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Daniel Negreanu Interview

Our good friends at On Tilt magazine sat down with one of the most popular men in poker

Published on May 16th 2012.

Daniel Negreanu Interview

DANIEL NEGREANU, arguably the most popular and recognizable face in poker, is the owner of four WSOP (World Series of Poker) bracelets, two WPT (World Poker Tour) titles and over $13 million in live tournament winnings.

Negreanu’s WSOP fame began in 1998 when he took down the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em tournament - becoming the youngest person to ever to win a gold bracelet at just 23 years old.

While Negreanu’s accomplishments on the felt are amongst pokers greatest, his overall poker acumen and charming persona are major factors in his rise to poker stardom.

He has won more tournaments than any other poker player since 1997, and is a constant force in the largest cash games in Las Vegas. He’s also writes poker strategy books, mentors other players and appears in the poker media as a commentator.

ONTILT – Hi Daniel. How are you enjoying Ireland?

DANIEL NEGREANU – It’s really great, I love it here, the weather isn’t always the best but the people make up for that. I spent a couple of days in the Isle of Man at Poker Stars headquarters but I have a bit of time to relax before I play the I-Series

OT – Getting on to the I-Series, It’s a totally new concept. Fans get to see the hole cards and bet in play while watching the tournaments. What attracted you to the format?

DN – You know I think it’s really important that we keep poker fresh and keep finding new things to keep people interested in the sport. One of the main reasons people watch sports is that they can bet on the outcome. And if you can bet on it while it’s happening, it just adds another dimension to the spectacle and makes it much more enjoyable.

OT – I was chatting with Phil (Hellmuth) yesterday about the table of players you have and there are 10 very diverse characters. We should see some classic banter don’t you think?

DN – Oh god yeah. You have a bit of everything. You have the old school with Hellmuth. You have some of the young German pros. There are some crazy players, and the lovely Maria Ho, who is extremely accomplished lady also, so yeah it’s a very exciting time, and you know what, I think we’re going to see a Phil Hellmuth Blow up!

OT – I received a text from Devilfish yesterday while I was interviewing Phil and he told me to ask Phil if it was true that if he was made of chocolate, he eat himself (laughs). I never got round to it and was devastated.

DN – (laughs) I think if you asked the same question to Devilfish, you would probably get the same answer.

OT – Do you think it’s important for people trying to make a career out of poker to play online?

DN – Well if you want to stay ahead of the game you have to keep up with new innovations so whether online poker is your bread and butter or not, it makes sense to keep your hand in and keep an eye on what’s happening in the game.

OT – You seem to have reinvented yourself in the way you play. Was that easy to do?

DN – Well I remember when I was young, all the old timers would look at my game and see me playing super loose and they would say I was just an idiot that was going to go broke. They were just bitter, I guess. They just couldn’t see that the game was changing and I didn’t want to end up like them. I saw what these new kids were doing with the game and taking it to a new level and thankfully I was able to adapt to survive where many haven’t. This is what makes poker so exciting.

OT – You have been in a few movies recently one of our readers asked if you were worried about being typecast as a poker player (laughs).

DN– Ha, no actually. I am in a new movie coming out soon called The Tension and I’m playing a TV reporter in that movie. See, I’ve broken the type cast already (laughs).

OT – You recently tweeted that you had enjoyed a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. My wife is a big fan and was wondering how you came across it.

DN – I was amazed at the clear understanding and the human ego and how simply it was explained to the reader. How it drives our decision-making and needs to be fed and also how you can start to shrink it. It also helps you understand yourself better. I think everyone should read it. It also helps you understand how other people tick.

OT – Are you a spiritual person?

DN – I’m a person that believes that it isn’t a weakness to talk about your feelings, to be introspective about who you are in the world and it’s something I definitely think about a good amount.

OT – I was going to talk to you about the Epic Poker series but I believe that there has been another poker scandal recently.

DN – Yeah I mean this is Pukes’ (Annie Duke) second offence and it’s a scandal. Epic Poker has folded. They’ve screwed everyone out of money and gone bankrupt. They haven’t paid the charities or any of their employees or the production crew. They’ve just stole a bunch of the money. That Geoffrey Pollack and Annie Puke.

They promised a million dollar free-roll at the end and their loyal players have played and qualified and there should be a million dollars given to one of the players but the money is just not there. It’s just a complete scam – another stroke of genius from the Lederer family, the king and queen of the Poker Hall of Shame.

OT – Have you come across Howard Lederer on the circuit since the scandals folded?

DN – I haven’t. I assume that he’s hiding out, as he should hide out. I just really hope that when he goes to prison, he gets a nice cell mate that can show him what getting hit on the river is all about.

OT – Love it! Do you think online poker is going to take off again in America sometime soon?

DN – Yeah definitely. Maybe towards the end of this year and the beginning of next we will see it back. It’s just a case of it going through congress and everyone involved getting their piece of the pie. Its election year so it’s all about legislation. I believe poker will come back bigger and better than ever.

We would like to thank Daniel for taking the time to speak to us and wish him luck in the poker I-series.

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