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Daily 3-Bet: Negreanu Peace, Dreyfus Plea, King of Online Gambling
The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a glass a milk, a plate of cookies and a breathtaking wait behind the curtains for afternoon poker news santa to drop in.
Have something you'd like featured in a future 3-Bet? Let us know in the comments.
Today in the 3-Bet we find Daniel Negreanu offering his thoughts (and balance sheet) in response to the Vicky Coren furor, Alex Dreyfus sends a letter to Santa and Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov opens up (a little).
1) Negreanu: "I Have More Money Than I Could Spend in My Lifetime"
As you might expect, Daniel Negreanu has responded to the furor surrounding Vicky Coren Mitchell's resignation from Team PokerStars and the addition of casino games to the PokerStars client.
While some will see it as Daniel toeing the company line it's a well-reasoned introspection of how a gambling professional makes peace with his career and it's clearly something he's grappled with over the years.
Is taking money from a fish - or worse a drunk/at risk/inebriated fish who can't afford to lose - under the guise of a fair game any better than him punting it away on casino games? Is your shot at winning in blackjack or roulette actually better than it is in poker? Can you separate playing poker in a casino from playing casino games?
Whatever side of the argument you fall on what is clear from Negreanu's post is he doesn't take the decision lightly or take issue with Coren Mitchell's choice. He's also very committed to taking his poker wealth and giving something bigger back to the world at large.
What's also surprisingly clear? His decision isn't financially motivated and that "something bigger" can have a lot of zeros in it. We knew he did well, but ... this was a surprise still:
"I’m fortunate enough to have more money than I could spend in my lifetime. I don’t need to earn another penny the rest of my life and I’ll be OK."
2) Dreyfus to Amaya: "Don't Forget About Poker"
While we're on the subject of PokerStars and casino games, GPI CEO Alex Dreyfus has also weighed in with his thoughts on the matter with a slightly different take than Negreanu.
There might be no one in poker working harder to grow the game in the sports world at large than Dreyfus and, while still keeping an open mind to what PokerStars needs to do as a business, he implores the company to keep the "poker" part of PokerStars in mind.
- I wish for Pokerstars to not forget Poker in 2015. Your line was “Find the Poker Star in you”. Hopefully you’ll not forget to find the “Poker in you”.
- I wish for Pokerstars to remember that Poker is the foundation of the company, and sometime the time spent on diversification may eventually affect its grassroots, stopping the innovation and disruption thats needed to continue creating growth in your market.
- I know that you take the best decisions that make sense for the company, for its shareholders, but I wish you to remember that the journey is long. Long term decisions will always pay better that short term ones.
3) Amaya's David Baazov: Math Whiz, Dropout, Lightning Rod
And now for the man who's really at the center of all of this: The 34-year-old (!) CEO of Amaya Gaming, David Baazov.
Baazov agreed to his first in-depth interview (of sorts) with Forbes' Nathan Vardi and the results are, well, intriguing.
Not much of a poker player, he says, Baazov has a pretty fascinating background and a certifiably awe-inspiring story of how he brokered the purchase of the biggest online poker site in the world.
It's easy to see where poker players will have some beefs with the new direction of the company. Casino games. Social gaming. Sports betting. Even fantasy sports all will be a big part of what's coming.
Most enlightening, perhaps, is Baazov sees the true value of PokerStars players in the bigger picture:
“My goal is that all of our gaming revenue is sub–50% of the company’s revenue,” says Baazov. “We are a consumer–tech–focused company.
"We didn’t buy Rational because of gambling; we wanted it badly because it had 89 million consumers. I wouldn’t call them players or gamblers–they are consumers.”
Take that for what you will. But it's a fascinating look into perhaps the most important decision-maker in poker right now. And, if poker players are telling the truth about it, a guy they would probably otherwise see as an inspiration.