UK's Long denies seventh bracelet to Daniel Negreanu
11 June 2018 (Las Vegas) – London, England's Philip Long has claimed the first World Series of Poker bracelet of his career in winning Event #22 of the 2018 WSOP, $1,500 Eight Game Mix.
Long's triumph was worth $147,348 and represents the second-largest cash of his WSOP career. The 29-year-old UK pro was previously best known for a 29th-place finish in the 2013 WSOP Main Event, where he earned $229,281, a figure that remains his career best.
Long, who was in or near the chip lead for most of the final table's play, claimed the victory here by finishing off Chicago-area player Kevin Malis. Malis, 24, from Buffalo Grove, IL, nearly pulled off the win in what was just his second-ever WSOP cash; he previously made it into the money in the 2015 WSOP Main Event. Malis earned a career-best $91,042 effort in Event #22 after bouncing Daniel Negreanu at the end of a three-hour stretch of three-handed play.
Negreanu's third-place showing culminated a run from the start of Day 3 when he began action as one of the field's shortest stacks. A Negreanu win would have pushed him into a three-way tie for seventh on the WSOP's career wins list, though the $59,788 cash still boosted Negreanu's WSOP career earnings to over $17.1 million.
Former bracelet winner John Racener finished fourth for $40,151, while Sweden's Per Hildebrand claimed fifth, worth $27,587. Colorado's Nicholas Derke, in his first WSOP final-table appearance, claimed $19,404 for sixth.
Long dominated heads-up play and finally finished off Malis during a hand of razz. The last of Malis's chips went in after the first three cards, but the runout ran all Long's way. The hand was over by sixth street, and Long ended up with / / to Malis's / / . Long's six-low sealed the win with ease, and the two players shook hands on a battle well fought.
Long admitted in a post-event interview that he rightly feared Negreanu among his final-table foes, especially during the extended three-way battle. “I was probably most scared of Daniel,” he said. “Kevin [Malis] seemed more inexperienced. It made it easier on me when Daniel went out. He was obviously the best player left.”
The native of Birmingham, a hundred miles from London, couldn't directly compare the victory here to the extended run and general hoopla associated with the Main Event, where his deep run in 2013 remains his largest WSOP cash. “It's nice to win, isn't it?” he offered.
Long almost didn't make it deep on Day 3. Not among the early leaders, he said his key moment came when he “got really lucky early on,” including a hand where he was dealt the second-best hand in deuce-to-seven lowball (7-6-4-3-2) and ended up busting a chasing Robert Williamson III in a huge pot. “I came with a good start.”
Once he built a good stack, he took advantage of it. “Other people were handcuffed. They didn't have many options, and it was easy to wait it out,” he said.
“It's a strange thing, an unusual thing when you have the eight-game mix,” said Long, as the chat turned to the event's format. “You always have to be aware of hat people think about the different games and what they think about you in the different games. So sometimes, people are really competent in some games and weak in the others, and sometimes they think you're bad at some games.... I say have a bit more experience playing these eight games. I think that was my biggest advantage – I kind of knew what was going on in all of them.”
Sixteen players returned for Monday's Day 3 in this eight-game mix event, in which play rotates through rounds of No-Limit Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Razz, Pot-Limit Omaha, Limit Hold’em, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better, and 2-7 (deuce-to-seven) Lowball Triple Draw.
The remaining 16 were winnowed in less than three hours' time to an official final of six. Among those making Day 3 but missing the final were former bracelet winners David Bach (16th, $6,072), Robert Williamson III (14th, $6,072), Anthony Zinno (13th, $6,072), Mike Matusow (12th, $7,815), and the day's early chip leader, Nicholas Seiken (9th, $10,321).
Meanwhile, the UK's Long, six-time bracelet winner Negreanu (who started the day 14th of 16 players), and Swedish veteran Per Hildebrand surged to the top of the board. France's Jean Montury soon bubbled in seventh ($13,979) to set the official final table, and he was quickly followed to the cashier by Nicholas Derke in sixth.
Derke fell to John Racener in a battle of short stacks during a round of deuce-to-seven triple draw. The last of Derke's chips went in after the first draw, and Racener ended up making an 8-6-4-3-2 while Derke still drew twice on the final draw, holding 7-6-3. Derke did pull a deuce, but his other card was a queen, sending him to the rail.
Hildebrand's run ended next. After losing two decent pots to Malis and a third to Negreanu, Hildebrand found himself short, and ended up on the losing end of a pot-limit Omaha hand against Negreanu to bust. Hildebrand called off the last of his chips after a flop, a Hildebrand bet, and a pot raise by Negreanu, and Hildebrand was well behind, with [Ad to Negreanu's for a flopped set. Hildebrand needed a king, but the turn and river came instead, leaving Hildebrand to collect $27,587 for fifth.
A short-stacked John Racener fell next. Racener's run ended in a limit hold'em hand against Long, with the two five-betting before the flop to get Racener's last 98,000 chips in. Racener had pocket threes, but Long had pocket fives, and the board brought no help. Racener, with a bracelet and a Circuit ring to his credit, earned $40,151 for fourth.
In a marked change of pace, three-handed play lasted longer than the amount of time it took to lose Day 3's first 13 departing players. And while Long held in or a near the lead, Negreanu saw his own stack wane while Malis surged by. Negreanu's end came a hand of no-limit hold'em where he called off the last of his chips to a Malis shove on the river of a board. Negreanu had for two pair, but Malis turned up for the set and the knockout.
Malis still trailed Long as heads-up action began, though the lead changed hands a couple of times as the two battled for the title. Soon, though, Long began a steady wearing down of Malis's stack, ultimately cruising to the win.
Event #22: $1,500 Eight Game Mix drew 481 total entries, building a prize pool of $649,350. 73 players cashed and the minimum cash was good for $2,238.
Among the other cashers in Event #22 were James Obst (20th, $4,844), Ben Yu (22nd, $4,844), Valentin Vornicu (23rd, $4,844), Fabrice Soulier (30th, $3,972), Scott Seiver (34th, $3,349), Andrew Kelsall (35th, $3,349), Ian Johns (39th, $2,906), Chip Jett (42nd, $2,906), Vladimir Shchemelev (45th, $2,598), and Cyndy Violette (50th, $2,394).
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Final Table Payouts (POY points in parentheses):
1st: Philip Long, $147,348 (947.46)
2nd: Kevin Malis, $91,042 (473.73)
3rd: Daniel Negreanu, $59,788 (426.36)
4th: John Racener, $40,151 (378.98)
5th: Per Hildebrand, $27,587 (355.30)
6th: Nicholas Derke, $19,404 (331.61)