Moment of the Week: John Hennigan Beats Daniel Negreanu Heads Up
There may be no more anticipated moment for poker fans than a Daniel Negreanu bracelet run at the World Series of Poker.
Not only does "Kid Poker" have $40 million in live tournament earnings, but his generous way with fans — nobody takes more photos with railbirds — and natural charisma give him a huge worldwide following that hangs on seemingly every chip he puts in the pot late in a WSOP event. Look no further than the 2015 WSOP Main Event, when Negreanu captivated the poker world with a run to the final two tables, only for Joe McKeehen to take the air out of the Amazon Room by busting Negreanu on the unofficial final table bubble.
So, when Negreanu made it heads up in Event #41: $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship, it was only natural that it would be the Global Poker Moment of the Week one way or the other.
Making it all the more anticipated and all the more special was that the match came against fellow old-school legend "Johnny World" Hennigan.
Kid Poker Versus World
For much of the final table, Negreanu looked to be in complete command, holding a majority of the total chips as early as four-handed. After David "ODB" Baker went bust in third, though, Hennigan found himself down but well within striking distance, 3.4 million to 1.9 million at 40,000/80,000/10,000.
It wouldn't take long for Hennigan to overtake his rival, but the lead would prove far from permanent. Each player took turns inching north of 3 million, but each time a player nudged up against the 4 million mark, the other would land a few haymakers and the grueling bout continued.
Johnny World finally made a decisive run as Level 22 (50,000/100,000/10,000) was coming to a close.
First, he made aces up against Negreanu on the river. Negreanu had bet dark showing a pair of eights on board and Hennigan, after peeling, squeezed out an extra bet of value with a raise that got paid off. Hennigan then won a few small and medium pots before making aces up once again to hammer Negreanu down to 10 big bets.
There was no escape from there, and after four hours of play, Hennigan made aces up one final time to end things for Negreanu in a bittersweet second-place finish.
By overcoming his fellow poker legend, Hennigan leaves the two knotted up at six bracelets apiece. Johnny World joined select company of Jeff Lisandro, Jay Heimowitz, Ted Forrest, Layne Flack, Chris Ferguson, TJ Cloutier and Negreanu as the only players with six.
For the longtime grinder, bracelets are clearly a priority that comes and goes. Sometimes, he grinds out a hefty tournament schedule, as he did in contending for WSOP Player of the Year in 2018. Other times, he's an inconsistent presence at best, lured away by high-limit cash games, as appeared to be the case here in 2019 when Hennigan wasn't spotted often in the Rio during the early going.
As for his vanquished opponent, however, there's no doubt the loss will bring considerable sting. Negreanu makes no secret of his desire to win POY honors each and every year at the WSOP, and he's never been shy about letting the world know he has ambitions to add to his bracelet count.
Unfortunately for Kid Poker, it's been a massively frustrating run of late when advances to heads-up play with a bracelet on the table. Since his last bracelet in 2013, Negreanu has gotten heads up at the WSOP four times now, each one ending in heartbreak. The players to whom he lost — Paul Volpe, Abe Mosseri, Dan Colman and Hennigan — are all either multiple bracelet winners or, in Colman's case, one of the most respected no-limit players ever.
Undoubtedly, that's small comfort to Negreanu as he continues the quest for bracelet No. 7. Thanks to Hennigan's win in the Global Poker Moment of the Week, he's got new company at six.
Keep following the PokerNews live updates as all the exciting moments of the 2019 World Series of Poker are brought to you from the tournament floor. The WSOP Moment of the Week is sponsored by Global Poker.