It didn’t take long at all for Daniel Negreanu to position himself on the cusp of his seventh World Series of Poker gold bracelet. On Wednesday at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Negreanu manoeuvred his way to the final six of the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty (Event #2). Guaranteed $52,099, Negreanu and his five opponents called it quits for the night and bagged up their chips. On Thursday, they return to battle for WSOP glory and the $345,669 top prize.
Negreanu has added emphasis to perform well at the 2019 WSOP. First and foremost, he allowed supporters from all across the globe to buy action of him by putting together three packages at different buy-in levels. The mid-tier package is for the 2019 WSOP events he plays that have buy-ins of $1,501 to $10,000. The $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty falls into that category, so those who were able to purchase shares have reason to feel good.
“It’s huge because I’ve always been a streaky player,” Negreanu said after play ended for Day 1. “A lot of years at the World Series of Poker, I’ve gone like 0-for-11 at the start. It’s been really frustrating. But to start off with a $10K final table right off the bat, it puts me in contention in a lot of things. Most importantly, the people who bought my mid-stakes package have to feel really good about it. Of course, it’s unfortunate for those who got shut out, and I’m sorry for that, but I can say that there will be an opportunity in the future.”
The unfortunate thing that Negreanu referred to was that not everyone was able to get in, while others got in but then had to be refunded due to overselling caused from a technical issue. That said, Negreanu has hundreds, if not thousands, of people with big rooting interest in him this summer and he has the chance to hit it out of the park right out of the gate.
Come Thursday’s finale, Negreanu sits fourth in chips, but the turbo format means anything can happen and it can happen very quickly.
As if having tons of people backing him financially isn’t enough, Negreanu has the added motivation of his declaration that he wants to challenge for WSOP Player of the Year. Negreanu had a bit of a back and forth with Shaun Deeb on social media leading up to the 2019 WSOP, and Deeb’s another top contender for the WSOP Player of the Year award. Deeb is the award’s reigning champion, with Negreanu having won it two times prior, first in 2004 and then in 2013.
“Honestly, that’s the big ticket item,” Negreanu said of WSOP Player of the Year. “That’s the thing I want. Obviously, it would be nice to hit number seven, in terms of bracelets. This whole tournament has been a lot of fun, it’s been stress free. It’s weird playing turbos. You just have to play super tight. I folded some hands that make me embarrassed in this tournament, but I feel good about Thursday. I feel good, calm, and collected, and that’s the plan going through the whole series.”
For as much success as Negreanu has had on the felt, which includes six WSOP gold bracelets, it’s been quite a while since he’s landed himself in the WSOP winner’s circle. The last time Negreanu won a gold bracelet was in 2013. That year, he won two, but they came in WSOP events outside of Las Vegas. The last time he won a gold bracelet in Las Vegas was in 2008.
“There’s been a lot of seconds and thirds over the years,” Negreanu said of his bracelet drought. “You can taste it. The thing with this tournament is that I know I’m not going to make any massive mistakes in a turbo like this and you just have to win the all-ins. So far, I’ve been really fortunate in all-ins. Twice I was all in – once was nines against aces, another time with tens against kings – and I won both of those, so it’s pretty cool that I get to use that luck. Hopefully that continues, because whoever wins this tournament is going to be a good player but also the luckiest player for sure.”
A victory would give Negreanu and his backers a massive start to the summer, plus catapult him into pole position in the WSOP Player of the Year race, and few can argue there’s a better way to kick off the 50th annual World Series of Poker.