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Daniel Negreanu's Five Greatest Poker Tournament Victories

28 October 2014, By:

Since the mid-1990s Negreanu has been one of the most dominant poker players in the world.

Starting as an "old school" style of pro Daniel was young enough when the poker boom hit to be able to transition to the "new school" way of thinking about poker.

He has constantly been able to keep up with the evolution of poker and is one of the most consistent tournament players in the game's history.

Below we take a look back at Daniel Negreanu's Top 5 Greatest Tournament Victories.

#5. 1999 United States Poker Championship Main Event

Heading into 1999 Negreanu was already the youngest WSOP bracelet winner in history, but the bracelet back then didn't hold the same prestige as it does today. He was looking for a victory to prove that he had truly arrived as a poker player.

He got that chance at the 1999 United States Poker Championship. The USPC was a major event at the time and one of the few events that commanded a $10,000 buy-in. Negreanu made the final table facing a stiff challenge against David Plastik and the incomparable John Bonetti.

Ultimately it was Negreanu against Bonetti heads-up for the title. The turning point came during heads-up play with Negreanu facing a tough decision. He had a flush draw against what was likely top pair from Bonetti. Bonetti was all-in and had Negreanu covered.

Playing on feel rather than the odds Negreanu made the call and was indeed against top pair, best kicker from Bonetti. The turn gave Bonetti two pair but the river brought the fifth spade for Daniel and gave him a dominant chip lead.

Negreanu went on to win the tournament and establish himself as a contender in the tournament world.

#4. 1998 World Series of Poker - $2,000 PL Hold'em Event

Heading into the 1998 World Series of Poker, 24-year-old Daniel Negreanu had a few small event wins in Connecticut and California, but no major titles. That would change after Negreanu made the final table of the $2,000 PL Hold'em Event.

To give you a glimpse of how different a game this was compared to the modern game, we'll give you an excerpt of the final table recap written by veteran poker writers Tom Sims and Mike Paulle:

"In what may have been the softest final table in World Series history, the first raiser was god. This table probably set a record for the least re-raises. They may have set a record that will never be broken.

"The only thing these players knew about position was that it was about some missionary."

This final table included Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Lee Markholt and Dan Heimiller, all of which would qualify as a "tight player" in today's era.

Ultimately it was Negreanu against Dominic Bourke for the title. He was looking to become the youngest bracelet winner in history at the time.

Negreanu started with 2:1 chip lead but Bourke nearly pulled back even prior to the final hand. All the money went in on a flop of  Qc-Jh-3c. Negreanu held Ah-Qh for top pair while Bourke held Jc-10c for middle pair and a flush draw. The turn and river fell baby spades and Negreanu was the champion.

Negreanu was the youngest bracelet winner in history after the victory, a record held until 2004. The $169,460 in prize money was also the largest score of his live tournament career.

#3. 2008 World Series of Poker - $2,000 Limit Hold'em

Heading into the 2008 World Series of Poker Negreanu was stuck on three bracelet wins. His last bracelet came back in 2004 in a $2,000 Limit Hold'em Event and some were wondering whether he could win another.

Daniel entered the $2,000 Limit Hold'em Event and earned his way to the final table. David Baker and Fu Wong were other headliners at the final but the day seemed destined for Negreanu.

There are days that a poker player can do no wrong but seldom does that happen in a Limit Hold'em game. PokerJunkie blogger Compncards was part of the live coverage crew at the event and explained heads-up as follows:

"I have never seen such a dominant performance heads-up in a limit tournament as I did in that one. Negreanu won literally every single hand in heads-up action against Marangoz. You almost felt bad for the guy, but the fans ate it up."

Since it's impossible to lose when you win every hand heads-up Negreanu went on to win the tournament, his fourth bracelet and $204,863. Most importantly it got a huge monkey off his back and put him in elite company.

#2. 2006 WSOP-C Circuit Championship - Tunica, MS

Negreanu had one of his toughest years in terms of earnings in 2005. Some were wondering if Negreanu had lost his edge and so he came into 2006 looking to prove himself.

The WSOP-C Circuit Event in Tunica was a televised event in 2006, so many pros made their way to Mississippi to try to take down the title. Negreanu was among those in the 241-player field and battled his way to the final table.

At the final table Negreanu faced some stiff competition in Lee Markholt, Brandon Adams and Chad Brown. However, Negreanu dominated the final table and ultimately defeated Bryant King for the title, the Circuit Championship ring and $755,525 in prize money.

Negreanu went on to win over $1.9 million in 2006 and proved to the world that he was still a force in poker. Since that time, Negreanu has only fallen below $1 million in earnings in a year twice, the last time being 2010 when he earned $683,825.

#1. 2013 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific Main Event

In 2013, the World Series of Poker expanded into Australia to create the WSOP Asia Pacific. Daniel joined a plethora of pros at the Crown Casino in Melbourne looking to add to their bracelet tally.

At the time Negreanu was stuck on four bracelet victories and was hungry to break through for a fifth. Earlier in the series he made the final table of the $2,200 Mixed Event but fell in fourth to 10-Time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey.

The 2013 WSOP APAC Main Event drew a solid field of 405 players and by the time the final table was reached, Negreanu found himself at a final table that included ONE DROP winner Antonio Esfandiari and Winfred Yu.

Negreanu dominated the final table and took a nearly 10:1 chip lead into heads-up against Daniel Marton. Marton got lucky a couple of times to avoid elimination but in the end KidPoker would come out on top for his fifth career bracelet and first Main Event title.

He won just over $1 million for his victory and was one of only two players at the time with a WSOP bracelet in both Vegas and Australia. A year later, Negreanu became the first player in history to hold a bracelet in all three WSOP venues after winning the High Roller Event at the WSOP Europe.

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