WSOP What to Watch For: Davidi Kitai Heads-Up for Bracelet #3; Negreanu Eyes Redemption
It was only a few days ago that Daniel Negreanu was playing heads-up for his seventh World Series of Poker bracelet. Ultimately, though, he lost to eventual winner Paul Volpe for the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship title.
On Sunday Negreanu will get another shot at glory — and in another Championship event. "Kid Poker" enters the final day third in chips out of the final 12 in the $10,000 Seven-Card Razz Championship.
Another multiple bracelet winner, Davidi Kitai, will attempt to win more hardware on Sunday. Kitai returns Sunday to complete his heads-up match with Gordon Vayo after the tournament was postponed late Sunday night.
Negreanu and Kitai headline Day 13 at the 2014 World Series of Poker.
Despite being a two-time bracelet winner and a member of the exclusive Triple Crown club in poker, Davidi Kitai is still flying under the radar. In fact, Phil Hellmuth had no idea who Kitai was on Saturday, completely oblivious to the fact that he was playing against one of Europe's most accomplished tournament pros over the past six years.
Kitai doesn't mind being unknown. He told PokerNews' Jon Zaun that it helps his table image, allowing him to turn up the aggression because opponents aren't familiar with his playing style.
Kitai may not be "unknown" for long. The Belgian pro is just one elimination away from his third WSOP bracelet, which would tie him with superstars like Vanessa Selbst, Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Farha, Barry Greenstein and Barbara Enright in the record books.
It looked like Kitai was going to coast to the title on Sunday. With five players remaining he had more than 60 percent of the chips in play, and when heads-up play began he held a chip advantage of 5.84 million to 1.45 million over Gordon Vayo. But over the course of 40 hands, Vayo managed to claw his way back into contention and actually held a narrow lead of 3.75 million to 3.545 million when play ended for the night.
Vayo is no slouch himself, having racked up more than $1 million in winnings online as "Holla@yoboy" on PokerStars prior to Black Friday. He's already locked up his best career cash in this event, and a victory would double his career live tournament earnings to more than $1 million.
Kitai and Vayo will return at 1 p.m. in the Amazon Room on Monday.
We're happy to see the $10,000 Championship back at the WSOP. Every field is loaded with poker's top talents, making for star-studded final tables that draw big rails in the Amazon Room.
Today's Razz Championship should be no different. Bracelet winners Daniel Negreanu, Naoya Kihara, Brian Hastings, Brandon Shack-Harris and David Bach are in contention with 12 players remaining, while Dan O'Brien, George Danzer, and Yuval Bronshtein are eyeing their first WSOP title.
Negreanu is looking for redemption after finishing second to Paul Volpe in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship this week. It has been widely reported that Negreanu and Phil Ivey have offered up a bet at even money that either one of them will win a bracelet at the 2014 WSOP, so Negreanu has extra incentive to finish on top today — and many will be sweating his result.
Bach, the chip leader going into the day, is quickly becoming the most accomplished razz player in the world. After finishing runner-up in last summer's $2,500 razz event, Bach took fourth in the $1,500 razz tournament at this year's series. Now he's in great shape to make a third straight WSOP razz final table — and potentially win his second bracelet (in 2009 Bach won the $50K Poker Players Championship, an event that includes razz).
Another storyline in this event is Shack-Harris, who could become the first dual bracelet winner of 2014. Shack-Harris took down the $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Event early in the series. He'll have the second biggest stack when play resumes on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Las Vegas.
Also taking place on Sunday is Day 3 of the Seniors Championship, which began at 11 a.m. and is scheduled to play down to a winner. Day 2 of Event #19: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em and Event #20: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout are expected to reach final tables, while two new events will also get underway at the Rio.
Here's a look at the full schedule of Events on Day 13:
- 11:00 a.m. — Event #17: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship (Day 3 of 3)
- 12:00 p.m. — Event #21: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em (Day 1 of 3)
- 1:00 p.m. — Event #19: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em (Day 2 of 3)
- 1:00 p.m. — Event #15: $3,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em (Day 4 of 4)
- 2:00 p.m. — Event #18: $10,000 Seven-Card Razz Championship (Day 3 of 3)
- 2:00 p.m. — Event #20: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout (Day 1 of 3)
- 4:00 p.m. — Event #22: $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship (Day 1 of 3)