Daniel Negreanu’s triumph at a final table that included his political and poker nemesis Justin Bonomo was a stunning one. Winning Event #1 of the 2024 PGT Last Chance festival for $218,400 while defeating other recent poker legends such as Masashi Oya, David Peters and 2023’s most successful player in terms of multiple major titles, Isaac Haxton, ‘Kid Poker’ once again proved just how relevant he is in the modern poker age.

PGT Last Chance Event #1 $10,100 Final Table Results:
PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1stDaniel NegreanuCanada$218,400
2ndDaniel SmiljkovicGermany$150,150
3rdMasashi OyaJapan$113,750
4thJustin BonomoUnited States$91,000
5thJonathan CohenUnited States$72,800
6thDavid PetersUnited States$54,600
7thIsaac HaxtonUnited States$45,500

Major Stars Miss Out on Profit

With the action all taking place at perhaps the most popular destination on the poker playing map, the PokerGO Studio inside the ARIA Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, 91 entrants at $10,000 each made a prizepool of $910,000 and it was Kid Poker who claimed over a fifth of that total. Before that happened, however, players battled to make the money and with only 13 places paid, some very big names missed out on that objective.

One of the biggest names to go close was Sam Soverel, who busted in 15th place, two outside the money. One of PokerGO’s most successful players, Soverel shoved with king-jack only to be called by Japanese player Masashi Oya, whose ace-queen held to take a big pot on the way to leading the final table. After Soverel’s exit, the bust-out of Aram Zobian in 14th place burst the bubble. The American’s pocket jacks started his final hand behind, as Oya’s pocket aces easily slayed another short-stack to send Zobian out for nothing one place shy of the $18,200 min-cash.

An all-Canadian clash sent Kristen Foxen home with that amount, as her ace-king lost to Negreanu’s ten-nine. A board of Q-J-8-2-8 saw Kid Poker flop the straight and while Foxen, nee Bicknell, turned a flush draw, that didn’t come in on the river, sending the most successful female poker player in recent years to the rail.

Haxton Not the Hero This Time

A flurry of eliminations set up the final nine, as British player Lewis Spencer (12th for $18,200), Justin Saliba (11th for $27,300) and Ping Liu (10th for $31,850), all missed out. With one table now the home for the unofficial finalists, the first to go was poker author and player Jonathan Little. All-in with Negreanu’s winning hand from his clash with Foxen, ten-nine, Little got no luck as Justin Bonomo’s dominating ace-ten got him. It was a cruel run-out, as a flop of J-9-7 put Little in the lead. The turn of a three was safe for Little, but Bonomo had flopped the flush draw and it came in on the river to send Little to the rail with $31,850.

Nick Schulman last only one place longer and after he busted for $36,400 in eighth, the official final seven gathered. Justin Bonomo, whose stance on the recent conflict in the Middle East has angered many in the game including the aforementioned Negreanu, found himself sat to the direct right of his nemesis. Kid Poker was not slow in letting watching fans on PokerGO know they could tune in.

Both Bonomo and Negreanu were able to survive the early skirmishes at the final table felt, but the same couldn’t be said for two other prominent North Americans. Isaac Haxton busted in seventh place for $45,500 when his chips went the way of the impressive German player Daniel Smiljkovic. The latter was building a mountain as others were swept away and took out David Peters in sixth place for a score of $54,600 when ace-ten couldn’t hold against Smiljkovic’s king-queen which made Broadway.

A Queen Makes Negreanu the King

With five remaining, Daniel Negreanu doubled back into contention at exactly the right time, and from his perspective, through the exact right player – his arch-enemy Bonomo. A dramatic hand thrilled fans on PokerGO and the tension was clear to see on screen.

That pot left Bonomo short but he was not the next to lose his seat, with Jonathan Cohen seeing his ace-high fall to Oya’s trips, meaning a curt nod to his tablemates and a collection of $72,800 in fifth place. Justin Bonomo lasted only a few minutes longer, cut down by the same player as his king-six lost to Oya’s ace-six, sending the American home with $91,000 in fourth place.

Oya looked to have the momentum but that all changed when Smiljkovic doubled through Negreanu then took out the Japanese player. Oya’s shove when slightly behind with pocket sixes didn’t work out well at all, as the German’s pocket jacks prevailed, sending Oya to the rail in third for $113,750.

With over 80% of the chips in play, Smiljkovic was favorite, but Negreanu began the heads-up battle better and sneaked into a very marginal lead. With raising chips on every street of a board showing J-J-T-4, Negreanu shoved all-in ‘for the win’ with ace-king, only to be called by Smiljkovic. The German had jack-deuce and had flopped trips, but with a single card to survive, couldn’t do so. A queen on the river gave Kid Poker a Broadway straight and the crown, the four-outer condemning Smiljkovic toa runner-up finish he’ll want to forget.

Far from simply celebrating the victory, Kid Poker announced in the aftermath that he would forego the next event – and did so. In 2024, expect to see less of Daniel Negreanu… until you see him win more on the current evidence.

 

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Paul seaton

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Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He's not just a spectator; he's been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul's poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he's interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton's expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.
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