While the rest of the poker world converged on PokerStars for the 2016 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), one of the brand’s biggest stars was nowhere to be found.
But in his only event of the series, the $2,100 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, Daniel Negreanu showed up in fine fashion and found himself in the winner’s circle once again.
Negreanu stayed busy during his time away from the tournament tables though, recording and releasing the first few episodes of his new Full Contact Poker podcast, and live streaming sessions of $1,000/$2,000 8-Game Mix nosebleed stakes cash games on PokerStars via his Twitch channel.
So when the “KidPoker” account registered for Event #71 on September 23rd – nearly three weeks into the WCOOP series schedule – Negreanu wasn’t exactly coming into the H.O.R.S.E. game cold.
The poker variant of H.O.R.S.E. is a five-game mix rotating between five popular disciplines: Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo Split-Eight or Better, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-Eight or Better.
After the field of 147 was pared down to 40 contenders on Day 1, Negreanu played the climactic Day 2 amidst the backdrop of his fantasy hockey league draft. Despite the potential distraction, the decorated pro demonstrated his uncanny all-around abilities, weaving his way to the star-studded final table.
Joining Negreanu at the eight-handed final table were fellow high-stakes crushers Connor “blanconegro” Drinan, Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah, and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. For these elite players, the top prize of $61,865 represented less than the buy-in for the high-roller tournaments and high-stakes cash games that each player has dominated for years.
So the true prize would be pride and bragging rights, especially for Negreanu. The six-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner has long been the iconic representative for PokerStars’ Team Pro brand, but despite his success in virtually every poker format, series, or circuit, “Kid Poker” had yet to win a WCOOP bracelet.
Negreanu eliminated the dangerous Drinan in seventh place after making a straight and a seven-low in a Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo hand, taking the chip lead as a result. From there, he used a seven-low to prevail in a big Razz hand, busting “Kashmir_uzi” in sixth place while crippling Leah in the process.
Leah bowed out soon afterward with a fifth-place finish, and Negreanu then eliminated “L1TE-BR1TE” in fourth-place by making two pair and an eight-low in a Stud Hi-Lo hand. Blom did the dirty work to knock “WTFOMFGOAO” out in third place, setting the stage for a heads-up duel against Negreanu, who held 2.14 million chips to Blom’s 798,000.
The final hands occurred during the Limit Hold’em round, and Negreanu made a tremendous call with essentially third pair to put Blom on the ropes. A few hands later Negreanu claimed the last of Blom’s stack, and his first career WCOOP title.
Full results from the final table below:
WCOOP-71: $2,100 H.O.R.S.E. Championship
147 Total Entries
Total Prize Pool: $294,000
Places Paid: 15
1st – Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu (Canada) $61,865.47
2nd – Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (U.K.) $48,112.18
3rd – WTFOMFGOAO (Russia) $37,416.40
4th – L1TE-BR1TE (Canada) $29,098.41
5th – Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah (Canada) $22,629.59
6th – Kashmir_uzi (U.K.) $17,598.81
7th – Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (Mexico) $13,686.46
8th – Childers (U.K.) $10,643.82