The Canadian born poker player Daniel Negreanu, is arguably one of the most noticeable faces in the world of poker. A true ambassador of the game, the 36-year-old professional has earned millions of dollars on the felt. He’s also a generous philanthropist, and just as frequently donates portions of those earnings to charitable organizations.
Although growing up in the hometown of Toronto, Canada, Negreanu’s parents are actually of Romanian descent. Despite his father’s engineering and electrical background, even as Daniel grew older, he was never the type of individual who was interested in settling into a traditional profession. As many poker players often do, Negreanu actually wanted to become a professional in another gaming genre; snooker. Although the game of snooker is similar to billiards here in the United States, snooker’s popularity in mostly designated to English-speaking countries. Top snooker players often earn multi-million pound career earnings, and the excitement and lucrative potential of the sport certainly interested Daniel.
While his hopes were originally set on being a professional pool player, it was at the age of fifteen that Daniel wondered into the world of poker. Spending a countless amount of hours at the felt, and still hustling at pool, Negreanu’s ability to generate profit while gambling was becoming commonplace. As Negreanu’s confidence rose, so did his bankroll, and soon later decided that pursuing a normal career wasn’t suited for him.
Negreanu dropped out of high school, only one credit short of receiving his diploma. He continued his poker success, and while playing in Toronto, established a reputation as one of the better poker players in the area. When Daniel was able to generate a substantial income from the game, he decided he needed to take his game and his profit potential to the next level. Luckily for him, in the world of poker, one of the only ways to do that is to move to glitz, glam, and big city life of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Even though moving to Las Vegas at the age of 21 was a big step, Negreanu began his career with moderate success. Living in a big city such as Toronto, certain made Negreanu’s transition easier. But, although the poker pro had much control over the action in his native hometown, the competition in Las Vegas ultimately proved to be too tough. Unfortunately, Daniel lost almost all of his bankroll, and was forced to move back to Toronto.
After spending several years cycling his bankroll back and forth between Toronto and Las Vegas, it was in 1997, that Negreanu finally had his breakout year. The 23-year-old poker professional finally built his reputation by winning 3 tournament events that year. Negreanu booked wins of $18,800, $14,000, and $38,400 at the Heavenly Hold’Em event and World Poker Finals. After also being named the best overall player by Foxwoods at the World Poker Finals, Negreanu realized that his future in poker was finally coming together.
Arguably, after Daniel Negreanu entered in his first World Series of Poker event in 1998, Event #9 $2,070 Pot-Limit Hold’Em, the rest of his career is complementary.
He won for $169,460.
Not only did the win establish the confidence that Negreanu was desperately seeking, but it also ascertained Negreanu’s spot in poker history. He became the youngest player at the time, to ever win a World Series of Poker bracelet. His record stood until 2004. Understandably, he was later nicknamed “KidPoker”.
Although Daniel certainly considered himself a Limit Hold’Em specialist at the time, he soon realized the profitability of other games. Daniel ventured into Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-card Stud, Limit Razz, and No-Limit Hold’Em, and had reasonable success. Several of his cashes after his first WSOP win came in these games.
Continuously building momemtum with cashes in other events, at the 2003 World Series of Poker, Negreanu finally had the opportunity to display his diverse skill set. His second bracelet came in the always contested S.H.O.E. event, which is a mixed game that involves Seven-card Stud, Limit Hold’Em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Stud Eight or Better.
2004 was undoubtedly one of the best years of Negreanu’s career, as he attended an outstanding 11 final tables, accumulated his third WSOP braclet, and won two World Poker Tour titles. His winnings for the year amassed a preposterous $4,465,907.
Although Negreanu has had tremendous success at the tables, he’s also generated a tremendous reputation for himself as one of the nicest poker players you’ll ever meet. His sincerity and quirky personality have gained him tons of followers, and Daniel Negreanu’s Twitter account is without question considered one of the most popular in the industry. This charming personality, and unquestioned poker talent have landed him television appearances on GSN’s High Stakes Poker, Pokerstars.net’s The Big Game, and he’s also the centerpiece of FOX Network’s production The Million Dollar Challenge. On the show, Negreanu coaches each contestant through a series of heads-up matches featuring celebrities and poker pros, giving them tips and strategies to defeat them. If they’re successful through two individuals, they’ll ultimately end up playing Daniel Negreanu for $1,000,000.
In addition to Negreanu’s resume, he also is an online entrepreneur. The online poker training website, Poker VT, is currently being lead by the Team PokerStars pro. He spends many hours of the month posting new strategies and theories on the game of poker to its subscribers. The site also hosts popular and successful tournament players Paul Wasicka, Jon Turner, and Jason Somerville, who hold over a combined $10,000,000 in career tournament earnings.
Despite a substantial amount of success throughout Negreanu’s career, in 2009, the player they called “KidPoker” took a step back from the game to re-evaluate his cash game play. Although Negreanu’s tournament prowess has arguably been second to none, Negreanu’s success within the niche of ring games has been meager at best. Throughout several seasons of the hit show High Stakes Poker, Negreanu has been the victim of several six-figure pots, against the likes of Tom Dwan, and also Gus Hansen, who held quads against Negreanu’s full house. Even though most would admit that Negreanu had a bit of bad luck on the show, the skeptics also agreed that his skill set needed a bit of work. After being considered amongst many of the pros to be a high-stakes “fish”, Negreanu decided to work on improving his talent by grinding the $100/$200 No-Limit Hold’Em cash games on Poker Stars. On his blog, he still admits he has room to improve, but his results have been consistent over his last few sessions. He also started a Poker Stars bankroll challenge, which is still ongoing, in which he will attempt to turn a $10 deposit into a bankroll of $100,000.
Negreanu has a blog, located on Full Contact Poker, which he often updates with a plethora of personal and poker-related information. The poker giant has also released his own book, which is titled Power Hold’Em Strategy, and was released in 2008. His video game, entitled “Stacked: with Daniel Negreanu,” also has had moderate success. The experienced poker celebrity has also written numerous articles for CardPlayer Magazine, which releases monthly all of the latest poker information and strategy theories. Negreanu has also made several movie appearances, and was even shown in Katy Perry’s music video, “Waking Up in Vegas”.
Negreanu has spent countless hours with philanthropic endeavors, and in addition to the charity events he participates in, also donates portions of his day with different organizations such as the AIDS research campaign with Kenneth Cole. Daniel has also been known to play golf to raise money for several different charities as well.
In his personal life, he’s been romantically linked to several women, including Evelyn Ng, and also his ex-wife Lori Lin Weber, of whom he separated from in 2007. He’s also been rumored to have interest in The Big Game poker host and female poker celebrity interviewer Amanda Leatherman.
Aside from the consensus best overall poker player in the world, Phil Ivey, as of October 2010, Negreanu is currently second on the all-time tournament earnings list for a staggering $12,769,541.
Outside of poker, Daniel Negreanu enjoys spending his time on the golf course, at hockey games, watching movies, and playing ping-pong.
Daniel Negreanu is a member of Team PokerStars, and can be found playing exclusively at Pokerstars.