Good Lord, if there's anyone out there who still doesn't accept that poker is a sport, they should check out the stamina levels of these guys.
The uneven pace of this final table has been nothing short of gruelling for all involved, but none more so than Last Men Standing Barry Shulman and Daniel Negreanu. Their patience has been extraordinary, their caffeine consumption (at least Shulman's, anyway) verging on the legendary, and it has been a thoroughly deserved win for Mr. Shulman.
While two November Niners made the final table, it was another November Niner's dad who took it down -- Barry Shulman has proved today that the Shulman family are a force to be reckoned with at the felt, and his son Jeff can now get some inside information from him on how at least James Akenhead and Antoine Saout play to maybe help him out when he gets to the WSOP Main Event Final Table this November.
With the sun about to come up outside, the coveted bracelet has been placed on the wrist of the winner, and while the hardcore are still hanging around the bar, everyone else is wondering how they're going to get home. As we head off into the Leicester Square dawn, we've just got time to thank all at Betfair, Harrahs, the WSOP and the Empire Casino for having us, and to wish all congratulations to the happy winners.
So, all in preflop, pair vs. pair, as one might expect, Daniel Negreanu, having come full circle back to short stack, had his tournament life on the line one more time.
The straight out on the flop brought a groan from the Negreanu supporters, and the rest of the board got him drawing dead by the turn: . But both players were thoroughly applauded as the final hurdle was leaped.
Daniel Negreanu might have come so close only to miss out on the bracelet, but knowing that he's now topping the All-Time Money List must, surely, be some consolation for when he goes home and googles himself. That in itself is an achievement stretching beyond this one, admittedly highly prestigious, tournament.
The blinds are big now, really big. A flop bet, or first bet post flop is often 500k, one neat stack of white tournament chips, which can be sort of pushed out in front of one's stack, and then manoeuvred back in place with a sort of coffee-cup clenching motion if no call. The days of flippant chip throwing are over - this is stack-betting poker and there's been barely a light-hearted chip trick or flashy fold for over an hour.
Just now another pot went to Shulman, who'd called Negreanu's preflop button raise, checked the flop: and then bet out 500k on the turn.
Negreanu raised and Shulman called. They saw a flop.
Shulman checked and Negreanu bet 240,000. Back to Shulman, who now raised to 700,000. And back over to Negreanu, who announced all in. A moment of consideration from Shulman, and he passed.
Please, by the by, accept our apologies for a crazy glitch in our chip counts page that had the counts going all over the place for about five minutes there. It's fixed now, and the current counts are like so:
Negreanu: 5.05 million
Shulman: 4.985 million
There is less than one big blind between them. What with some of use required to be at the EPT starting tomorrow at noon -- that's seven hours from now -- and one PokerNews crew member already gone to catch his flight home, we're beginning to wish we'd brought sleeping bags...
Another tasty pot for Daniel Negreanu levels up the chip counts once again after his two paint cards (sorry, occasionally no announcing + no camera view + no access to table = no detail) were deemed the winning hand on a board. If I had to suggest a hand (which he bet on the river and got a call) it would be but I can't be sure.
But then the very next hand, after raising small on the button, Negreanu called a 550k reraise from Shulman, and then passed on the flop when Shulman bet out 400k. He looked reluctant though, reminding the hole card cameras of exactly what it was he was letting go...