The Hand That Changed My Life: Daniel Negreanu

The Hand That Changed My Life: Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu THTCML
Daniel Negreanu – after known as ‘Danny’ saw his life modify forever back in 1999 at the U.S. Poker Championship.

These days, Daniel Negreanu is identified as 1 of the most well-known players in poker, a de facto spokesperson for a lot of in the game. &nbspKnown as ‘Kid Poker’, Negreanu has appeared in movies, televised poker games, podcasts, radio shows and live streams and played at the leading table for more than 20 years. With hundreds of thousands of followers on his social media channels alone, Negreanu is perhaps the most well-liked mainstream player poker has seen.

Back in 1999, Negreanu was a comparative unknown. Identified as ‘Kid’ – “not ‘The Kid’, that was Stu Ungar’s moniker” – the Canadian was a young man who was beginning to become effective. In spite of this, he had in no way played poker on tv, so when he sat down at the final of the U.S. Poker Championship in Atlantic City, it was his first time playing beneath the glare of tv lighting.

Some hands give a poker player the self-assurance to walk that tiny bit taller. Heads up with John Bonetti, Daniel ‘Kid Poker’ Negreanu was about to play the hand that would alter his life.

The Young Buck Rises By way of the Herd

“I knew of John Bonetti he was a massive star at the time.”

Back in December 1999, while the globe was petrified of Y2K and just a fortnight away from a new millennium, Negreanu was ploughing by means of the field in the U.S. Poker Championship. A year earlier, Negreanu had played events at Foxwoods, in Atlantic City and in Las Vegas major up to the WSOP where he won his bracelet. Now was the huge 1 – a 1st Tv appearance at a final table.

“I was generating a name for myself,” he describes. “In 1999, capping that off with a televised final, I went from the young rookie to the established threat, a true pro on the tour.”

There wasn’t the wall-to-wall poker coverage in 1999 that there is nowadays. Other than Cardplayer Magazine and the odd ESPN look, players only had forums that had been in their infancy with which to spread the word about their skills. It produced the most significant tournaments all the more essential. There have been only two $10k buy-ins – the WSOP Major Occasion and the U.S. Poker Championship. Making it all the way to the final two, Negreanu was taking on a person he regarded anything of a mentor.

“I was 25 years old, a young buck on the scene,” says Negreanu. “I was travelling the poker circuit and knew of John Bonetti he was a large star at the time. I took a liking to him. He had a mafia vibe, but he was a jokester, always possessing exciting.”

It was Negreanu’s first time on television, and he looked the component. Introduced to the poker globe on ESPN, he was wearing what he called his ‘Andre Agassi tracksuit’ and topped off the look with an earring and Nike hat. That was really considerably Negreanu’s self-styled image back in the 20th century.

“I usually wore a tracksuit for tournaments, and I got a tiny fanny pack for all my cash and stuff. I had my money, wallet, room keys, poker notes, final results – it was before cell phones were a factor! I was oddly really comfy quickly on camera. When I was a tiny kid, I always wanted to be an actor. I didn’t feel nervous. I keep in mind that being strange.”

The Protégé Requires on The Master

“I talked about taking big risks. This was an chance [exactly where] I can win – I’m drawing live.”

Thanks to his very first bracelet win in 1998, Negreanu had created his name amongst his poker peers currently but winning a massive tournament on Tv would mark a main breakthrough. The final table went effectively, Negreanu eliminating third-placed Jason Viriyayuthakorn to send play heads-up. Against Bonetti, even so, issues weren’t going to program.

“We got heads up and I began to really feel like the underdog against him. I felt like he was playing much better than I was. Often you can just inform the guy was winning all the pots in the trenches, digging out these circumstance shots, I was obtaining outplayed. I created a approach shift. I understood that if I wanted to win, I’d have to take some risks.”


Daniel Negreanu: Qs 9s

John Bonetti: Ac Tc

Negreanu raised the button with his suited cards and Bonetti referred to as with ace-ten.

Flop: Ts5s3c

“I bet the flop, he shoved and I relaxed that in that moment.”

Negreanu was a 45% shot to win the hand with two cards to come, so it was a massive selection for his stack. But of course, he didn’t know that. It was at that moment that Kid Poker had to have a conversation with himself about that modify of approach. Such alterations are straightforward in theory, but it usually comes down to whether you can commit the chips to the selection.

“I talked about taking large dangers,” Negreanu smiles. “This was an chance that no matter what he has I can win – I’m drawing live. I known as. We have been essentially even in chips, he had 3 or 4 huge blinds left [more than].”

Turn: Ah

Suddenly, Negreanu went from close to a coinflip to being a worse than 4:1 dog in the hand. It’s easy to presume that any feelings Negreanu felt at the time have been heightened due to his age, but that is not the case.

“I have them even far more now!” he laughs. “The turn was the ace of hearts [created me] small anxious, like ‘Oh sh**, did I screw up? He turned aces and tens…. then I hit a spade.”

River: 8s

On seeing the fifth spade to comprehensive his flush slide into the river position on the felt, Negreanu stood swiftly, turning to his opponent, whose face fell. In that immediate, it is as if the jovial, chatty nature of Bonetti is transferred like a baton amongst relay runners. The passing of the torch.

“I busted him on the extremely subsequent hand,” says Negreanu. I nonetheless have the check (pictured under), it is on my wall. Soon after I got that funds, I jumped correct into an $800/$1,600 game. This is before wiring funds. I won some far more and on the way residence, I’m carrying the verify, while in my bag was a pile of laundry and below that, all the money. I’m going back to Vegas literally advertising what I’d won.”

Negreanu Check 1999 USPC
Daniel Negreanu’s popular winners check for winning the 1999 U.S. Poker Championship still requires pride of location in his residence. (courtesy of Daniel Negreanu).

Life Is In no way the Same

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

That hand didn’t just change Negreanu’s life. It changed Negreanu. Unafraid of strolling by means of the airport with a bag complete of dollars for a journey back home, life was by no means going to be the identical once again. His old life just didn’t exist to return to.

“It put me front and center in the poker globe,” he tells us. “When you win a huge get-in tournament with a $210,000 best prize… that was a lot of funds back then. It brought me far more into the mainstream. I started to create for Cardplayer as a outcome and became a voice in the game. I didn’t care about money that significantly, back then, or now, or ever. I just enjoyed winning. I’ve constantly felt, if any person ever took the funds, it would be fine. I’d just win far more anyway.”

Negreanu says he has ‘never thought’ about&nbspwhat may possibly have happened if Bonetti’s two-pair held and he came second, but the Canadian certainly had his fair share of moments that didn’t go right.

“The year Carlos Mortensen won the [WSOP] Principal Occasion, I came 11th and was chipleader with 12 left, losing a crucial hand. If I’d won that hand, who knows? But everything seemed to work out quite great.”

To say the least, that is an understatement. Daniel Negreanu, the most well-identified poker face on the planet for the last two decades sits third on the all-time income list. On losing or painful moments, Negreanu is philosophical.

“Any time you have a breakdown in life, it’s an opportunity for a breakthrough. Going broke or possessing traumatic losses drives me to be better. Just in the final couple of years, I went by way of – from a luck viewpoint in all-ins – the worst period in my career. It’s been actually difficult. My wife usually says I’m resilient.”

Winning at Life

“I got the wife I constantly wanted, I have the life I always wanted.”

Negreanu is a main element of poker history but you get the impression that he hasn’t lived in the past for a single day in his life. His passion for the game of poker is rooted in tournaments thanks to his formative years.

“Cash games are a job you punch in, punch out, you win funds, but there’s no leaderboard, no point to it,” he says. “Ever since I was a youngster, I produced my personal tournaments. I developed leaderboards with my wrestlers. I’d produce a bracket of 16 of them, roll a die and hold track. The guy who won the tournament got 50 points, second spot got 40, I’d maintain a record. My Mom would be like ‘What are all these papers?’.

Nowadays, that really like of playing with a leaderboard in thoughts is element of what brings Negreanu back to the table.

“I just played the U.S. Poker Open because there was a Player of the Series award,” he says. “What PokerGO is carrying out in the studio is truly enjoyable they generate a technique so that by the last event, which is worth a lot far more, a whole bunch of people are in the running. That is what gets me to go. That’s why the Globe Series of Poker is the most exciting for me.”

Negreanu admits that he has changed hugely in the final two decades, not just in how he behaves, but in his personal perception of himself, and how a lot he cares.

“In your twenties, you certainly care what other people feel. No doubt, it matters. In your thirties, you care but a small bit less. You realise not every person is going to like you. In my forties, I give zero f***s. I got the wife I constantly wanted, I have the life I usually wanted. I am the genuine version of myself. I always had a cinematic view of items and how to sell it, but as you get older you realise that what sells is authenticity.”

The life and soul of the table in 1999 was a man referred to as John Bonetti, who sadly passed away in 2008. In the penultimate hand of the U.S. Poker Championship, Bonetti’s enthusiasm for the game was infectious and you can see how his flair rubbed off on the ‘Kid’ sitting opposite him at the felt.

You can watch the hand that changed Daniel Negreanu’s life correct right here:

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