Daniel Negreanu - Mister PokerStar
Kid Pokers Childhood
The man who always smiles was born on July 26th, 1974 in Toronto, Canada. His parents Annie and Constantin moved to Canada from Romania in 1967, so the children could lead a better life. In his teens, Daniel Negreanu’s passion for playing poker had not really unfolded yet. He was more interested in sports betting and playing backgammon. Soon he started playing poker with some of his friends and his passion for this game started to evolve. Negreanu now played more often, concentrated on reading poker instructions and worked hard on improving his skills of observing other players. At the age of 19 he already was a very good poker player and started participating in highly paid tournaments. Daniel Negreanu left high school just before graduating, so he could spend more time on gambling, some of which was legal, some not. Around that time he began to date Evelyn Ng, who later became a famous poker player herself.
Conquering Las Vegas and the WSOP
At the age of 21, Daniel went to Las Vegas for the first time, where he started to participate in tournaments and cash-games, but soon realized that casinos in Las Vegas were quite different to those in Toronto. After he had spent all his savings, he was forced to return to his home town. He continued to play and kept winning in Toronto and loosing in Las Vegas. In 1997 Negreanu was declared best all-round player at the World Poker Finals in Foxwood, where he managed to win two events and received $ 133,600 prize money. All of a sudden, the attention of poker professionals around the world was fixed on him.
One year later, in 1998, he participated in the World Series of Poker for the first time and won $ 169,460 as well as his first WSOP Bracelet at the $ 2,000 Texas Hold’em event. Being the youngest WSOP winner in history at the age of 23, he was nicknamed Kid Poker from then on. In 2004, however, he had to pass this title on to Gavin Griffin. Between 1996 and 1999, Daniel Negreanu shuttled between his home town Toronto and Las Vegas before settling down in “Sin City” at last, after he had finally figured out how to win in the “real poker world”. Since his notable success during the World Series of Poker in 1998, Daniel Negreanu is handled as one of the best tournament players in the world.
Negreanu managed to win two more WSOP titles in 2003 and 2004. Because of his charisma and popularity he was honoured as the “World Series of Poker player of the year” in 2004; additionally he won two World Poker Tour events (Borgata Poker Open and Bellagio Five Diamond Classic Tournament). In these tournament series, Negreanu finished in the top three more often than any other participant. In 2004 alone he reached 11 final tables and won a total of $ 4,400,000.
In 2003 Daniel Negreanu set up his own online poker casino, Full Contact Poker. He sold the rights to Big Stack Enterprises in 2005, so he could reach the status of an online exclusive player. In February 2006, due to his popularity, he received another award when Card Player Magazine declared him “Most Popular Poker Player”.
In 2007, the world’s largest online poker room, PokerStars took over Big Stack Enterprises. This meant that Daniel Negreanu’s own poker casino, Full Contact Poker, became part of PokerStars and Daniel was now advertising for them. Now playing at PokerStars.com, Daniel Negreanu still uses his “old” nickname “KidPoker”.
Author, TV star and teacher
Daniel Negreanu is not only successful in the actual world of poker, he also regularly contributes to the poker magazine “Card Player Magazine” and writes newspaper articles, which are published in more than 50 cities on a regular basis.
But Daniel Negreanu does not stop at writing for newspapers – he also is a successful author: His first book was titled “Hold’em Wisdom for All Players”. For his second book, he brought together a “team of Superstars”, which is currently working on his new release called “Daniel Negreanu’s Power Hold’em Strategy”.
Most of these “Superstars” usually are opponents of Daniel Negreanu’s. They often meet at poker tournaments and high stakes games, which are broadcast on TV in shows like Late Night Poker, Poker After Dark, Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament and Ultimate Poker Challenge. Negreanu does not only take part in the games, he also often acts as presenter or commentator.
Additionally, Daniel Negreanu had a computer game called “Stacked with Daniel Negreanu” named after him which – of course – is all about poker.
Daniel Negreanu is one of only a handful of poker players, who have appeared in all four seasons of High Stakes Poker, the famous US poker TV show. At the end of the fourth season he was one of the participants with the longest overall playing time on the show. In the second season, he lost a pot worth more than $ 575,000 to Gus Hansen, even though he was holding a spectacular hand:
Daniel Negreanu was holding a 6♠ and 6♥ and Gus Hansen was holding 5♦and 5♣ when the flop came 9♣, 6♦ and 5♥, giving them both three of a kind. The turn brought a 5♠, which meant a full house for Negreanu, but Hansen now had four of a kind. The river brought an 8♠ which did not affect Negreanu’s hand and secured Gus Hansen the $ 575,000 pot.
Daniel Negreanu is well known for his efforts to give poker a good name. He wants for the public opinion to overcome the association of poker with gambling and emphasizes on it being a form of sport. He tries to convince people that playing poker is a serious profession, though maybe an unconventional one.
He also acts as a coach for famous poker fans such as Tobey Maguire, who have already had some success in tournaments due to Negranu’s tuition. In his online blog Daniel Negreanu often lets his fans know what he is thinking, which is one of the reasons why he has become so popular: Thousands of his admirers read this blog regularly.
Away from the poker tables
On August 19, 2005 Daniel Negreanu married his girlfriend Lori Lin Weber. They both live in Las Vegas together. The only thing he misses in Las Vegas is Canadian beer:
“I miss the beer man, I miss the beer. Being in Las Vegas I have to settle for Heineken or Corona. I just can’t drink American beer, it tastes too much like urine.”
Apart from his joyful disposition, Daniel Negreanu is also famous for excessive drinking, even though he is trying to get rid of this reputation. In his blog he refers to certain situations, in which he was acting under the influence of alcohol.
Despite his unhealthy lifestyle with regard to alcohol, Negreanu has decided to live vegan. He also avoids sweets and fried food and never drinks lemonade, but calls everything his mother cooks his “favourite food”. More than once he has been seen sitting at the poker table, enjoying his mother’s home-cooked meals in the middle of a tournament.
Daniel is a great fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, an ice hockey team whose T-shirts he loves to wear for various poker tournaments. He also loves playing golf. His favourite musician is Bob Marley but he also finds relaxation in listening to ocean sounds and the twittering of birds on CD.
If he isn’t playing poker, Daniel Negreanu spends a lot of time at home. In his spare time, his favourite place to be is his couch:
“I am out and about all the time and everything I need I have at home...I have my TV, my computer and my pool outside, I just love to relax at home. I love to come home.”
Daniel Negreanu is also a very social person and dedicates a lot of his time to teaching disabled children how to play poker.
A professional himself, he is a great fan of other famous poker players:
“There are so many people I respect in the poker world and they all have similar attributes: excellent players who are also genuinely good people and treat others well. Phil Ivey is an awesome talent and is well grounded at the same time. Jennifer Harman plays in the biggest cash-games in the world on a regular basis and wins. She wears her emotions on her sleeve, so when she’s pissed you’ll hear about it! I respect Phil for his dedicated focus, and Jennifer for making it to the top of a “man’s world” despite all of the obstacles she’s had to face in her life, including twice going through kidney failure and facing death.”
He was asked who he would be played by in the “Daniel Negreanu Story” in an interview and he answered:
“Well, the first obvious choice is Edward Norton and the second would be Matt Damon. I like Matt Damon – he’s a nice guy and a great actor. But I think Edward Norton would have to be the obvious choice“.
In the same interview he also recalled how much poker had changed his life:
“Financially, it gives me the freedom to do whatever I want. Also, because I’m my own boss, I don’t have to answer to anybody. I always hated having a boss. And it also gave me the opportunity, because poker has raised us to celebrity status, to meet some really cool people that I grew up watching, like athletes, actors and people like that...I’m not much of a ‘bling-bling’ guy, but probably the ‘bling-blingiest’ thing is the thing I am in right now – a Lexus SC430 convertible."
Daniel Negreanu believes he has the skills to read his opponents and is able to predict strategies, strength and weakness.
Daniel enjoys the admiration of an enormous fan community
Probably because of his internet blogs, Daniel Negreanu has numerous fans who want to express their admiration for him on his MySpace profile:
“Thanks for giving us quality play to watch. You impress me beyond words. If you need another protégé let me know. Put me in coach, I’m ready!”
“You got character, kid. AND you’re not bad on the eyes.”