Under almost any different set of circumstances, Daniel Negreanu would've been down the street at the Cafe de Paris where the EPT London revelers were lubricating their minds and joints at the European Poker Tour welcome party. On any other night, Negreanu would've been on the mic, glad-handing in the crowd, and getting ready to play in the EPT Main Event.
Instead, he was a few blacks away from the Piccadilly Circus party and playing for the World Series of Poker Europe bracelet.
By the time the party was winding down, fellow Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier shuffled in, having finished fourth for £267,267. The crowd gave him the proper respect at his nearly capturing another major title. With Mercier gone, the PokerStars loyalists and Negreanu fans began to get excited.
As it happened, Negreanu had started the WSOPE final table as the shortest stack. Over more than a dozen grueling hours had worked himself back up to the lead, and eventually heads up against CardPlayer magazine chief Barry Shulman.
When most of the EPT partiers were heading to bed, Schulman had taken a nearly 5-1 chip lead and the tournament looked to be at its end for Kid Poker. Instead,he came back, took over the chip lead, and had his hands on the bracelet.
One big hand made all the difference. With the money in on the flop, Negreanu was behind with top-pair of jacks and a queen kicker, up against Schulman's overpair of aces. When Kid Poker spiked a jack on the turn, it looked as if we's see another bracelet on Negreanu's wrist. The ace on the river was about as crushing a blow as Negreanu could expect to handle.
He never recovered. A few minutes later, the told the world via Twitter the hand "will make you hate poker."
By sun-up this morning, Negreanu watched the bracelet handed to Schulman. Gracious in defeat, Negreanu took his second place spot and £495,589 in prize money.
Though there is no discounting the disappointment Negreanu is experiencing this morning, he can take some heart that he is now poker's all-time tournament money winner. It's not a bracelet, but it's something.
Congratulations to both Negreanu and Mercier for outstanding performances in the WSOPE.