June 22, 2022

Behind Daniel Negreanu’s quest for a third World Series of Poker Player of the Year award

Rushing down the hall as another of his 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments enters a break, Daniel Negreanu weaves his way through the throngs of people at the Paris Las Vegas Convention Center as his iPhone is busy record a segment for the next YouTube vlog of the day.

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“YouTube is always a great way to promote what you do,” Negreanu said on his daily YouTube vlogs throughout the WSOP. “Now that I’m with GGPoker, I promote ClubGG and GGPoker. People just started enjoying the game, and I enjoyed doing it. There’s nobody playing all the big buy-ins that is ready to do this.

For over a decade Negreanu was a member of Team PokerStars Pro, but in 2019 the two parted ways. Later that year, GGPoker signed Negreanu to be one of its brand ambassadors, and since then GGPoker has become one of the poker powerhouses in the world.

Poker Growth

Negreanu’s career began in the late 1990s when he competed in the WSOP at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. Negreanu won the first three of his six WSOP bracelets at Binion’s before the WSOP outgrew his first home and moved to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino for the next 17 years.

“I’m surprised how big it got, but I wasn’t surprised how cool it was,” Negreanu said of how poker evolved until whatever it is right now. “I remember as a kid watching on ESPN when Phil Hellmuth and Johnny Chan were playing. I said it was the coolest thing ever. I’m not surprised people got into it. I’m just surprised he grew up like that.

From humble beginnings and small groups, the WSOP has grown to see tournaments attract over 20,000 participants. The 2022 housewarming party was the fourth-largest field in WSOP history last week, while the biggest event in WSOP history happened in 2019 with “The BIG 50” drawing over 28,000 attendees.

“I definitely saw it coming after Moneymaker,” Negreanu said of seeing the fields of 20,000 participants finally make it to the WSOP. “After Moneymaker, there is suddenly a whole new market of players who want to play the World Series of Poker. This means the buy-ins are starting to drop. When you have the $400 Colossus and all that sort of stuff, you’re going to see crazy fields.

Juggle Being a poker personality and a poker player

There is no doubt that Negreanu is the friendliest poker player the game has ever seen. Whether it’s asking for a selfie or signing one of the poker books he’s authored, Negreanu always has time for his fans. Except during tournament breaks.

Negreanu uses his breaks to rush back to his private room so he can refuel, reset, and review the hands he’s played.

“I don’t think it hurts my poker,” Negreanu said of vlogging during breaks during the WSOP. “It forces me on every break to go over each hand and think about it in depth. I learn by doing this. I allow myself to let off steam. It’s similar to what you would do if you were keeping a journal.

Chasing WSOP Player of the Year and a 7th bracelet

The first-ever WSOP Player of the Year award went to Negreanu at the 2004 WSOP after cashing in six of 32 events. Negreanu reached four final tables and won his third WSOP bracelet in the $2,000 Limit Hold’em event.

Negreanu would become the first two-time winner of the WSOP Player of the Year award in 2013 when he cashed in 10 times, and of the four final tables he reached, he won two WSOP bracelets. Negreanu won his fifth WSOP bracelet at the WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event and his sixth at the WSOP Europe High Roller.

In 2019, Negreanu received his third WSOP Player of the Year after ending the run with 2018 WSOP Player of the Year and Australian Robert Campbell. However, after a data entry error was noticed, it would be Campbell who would be crowned 2019 WSOP Player of the Year.

“I changed my approach to Player of the Year,” Negreanu said. “I don’t do the Shaun Deeb. Shaun Deeb is running around playing this and that, and those small buy-in, big field events. I don’t do any of that. I aim for victories.

Negreanu is very vocal with planning his schedule and building rest so he can perform at his best. He would love to win the $800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack, but he also understands that he has a better chance of winning the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship where more points are often available.

“To win WSOP Player of the Year, you need big points and you need to get some wins,” Negreanu said. “You can do that by focusing on quality over quantity. There’s still plenty of time. I’m resilient as f***. I never feel left out.

With a WSOP bracelet drought of over eight years, Negreanu has had plenty of close calls with 11 top-three finishes since winning the WSOP Europe High Roller. Negreanu is always a betting favorite at the start of every WSOP due to his volume of play and incredible results – even without winning poker’s top prize.

“I believe bracelets come with it,” Negreanu said of pursuing WSOP bracelets and trying to win another WSOP Player of the Year award. “You will rarely see the WSOP Player of the Year won by someone who hasn’t won a bracelet. It’s very, very hard to do.”

Negreanu’s list of poker accomplishments and accolades is incredibly long, but for the Poker Hall of Famer, would winning his seventh WSOP bracelet or his unprecedented third WSOP Player of the Year award mean more for him?

“It’s something unique that’s probably more important to me. Winning my third WSOP Player of the Year title before someone else gets two.

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