Elezra defeats Negreanu in triple draw

The crowds swelled at the final table of the $2,500 buy-in 2-7 triple draw event at the 2013 World Series of Poker. Every seat was occupied by a familiar face and the atmosphere seemed more like a casual night in Vegas rather than a championship event. Eli Elezra earned the victory early Saturday morning in Las Vegas, defeating Daniel Negreanu heads-up to earn his second career WSOP bracelet and $173,236. This was Elezra's fourth cash and third WSOP final table in this discipline.

"It took a long time to get back here, about five years to win my second one," said Elezra to the WSOP after his win. "I played 17 events this year, so this was really beautiful."

The atmosphere for this event stood out from the rest of the WSOP. There was a camaraderie shared among the players and all the way through to the final hand, the players were joking, smiling and enjoying a beverage or two.

"It was almost playing like a high-stakes cash game," said Elezra. "I had played with everyone one of them, except one guy. We had all played together many times. I do feel bad for Daniel [Negreanu]. He is one of the best. He is one of the best friends of mine.

Negreanu's runner-up finish was his first final table in Las Vegas this Series, but his six cashes in total, along with his effort at WSOP Asia Pacific, have kept him in second place in the WSOP's Player of the Year race.

Negreanu entered the six-handed final table with the chip lead. Placed in a corner of the massive Amazon Room, the rail was deep as fans attempted to catch a glimpse of the game's biggest stars. Five of the six players had previously won a WSOP bracelet while Brian Brubaker was making his first final table after three previous cashes in the 2-7 WSOP event.

David Chiu knocked out Scott Seiver in sixth, which for Seiver was probably an unfortunate reminder of what happened in Event 23 when Chiu knocked him out in that event to win the bracelet. Seiver has four cashes and two final tables this Series.

The final table was moved to the feature table area after the conclusion of Event 57. Now, in front of a bigger crowd, the players had even more fun simply enjoying the moment. After an outstanding 2012, David Baker made his first final table appearance of 2013 in this event, but got incredibly unlucky as his 8-6-4-3-2 was bested by Chiu's 7-6-5-3-2. Negreanu opened up a big lead at this point and it was catch-up time for Elezra and the others.

Elezra hit his draw against Chiu to knock him out in fourth and Negreanu eliminated Brubaker in third to set up a heads-up battle between two of the mixed-game's best. Negreanu began with a slight lead, but Elezra found his groove quickly to take command of the match. On the final hand, Elezra stood pat after the second draw holding 9-8-6-5-2. Negreanu opted to draw one and Elezra huddled behind his opponent for a mutual sweat of the final card. Finally, Negreanu revealed a king, giving him K-8-6-4-3 and Elezra the title.

"I love poker. I love the people. That's why I love the game," said Elezra. "I like to talk to the people, tease the people, and enjoy the game. That's the way it should be. Like I did with Daniel (sweating his last card). Some people would not like that. But that's part of it, for me."

Other notable finishers include Michael Mizrachi (ninth), Konstantin Puchkov (14th) and Marco Johnson (16th).

Below are the complete results of Event 59 at the 2013 World Series of Poker:

Event 59: 2-7 triple draw
Buy-in: $2,500
Entries: 282
Prize pool: $641,550
Players in the money: 30

1. Eli Elezra ($173,236)
2. Daniel Negreanu ($107,055)
3. Brian Brubaker ($70,743)
4. David Chiu ($48,077)
5. David Baker ($33,399)
6. Scott Seiver ($23,698)
7. Eric Wasserson ($17,161)
8. Alexander Condon ($17,161)
9. Michael Mizrachi ($12,683)
10. Mike Watson ($12,683)
11. Hernan Salazar ($9,559)
12. Farhad Momeni ($9,559)
13. Juijen Chang ($7,345)
14. Konstantin Puchkov ($7,345)
15. Ismael Bojang ($7,345)
16. Marco Johnson ($7,345)
17. Benjamin Pollak ($7,345)
18. Calvin Anderson ($7,345)
19. Mikey Stotz ($5,812)
20. Sebastien Sabic ($5,812)
21. Brant Hale ($5,812)
22. Dale Townsend ($5,812)
23. Stian Amundsgard ($5,812)
24. Ali Sarkeshik ($5,812)
25. Ola Amundsgard ($4,599)
26. Matthew Smith ($4,599)
27. Dario Alioto ($4,599)
28. Naoya Kihara ($4,599)
29. Jon Turner ($4,599)
30. Ryan Tepen ($4,599)