Poker Legends: Daniel Negreanu
“I think the most valuable aspect of being a great poker player is self awareness.”
Daniel Negreanu is more than just one of Poker’s greatest stars. Yes, with over $42M in live earnings, Negreanu holds 3rd place on the all time money list at the time of writing. Yes, he’s won 6 WSOP bracelets, and, yes, he was inducted into the poker Hall of Fame in 2014 at the age of 40, the very first year he was eligible.
Kid Poker earned his nickname when he won the 1998 WSOP at the age of 23, becoming the youngest player at the time to ever win a bracelet. Since then, he’s continued to prove himself as more than just one of the best the game has ever known.
Looking at some of his career highlights, his friendly Canadian personality shines through. He calls his natural charisma “diarrhea of the mouth,” but it’s undeniable that he brings an energy to the poker table that infects players and viewers alike. Just watch how many kicks Kevin Hart gets out of bluffing this guy.
And, unlike Poker Legend Phil Helmuth, he’s far from a sore loser. As Phil Ivey, another Poker Legend and one of Negreanu’s closest friends, puts it, “I can’t think of too many people who have done more for the game of poker than Daniel.”
Photo Credit: Benjamin McEvoy
Started from the Bottom
Just like another Toronto icon, Negreanu comes from humble origins. He dropped out of high school to play poker, and, by his own admission, he went broke at least 20 times. He never let it stop him. “I made bad decisions,” he said, “but that taught me that you can’t do that.”
It took awhile for the hometown hero to realize that beating the Vegas sharks would require a new approach. He doubled down on his efforts, studied hard, practiced, and worked his way up to become one of the best players.
He learned the fundamentals of poker, but he also realized the discipline that it takes to maintain a solid mental and keep the ranges tight during bouts of card death. He also realized that the psychological aspects of poker are crucial for success: knowing how people think and how people think he thinks gives him a huge edge.
Learn from Negreanu
Kid Poker has come a long way, and he’s decided to give back to help poker players of all levels improve. His YouTube Channel is a valuable resource that’s full of poker tips, VLOGS, and more. He’s written a few books, including Power Hold’em Strategy and Hold’em Wisdom for All Players. Lastly, you can even take his masterclass.
Of course, he’s got strategy in spades and all the fundamentals you expect from a great coach, but where Negreanu really excels is his reads. He’s famous for pegging people on their exact hand, using his way with words to call them out, and getting them to do what he wants, whether that’s call or fold.
Now that’s a valuable lesson.