Volpe wins 1st WSOP bracelet as Daniel Negreanu comes up short in 2-7 Draw Lowball

wsop 2014Paul Volpe has won his first World Series of Poker gold bracelet in WSOP Event #13, a $10,000 buy-in, No Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball tournament. It couldn’t have been easy, faced as he was with a star-studded final table, including Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Brian Rast, Larry Wright and John Monnette. Volpe was actually the only player at the final table who did not already have a WSOP title to his name, while his opponents held a whopping thirteen bracelets between them.

Volpe defeated Negreanu in heads-up play to take home $253,524 and enter his name into the WSOP history books. For many who follow the game, however, the most significant aspect of the tournament’s outcome is not Volpe winning, but Negreanu coming up short.

Before the WSOP kicked off, Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey got together and proposed a joint bracelet bet. In their opinion, the two of them were collectively at least 50% to win an event this year, and they therefore offered an open, even-money bet to anyone willing to stake at least $5000 on neither of them winning a bracelet.

The most likely spots for Negreanu or Ivey to pick up a bracelet, aside from the 56-cap One Drop, are the high buy-in, non-Hold’em events like this one. Part of the reason the two decided to offer the bet, which might appear to be a losing one at first glance, is the preponderance of such events this year. Last night was therefore of great importance for Negreanu, and coming up just short may have cost him a lot more than the $97k difference between the 1st and 2nd place payouts.

It’s private information exactly how much action Negreanu has on his side bet, but it’s likely to be a decent chunk of change. Most people who’ve done a statistical analysis of the bet have come up with the result that it was a good one for Negreanu and Ivey to begin with… but we’re now about a quarter of the way through the series and it’s hard not to wonder if this was their best shot to win the bet.

There’s still plenty of time for Negreanu to rally, or for Ivey to bail them both out with a win of his own, but the pressure is most definitely on at this point.

Alex Weldon is a game designer by day and poker tournament wizard by night. You can read more from Alex at www.benefactum.ca and follow him on Twitter at @benefactumgames

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