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PokerStars SuperStar Showdown: Negreanu Mounts Comeback to Win $26,500

Daniel Negreanu

Last week, it took Viktor “Isildur1” Blom 1,439 hands to dismantle fellow Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu and take his entire $150,000 bankroll in the SuperStar Showdown. It was a landslide, to say the least. On Sunday, Negreanu returned to the virtual felt for a rematch. Blom not only entered with all the momentum, but he also boasted an intimidating SuperStar Showdown record of 4-1.

SuperStar Showdown Breakdown

Dec. 19, 2010Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton-$41,7010-1
Jan. 2, 2011Antanas “Tony G” Guoga+$44,2801-1
Jan. 30, 2011Daniel “w00ki3z” Cates+$51,1962-1
Feb. 13, 2011Eugene Katchalov+$111,7503-1
March 20, 2011Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu+$150,0004-1

How It’s Played: While the SuperStar Showdown may conjure images of the “durrrr Challenge,” there are some differences. The SuperStar Showdown is designed as a one-time high-stakes match where challengers face Blom in a heads-up match of 2,500 hands (as opposed to the “durrrr Challenge," which is 50,000 hands and can last over many months — or years).

The match is played across four tables of $50/$100 or higher no-limit hold’em and/or pot-limit Omaha, depending on the competitor's preference. The winner is the player who shows a profit at the end of the match or who felts his or her opponent in the process. What’s more, the SuperStar Showdown matches are announced in advance, so poker fans can enjoy the action live on PokerStars, unlike the “durrrr Challenge," which has been inconsistent. In this particular match, Blom and Negreanu decided to duplicate their first match by playing four tables of heads-up no-limit hold'em.

The Outcome: Early on, things looked as if they might be a repeat of their first meeting. In fact, Negreanu was down $120,000 in 1,300 hands, which was just over the halfway point of the match. Amazingly, Negreanu was able to right the ship and mount an epic comeback. He not only did lasted the entire match, but he also managed to erase his deficit and finish $26,500 in the black.

Here is a look at a few of the biggest and most notable hands from Blom and Negreanu’s second match.

Fast Start for Blom: Within 350 hands Blom, had managed to build a lead of $28,000 and continued to add to that over the next hour. In one hand, Negreanu opened for $300, Blom reraised to $1,000, and Negreanu made the call. When the flop fell {5-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{2-Hearts}, Blom fired out $1,200 and was met with a raise to $3,100 from Negreanu. Blom responded by moving all in, Negreanu called, and the cards were turned up.

Negreanu: {J-Hearts}{8-Hearts}
Blom: {J-}{J-}

Negreanu had floppd a flush and was in a dominating position; however, that all changed when the {5-Diamonds} hit the turn followed by the {5-Spades} river. Blom went runner-runner to hit a full house and take the $27,700 pot.

Not long after, Negreanu looked down at {A-Clubs}{K-Hearts} and got it all in preflop against Blom's {A-Spades}{Q-Spades}. Once again he was in a dominating position and once again that all changed when the flop delivered a queen. The rest of the board blanked for Negreanu and he lost the $20,100 pot, prompting him to comment in the chat, “This is unreal.”

Time for a Comeback: Negreanu found himself down $119,600 after 1,279 hands and seemed to be in big trouble. Things looked bleak until a few timely double-ups put him back in contention. In one hand, Negreanu four-bet to $2,400 with pocket queens, Blom five-bet shoved for $27,550 holding {J-Clubs}{10-Spades}, and Negreanu called off his remaining $12,800. The queens held to send the $30,400 pot to Negreanu, who didn't stop there.

A short time later, Negreanu held {8-Diamonds}{9-Hearts} and got all his money in on a {10-Hearts}{7-Spades}{6-Spades} flop, Blom had plenty of outs with the {5-Spades}{9-Spades}, but both the turn and river blanked, cutting his lead over Negreanu in half. Things seemed to have turned around for Negreanu who used that momentum to four-bet preflop and see a flop of {J-Spades}{6-Clubs}{5-Clubs}. Blom checked, Negreanu bet $3,100, and Blom check-raised to $7,650. Negreanu, who held the bigger stack, wasted little time in moving all in and Blom called off for $17,700.

Blom: {Q-Diamonds}{J-Hearts}
Negreanu: {A-Hearts}{A-Spades}

The turn and river changed nothing and Negreanu took down a pot worth $56,300.

Winding Down: Negreanu managed to ride his momentum into the black and somehow managed to wrest the lead from Blom. In their last all-in pot, Blom held {A-Diamonds}{2-Hearts} and three-bet shoved on a flop of {Q-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{3-Hearts}. Negreanu made the easy call holding {A-Spades}{Q-Hearts} and sweated the {4-Diamonds} turn and {6-Diamonds} river. Ship the $20,000 pot to Negreanu, who wound up winning a modest $26,500 in the match, putting him down $123,500 over the course of both matches.

Big Pots: After the match, Negreanu took to his blog to discuss the match and commented on the big pots he played against Blom: “In total we played 39 pots of 20k or more . . . I ended up winning $26,500, EV adjusted was $55,000. Now, I know some people hate that I post the EV adjusted total, but I think it's a very interesting note to add to the results of a session so I'm not going to stop doing that, even if I start running above EV. In the two matches versus Isildur1, I ran a combined 70k below average in all in pots. I'm not whining about it, I swear! Just posting the facts people. Of the 39 pots we played that were 20k or bigger, I won 21-18. Over both matches I lost 23-30.”

Next Up?: The next SuperStar Showdown has already been announced. This weekend, on Sunday, April 3, Blom will square off against Scott “urnotindangr” Palmer in another two-part match. As always, you can watch that match on PokerStars.

SuperStar Showdown Breakdown

Dec. 19, 2010Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton-$41,7010-1
Jan. 2, 2011Antanas “Tony G” Guoga+$44,2801-1
Jan. 30, 2011Daniel “w00ki3z” Cates+$51,1962-1
Feb. 13, 2011Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov+$111,7503-1
March 20, 2011Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu+$150,0004-1
March 27, 2011Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu-$26,5004-2
Total SuperStar Showdown Profit: $289,025   

If you want to find out more details and hands from this installment of the PokerStars SuperStar Showdown, check out the PokerStars Blog.

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