- Nickname: Kid Poker
- Twitter: @RealKidPoker
- Website: www.danielnegreanu.com
- Birthdate: 26th July 1974
- Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Residence: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- WSOP Bracelets: 5
- Biggest Win: $1,770,218
- Total Winnings: $17,897,747
- Sponsored by: PokerStars
- Sponsor Site Username: KidPoker
Daniel Negreanu has won five World Series Of Poker bracelets and two World Poker Tour Championships. For him poker at the highest level is not about the math. He sees a knowledge of probabilities as a given. ‘Feel or psychological warfare is what it’s all about’, according to Negreanu. It’s a strongly made point but Daniel’s ‘psychological warfare’ is done playfully, with a smile on his face. It is friendly, charming and all part of his game plan. See the bottom of this profile for a breakdown of one of his almost transcendental reads / games.
Daniel’s parents, Ann and Constantin Negreanu left Romania in 1967, planning to escape the Communist regime by living in the United States but instead they ended up setting up home in Toronto, Canada. Their two sons were born five years apart and their youngest, Daniel dreamt of being an actor or comedian. However at fifteen, he opted for the baize rather than the boards and began hustling at pool and learning to play poker.
Though his parents longed for Daniel to do something respectable and did not hold back on making their feelings known to their son, they remained supportive of him even when he dropped out of high school at eighteen years old. Daniel’s attempts at holding down jobs were short-lived and instead he made his money through illegal poker games. Diligently keeping a record of his accounts, he tried to convince his parents that poker could be reputable but to no avail.
At 21, he took his earnings and headed south across the border to Las Vegas, poker central. Seven months later, he returned home empty-handed, knowing there was something missing in his game. He was lacking a poker character, a table image, a presence to cast doubts into the minds of his opponents. Back in Canada, Negreanu rebuilt his bankroll before heading back to the Nevada desert for another shot. Sadly, Daniel’s Father Constantin Negreanu passed away during this time. But, in the face of this adversity, Daniel gained a greater determination to make it as a poker player and developed a disarming, friendly talkative manner at the table.
In 1997, he won his first tournament at Foxwoods in the World Poker Finals and in the following year won the World Series of Poker Pot Limit Hold’em tournament. It was the first WSOP tournament he had entered and, at 23 he became the youngest player to have won a bracelet at that time, hence his nickname ‘Kid Poker.’
In 1999, he took over $200,000 in the United States Poker Championship but he didn’t manage his newly acquired riches too well and, coupled with a fondness for a drink, Negreanu didn’t fare particularly successfully in tournaments for the next couple of years. He turned the corner in 2001 and finished in the money in no fewer than twenty tournaments including four outright wins.
Since 2001, Daniel hasn’t looked back and has secured three more WSOP bracelets in 2003, 2004 and 2008; he also notched up big wins in the prestigious World Poker Tours events, the Borgata Poker Open and the Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Each of these WPT tournament victories were worth over $1 million. 2004 saw him crowned as ESPN’s Toyota Card Player of the Year and WSOP player of the year, he was 2004-05 WPT Player of the Year and in 2006 he was voted Card Players Magazine Favorite Poker Player.
In 2008, as well as the WSOP bracelet, he won the fourth-annual British Columbia Poker Championships main event, earning $371,910 CAD ($299,951 USD), he came out on top of 690 players, this is said to be a personal highlight for Daniel.
With Daniel being judged by his own high standards some commentators have suggested that his many interests, both within the poker world and beyond, have had effected his tournament play. However, this was not a belief shared by Team PokerStars and in 2007 he joined their group of elite poker players as one of their sponsored professionals. He’s still with them today.
In some ways it could be said that he has followed his childhood dream of becoming an actor or comedian, only on the poker stage. However, Kid Poker is honest enough to admit that his verbosity, aside from just being part of his friendly nature, has another repercussion. ‘When you get people talking, you put them at ease’ he has said. ‘They start acting more naturally and become easier to read’. Still, this truthful admission says a lot about Daniel’s general openness and his attitude is one of conviviality rather than being underhand.
His general likeability has paved the way for him to be featured in the video game, ‘Stacked with Daniel Negreanu,’. He was recruited to the Player Advisory Board and for a time held the lofty title ‘Poker Ambassador’ for Wynn Las Vegas Casino, this shouldn’t detract from his sharp poker mind. Apart from sticking his neck out and verbalizing his amazing reads, he is also a tutor for Poker School Online, written 3 books of his own, Hold’em Wisdom for all Players (2007) , Power Hold’em Strategy (2008) and More Hold’em Wisdom for all Players (2008), but, perhaps most notably, he was heavily involved as a strategy consultant for the book ‘Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2,’ the sequel to arguably the most influential poker book of all time.
Negreanu’s chatty, personable character has made him many friends within the poker world and gained him a lot of popularity among the poker viewing public, both online and on TV. Negreanu played in 6 seasons of TV’s High Stakes Poker and 2 seasons of PokerStars Big Game. He has also been seen on other poker shows such as Late Night Poker, Poker After Dark, Ultimate Poker Challenge and Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament. Whether it is a deliberate strategy or not, Negreanu’s personality is part of his game and his reads unnerve his opponents, throwing them off their stride. This produces self-replicating results, inducing behavior or tells and making his reads easier. It is what makes him a great player and even more so, a great player to watch.
However, just maybe the secret to Daniel’s success is closer to home. Having softened her negative opinion of poker since her son became highly successful, his mother Ann was known to make vegan packed lunches for Daniel to keep his strength up during arduous tournaments. Occasionally she cooked for his friends too, some of the friends who were lucky enough to sample Ann Negreanu’s home cooking included Layne Flack and Phil Ivey. Sadly Daniel’s Mother passed away in November 2009.
Strange but true – Daniel Negreanu didn’t win the 2007 World Series of Poker main event but that didn’t stop him showing off a part of his game that bordered on the transcendental. Early on in the contest, holding 2♦ 2♣ with a flop of 2♠ 5♥ A♦ and two other players already ‘all in’, he found himself with a tough dilemma.
Negreanu stood up and smiling cheekily at his opponents announced, ‘I think I’ve got you guys crushed.’ Stretching, and through a half-yawn, he added, ‘I think you both have ace king.’ He put his chips in and his opponents turned over A♥ K♥ and A♣ J♠ respectively. Though his read wasn’t perfect it still amazed opponents and commentators alike and was enough for him to take down the pot.
Poker is not just about winning pots but also knowing when to check or fold.
Later in the tournament Daniel had Q♦ 10♣ and with the flop of 5♠ 4♥ Q♠, seemed to hold the top pair. However, he looked across at his opponent, fellow Canadian Ryan McClean, and in a mock conspiratorial tone whispered, ‘you know what I think you got? Aces. Two aces’. McClean put his hand to his head but, if it was to block out Negreanu’s seemingly psychic powers it was too late. Clearly rattled, McClean checked through the rest of the hand allowing Negreanu the opportunity to view the pocket cards for free. ‘That’s spooky, man,’ was McClean’s response, turning over A♣ A♥.
As the tournament progressed, Negreanu didn’t let up on his reads. He folded against Matt Traudt stating, ‘you have a king nine’, which would have meant Traudt had hit a ten high straight on the turn. Traudt could only shake his head and say, ‘you’re a sick human’, as he turned over K♣ 9♣. The crowd went wild and smiling, Traudt pointed out, ‘even when you lose, they cheer you’.
Last updated May 2013