Daniel Negreanu

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Daniel Negreanu
Negreanu in 2022
Nickname(s)Kid Poker[1]
ResidenceLas VegasNevada, U.S.
BornJuly 26, 1974 (age 47)
TorontoOntario, Canada
World Series of Poker
Final table(s)45
Money finish(es)148[2]
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
11th, 20012015
World Poker Tour
Final table(s)9
Money finish(es)24[3]
European Poker Tour
Final table(s)5
Money finish(es)4
Information accurate as of 16 July 2019.

Daniel Negreanu (/nɪˈɡrɑːnuː/;[4] born July 26, 1974) is a Canadian professional poker player who has won six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two World Poker Tour (WPT) championship titles. In 2014, independent poker ranking service Global Poker Index recognized Negreanu as the best poker player of the decade.[5]

As of 2019, he is the third biggest live tournament poker winner of all time (behind Justin Bonomo and Bryn Kenney, both of whom have won a special multi-million dollar charity tournament), having won over $42,000,000 in prize money.[6] He was named the WSOP Player of the Year in 2004 and 2013, making him the only player to receive the accolade more than once. He was also the 2004–2005 WPT Player of the Year. He is the first player to make a final table at each of the three WSOP bracelet-awarding locations (Las VegasEurope, and Asia-Pacific), and the first to win a bracelet at each.[7] In 2014, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.[8]


Early life[edit]

Negreanu was born in TorontoOntario, in 1974, seven years after his parents, Annie and Constantin, emigrated from Romania; he can speak Romanian fluently.[9] The Negreanus had hoped to start a new life in the United States but ended up settling in Toronto where Constantin worked as an electrician and sold confectionery.[10] Daniel is five years younger than his brother Mike.[10] At an early age, Negreanu was ambitious, stating in a 2009 interview “From the age of four, I thought I’d be rich. I told my mom I’d build a house out of Popsicle sticks, and move to California.”[11]

He attended Pineway Public School in North York, where the principal complained to his mother about Daniel’s “poor manners or behavior” and threatened to expel him for “ignoring the school rules.”[11] While nursing dreams of a career as a professional snooker player, the then 15-year-old learned to play poker.[12] At the age of 16, he was spending time in pool halls, hustling, betting on sports, and playing cards.[13]

When he was several credits short of graduation, he dropped out of high school and began his life as a rounder playing at local charity casinos, usually at Casino Country and Fundtime Games, and looking for illegal games around the city.[13] While in Toronto, he met and began dating Evelyn Ng,[14] who would also become a well-known professional poker player. After building a bankroll, he left for Las Vegas at the age of 22 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional poker player. However, “The Strip” got the better of him, and he was forced to move back home to Toronto to rebuild his bankroll.

Poker career[edit]

Negreanu is an accomplished tournament and cash game player. He has six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two World Poker Tour (WPT) championships. He has also reached multiple WSOP and WPT final tables and won various other tournament titles. Negreanu was named the 2004 Card Player Player of the Year[15] and the WSOP Player of the Year.[2] He was also named the 2004-05 WPT Player of the Year. In 2006, Negreanu was named “Favorite Poker Player” at Card Player Magazine’s Player of the Year Awards Gala. In 2013, he captured two WSOP bracelets and another WSOP Player of the Year award, becoming the only player to win the award twice.[16] In November 2014, Negreanu was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.

Negreanu has regularly played the “Big Game” in Bobby’s Room, in the Bellagio casino, Las Vegas, where the limits are $400–$800 or greater and the games are mixed. He is a self-professed action junkie who claims to always seek new challenges and set high goals for himself. Unlike many players, he is outspoken about his results and regularly posts updates in the Full Contact Poker forums. Some of Negreanu’s success is attributed to his ability to read opponents. When asked about this, Negreanu explained that the most important skill he employs is observing what hands his opponents play and how capable they are of playing them.[17]

Tournament poker[edit]

World Series of Poker[edit]

Negreanu’s first cash at the WSOP was also his first WSOP bracelet. Negreanu won $169,460 in the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event in the 1998 World Series of Poker, becoming the youngest WSOP bracelet winner in history — a record he held until 2004 (Scott Fischman). Negreanu has since captured another five bracelets. He has 36 career WSOP final table appearances, including two apiece at the WSOP Europe and at the WSOP Asia-Pacific, and 103 money finishes.[2]

1998$2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em$169,460
2003$2,000 S.H.O.E.$100,440
2004$2,000 Limit Hold’em$169,100
2008$2,000 Limit Hold’em$204,874
2013AA$10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main EventA$1,038,825
2013E25,600 High Roller No Limit Hold’em725,000

An “A” following a year denotes bracelet(s) won at the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific
An “E” following a year denotes bracelet(s) won at the World Series of Poker Europe

In addition to his 6 bracelets, he also won a WSOP Circuit ring in 2006.

World Poker Tour[edit]

YearTournamentPrize (US$)
2004$10,000 Borgata Poker Open$1,009,100
2004$15,000 Five Diamond World Poker Classic$1,795,218

Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP)[edit]

YearTournamentPrize (US$)
2013$5,200 PL Omaha [6-Max]$216,000

World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP)[edit]

YearTournamentPrize (US$)
2016$2,100 HORSE Championship $200K GTD$61,865.47

Other notable tournaments[edit]

Negreanu’s first major successes on the tournament poker scene came in 1997 with three tournament wins, including two events at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods Resort Casino, earning $55,064 and being named the tournament’s best all-around player.

In November 2008, Negreanu won the fourth-annual British Columbia Poker Championships main event, topping a field of 690 players (a personal high for Daniel), and earning $371,910 CAD (US$299,951).[18]

In 2014, he was the runner-up in The Big One for One Drop which paid him $8,288,001. The event was held at the WSOP but was not eligible for a WSOP bracelet.

Negreanu won $1 million as the winner of the 2016 Shark Cage tournament organized by PokerStars.net.[19]

As of January 2020, his total live tournament winnings exceed $42,000,000.[20] His 112 cashes at the WSOP account for over $14,000,000 of those winnings.[2]

Cash games[edit]

In addition to Negreanu’s regular appearances in the big game at Bobby’s Room, he played in all seven seasons of the television show High Stakes Poker. He also played in two seasons of PokerStars Big Game.

Online poker and sponsorship[edit]

In December 2005, Negreanu became the professional spokesperson for an online poker site called Poker Mountain. He played at this cardroom under the screen name “KidPoker”. In June 2005 he announced his decision to terminate that relationship due to software issues that were problematic enough to cause a shutdown of the site.[21] In 2006, he used Full Contact Poker to launch a competition to select a protégé, whom Daniel would attempt to mold into a world-class live tournament poker player. He agreed to pay the protégé’s entry fee into four $10,000 buy-in events. Daniel’s first protégé was Brian Fidler. In 2007, Daniel ran a second protégé promotion, which was won by Anthony Mak.

In June 2007, Negreanu signed with PokerStars, joining Chris Moneymaker and many other professional poker players as a member of Team PokerStars.[1] His Full Contact Poker site has since returned to being a forum and informational site. After “Black Friday” (the 2011 US government crackdown on online poker), Negreanu moved back to Canada in order to continue playing online poker on PokerStars.

On May 23, 2019, after nearly 12 years as a member of Team PokerStars, Negreanu announced he and PokerStars were parting ways.[22]

Heads-up challenge[edit]

On July 29, 2020, after a years-long feud with fellow poker pro Doug Polk, Negreanu publicly accepted a challenge to a high-stakes grudge match. They played 25,000 hands of No-Limit Texas Hold’em at $200/$400 stakes.[23][24] The duel ended on 4 February 2021 with Polk winning approximately $1,200,000 over 25,000 hands.[25]

High Stakes Duel II[edit]

In 2021, Daniel Negreanu challenged Phil Hellmuth to a heads up match after Phil Hellmuth was critical of Daniel’s plays in his heads up match against Doug Polk. The two played three rounds in the High Stakes Duel II by PokerGo, with the buy-in doubling from the initial $50,000 to $200,000 by the third round. Phil Hellmuth beat Negreanu in all three rounds,[26]winning a total of $350,000. As per the rules, he was allowed to cash out his winnings after winning three rounds, although Negreanu wanted to continue playing.

Poker Masters[edit]

In September 2021, Daniel Negreanu had some success in PokerGo’s Poker Masters tournaments. He placed 3rd in Poker Masters 2, a $10,000 buy-in event, and won $103,200. He placed 1st in Poker Masters 5, another $10,000 buy-in event, winning $178,200. In the tenth event, a $25,000 buy-in tournament, he placed 3rd for $152,000.[27]

Other poker activities[edit]

Upon opening, the Wynn Las Vegas resort recruited him as their “Poker Ambassador” to play for any stake in their poker room. The arrangement lasted until October 2005, when he opted out because it was restricting his ability to play for high stakes outside the Wynn.

Negreanu has played poker on various TV shows such as Late Night PokerPoker After Dark, and High Stakes Poker, as well as serving as a commentator and stand-in host on Ultimate Poker Challenge. He also appeared in the third season of Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament. In January 2007, Negreanu appeared in the Fox Reality original series Rob and Amber: Against the Odds, in which he mentored reality television personality Rob Mariano in his bid to become a professional poker player.

In May 2008, Negreanu’s book Power Hold’em Strategy was released. The book resembles the Doyle Brunson book Super/System in that it has contributions from several other poker players, including Evelyn Ng, Erick LindgrenPaul WasickaTodd Brunson, and David Williams. Negreanu’s section presents and explains the strategy of small ball poker. Negreanu is also featured in the 2006 poker video game Stacked with Daniel Negreanu, providing tips and hints as to how to play effectively. He has written over 100 articles for CardPlayer Magazine and contributed to Doyle Brunson‘s revised book, Super System II. He has tutored on the web as part of Poker School Online and also personally given lessons to celebrities such as Tobey Maguire and Shannon Elizabeth. In addition to his poker books, Negreanu has created a 38 section Master Class teaching poker theory and play through video.[28]

Other ventures[edit]

Negreanu made a cameo appearance as a poker player playing against the mutant Gambit in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He also played a poker player in The Grand, and he appeared as himself in the film Lucky You. On season two of Sports Science, he tried to fool a lie detector. He also appeared in Katy Perry‘s music video for “Waking Up in Vegas” as a poker player. In 2013, he appeared on an episode of the CBC Television program Mr. D, again playing himself. He also appeared in a TV series dedicated to poker called Tilt in 2005. Daniel was a major advocate of the move to bring the National Hockey League to Las Vegas, along with Malaysian billionaire and fellow poker player Richard Yong.[29]

Negreanu is also a fan of Hearthstone. After picking up the game in 2015, he began streaming it alongside poker on Twitch and was invited to a showmatch during the Hearthstone World Championship at BlizzCon 2015 in AnaheimCalifornia against former StarCraft: Brood War pro and fellow WSOP and WPT champion Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, which he won 3–1.[30]

In September 2015, Negreanu posed for a PETA vegan campaign.[31] In January 2021 Chess.com announced that he would play in the third edition of the PogChamps chess tournament.[32]

Personal life[edit]

In August 2005, Negreanu married Lori Lin Weber. They separated in November 2007 and later divorced.[33] In May 2019, he married Amanda Leatherman.[34]

Negreanu has a blog at Full Contact Poker where he posts his thoughts and feelings about life, politics, and poker. He became a vegetarian in 2000 and has been vegan since 2006; he claims it makes him a better player.[35][36] After many years living in the United States, he received his green card on July 15, 2009.[citation needed]

Mike Postle lawsuit[edit]

On October 1, 2020 Negreanu was one of twelve individuals named in a $330 million dollar defamation lawsuit brought by poker professional Mike Postle. Others named in the suit include Phil GalfondESPN, and Negreanu’s heads-up challenge opponent Doug Polk.[37] In April 2021, the lawsuit was dropped.[38]

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