Poker Legend Daniel Negreanu shares his story with us here at RTR

Posted on by RTR Dennis

Daniel Negreanu - Kid Poker

PokerStars.com Team Pro Daniel Negreanu is the the all time money leader in the poker world with over $14,000,000 in tournament earnings alone! With four WSOP bracelets, two WPT titles and a multitude of other final tables under his belt he is easily the most accomplished tournament player in poker history. Aside from tournaments he also plays the highest cash games available and shies away from no opponent, in fact, choosing to play the world’s best. Daniel sat with us here at RakeTheRake to give his take on everything poker…

Daniel Negreanu

1) Can you begin by telling us what you have been up to recently in regards to playing poker or other projects?

I’ve been playing online mostly $50-$100 5 tabling HU and recently started multi-tabling $1.75 sit n’ gos on PokerStars.com.

2) We enjoyed reading your recent ‘My Amazing Race’ blog. Can you tell us about that and how everything panned out?

Well, you’ll have to read the blog to fully understand it, but in the end it all worked out in the nick of time, but my stress level was at an all-time high throughout the whole ordeal.

3) Can you tell us about your recent trip to Australia and then on to PCA? How did it feel to start the year on such a high note, winning a million dollars straight off the bat?

I feel like I’ve been playing good poker so it’s always nice to see some results coming in after a transitional year in 2010.

4) While we are talking about that side of the world can you tell us what’s going on with your friend Kirk Morrison? He seemed to take the poker world by storm there for a year or so!

I have no idea where he is, he’s a bit of a nomad.

5) We used to enjoy reading about your random donations to good causes or helping people out that you came across in life (e.g. buying 20 suits in the car park of the Bellagio, or something like that). What has been your most recent act of kindness or generosity?

It’s just not something I really like to talk about publicly. If I give, I do it because I want to do it, not so that I can do it in the hopes that I receive praise for it.

Daniel Negreanu

6) As the game has evolved over recent years it seems some of the old school pros are having a hard time keeping up. Meanwhile you have been diligently working on your game. What do you think are the biggest differences in today’s game to that of a few years ago and what do players need to do differently in order to maintain their edge?

Players are better. Simple as that. More young players have figured out some truths about the game, and if you ignore those truths, you won’t be successful.

7) We loved following your Bobby’s Room reports from some years ago. Do you still play there regularly? Can you share any fun stories with us?

The game doesn’t even go anymore. While online poker has been great to poker in terms of convenience, it essentially wiped out the games in Bobby’s Room. The biggest game in town now is small in comparison to what you see online. A $200-$400 or $300-$600 mixed game at Aria.

8) In regards to poker in general why do you think the game evolves so rapidly and do you have ideas what may be the next advances? I.e. Small ball is the current buzz word in poker… do you think maybe Doyle’s Super System style may return to being the dominant winning strategy? I.e. putting huge pressure on players by fast playing big draws etc?

It doesn’t work like that. There is no fool-proof plan to win, you have to adapt and get better. There isn’t ever going to be a day where we wake up and say, “By George, the standard raise should be 4x!”

Daniel Negreanu

9) You have said recently that you rate Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan as the two best cash game players right now. What do you think it is that they do so differently that allows them to dominate so well? Is there anything other up and coming players can learn from watching them to help take their own games to the next levels? Also, what do you do yourself to combat their styles? Do you think you could surpass them in terms of poker ability again? And, where would you rate your new opponent Isildur1?

I don’t think I’ve ever said that actually, but that happens when you do lots of interviews! In my opinion Ivey is the best player in the world until proven otherwise. Isildur1 is likely among the absolute best NLH heads-up players in the world, a guy like Ivey is good at everything. I definitely think I’m learning at a rapid pace and fully expect to be among the best in every category with more hard work.

10) What keeps you motivated to continue playing poker now that you have achieved big success and fortune? How do you maintain the hunger? Do you ever feel down or negative about the game and consider packing it all in? If so, what would you do with all your time?

I love the game and it’s my passion. I don’t ever want to rest on my laurels and what I accomplished in 2004; I want to continue to win.

11) It seems you are popular among your peers but sometimes get into a few verbal scrapes with other players, e.g. Andrew Robl, Matt Marafioti, Annie Duke. Who’s next on your hitlist?

I get along fine with Robl and Marafioti. I have talked to both of them since our argument or whatever you want to call it. As for the other one, that’s just not going to happen.

Daniel Negreanu

12) Do you think you are giving Phil Hellmuth too much of a hard time recently with a lot of table ribbing, blog jokes etc? It seems you love to pick on him 😉 What would you rate Phil’s poker ability / skills out of 10 with 10 being Ivey Quality? Do you think we will see Phil back on top of the poker world in terms of tournaments and cash games? What does he need to start doing differently or do you think he even cares at this stage now that he is already so famous?

He’s an easy target with the things he says. He needs to stop claiming to the world that he’s the best Hold’em player in the world because he has 11 bracelets and realize that the younger players are much better than he gives them credit for. He needs a complete overhaul really. His approach is outdated and exploitable versus top players. It still is very effective against weaker players, but against top players he makes too many fundamental errors. Unfortunately, I don’t see the drive in him to not only put in the necessary work, but also to swallow the pride and realize that he can learn from the new generation.

13) Seeing as it is question no.13 let’s talk about bad luck. What’s been going on on High Stakes Poker the past few years? How can you get coolered so badly so often? Maybe the poker gods are waiting for you to make the greatest fold ever (quads over quads perhaps) and flip the tables altogether?

I try not to focus on it, but yeah, I’ve definitely been the most unlucky player in the history of the show, that’s undeniable. Having said that, I’m sure I’ve been lucky in other areas, like tournaments in 2004 for example.

14) What do you consider to be your biggest strengths at the moment in terms of poker play / strategy / style? Also, what are your weaknesses that you are working on? Also, from continually analysing your own game can you identify any techniques other up and coming players can use to analyse their own games? What should they be focusing on in order to improve?

My biggest strength, I think, is the ability to adapt to different types of opponents, whether they are sophisticated players or weaker players. I think the best way to improve is to compare what you are doing to what the other top players are doing, and if there is something glaringly different, ask yourself why. If you have a good answer for it, then keep doing it, otherwise, work on that flaw and change it.

Daniel Negreanu

15) Having had the opportunity to meet a lot of famous people from other disciplines can you tell us who your favourite celebrity or well known person you’ve met is? Also, if you could trade your life for anyone else’s who’s would it be and why?

I enjoyed meeting Barack Obama because I have a lot of respect for him. I really like my life so I don’t imagine I’d want to be in anyone else’s shoes.

16) If you had to pick just one hand from your whole poker career as being the most memorable and proudest hand you’ve played what would it be?

Has to be a bluff I pulled against Freddie Deeb heads-up at Showdown at the Plaza. I bluff-raised him on the river, knowing he had a big hand, but not big enough to call. If he called, he’d have a huge lead, but instead he folded, I showed the bluff, and it completely changed the momentum of the match and I went on to win.

17) If you were starting out in the poker world just now what would you do to ensure success? What bankroll would you start with? What games or stakes would you play? What would you do to fast-track success? Or, would you just avoid poker altogether?

I would learn to multi-table micro-tables online and work my butt off grinding every day and as my bankroll increased I’d look to play higher and higher stakes online. I wouldn’t waste much time with live poker.

18) What is next for Daniel Negreanu? Continue to dominate the poker world? Bust Isildur? Retire to a life of luxury? Turn golf pro? Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time personally and professionally?

I want to become a much better online player and I have been. I’ll be spending the next couple years working on that, as well as major tournaments across the world.

19) If you could offer our readers just one piece of advice for both poker and life, what would it be?

Make sure whatever you choose to do with your life, you actually enjoy it. If you don’t, find something you do enjoy, otherwise you are destined to be miserable.

20) Can you tell us something about yourself that nobody else knows? Something that will ignite a 100-page forum post on 2+2 and create some epic photoshops?

I’m in love with…a woman!

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