When the field was announced for the WPT Champions Challenge, the bracket-style contest pitting former WPT champions against one another in a fan vote, it seemed like Daniel Negreanu was a lock to win it all.
Negreanu has $6.4 million in WPT earnings, nine final tables and two titles. Couple that with his massive fanbase and Negreanu seemed to be in position to dominate the popularity contest.
Locks are apparently just for doors. In what can only be described as a major upset, Negreanu, the number one seed in the Clubs region, was defeated by four seed Jonathan Little. Little did some social media campaigning to get his fans to vote for him.
— Jonathan Little (@JonathanLittle) March 23, 2016
It paid off. Little now moves on to the Elite 8 and finds himself up against Doyle Brunson for a Final Four berth.
Brunson, the 11 seed in the region, beat out two seed Hoyt Corkins to advance.
Negreanu was actually the second top seed to fall. The Hearts region saw Carlos Mortensen eliminated in the second round by Erik Seidel.
Only one of the four regions, the Spades region, had the top two seeds advance to the Elight 8. Top seed Gus Hansen beat out Alan Goehring to advance while second seed Antonio Esfandiari beat out good friend Phil Laak to move on.
The other remaining top seed, Anthony Zinno, came out on top of Mohsin Charania to get through. He’ll now face Barry Greenstein. The three seed upset two seed JC Tran to move on.
Despite being a number seven seed, Phil Ivey continues to survive and advance. Ivey made it past Michael Mizrachi. Seidel posted yet another upset, beating out Marvin Retteinmaier to earn a spot against Ivey.
#4. Jonathan Little: $3,695,510 – 2 titles – 4 final tables – 21 cashes
#11. Doyle Brunson: $2,081,824 – 1 title – 3 final tables – 8 cashes
Diamonds Region Matchup Key Stats
#1. Anthony Zinno: $2,336,548 – 3 titles – 3 final tables – 15 cashes
#3. Barry Greenstein: $2,427,428 – 2 titles – 5 final tables – 20 cashes
Hearts Region Matchup Key Stats
#7. Phil Ivey: $4,027,221 – 1 title – 10 final tables – 14 cashes
#8. Erik Seidel: $2,332,000 – 1 title – 7 final tables – 22 cashes
Spades Region Matchup Key Stats
#1. Gus Hansen: $4,051,782 – 3 titles – 7 final tables – 9 cashes
#2. Antonio Esfandiari: $2,956,243 – 2 titles – 8 final tables – 13 cashes
The Elite 8 of the WPT Champions Challenge is open for voting until Tuesday at 5 pm ET. Vote here.