WSOP Rewind: Why Big Tournaments Mean Big Names

Sean Chaffin June 20, 2019 461 Reads

The fourth week of action at the World Series of Poker featured some epic heads-up battles. Some big names battled for another bracelet, including Daniel Negreanu, John “Johnny World” Hennigan, Shaun Deeb, and Joseph Cheong.

While Deeb and Negreanu would come up just short, Hennigan strapped on some gold for the second year in a row. Cheong also found his first bracelet in an eventful start to the week at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Plenty of eyes will also be on Mike Sexton on Thursday. He’ll be looking for his second bracelet at the final table of the $2,500 Mixed Big Bet.

Here’s a quick look at the action so far this week in this week’s WSOP Rewind.

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Notable WSOP Results

Johnny World tops Kid Poker for sixth bracelet

Readers of the WSOP Rewind were warned about this event. While the $10,000 Seven Card Stud may not attract big fields, it usually brings big names.

That was again the case this year as Negreanu led a final table that included Hennigan, David “ODB” Baker, David Singer, and Frank Kassela.

With a healthy chip stack, Negreanu took an aggressive approach early. Baker tangled with him several times, usually coming out on the short end.

Negreanu was even rolled up three times at the final table. Eventually, Hennigan and Negreanu would be heads-up after Baker went out in third.

The cards just seemed to be running Negreanu’s way, and Baker said as much in his interview with PokerGO. When heads-up play began, Negreanu held almost a two-to-one chip advantage.

The two were chatty throughout and Negreanu won the first heads-up pot. After that however, the 48-year-old Hennigan turned things around – evening the stacks quickly.

The lead shifted back and forth a bit, but then Hennigan slowly began to extract chips. After all, Negreanu is in the Poker Hall of Fame, but “Johnny World” is, too.

After a couple hours, Hennigan was in command and even rolled up once himself. After four hours, he finally finished off his foe.

Negreanu would have to wait for his seventh bracelet as Hennigan grabbed his sixth. Along with his bracelets, Kid Poker now has nine runner-up finishes and five third-place at the WSOP.

For the win, Hennigan also took home $245,451 in a field that included 88 players. It was good televised poker for fans, featuring some of the best mixed game players around.

Don’t be surprised if they’re back at a final table again soon.

Friedman finds a big finish in $10,000 Dealer’s Choice

Another big final table played out on Monday. The $10,000 Dealer’s Choice final table began with Shaun Deeb, Adam Friedman, Matt Glantz, and Nick Schulman all in contention.

Deeb and Friedman were first and second in chips when action resumed. The pair stayed in those positions all the way down to heads-up play. However, after Friedman sent Glantz to the rail in a 2-7 Triple Draw hand, he had a slight lead over Deeb.

Game-wise, Friedman favored 2-7 and other lowball games as well as the “Big O” version of Omaha down the stretch. Deeb regularly chose No Limit Hold’em and switched to 2-7, Badugi, and Five Card Draw later in the match.

It didn’t seem to matter as Friedman kept raking pots. A few minutes later, a big no limit hold’em hand saw Friedman’s two pair top Deeb’s pair. Friedman earned his third bracelet and $312,417.

Cheong dominates the Double Stack

One of the better players in the poker world without a bracelet may have been Joseph Cheong. He finished third in the 2010 Main Event and had other deep runs, but always missed the bracelet.

That changed on Monday when he took down the $1,000 NLHE Double Stack. He bested a field 6,214 for a score of $687,782.

That brings his lifetime tournament earnings to almost $14 million. The 33-year-old was born in born in South Korea but moved to the U.S. at age 6 with his family.

New Jersey player Dan Lupo tops online event for first bracelet

USPoker readers may already know the story of Dan Lupo. This devoted family man from Lopatcong, N.J., is also a shark at the tables. He’s a regular online in the Garden State when not spending time with his wife and three children.

After winning five events in NJSCOOP in May, Lupo took down the $500 WSOP.com Online Turbo Deepstack on Wednesday.

“My wife was ecstatic,” Lupo said. “She was confused at first when I was jumping around like a child at 2 a.m.” The 36-year-old architect earned $145,274 for his efforts and his first bracelet. 

“It feels pretty awesome,” he said. “I’ve had a pretty good stretch.”

Other results

  • $1,500 2-7 Triple Draw – Australia’s Robert Campbell topped a field of 467 to take home $144,027 and his first bracelet. Campbell at one time worked as a standup comedian and was one of the world’s top Pokemon players.
  • $800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack – Yet another bargain buy-in event attracted plenty of players to the Rio. With a field of 2,808, Robert Mitchell took home $297,537 and his first bracelet. This win came after the 41-year-old finished 17th in the $1,500 Shootout.
  • $600 WSOP.com ONLINE NLHE Knockout Bounty – The online action continued on Wednesday and another experienced pro rose to the top. Upeshka ‘gomezhamburg’ De Silva scored $98,262 in first-place money. He also added 18 bounties at $100 each for an additional $1,800. Originally from Sri Lanka and now living in Katy, Texas, this marked his third bracelet and he’s already finished third in the $3,000 NLHE Six-Handed.
  • $1,000 Super Seniors Championship – It will take a fourth day of action on Thursday to determine a winner in this event. With 10 players remaining, Michael Blake of Gallup, N.M., leads the field. Sitting fourth in chips in Jeffrey Miller of New Vernon, N.J.

One other thing…

Mike Sexton has shot at second bracelet

Several skilled players remain in the $2,500 Mixed Big BetRyan Hughes is currently sitting as the chip leader.

Hughes’ previous bracelets both came in Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, but this mixed event doesn’t include any Seven Stud. He’ll be looking for his first WSOP bracelet outside that game.

Other interesting names also remain, including Arthur Morris, Phil Hui, three-time bracelet winner Loren Klein, and 2018 bracelet winner Joey CoudenThe most recognizable player left, however, is longtime World Poker Tour commentator Mike Sexton.

Now the chairman of partypoker and a Poker Hall of Famer, Sexton’s lone bracelet came in 1989. Sexton has been close to another win several times but has always come up short. Right now, he sits in sixth in chips at the final table.

Just last week, 67-year-old Jim Bechtel set a new record as the longest time between bracelets – 26 years. He won the 1993 Main Event for $1 million and then took down the $10,000 2-7 Lowball Draw last week.

It won’t be easy, but if Sexton wins this event, Bechtel will hold the record for only a few days. Sexton will count thirty years between bracelets.

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