Top 11 Reasons Daniel Negreanu May Be The GOAT 

By in Poker on
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Daniel Negreanu With a Crown and Goat on His Shirt Playing Poker

Daniel Negreanu has been one of the most popular poker players in the world for nearly 2 decades. Unlike some players who gained glory only by playing WSOP events, Negreanu has been more versatile than that, paying equal attention to other big poker tournaments and series.

Yet, it’s the glory gained in the World Series of Poker that currently counts the most, as poker players regard this event as the pinnacle of excellence in the poker world. At the moment, Negreanu has six recorded bracelets at these tournaments.

Regarded around the world as one of the most successful poker players of all time, Daniel Negreanu’s life is an open book. While many celebrities guard their privacy, Negreanu puts his everyday thoughts and experiences on his blog, as he has for years.

Negreanu has got a fun sense of humor, a truck load of money, and a deep appreciation for family. Negreanu also loves to gamble and he’s not afraid to discuss his losses ad nauseam.

Negreanu has adoring fans and staunch critics like all celebrities. His life has been catalogued by hundreds. But it’s always fun to learn something new about someone who has been around so long. See how many of these details about Daniel Negreanu are new to you.

1 – He Passed on Joining PokerStars

Fans know Daniel Negreanu and PokerStars go back like Cadillac seats. However, he could have been part of the team from the start and chose not to be.

Not taking the fast money shows great patience and the stoic reserve to play it smart, as all greats do.

To be fair, Dnegs was not the only person to pass on PokerStars in the early days. It was a decision he later had a chance to reverse.

2 – Bracelet #1 (1998 $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold ’em)

Daniel Negreanu’s first bracelet was also the first-ever cash that he made in a World Series of Poker event. It wasn’t a small sum either, as he managed to earn a total of $169,460 for his trouble.

This was actually the first peak into Negreanu’s tremendous talent. At the time, he was only 23, and he was the youngest-ever poker player to win a WSOP bracelet to that date. He won against Dominic Bourke in the heads-up.

3 – Losing His Dog Taught Him Something Profound

Daniel Negreanu poker table

The Negreanu family had a dog named Lucky. Early in Daniel’s poker career, he was still living with his family. According to a blog post he wrote years later, he was taking a shower when his father cried out, “Lucky’s dead! Lucky’s dead!”

The family was distraught over their loss, but Daniel couldn’t allow himself to cry. He felt the grief, but his emotions wouldn’t come to the surface. 

In his own words, Negreanu analyzed what happened.

“By that time, I’d already been playing poker on a daily basis and I was getting better and better. My knowledge base was steadily growing, my reading ability was improving, and MOST importantly, my emotional control was becoming more stable. So, as I was getting better and better at hiding my emotions, I think that ability spilled over to my personal life and had a negative effect on me. It basically numbed my heart, and that’s not something I wanted as a by-product of being a good poker player.”

The life lesson he learned from this introspection was to not be afraid to show your feelings outside the game. “Don’t numb your heart.”

4 – Bracelet #2 (2003 $2,000 S.H.O.E.)

The second bracelet Negreanu won was in 2003 when he managed to swipe a total of $100,440 for his effort in a S.H.O.E event, which was a part of the 34th WSOP. 

His final prize was twice as high compared to the second-placed Jim Pechac, whom Negreanu sent to the rail in the heads-up play. The total prize pool for this event was $251,100, and there were a total of 135 competitors in the field.

5 – He Paid a Backer Half of His Take

Everyone knows that it’s easier to stake a good player for a piece of their action than to master the game and go up against thousands of other good or great players yourself.

Daniel Negreanu began staking himself in poker tournaments in 2000, according to this New York Times Magazine profile. Until then, he needed a backer who took a 50% cut from everything he won in tournaments.

Being able to provide his own tournament entries allowed Negreanu to grow his portfolio much faster. The resulting independence has transferred into success in other financial areas of his life.

He’s not afraid to lose $100,000 of his own money on a single bet.

6 – Bracelet #3 (2004 $2,000 Limit Hold ’em)

Only a year after the S.H.O.E event, Negreanu took another first place in a $2,000 Limit Hold ’em tourney, which was part of the 35th edition of the WSOP. 

He managed to win a total of $169,100 by winning against Chris Hinchcliffe in the heads-up. One bracelet is an absolute dream for most poker players, Daniel is up to three.

7 – He Has Lost Millions on the Links

Recently, Negreanu shared some of his golf stories with the No Laying Up podcast.

By his own account, he’s lost about $3 million on golf bets, including a $1.2 million loss to poker rival and friend Phil Ivey. But he claims to have won it back over the years.

The best story he shared concerned a $550K bet he made about improving his game at TPC Summerlin. He had a year to get his score down. Waiting until the last month before the deadline, he started playing golf 12 hours a day.

With just over a week to spare, he played his final round to win the bet. On the last shot, he needed to sink a six-foot putt. His knees wobbled and buckled on the shot, but he sank the ball.

8 – Bracelet #4 (2008 $2,000 Limit Hold ’em)

Four years after bracelet #3, he managed to achieve his next success, as he took part in the limit hold ’em event once again, with the same buy-in amount. 

However, the final prize was higher this time, as he managed to earn a total of $204,874.

9 – His Advice on Poker Tells Goes Against Conventional Wisdom

In the early 2000s, Dnegs wrote an article for CardPlayer Magazine that he republished on his blog, the legendary “The Truth About Tells.” The article was republished many times on amateur poker blogs for years and cited in books and magazines.

Negreanu challenges the conventional wisdom of watching players’ body language. His philosophy is that the tells are in the action, not in subtle hand movements and nervous tics.

To this day, gambling bloggers dwell on body language stereotypes when discussing tells.

Holding nothing in your hand, you can drag out a decision for minutes before folding, and the other player may be so relieved he won that he won’t challenge you again.

Maybe this advice has been lost amid the online clutter, but experienced players still know that half the other player’s bluffing is in his silence.

10 – Bracelet #5 (2013 A $10,000 No-Limit Hold ’em Main Event)

Negreanu’s biggest WSOP success was when he managed to take down the Main Event of the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific. Winning any WSOP Main Event was a great honor, and this was the time that Negreanu really cemented his place as a living poker legend.

He won against Daniel Marton in heads-up play and won a total of $1,038,825. The event lasted for five days in total and recorded 405 entries. A total of 40 players were paid, and the total prize pool was $3,847,500.

Negreanu managed to win this hand with a pair of deuces.

11 – Bracelet #6 (2013 €25,600 High Roller No-Limit Hold ’em)

Just in case you need more convincing, I present Daniel’s 6th WSOP bracelet.

Negreanu’s final bracelet was won when he took part in the World Series of Poker Europe. This is his only high roller WSOP bracelet, and he managed to win a total of €725,000. His final opponent was Nicolau Villa-Lobos.

Right now, Daniel Negreanu is only 45 years old, and he doesn’t even think about retirement, meaning there still a lot of time for him to take part in WSOP events in the future and win more bracelets.

However, he will probably remain versatile when it comes to poker tournaments, so he could even land another World Poker Tour, SCOOP, or even WCOOP. Moreover, Negreanu has been active in online poker for a while, and it’s safe to say that Kid Poker is yet to show us his best moves on the web as well.


Love him or hate, Daniel Negreanu helped change the game of real money poker. He was among the first generation of young superstars to take the game away from the older players.

He has been more open with his followers about his private life than many a celebrity, and he’s honest about his mistakes. He seems to take life in stride.

Doyle Brunson said at one time that Negreanu may be the best poker player ever. It doesn’t really matter who agrees with that judgment. As long as Dnegs keeps playing the game, people will have interesting things to share about him.

Daniel Negreanu isn’t afraid to live life the way he wants.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

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