly to “Big Al”.

9:53 – Mizzi opened for 5,500 and Negreanu raised to 15,000 on the button. Mizzi played back and made it 35,300 to play and Negreanu called. The flop came 8 7 5, Mizzi led for 38,000 and Negreanu moved all in for just over 200,000. Mizzi snap-called with pocket aces and had Negreanu in a bad spot when he turned up pocket tens.

The T came on the turn – shipping the advantage to Negreanu and Mizzi drawing to an ace. But the board bricked with a 6 and Negreanu earned a full double up and Mizzi was crippled.

10:10 – Negreanu jumped up out of his seat and sprinted out of the Amazon Room towards the bathrooms.

10:11 – In less than a minute Negreanu sprinted back to his seat and a little out of breath, but with a very relieved look on his face.

10:26 – Negreanu nearly mucked his unraised big blind and saw a flop of J T 8. Mizzi bet 6,000 and Negreanu sent his cards to the muck.

10:37 – Negreanu opened for 7,000 on the button and “Big Al” called from the small blind. The flop came T 8 8, both players checked and the turn came Q. Negreanu check-called 5,000, the river came T and both players checked. Negreanu tabled Q J, Al mucked and Negreanu took the pot.

10:48 – The last 20 minute break of the day and Negreanu left the table a few minutes early to retreat to his RV.

11:24 – Negreanu opened for 9,000, Baldwin raised 25,000 more and Negreanu tossed in the call. The flop fell K 9 6 and Negreanu check-called 60,000. The turn came T, both players checked and the river fell 8. Negreanu checked, the Poker Hall of Famer bet 100,000 and Negreanu mucked after a few moments of thought, chipping down to about 350,000.

11:30 – Finger opened for 15,000 and Negreanu called from the button. The flop came T 3 2 and action checked around for the 6 to come on the turn. Baldwin bet 40,000, Negreanu called and the river came 8. Baldwin fired one last time for 75,000 and Negreanu quickly called. Baldwin turned up K T for top pair but Negreanu turned and rivered two pair with 8 6. Negreanu was back up to around 400,000 after some retribution.

11:42 – Negreanu leaned way back in his chair for a big stretch before calling a 10,000 opening raise from the button. The flop came Q Q 9, both players checked, the turn came 5 and Negreanu’s opponent called 16,000. The river came 7, his opponent checked, Negreanu bet 40,000 and his opponent folded. Negreanu chipped up to around 530,000 after pulling the pot.

12:01 – Mizzi’s elimination left an empty chair for Negreanu to put his feet up. Baldwin opened for 16,000 and Negreanu called on the button to play another pot with a Hall of Famer. The flop fell J T 2, both players checked and the turn came T. Baldwin bet 25,000 and Negreanu called quickly. The river came 4, Baldwin bet 30,000 and Negreanu’s chips nearly beat Baldwin’s into the pot. Baldwin tabled K J for top pair but Negreanu had the better side of it again with K T and took another sizable pot off Baldwin and neared 780,000.

12:20 – Galen Hall moved to the seat formerly occupied by Mizzi and Negreanu lost his foot rest.

12:37 – Negreanu opened for 11,500, “Big Al” called, Chris Klodnicki called from the small bind and Schwartz moved all in from the big blind for 186,000. Negreanu thought for a moment, called, “Big Al” took a long time to fold and Klodnicki’s cards followed Al’s into the muck.

Negreanu tabled pocket nines and Schwartz turned up A K. The board ran Q 7 3 Q 7 and Schwartz’s elimination chipped Negreanu up to 915,000.

12:43 – Negreanu’s table broke and he was sent to the feature table for the last 20 minutes of the day. John Juanda, Shaun Deeb, Marvin Rettenmaier, Andrew Robl and Justin Bonomo welcomed him to the table.

1:13 – Negreanu stepped away from the table while Robl was deep in the tank and announced to anyone that would listen, “Tomorrow I’m bringing my shot clock.”

1:16 – While waiting to bag up his chips Negreanu turned and said, “Today didn’t feel any different than any other tournament I’ve played. It could have been just another $2,500 event – I made some bad calls and I made some good calls.”

“The hands with Baldwin were a clash of Old School big bettor versus new school small baller,” Negreanu said. “He raises big preflop and then almost always bets the pot after the flop.”

1:20 – Negreanu bagged up 785,000 and sprinted down the hallway to bathroom once again. He’ll return for Day 2 just outside of the top ten chip stacks.

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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