Daniel Negreanu is the inaugural PokerGO Cup series champion. It took until the final heads-up duel in the last event of the series, and it involved Negreanu watching from the sidelines, but the man known as “Kid Poker” was victorious.
“It was a bittersweet day because I busted and I didn’t win the million dollars, and I busted in an ugly fashion, but ‘El Jefe,’ Cary Katz, came through for me and got the job done,” Negreanu said.
Negreanu played every event of the 2021 PokerGO Cup, but his run to winning the series title didn’t get off the ground until the third event when he squeaked into the money with an eight-place finish. That gave Negreanu 21 points and put him on the board, but he was still quite a ways off from the top.
In the fifth event of the series, Negreanu squeaked into the money again, finishing in sixth place and picking up 27 points. That gave Negreanu 48 points through five events, but he was still hardly sniffing the top of the leaderboard. Through five events, Ali Imsirovic was in the lead with 423 points and a player needed at least 132 points to be included in the top 10.
After missing out on a cash in the sixth event, Negreanu made the final table of Event #7: $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em. He maneuvered his way to the winner’s circle and picked up 420 points. After winning the penultimate event of the inaugural PokerGO Cup, Negreanu was in the thick of the series leaderboard race, sitting third behind Imsirovic and David Coleman with only a handful of points separating the trio.
Negreanu jumped into the series finale, a $100,000 buy-in event with 23 entries, and maneuvered his way to the final table. Coming into Wednesday, Negreanu had a chance to win it all. Both Imsirovic and Coleman fell short in the final event of the series, leaving the door open for Negreanu to win the leaderboard with a third-place finish or better. Ultimately, Negreanu busted in fourth place, just squeaking into the money for a $230,000 payday. The result gave Negreanu 69 points and moved him to the top of the leaderboard, but there was still a sweat.
Watching from the sidelines with a beer in hand, Negreanu needed Sam Soverel to not win the event. Although tournament poker has its variance, Soverel had a sizable chip lead over Katz and Sean Winter with three players remaining, and that lead only grew when Soverel quickly dispatched of Winter to get heads up with Katz.
With Negreanu cheering on, Katz rallied from behind, turning a near 3-1 chip deficit in his favor thanks to some timely bluffs that pushed Soverel out of pots. Katz eventually finished off a short-stacked Soverel and Negreanu was right there to celebrate.
Katz and Negreanu celebrated with each other for a little bit, congratulating one another on the results. Afterwards, Negreanu spoke highly of where he felt Katz’s came has evolved to.
“Cary’s just sharp,” Negreanu said of Katz. “You don’t become as successful in business as he is without really being sharp and understanding your image. Cary is very aware that he’s seen as what we call a ‘nut-peddler.’ When you are perceived that way, you have to be willing to take some chances and Cary does it in really good spots that are timely.
“I’ve always been impressed with Cary’s dedication to the game. He doesn’t study the same way the kids do. He’s not at home with a computer and solvers. He’s just soaking in what he sees and some of the stuff he’s like, ‘That’s just bad. I’m not doing that. I’m going to do this,’ and he does it his own way. He’s good. He’s not a [recreational player]. Everyone says, ‘Cary Katz, he’s a recreational player.’ but he played against a field in a $100K where there was not a single player who didn’t identify as a professional poker player, outside of Cary.”
|Daniel Negreanu’s 2021 PokerGO Cup Results|
|#3: $10,000 NL||8th||$21,200||21|
|#5: $25,000 NL||6th||$45,000||27|
|#7: $50,000 NL||1st||$700,000||420|
|#8: $100,000 NL||4th||$230,000||69|
For winning the PokerGO Cup series championship, Negreanu picked up an additional $50,000 in prize money. That goes along with the $996,200 he won from cashing four times throughout the 2021 PokerGO Cup, including the win he earned in Event #7: $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $700,000. Negreanu spoke about the difference between winning a single tournament and a series title.
“I’m a nerd, big time,” Negreanu said. “When I was a kid, I used to take wrestlers and pit them against each other, roll dice, and one wrestler would win. I would keep stats on their tournament results, for like the ‘player of the year.’ I did that when I was eight, nine years old, so I love this kind of stuff. Winning a tournament is awesome, but winning a player of the series is so much more involved. You need to have repeated results and stuff like that, so it’s huge for me.”
Check out the final standings from the 2021 PokerGO Cup leaderboard below.
|2021 PokerGO Cup Top 10|
|2||Ali Imsirovic||Bosnia and Herzegovina||$545,500||497|
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