2016 World Series of Poker Daily Update: Towner and Klein First Firsts, Negreanu and Hellmuth Dig for Gold

June 29th, 2016 | by Kaycee James

The 2016 World Series of Poker hasn’t been kind to bracelet-heavy pros Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu. Two of the game’s most popular stars of all time just can’t seem to get on track, with less than two weeks to go before the Main Event.

Daniel Negreanu WSOP 2016

What would be a monster year for anyone else, has been a plummet for the game’s top tournament moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu. (Image: danielnegreanu.com)

The pair has a combined 20 WSOP gold bracelets, but save for one close call from Negreanu earlier this month, neither have had much success in the 2016 Series. Kid Poker does have six cashes this summer, but has played numerous events and only made one final table.

For a casual poker player, that’s an incredible performance, of course. For a six-time bracelet winner and the man with more live tournament cashes than anyone else in history, that’s called a slump.

Things have gone even worse for the Poker Brat. The 14-time bracelet winner, a record, has only cashed three times this summer, with his highest being 15th place  in Event #20, the $10,000 Razz.

Phil’s third cash came on Tuesday in Event #48, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, and he’s still alive heading into Day Two today. But he has just 10 big blinds and is 40th out of 49 remaining players come the noon restart. This fast-paced event is only a two-day one, so a winner should be declared by later this evening.

Towner Crowns It

Is there anything better than winning your first World Series bracelet? You can ask Texan Mitchell Towner today, because he became the winner of the massive field Monster Stack event on Tuesday. He’ll take home $1,120,196 and a bracelet and some sick bragging rights for surviving not only almost 7,000 players, but many, many top pros as well.

Among the fallen whose names we all know were David Pham (5th), Matt Affleck (10th), T.J. Cloutier (14th), and Joseph Arieh (50th).

Loren Klein Strikes Gold

Event #45, the $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha, went to Loren Klein of Nevada. The 34-year old poker pro defeated a field of 919 players over three days. The gold bracelet he picked up was the first of his lifetime.

Klein won $241,427 after defeating Dmitry Savelyev heads-up. The final hand of the tournament played out as follows:

During no-limit hold’em, Dmitry raised on the button to 130,000, with around 1 million behind with 8♣7♣. Loren put him all-in with A♦9♦. Savelyev thought for a bit, smiled, and told his opponent, “I have two live cards. I know I have two live cards. Okay, let’s gamble! I call!”

The flop made both players sweat  when it came 9♥4♥6♣. Klein had top pair and needed to avoid an open-ended straight draw from hitting his opponent on the turn or river to win the bracelet. The Q♥ and 2♦ followed, bringing the tournament to a conclusion.

Intense Action in $5,000 No-Limit

Event #40, the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em, is a turbo tournament with 30-minute blind levels. Many big name pros registered and busted early. That includes Doug Polk, who pledged to give away five percent of his winnings to a random lucky Twitter follower.

Unfortunately for those who entered the drawing, Polk spent all of six minutes in the tournament before getting felted. No free money will be awarded. Boo hoo.

There were 524 players registered for Day One on Tuesday. The field has dwindled down to 49 and is expected to come to a conclusion on Wednesday.

At the top of the leaderboard is Eduards Kudrjavevs, but Michael Mizrachi is right behind him in the number two spot. Jason Mercier, John Racener, Phil Hellmuth, and Joe Cada are all among the returning crew today. Cada, the 2009 Main Event champ, will need to go on a sick heater if he expects to win. He’s in last place with just 29,000 chips.

The On-Deck Circle

Wednesday’s action at the Rio in Las Vegas includes the start of two events:  Event #50, the $1,500 Shootout No-Limit Hold’em, and Event #51, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha championship. The Shootout is already underway as we go to print, and Pot Limit kicks off at 3 pm Pacific time.

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