A large collection of the poker world breathed a deep sigh of relief on Thursday night as Paul Volpe defeated Daniel Negreanu heads-up in the $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Championship at the 2014 World Series of Poker.
Volpe picks up $253,524 and his first bracelet while denying Negreanu his seventh career WSOP title and collecting $350,000 in bracelet bets that he had on the side. Negreanu and Phil Ivey took action from other poker players at even money that either Ivey or Negreanu would win a bracelet during the summer.
This was as close as either of the superstars has come to a bracelet so far, but Volpe thought it worked to his advantage as the table got shorter.
“I knew how much it meant to Daniel because he had so many bets,” said Volpe. “I knew that winning this bracelet was absolutely huge to him so I tried to keep the pressure on him and it worked. As we were getting deeper and deeper, he could have been hesitant to put all the chips in. He really wanted to get heads-up and go from there. I felt like I took advantage of that and put a lot of pressure on him. I knew what it meant for all his side bets and everyone that bet against him or for him.”
Volpe bested a field of 87 players and one of the most stacked final tables of the summer to earn the hardware. While No Limit Deuce to Seven isn’t one of the most popular games around, Volpe is able to get ample practice in online when he is traveling outside of the U.S. borders.
“I play on Stars when I travel out of the States like most of the American guys and when there aren’t tournaments goin, I play a lot of No Limit Deuce [to Seven] cash,” said Volpe. “Darren Elias is one of my best friends and he got I think eighth in this or something. I think he is one of the best players in the world at this game and we talk hands and we played a good amount. It’s a great game. I’m surprised it isn’t more popular than it’s been.”
With so much at stake between the bracelets and the side bets, the final table area was packed with people in the stands. Unfortunately for Volpe, it seemed like most of the fans in attendance were cheering for Negreanu.
“It was a little annoying,” said Volpe. “I almost got the feeling that when I was three handed that they wanted to get heads-up. That Daniel and Jason wanted to make it like a PokerStars thing. It would be a pretty big deal, you know, Jason vs. Daniel. I’m just happy to beat him. It was such a sick final table.”
Abe Mosseri was the first player eliminated from the final table just 11 hands in. With blinds of 6,000/12,000 and a 3,000 ante, Volpe raised to 27,000 and Mosseri moved all in for roughly 140,000. Larry Wright called and Volpe folded. Both players stood pat and Wright showed 9-8-4-3-2 to scoop the pot against Mosseri’s 10-8-7-3-2. Wright chipped up to 475,000 while Mosseri headed for the exits.
Just two orbits later, John Monnette was on his way to the cashier’s cage in sixth place. Volpe raised to 24,000 before Monnette, who was one of the short stacks coming into the final table, moved all in for 116,00. Jason Mercier called on the button and Volpe got out of the way. Both players stood pat and Mercier showed 9-7-5-3-2 and scooped the pot against Monnette’s 9-8-7-4-2. The pot moved Mercier into the chip lead as he neared the million chip mark as the table moved to five-handed play.
Wright started to drop some pots five-handed and very quickly became the short stack at the table. With blinds increased to 8,000/16,000 with a 4,000 ante, Volpe raised to 32,000 from the button and Wright moved all in for 245,000 from the small blind. Volpe called and both drew one. Volpe tabled 8-5-3-2 and drew a jack. Wright could only improve to a queen low and Volpe was right back in the thick of things with the knockout.
Ten hands later, Brian Rast was eliminated in fourth place at the hands of Negreanu. Rast started the day in the middle of the chip counts, but never really seemed to make any hands and was down to his last seven big blinds. Rast moved all in under-the-gun for his last 114,000 and Negreanu called from the big blind. Rast stood pat and tabled Q-9-7-6-5 and was up against Negreanu drawing with a 10-6-5-2. Negreanu squeezed out a four on the last card, improving his hand to a ten-low and eliminating Rast in the process.
As three-handed play began, the chip counts were all close to even. Mercier had just over 1 million, Negreanu sat with 800,000 and Volpe was right on his heels with 790,000.
Volpe began to take control of the table though and started to put some distance between him and the rest of the table. Negreanu’s chip stack hovered right around where it started at the beginning of three-handed, but Mercier couldn’t drag a pot and over the course of 90 minutes, he found himself as the shortest of the final three players.
Volpe raised to 45,000 on the button with blinds at 10,000/20,000 with a 5,000 ante and Mercier three-bet all in for just over 400,000. Volpe called and they each took one card. Their hands were very similar as Volpe turned over 8-7-6-2 and was up against Mercier’s 8-7-4-2. Volpe squeezed his last card first and tabled a four to improve to an 8-7 low and left Mercier drawing very thin. Mercier also squeezed out a four on his final card and was left with a pair of fours and Volpe shipped the pot.
As the heads-up battle for a bracelet began, Volpe held almost a two-to-one chip lead with 1.7 million to Negreanu’s 900,000.
Volpe didn’t lose any momentum from three-handed play and continued to pick up chips in the heads-up portion of the final table. He quickly took half of Negreanu’s stack and opened up a four-to-one chip advantage within 20 hands of heads-up play.
Negreanu picked off a few of Volpe’s bluffs in a row by calling him down with ace-king low and a pair of deuces and came close to his original heads-up starting stack, but that would be as close as he would get to his seventh bracelet.
“I was just trying to get value from hands that I would normally be checking like queens and kings and jacks,” said Volpe of adjusting to Negreanu’s style heads-up. “I don’t know how many of those hands got shown down, but I was betting them for value because he was calling me with 20 bigs and drawing three. Because he’s drawing three, I have to try and punish him with some mediocre hands.”
Volpe went back on the offensive and knocked Negreanu’s stack back down to around 500,000 and after the blinds went up to 15,000/30,000 with a 7,000 ante, Volpe found a way to put him away.
Volpe moved all in on the button for Negreanu’s last 245,000 in chips and Negreanu called. Both players drew one card and turned their remaining four cards on their backs. Negreanu showed J-6-5-4 and was up against Volpe’s J-10-7-6. Volpe peeled a three on his last card to make a jack-ten low. Negreanu squeezed out his final card and tabled a queen to make a queen low and give Volpe his first career bracelet.
Negreanu headed to the rail to get some condolences from his supporters and Volpe went to his rail to get a few high-fives from his friends.
Here are a look at the results:
- Paul Volpe – $253,524
- Daniel Negreanu – $156,674
- Jason Mercier – $99,313
- Brian Rast – $67,264
- Larry Wright – $47,792
- John Monnette – $35,549
- Abe Mosseri – $27,633
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