They sweated the final card together.
The betting was complete and Elezra had already turned up his hand: 9 8 6 5 2, and against the 8 6 4 2 that Negreanu was showing. He would need a nine, seven, five or three to stay alive.
But Negreanu rolled over the K which made Elezra the champion.
It was Elezra’s first bracelet since 2007, when he took down a $3,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event. This time he bested a field of 282, and a star-studded final table, with 13 bracelets among the last six, that he said felt like a cash game because he knew almost all of his opponents.
“Beautiful feeling. Beautiful feeling,” Elezra said, adding that has played 17 events during this Series. “It’s really good when you need it. And I need it.”
Elezra had nothing but praise for Negreanu.
“He’s the best ambassador for poker,” he said. “And it’s an honor to be playing against him and to beat him.”
Negreanu had started the final table with the chip lead, but Elezra quickly wrested it away, and Negreanu couldn’t find a way to come back. Elezra won in less than an hour.
But even as his chips slipped away, Negreanu seemed happy, cheering and singing to the crowd at the ESPN mains stage.
At one point in heads up play, Phil Hellmuth stopped by after entering the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event on the other end of the Amazon room, shook hands with Elezra and Negreanu.
“Good luck in PLO,” Negreanu told Hellmuth as he walked away. “Be there in a minute, one way or another.”
As soon as Elezra won, Negreanu said, “Alright. Time to play PLO. I gotta get back to work.”
Negreanu needed to win the bracelet Friday in order to retake the lead in the 2013 WSOP Player of the Year race. Matthew Ashton claimed the top spot after he took down the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.
In the end, the tournament director, who said he was present for Elezra’s first bracelet, handed over his microphone.
“Thank you, thank you everybody,” Elezra told the audience. “This is my second bracelet. I’m going to try to get like five more.”
Elezra said the game has changed a lot since he won his bracelet, and he has stuck to playing the mix games.
“The World Series of Poker is catching up with our regular game,” Elezra said. “I love the idea that we’re going to keep going with those, and play like 20 more events a year that will be not only No Limit. I’m not saying I’m a dog in any game, but I know that when I sit down in front of those young kids when they make it six and seven bets I don’t know where I’m gonna go exactly.”
Negreanu won his bracelets in 1998 $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em, 2003, SHOE, 2004 Limit Hold’em, 2008 $2,000 Limit Hold’em, and most recently won the 2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event.
All but one of the final six players — Brian Brubaker — had already won a bracelet, and he had more than half a million in live tournament earnings. He would finish third.
In what wound up being the first elimination hand, Negreanu raised from the cutoff, Scott Seiver three-bet on the button and Chiu called in the big blind. Seiver and Negreanu took two cards and Chiu drew one. Chiu bet, Negreanu called and Seiver threw in his last 7,000. Chiu stood pat, Seiver Negreanu drew two and Seiver drew one. On the third draw, Chiu stood pat again, while Negreanu and Seiver each drew one. Chiu bet out and Negreanu quickly folded. Chiu tabled [7x] [6x] [5x] [3x] [2x] and Seiver showed the Q before walking to the cashier’s cage in sixth place.
David Chiu raised from the button, and David “ODB” Baker three-bet from the small blind. Chiu called, while Baker drew one. Baker lead out again and Chiu raised. Baker called and drew one, while Chiu stood pat. Baker checked, Chiu bet and Baker threw in the rest of his chips. Chiu called and showed [7x] [6x] [5x] [3x] [2x], which Baker could not beat. He was sent home in fifth place.
Chiu found himself on the short stack with four players left when Elezra limped from the small blind and Chiu checked the big blind. Elezra drew three to start and Chiu took two. On the next draw, Elezra drew one and Chiu took two before Elezra bet out. Chiu had less than two big bets left after he called. Both players drew one card, Elezra bet and Chiu raised. Chiu showed [8x] [7x] low, and Elezra rolled over a number three [7x] [6x] [5x] [3x] [2x], sending Chiu out in fourth place.
Brubaker raised from the small blind and Daniel Negreanu three-bet before Brubaker four-bet. Negreanu called, Brubaker drew one and fired out, Negreanu drew two and raised. Brubaker moved all in, Negreanu called and they both drew one. Brubaker showed duece-to-five and Negreanu showed [7x] [6x] [3x] [2x]. Negreanu picked up a [5x] and Brubaker paired his duece, sending him home in third place.
Final Table Results
- Eli Elezra — $173,236
- Daniel Negreanu — $107,055
- Brian Brubaker — $70,743
- David Chiu — $48,077
- David “ODB” Baker — $33,399
- Scott Seiver — $23,698
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