WSOP 2008 Event #20, $2,000 Limit Hold'em, Final Results and Report
Buy-In: $ 2,000
The $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em championship attracted 480 entrants. The total prize pool amounted to $873,600. The top 45 finishers collected prize money.
This tournament enjoyed a slight increase over last year’s attendance when 472 players signed up. The 2007 champion was Saiffuddin Ahmad. He did not register this year to play this year.
Six of the final nine players at the final table were born outside the United States – with Canada represented twice, China represented twice, Vietnam represented once, and Turkey represented once.
The $2,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em champion for 2008 is Daniel Negreanu, from Las Vegas, NV. He is a professional poker player and bona fide poker celebrity. Few players command public attention or crowd adulation like the Canadian-born superstar.
Negreanu started playing poker seriously as a teenager in and around the Toronto area. He made a living playing Limit Hold’em for several years before moving to Las Vegas in 1998, when he became a regular on the tournament circuit. Negreanu pointed out following his voctory that years of experience playing Limit poker helped him win this tournament.
Negreanu collected $204,863 for first place. He also earned his fourth WSOP gold bracelet. To date, Negreanu now has 29 WSOP career cashes.
This marked Negreanu’s first WSOP win since 2004 and was the first which took place inside the Rio facility. All three of Negreanu’s previous triumphs took place at Binion’s Horseshoe, which hosted the WSOP from 1970-2004.
In 1998, Negreanu won the very first WSOP tournament he entered. Then at the age of 23, he was the youngest gold bracelet winner in history. The “youngest to win” age record has since been broken several times.
Negreanu cited Mike “the Mouth” Matusow’s victory in the No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball championship the previous night as a motivating factor in this tournament. With that win, Matusow moved up into a tie with Negreanu with three career WSOP wins. Negreanu half-jokingly said he could not stand for Matusow to be in the same gold bracelet category and promptly “went out tonight and did something about it.” He now has four WSOP wins – an exclusive list of champions which includes Huck Seed, Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, Scotty Nguyen, Tom McEvoy, Lakewood Louie, Allen Cunningham, David Chiu, Bobby Baldwin, and Mickey Appleman.
Negreanu is a proponent of what is called “small ball” poker. This means he is determined to not risk massive amounts of chips on races and pre-flop all-in moves. Instead, Negreanu prefers to take advantage of the more subtle nuances of post-flop play and bet sizing (in No-Limit games). He commented afterward that Limit Hold’em is a perfect facilitator for “small ball” poker strategy.
Negreanu is undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous poker players. With endorsement deals, television shows, and various business activities, Negreanu admitted that keeping focused on tournament poker is sometimes a big challenge. He stated that many lesser-known younger poker players can focus their complete attention on tournament strategy, whereas many activities compete for Negreanu’s attention. He also stated that he gets pumped up by crowd support. “When I hear cheers, it’s like I have the home-field advantage,” Negreanu stated.
The final table began play at 2:30 pm and ended at 9:10 pm.
The second-place finisher was Ugur Marangoz, from Las Vegas, NV. Marangoz is originally from the Republic of Turkey. He is the highest Turkish-born finisher in WSOP history.
Other than Negreanu, only one former WSOP gold bracelet winner cashed in this event -- Brett “Gank” Jungblut (44th place).
Through the conclusion of Event #20, the professionals versus amateurs WSOP gold bracelet scoreboard currently reads: Professionals (14) and Amateurs (4). Note: Two events have been won by Semi-Pros (2).
Through the conclusion of Event #20, only one player has cashed five times to date – Nikolay Evdakov, from Moscow, Russia. Evdakov is in serious contention to challenge the record set for “Most WSOP Cashes in a Single Year,” shared by Michael Binger (2007) and Humberto Brenes (2006), with eight in-the-money strikes. One player has cashed four times – Craig Gray.
This was the sixth WSOP event of the year to be featured by Bluff Media on the ESPN360 website. Viewers around the world can log on at www.espn360.com and watch final tables live. Bluff will feature 18 more WSOP events to be held over the next month. The broadcasts begin daily at 2 pm PST.
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