Negreanu is the third highest-earning poker player in the world. The man is a two-time WSOP Player of the Year, a one-time WPT Player of the Year, has two WPT titles, six WSOP bracelets and has been a member of the Poker Hall of Fame since 2014. In the same year, the Global Poker Index (an international ranking body for poker players) named Negreanu as the best poker player (statistically speaking) of the past decade.
Interestingly, Daniel Negreanu is one of the founders and faces of the huge poker platform GGPoker. Now his focus is on this project. There are many webcasts of him playing on his platform for very large sums (e.g. $50,000) and interacting with a live audience watching him.
- Name: Daniel Negreanu
- Born: 26 July 1974, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Citizenship: Canadian
- Place of residence: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
- Wins throughout your career: > 42,000,000 USD
- Nicknames: Kid Poker
Biography and personal life
An interesting-sounding surname might tell you that Negreanu is not Canadian at all. In fact, he is the son of two Romanian immigrants. Although he travelled to the USA, he settled in Canada. Daniel is the younger of two brothers.
It is said that it was clear from a young age that Negreanu would not be like everyone else. He wanted to be an actor or a comedian, but life took a gambling turn. He spent most of his free time in billiard halls, which were also home to bookmakers and poker rooms. The latter were the most fascinating and Negreanu did quite well. After dropping out of school in his final year, he decided to become a professional poker player and pursued every opportunity he could, playing at charity casino events in Eastern Canada and even illegal gambling in the underground.
An interesting detail of Daniel Negreanu's biography is that when he was very young he met a charming casino croupier, Evelyn Ng. They were a couple for a while and during that time Daniel taught Evelyn all the tricks of poker and helped her to become a professional poker player.
So it was only natural that, with a keen talent for playing himself and teaching others, the Canadian saved up his money and headed for Vegas. There he lasted seven months, left without a nickel in his pocket, and played in almost every tournament he entered. Back in Toronto, Negreanu saved up a lot of money again and returned to Vegas, where he slowly became a big star. He was then the youngest WSOP bracelet winner who received it in 1998., and went on to win or reach the final in almost every tournament he entered. In 2007, he entered into a partnership agreement with PokerStars and became a key contributor to the brand's biggest ups and downs. In 2019, the partnership ended and he moved to GGPoker
Negreanu's playing style
One thing you can notice about Negreanu's game is that he is probably one of the most stable people with the best game sense. When it comes to ratings, he is always defined as the most balanced, the least distracted and the most accurate predictor of other people's actions. At the poker table, Negreanu can be said to do everything with perfect or near-perfect precision. He certainly has no weaknesses, and that is his biggest advantage.
Here's a video created by PokerStars to mark the end of the partnership with Negreanu. It's quite long (29mins), but if you're interested in his biography and style of play, be sure to check it out.
One thing that distinguishes him from many of his opponents is that Daniel always seems to be a positive, cheerful, happy person. He doesn't exude the aggressive energy of P.Hellmuth, Tony G or other players of that type. But underneath this veil is a real poker machine, which opponents call "Inhumanly accurate", "Talented" and so on. It is Negreanu's almost 100% accuracy in reading situations that has allowed him to win as many tournaments and as much money as he has.
If you want to learn all the tricks that poker champion Daniel Negreanu has in his pockets, you can get a tailor-made course from him through Masterclass. However, if we look specifically at how Negreanu plays in tournaments (where his best performances come from, as this is said to be the strongest part of his game), we can get some analysis.
The image of a good and friendly guy does him a favour in this place. For the first few hands He plays very conservatively and spends most of his time trying to win in small-ball style. This means that you won't see anything very aggressive or shocking in the early stages of the game. However, it gradually becomes more aggressive. Well, as the game moves into its final stages, it becomes much harder to predict his actions.
So he may be hesitant to play even with a good hand at the beginning (choosing not to risk it), but later he may be unafraid to go boldly into the game, to call or even raise with the worst hand. Negreanu's tip is that if you want to beat your opponents faster, you need to raise three or even four times in the pre-flop phase. A minimum raise, in the Canadian's opinion, simply invites players who are waiting for an out or have a medium hand to compete.
However, in this player's mind, the pre-flop phase of the game offers far fewer opportunities than the post-flop. As a result, he focuses almost all his energy on post-flop play.
Actually, as far as the pre-flop situation is concerned, it would be an interesting addition to the statistics we mentioned earlier. Although Negreanu doesn't play as aggressively as possible in the beginning, after that he just doesn't stop, so to speak. In the majors he plays with ~85-92% in his manual, which is probably the highest percentage of all elite players.
Reading the opponents and the situation at the table
As we've already mentioned, reading other players is one of the player's strongest attributes. When, before the cards are dealt, Negreanu simply says to his opponent "You've got so-and-so, haven't you? Negreanu usually responds to an opponent's smile or reaction with a laugh, and once the cards are turned over, it's clear that he understands poker a little bit better than everyone else.
He uses a special weapon in his game - a psychological model called "Conscious competence". In psychological science, this describes four levels of competence. The lowest level is unconscious incompetence, then conscious incompetence, then conscious competence and finally unconscious competence (or instincts). Daniel Negreanu is a top league player, so he feels a lot of things at the table instinctively (he says so himself), which is why he has reached the highest level of competence.
This is why it is very difficult to discuss this player's predictions. He does a lot of things on a hunch, without thinking too much. However, thanks to his enormous talent and his vast experience, more often than not he hits it right on the money or very accurately. Of course, Daniel's persona adds to the spectacle of the guessing moments, but in this video you can see that he has no shortage of moments when he seems to see right through his opponents.
However, one should not think that this is an insurmountable talent. In the next video you can see a very strong showdown between Tony G and Daniel Negreanu. If not for the last time Q dropped out and gave Negreanu a Full House, he would have lost. After the players showed their cards, the Canadian showed surprise and said: "Wow, I didn't think he had these cards.". But, as we know, luck follows the best!
In terms of nuances, this player has an excellent knowledge of the mathematical side of poker. T.y. ranges, kicker probabilities, and has a very good understanding of other players' body language.
Playing early game and early-stages tournaments
In multi-table tournaments, Negreanu always advises to start slower and use the first few hands to read your opponents. This is what the Canadian recommends to concentrate on first.
- You won't win the tournament on the first day, but you might get knocked out - don't rush to beat everyone in a row right now. The current value of the chips held by the other players at the table is probably not so high that it is worth risking losing everything.
- Low pairs and equal mosties connector the cards have a much higher value. So, for example, wines 6 and 7 at the first table are much more valuable than at the final stage (known as the 'bubble').
Daniel Negreanu is a rare bluffer
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The final rounds and final tables
When it comes to the bubble, or the phase of the game when you get close to the prizes, Negreanu shows his full potential. Most of the other players will play much more cautiously at this stage and that is where the Canadian tries to focus his attention first. As an example, he gives the following situation:
Assuming that it is late in the game and blinds are cautious, a hand like 9 of hearts and J should not be folded. Recognising the fact that other players often withdraw and rarely adventure, it should be noted that there will rarely be another opportunity to "steal" bets.
And when the opportunity arises to raise, then keep your betting to a minimum against this type of opponent. According to Daniel Negreanu, this will discourage your opponents, because thrifty players are not usually concerned with how much money you raise, but with the fact that they don't have good cards themselves.
According to this player, the so-called small-ball approach and this style of play becomes even more effective in the later stages. This is because once players have gone very far, they become afraid of losing everything, and they are fighting more against their own inner self and thoughts than against the odds. The more aggressive players will simply, little by little, drain their capital by continuously increasing their bets and taking the initiative.
When it comes to card combinations, Negreanu focuses on pairs of cards, which we call trouble hands. These are pairs of cards that are easy to beat and should be played with caution. These pairs include 8 and J, 9 and Q, J and K (Rookie Hand), J and J and A and Q. It is the latter, according to the Canadian, that would probably come out on top in a list of the most hated poker players handicrafts List.
So it would be quite difficult to sum up Negreanu's entire game. He is a player who is extremely slick, adaptable and has masterful precision. As one of the most accurate and successful poker minds of this century, the Canadian has earned a reputation as a much-loved but highly respected player. From the outside, he doesn't appear to be an overly aggressive player or a malicious personality (like P. Hellmuth or Tony G), but this is just further proof that the wolf lives in the lamb's clothing.
It was clear from an early age that this guy had a talent for poker. Having become one of the most successful professional poker players, Daniel Negreanu is a master of psychological pressure and reading players. He likes to play a little more cautiously in the early stages and never takes his foot off the accelerator in the latter stages. It is important to note that Daniel rarely bluffs, which gives him a big advantage over his opponents. If he does decide to do it, he does it masterfully and almost nobody can catch it. All in all, Negreanu seems to be a great poker player, teacher, interesting personality and a very special talent.