The Hand That Changed My Life: Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu – as soon as referred to as ‘Danny’ noticed his lifestyles alternate perpetually again in 1999 on the U.S. Poker Championship.

Nowadays, Daniel Negreanu is referred to as probably the most fashionable avid gamers in poker, a de facto spokesperson for lots of within the recreation.  Referred to as ‘Child Poker’, Negreanu has seemed in motion pictures, televised poker video games, podcasts, radio presentations and are living streams and performed on the most sensible desk for over two decades. With loads of hundreds of fans on his social media channels by myself, Negreanu is most likely the most well liked mainstream participant poker has noticed.

Again in 1999, Negreanu used to be a comparative unknown. Recognized as ‘Child’ – “no longer ‘The Child’, that used to be Stu Ungar’s moniker” – the Canadian used to be a tender guy who used to be beginning to transform a success. In spite of this, he had by no means performed poker on tv, so when he sat down on the ultimate of the U.S. Poker Championship in Atlantic Town, it used to be his first time taking part in beneath the glare of tv lighting fixtures.

Some arms give a poker participant the arrogance to stroll that little bit taller. Heads up with John Bonetti, Daniel ‘Child Poker’ Negreanu used to be about to play the hand that may alternate his lifestyles.

The Younger Dollar Rises Throughout the Herd

“I knew of John Bonetti; he used to be a large superstar on the time.”

Again in December 1999, whilst the arena used to be fearful of Y2K and only a fortnight clear of a brand new millennium, Negreanu used to be ploughing throughout the box within the U.S. Poker Championship. A yr previous, Negreanu had performed occasions at Foxwoods, in Atlantic Town and in Las Vegas main as much as the WSOP the place he gained his bracelet. Now used to be the massive one – a primary TV look at a last desk.

“I used to be making a reputation for myself,” he describes. “In 1999, capping that off with a televised ultimate, I went from the younger rookie to the established danger, an actual professional at the excursion.”

There wasn’t the wall-to-wall poker protection in 1999 that there’s lately. As opposed to Cardplayer Mag and the bizarre ESPN look, avid gamers handiest had boards that have been of their infancy with which to unfold the phrase about their talents. It made the largest tournaments all of the extra essential. There have been handiest two $10k buy-ins – the WSOP Primary Match and the U.S. Poker Championship. Making it all of the strategy to the general two, Negreanu used to be taking up any person he regarded as one thing of a mentor.

“I used to be 25 years previous, a tender greenback at the scene,” says Negreanu. “I used to be travelling the poker circuit and knew of John Bonetti; he used to be a large superstar on the time. I took a liking to him. He had a mafia vibe, however he used to be a jokester, at all times having a laugh.”

It used to be Negreanu’s first time on tv, and he appeared the phase. Presented to the poker international on ESPN, he used to be dressed in what he known as his ‘Andre Agassi tracksuit’ and crowned off the glance with an earring and Nike hat. That used to be very a lot Negreanu’s self-styled symbol again within the 20th century.

“I at all times wore a tracksuit for tournaments, and I were given slightly fanny pack for all my cash and stuff. I had my money, pockets, room keys, poker notes, effects – it used to be earlier than mobile phones have been a factor! I used to be oddly actually relaxed in an instant on digital camera. When I used to be slightly child, I at all times sought after to be an actor. I didn’t really feel fearful. I understand that being bizarre.”

The Protégé Takes on The Grasp

“I mentioned taking giant dangers. This used to be a chance [where] I will win – I’m drawing are living.”

Due to his first bracelet win in 1998, Negreanu had made his title amongst his poker friends already however successful an enormous match on TV would mark a significant step forward. The general desk went neatly, Negreanu getting rid of third-placed Jason Viriyayuthakorn to ship play heads-up. In opposition to Bonetti, on the other hand, issues weren’t going to devise.

“We were given heads up and I began to really feel just like the underdog in opposition to him. I felt like he used to be taking part in higher than I used to be. Every now and then you’ll be able to simply inform; the man used to be successful all of the pots within the trenches, digging out those scenario pictures, I used to be getting outplayed. I made a technique shift. I understood that if I sought after to win, I’d must take some dangers.”


Daniel Negreanu: Qs 9s

John Bonetti: Ac Tc

Negreanu raised the button together with his suited playing cards and Bonetti known as with ace-ten.

Flop: Ts5s3c

“I guess the flop, he shoved and I at ease that during that second.”

Negreanu used to be a forty five% shot to win the hand with two playing cards to come back, so it used to be an enormous resolution for his stack. However after all, he didn’t know that. It used to be at that second that Child Poker needed to have a dialog with himself about that adjust of technique. Such alterations are simple in idea, however it at all times comes down as to if you’ll be able to dedicate the chips to the verdict.

“I mentioned taking giant dangers,” Negreanu smiles. “This used to be a chance that it doesn’t matter what he has I will win – I’m drawing are living. I known as. We have been principally even in chips, he had 3 or 4 giant blinds left [over].”

Flip: Ah

Unexpectedly, Negreanu went from close to a coinflip to being a worse than 4:1 canine within the hand. It’s simple to presume that any feelings Negreanu felt on the time have been heightened because of his age, however that’s no longer the case.

“I’ve them much more now!” he laughs. “The flip used to be the ace of hearts [made me] little nervous, like ‘Oh sh**, did I screw up? He grew to become aces and tens…. then I hit a spade.”

River: 8s

On seeing the 5th spade to finish his flush slide into the river place at the felt, Negreanu stood temporarily, turning to his opponent, whose face fell. In that rapid, it’s as though the jovial, chatty nature of Bonetti is transferred like a baton between relay runners. The passing of the torch.

“I busted him at the very subsequent hand,” says Negreanu. I nonetheless have the test (pictured underneath), it’s on my wall. Once I were given that cash, I jumped proper into an $800/$1,600 recreation. That is earlier than wiring cash. I gained some extra and at the manner house, I’m wearing the test, whilst in my bag used to be a pile of laundry and beneath that, all of the cash. I’m going again to Vegas actually promoting what I’d gained.”

Negreanu Check 1999 USPC
Daniel Negreanu’s well-known winners test for successful the 1999 U.S. Poker Championship nonetheless takes pleasure of position in his house. (courtesy of Daniel Negreanu).

Existence Is By no means the Identical

“I didn’t care about cash that a lot, again then, or now, or ever.”

That hand didn’t simply alternate Negreanu’s lifestyles. It modified Negreanu. Unafraid of walking throughout the airport with a bag filled with greenbacks for a adventure again house, lifestyles used to be by no means going to be the similar once more. His previous lifestyles merely didn’t exist to go back to.

“It put me entrance and heart within the poker international,” he tells us. “Whilst you win a large buy-in match with a $210,000 most sensible prize… that used to be some huge cash again then. It introduced me extra into the mainstream. I began to jot down for Cardplayer in consequence and changed into a voice within the recreation. I didn’t care about cash that a lot, again then, or now, or ever. I simply loved successful. I’ve at all times felt, if somebody ever took the cash, it could be superb. I’d simply win extra anyway.”

Negreanu says he has ‘by no means idea’ about what would possibly have came about if Bonetti’s two-pair held and he got here 2d, however the Canadian definitely had his fair proportion of moments that didn’t move proper.

“The yr Carlos Mortensen gained the [WSOP] Primary Match, I got here 11th and used to be chipleader with 12 left, dropping a key hand. If I’d gained that hand, who is aware of? However the entirety perceived to determine beautiful just right.”

To mention the least, this is a sarcasm. Daniel Negreanu, probably the most well known poker face in the world for the final 20 years sits 1/3 at the all-time cash record. On dropping or painful moments, Negreanu is philosophical.

“Any time you will have a breakdown in lifestyles, it’s a chance for a step forward. Going broke or having anxious losses drives me to be higher. Simply within the final couple of years, I went via – from a good fortune viewpoint in all-ins – the worst length in my occupation. It’s been actually tough. My spouse at all times says I’m resilient.”

Profitable at Existence

“I were given the spouse I at all times sought after, I’ve the lifestyles I at all times sought after.”

Negreanu is a significant a part of poker historical past however you get the impact that he hasn’t lived up to now for at some point in his lifestyles. His hobby for the sport of poker is rooted in tournaments due to his adolescence.

“Money video games are a task; you punch in, punch out, you win cash, however there’s no leaderboard, no level to it,” he says. “Ever since I used to be a kid, I created my very own tournaments. I created leaderboards with my wrestlers. I’d create a bracket of 16 of them, roll a die and stay observe. The fellow who gained the match were given 50 issues, 2d position were given 40, I’d stay a report. My Mother can be like ‘What are these kinds of papers?’.

Nowadays, that love of taking part in with a leaderboard in thoughts is a part of what brings Negreanu again to the desk.

“I simply performed the U.S. Poker Open as a result of there used to be a Participant of the Sequence award,” he says. “What PokerGO is doing within the studio is actually a laugh; they devise a machine in order that by means of the final tournament, which is price much more, an entire bunch of individuals are within the working. That’s what will get me to head. That’s why the International Sequence of Poker is probably the most a laugh for me.”

Negreanu admits that he has modified vastly within the final 20 years, no longer simply in how he behaves, however in his personal belief of himself, and what kind of he cares.

“On your twenties, you for sure care what people suppose. Surely, it issues. On your thirties, you care however slightly bit much less. You realise no longer everybody goes to love you. In my forties, I give 0 f***s. I were given the spouse I at all times sought after, I’ve the lifestyles I at all times sought after. I’m the unique model of myself. I at all times had a cinematic view of items and how one can promote it, however as you grow older you realise that what sells is authenticity.”

The lifestyles and soul of the desk in 1999 used to be a person known as John Bonetti, who unfortunately kicked the bucket in 2008. Within the penultimate hand of the U.S. Poker Championship, Bonetti’s enthusiasm for the sport used to be infectious and you’ll be able to see how his aptitude rubbed off at the ‘Child’ sitting reverse him on the felt.

You’ll watch the hand that modified Daniel Negreanu’s lifestyles proper right here:


Author: Bradley Watson