Daniel Negreanu at Final Table of WSOP National Championship in North Carolina

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Daniel Negreanu WSOP
Although he missed making the WSOP Main Event final table, Daniel Negreanu comes into the final day of the WSOP National Championship in third place. (Image: CardsChat.com)

Daniel Negreanu may have just missed the final table at this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event, but he’s proving his daunting chops once again by making one at another WSOP event this week.

Negreanu is one of seven players still in contention at the 2015 World Series of Poker National Championship, putting him in reach of his seventh career WSOP bracelet. However, he’ll have to battle through a tough lineup to get there, one that includes current chip leader Loni Harwood.

The WSOP National Championship is an event that serves as the end of the WSOP Circuit season, but also one that awards a bracelet that is considered equal to those won at the main WSOP.

The tournament offers 100 qualifiers from the WSOP Circuit season free entry with $1 million automatically added to the prize pool for them to compete for.

Top-Ranked WSOP Players Pay to Join Tournament

However, the tournament is also open to the top 100 competitors from the main WSOP over the past two years. If these players want to participate, they need to pay a $10,000 buy-in, essentially making this a typical high stakes tournament for those players.

This year, 22 players chose to make that investment, bringing the final prize pool to $1.22 million. Of those players, Harwood and Negreanu were the only ones to make the final table.

Negreanu and Harwood are also the only two players at the final table who already have a WSOP bracelet. Negreanu, of course, is one of the world’s most famous players, but Harwood has had plenty of success in her career as well. At the 2013 WSOP, she made three final tables, including winning her only career bracelet.

Harwood enters the final day with an impressive chip lead. She holds over 1.3 million chips, more than double any of the other players at the final table.

Fish, Masek Among Final Table Competitors

The other five players who remained in contention after Thursday’s play had plenty of accolades of their own as well. Darryll Fish qualified for the National Championship by winning a WSOP Circuit Main Event at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in February, and enters the final day of play second in the chip standings.

In fourth place is Vincent Moscati, who made the field by finishing sixth on the season-long WSOP Circuit leaderboard. Over the course of the past season, Moscati won three Circuit rings, and is now looking to improve on his $210,000 in lifetime tournament earnings.

Also in contention is Brad St. Vincent, who earned his spot by becoming the Casino Champion at the Foxwoods Circuit stop in May. St. Vincent won one ring and cashed six times during that festival, and comes into Friday’s play in fifth place.

Finally, there are two short stacks who will need to pick up chips early to survive for long on Friday. Paul Mattioda qualified by finishing 19th on this season’s leaderboard, while Alex Masek, who holds the record for most career WSOP Circuit rings with eight, has just 100,000 chips heading into the final day of play.

This year’s National Championship is being played at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina, the first time the event has been held there. Previous versions have taken place in locations such as Atlantic City.

Each of the final seven players in the field is guaranteed to win at least $49,203, while the top prize is worth $341,599 and a prestigious WSOP bracelet. A total of 15 players cashed in the event, with notables like Ari Engel and Dominik Nitsche among those who made the money.

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