Canadian Poker Pros going strong in WPT Five Diamond

Canadian Poker Pros at WPT Five Diamond World Poker ClassicAside from the World Series of Poker, few live card tournaments hold more prestige than the WPT Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas. That’s where you’ll find two famous Canadian poker pros, Daniel Negreanu and Jennifer Tilly, as they held leading positions among the remaining field after Day 2.

The biggest news out of the WPT Five Diamond this week was a record breaking field. The previous record of 664 entries was tallied in 2007, but this year’s rendition, with buy-ins and rebuys, shattered the record with 791.

It also generated a record prize pool of $7.7 million, guaranteeing two millionaires will walk away when it’s all over on December 10. An impressive $1.938 million will go to the eventual WPT Champion, an $1.124 million to the runner up.

Negreanu Seeks 2nd WPT Five Diamond Title

Canadian Poker Pro Daniel NegreanuDaniel Negreanu, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, did his fare share to boost this season’s record entries. Following a few frivolous Day 1 attempts to boost his stack, Daniel paid the $10,400 buy-in not once, not twice, but six times before he finally doubled up and secured a good position in the chip stacks.

He’s clearly looking to reap the rewards of his investment, valued at $62,400. To do so, he’ll need to finish in the top 12 at least. The Canadian poker pro was well on his way to pursuing that goal Tuesday, finishing out Day 2 in 19th place with 183,400.

Negreanu has been in this position before. In 2004, he won the Five Diamond for $1.77 million, besting Humberto Brenes for the WPT Championship title. While he’d surely like to repeat that triumphant moment, he won’t be crying over the loss if it doesn’t pan out. Daniel Negreanu holds the current #1 position on the Live Poker All Time Money List with over $32.6 million under his belt.

Jennifer Tilly Enters Day 3 in 2nd

American-Canadian Poker Pro Jennifer TillyAnother famous poker pro of Canadian-American decent is Jennifer Tilly – often best known for her award winning performances in Hollywood films like Bride of Chucky (1998), and an Academy Award nomination for Bullets over Broadway (1994) – who’s done well enough to pull into Day 3 with the second largest stack.

Tilly’s 279,100 was only bested by the 364,600 of 2x WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Hughes. Having competed in hundreds of live poker events throughout her long and illustrious career, Jennifer is well aware of the mental toll poker can take on its players.

“Trying to hold on to my big stack is exhausting! It’s like trying to keep a giant rock from rolling down the hill,” she wrote on Twitter.

Tilly has a WSOP bracelet of her own, earned in 2005, as well as a WPT Ladies Night Championship and a few other esteemed titles. She’s been named CardPlayer Celebrity Player of the Year and won the WPT Bellagio Cup 5K in 2010.

More Stiff Competition Looms

Plenty of other big names joined these Canadian poker pros around the felt on Tuesday. Justin Bonomo finished strong with 219,800, while Chance Kornuth (176,300), Matt Glantz (170,000) and Layne Flack (151,600) came in just behind Neagreanu.

2x WSOP bracelet winner and 2x WPT titlist JC Tran was hunting for a another victory with 142,400 chips to his name. Other famous players in the hunt included Joe McKeehen (130,000), Brian Rast (125,000), Mike Matusow (112,400), Dutch Boyd (107,400), Antonio Esfandiari (97,400), Phil Laak (85,900), Joe Hachem (70,000), and Doug Polk (59,900).

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