Heartbreak for Negreanu: Sion Captures $50K PPC Title, Hallaert Making Another Deep Run, and Does Hellmuth Have 2017 Razz Bracelet in Store?

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On the 37th day of the 2017 World Series of Poker, eyes were on Daniel Negreanu, who was in pursuit of his seventh gold bracelet in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Unfortunately for him, cards didn’t cooperate with the affable Hall of Famer, and instead a 26-year-old Londoner would win the Chip Reese Trophy, etched with the names of players it honors for “standing the test of time.”

Elior Sion heads-up.
Elior Sion with just one player left to dispose of in the $50k Poker Players Championship. Sometimes playing poker heads-up for nearly $1.4 million is more grind than glamour. (Image: Antonio Abrego / PokerPhotoArchive.com)

“Crazy Elior” Denies Negreanu His $50K PPC Day

Daniel Negreanu began the fifth day of Event #62, $50,000 Poker Players Championship, at the final table as chip leader. Unfortunately for “Kid Poker,” things went about as bad as they could, hand after hand, until he was bounced in fifth place for $300,852.

“Bitter 5th Place finish in the most fun tourney of the year $50k PPC,” Negreanu tweeted. “5 days of grinding hard totally disrespected by a shameful POY system.”

His frustrations about revisions to the player-of-the-year scoring system have been a recurring theme this summer.

“I know I’m supposed to just ‘get over it’ but I’m not there yet. I wanted to make history but this system is broken badly,” Negreanu continued.

Instead, what some consider the most prestigious title in all of poker came down to two relatively unknown 26-year-old European pros in Elior Sion and Johannes Becker. The duo exchanged the chip lead over a heads-up battle that lasted nearly five hours. But eventually Sion, an online pro who plays under the moniker “Crazy Elior,” came out on top to capture his first WSOP bracelet and a $1,395,767 prize.

“It feels amazing,” Sion told WSOP officials after his win. “It’s been a long day playing with some of the best players in the world. A tournament like this is like a long journey. You just need to take it a step at a time. There are a few blips along the way, but as long as you still have chips, anything can happen. At the final table, cards fell my way and I was fortunate enough to win.”

Sion said he plans to use his winnings to help launch a real estate business back in London.

He claimed the title in a hand of Omaha Hi-Lo. Becker had limped holding Q♠6♠6♥2♠, and Sion checked with Q♦J♠7♣5♥.

The flop fell quite favorably for Sion: 7♠5♠5♦. He checked and Becker bet. Sion woke up with a check-raise, his opponent called, and the 9♠ peeled off on the turn. Sion bet, Becker raised all-in, Sion called. Becker needed a low card to chop, but instead the 5♣ river paired the board, leaving no lo-hand possibilities and giving Sion quads.

Final Table Results
1 Elior Sion (London, UK) $1,395,767
2 Johannes Becker (Koln, Germany) $862,649
3 Isaac Haxton (Las Vegas, NV) $595,812
4 Ivo Donev (Lochau, Austria) $419,337
5 Daniel Negreanu (Toronto, Canada) $300,852
6 Paul Volpe (West Chester, PA) $220,111

November Niner Going Deep Again

Event #66, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em, began with 1,956 players and is down to the final 23 after Day 2 action. The favorite for the $428,423 first-place prize is Kenny Hallaert (1.779 million), who already has seven WSOP cashes this summer to follow up his making the 2016 Main Event final table.

Others still competing are Chris Klodnicki (1.442 million), three-time WPT champ Darren Elias (619,000), and Brian Hastings (201,000). Among those to finish in the money on Thursday were Sam Grafton (29th for $10,893), Ben Yu (43rd for $8,970), and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier (59th for $6,299).

The third and final day will begin at noon PT on Friday, with the plan of playing down to a winner.

Parvizi Holds $25K PLO Lead for Second Day

Day 2 of Event #67, $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha 8-Handed High Roller, a tournament that attracted 205 players, began with Iraj Parvizi as the chip leader. He would lose the top spot early in the day, but he stormed back late to close the day with the big stack, 3.75 million to be exact, for the second day in a row.

His next closest competitor is James Calderaro (3 million), while others among the 20 survivors include Dan Smith (980,000), Ben Tollerene (910,000), and Esther Taylor-Brady (515,000). Meanwhile, players like Max Silver (22nd for $42,393), Brant Hale (26th for $37,776), and John Beauprez (31st for $37,776) all saw their journeys come to an end.

Action will resume at 2 pm PT on Friday with the plan of playing down to a final table. The eventual winner will walk away with a $1,289,074 prize.

Kornuth on Top in $3K NLH

Event #68, $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em, began with 1,349 players, but after ten levels of play, only 348 survived Day 1. Of those, 203 will earn a portion of a $3,642,300 prize pool, which has $645,922 set aside for the winner.

Chance Kornuth bagged with the chip lead with 192,600. He’ll be joined on Day 2 by such recognizable faces as 2017 SCOOP champ Charlie Carrel (159,200), Griffin Benger (100,200), and Cliff Josephy (81,700). Among those to fall on Day 1 were Liv Boeree, Ryan Riess, and actor/comedian Brad Garrett.

Hellmuth Still Alive in $1,500 Razz

The other WSOP event to kick off on Thursday was Event #69, $1,500 Razz, a tournament that drew 419 runners and created a $565,650 prize pool. By the end of the night, 102 remained in contention for the $132,957 first-place prize with Matt Grapenthien and his stack of 82,300 leading the way.

Others who found a bag were Benny Glaser (61,000), Sam Grizzle (47,300), and Phil Hellmuth (45,900). Some players who saw their last shot of the summer at a Razz bracelet come to an end were Billy Baxter, Justin Bonomo, Ray Henson, and Greg Raymer.

Of Hellmuth’s 14 WSOP bracelets, the only two to come in non-hold’em events were both in razz. He won a $2,500 razz event in 2012, and in 2015 won his most recent bracelet in the $10k Razz Championship.

Last Three Tournaments Before Main Event

Three new events begin on Friday, one day before the WSOP Main Event gets underway.

The first is Event #70, $10,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship, which gives ladies a discounted entry price of $1,000. That tournament begins at 11 am PT.

Three hours later at 2 pm PT, the third and final online event of the summer starts. Event #71, $1,000 WSOP.com Online No-Limit Hold’em Championship, will feature unlimited re-entries.

Then finally at 3 pm PT, Event #72, $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship, will give players their last opportunity of the summer to play a non-hold’em tournament.

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