In one of the final preliminary events (if you can call a tournament with a six-figure buy in a “preliminary”) before the start of the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event next week, Dan Smith vanquished fellow poker pro Daniel Negreanu to win the $100,000 Super High Roller on Friday night.
While there has been plenty of action around the Bellagio leading up to the WPT Main Event, the $100,000 Super High Roller pulled plenty of eyes to its action. 39 entries would pony up the $100,000 entry fee to build a $3.9 million prize pool. Of that bounty, only six people would be walking away with any money, making the competition fierce.
By the time Thursday night arrived, the money bubble was still intact as seven players battled it out for the right to get a return on their investment. Stephen Chidwick was the unfortunate “bubble boy” in the tournament, taking away $0 for his seventh-place finish. Before the action would be called on Thursday, serial High Roller player Bryn Kenney picked up some more cash (and, perhaps as importantly, precious Player of the Year points) when he was knocked out in sixth place.
The five-man final table on Friday was headed by Isaac Haxton, who held 1.8 million of the chips in play at the start of action. Behind Haxton was Negreanu, who wasn’t too far back at 1.47 million. Stefan Schillhabel, Sergio Aido and Smith were lagging far back and not considered much of a threat for taking the championship.
Smith was able to start his charge by getting a double up through Haxton, which would then set about the latter’s fall. After Aido was dumped in fifth place, Haxton departed the scene to bring the three-man battle of Smith, Schillhabel and Negreanu to the fore. Negreanu gave running commentary across his Twitter feed to those who couldn’t be in the Bellagio and the battle was entertaining.
Negreanu seemed to be content to sit back and let Smith and Schillhabel battle it out, and they swung for the fences. Smith eventually would start to get the better of the German, however, and on their final hand of combat Smith’s pocket Aces was leading pre-flop against Schillhabel’s J-10. That situation completely changed on the flop, coming down J-10-10, pushing Schillhabel into an unlikely lead. Left with only two outs in the deck, Smith saw one of those rescuing Aces fall on the turn to return the lead to him. Schillhabel, looking for the case ten to deliver another suckout, instead saw a blank as he left in third place.
Perhaps Negreanu should have paid a bit of attention to his opposition as Smith entered heads up play against him with a sizeable chip lead. That chip lead would eventually translate into a championship as Smith, holding Big Slick on the final hand, was able to make it stand against Negreanu’s Q-10 once the final board rolled out.
1. Dan Smith, $1,404,000
2. Daniel Negreanu, $936,000
3. Stefan Schillhabel, $624,000
4. Isaac Haxton, $390,000
5. Sergio Aido, $312,000
6. Bryn Kenney, $234,000
With this tournament in the books, players can put their attention to the WPT Five Diamond Main Event on Tuesday. The $10,000 buy in tournament will wrap up the 2017 calendar year for the WPT and it should be hotly contested. Last year the tournament brought in 791 entries, with James Romero eventually walking off with the championship and the $1.9 million first place prize. Expect a similar turnout for this year’s event as the calendar year ends.
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