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Daniel Negreanu: "The Only Controversy Comes from the Cesspool"
One of the game's genuine leaders both on the felt and off, Daniel Negreanu has been the voice at the top of the poker pecking order for over a decade now.
With bigger and broader channels like Twitch and a new TV show coming on Poker Central offering even more of a platform to speak his mind, though, we might only have scratched the surface of what Daniel has to say.
As luck would have it, he says a lot of smart things. And he's hardly ever wrong about the state of the game and what it needs to thrive.
Shortly after busting this year's PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final Main Event Negreanu took a few minutes to keep us up-to-speed before he went off to stream some $100k pots playing $400/$800 8-Game.
PokerListings: Run us through the hand that busted you from the main event.
Daniel Negreanu: I raised from middle position with kings and got three callers. The guy in the big blind just called, too, although he looked like he wanted to raise.
I had played the Super High Roller with him but all I knew about him was that he was quite aggressive.
The flop is T-6-2 with two diamonds, so I bet. He was the only caller. The turn was a jack.
I thought he might have a lot of draw here and I need to push those kings now, so I bet again.
The river was an ace which is not the card you want to see. I had to decide between a blocker bet and a check.
I decided to check and he over-shoved. I didn’t think he would do that if he had for example A-8d and just hit top pair.
He may have A-Jd or A-T, but there were a lot of other hands like missed flush draws, missed straight draws. Unfortunately for me he had jacks and hit a set on the turn.
PL: It seemed like you wanted to talk yourself into a fold but you still called.
DN: Overall, I still think I had to call regarding the hands he could have and the way the hand played out.
But then again, had I known the guy a little better, I might have folded.
PL: Twitch is the new thing in poker now. What’s motivating you to become involved in it?
DN: At first, I didn’t know much about it except that Jason Somerville was involved. So I checked it out and found it's a great way to interact with fans.
What I’m now specifically doing is teaching Mixed Games because I like to play something else than just Hold’em. I find Hold’em one of the more boring poker games.
So I’m thinking people who want to play the World Series, they want to play Omaha but they don’t know how. They want to play Stud but they’ve never seen it anywhere.
So Twitch gives them an opportunity to watch me do it, learn a couple of things and then take it on for themselves.
PL: There are already people in the community who complain that you and Jason Somerville are giving away too much information. Is that justified?
DN: That’s a very short-sighted view that’s been around since the '70s.
When Doyle Brunson wrote Super/System everybody was saying 'you can’t do that, everyone’s going to learn all the tricks.'
But what really happened was that it gave more people the chance to get into the game and thus grow the game.
Now we’re on a completely different level, with video instead of reading, but to see something and to really have it sink in and use it are two different things.
We’re teaching so people can be confident, but if you’re worried about that you’re not very good yourself and you should get a job.
There have been other means in the past -- books, academies, software, this stuff already exists.
What I do is I try to make it entertaining because that’s something that we’ve been missing in the last couple of years.
The responses you’re talking about are from people who think about no one other than themselves. They think they are the only people that matter but they don’t see the bigger picture.
PL: Looking at the Global Poker Masters do you think this has potential as a team event?
DN: I hope so. It’ll depend on how much national pride is involved, for example.
I know it’s good that the Italians won because they are very passionate about it. You might have to tweak the games a little bit but this is always possible.
PL: Would you sacrifice two or three tournament days to play in the GPM?
DN: That’s not going to happen. I’m not skipping tournaments for that.
I only play the higher buy-in tournaments anyway and I will not skip any of them. If they take place outside my schedule, I’d possibly play.
PL: You’ve recently written a blog on how to become a poker pro. Why would you write about this topic now?
DN: The reason is I was at a conference with business people and they were talking to me about these young kids who want to be professionals and they couldn’t really connect with them.
I thought it was a good opportunity to tell them how that works. To say, 'if you want to be a professional, it’s possible, but you need to have a plan.'
You need to be realistic and you have to document what your plan is. You can’t just go and do it; you have to look at the numbers.
PL: As usual, there were controversial reactions to what you’ve written. Doesn’t that get to you?
DN: The truth is the vast majority of people respond positively. Only the nitpickers are negative.
The ones who focus on an unimportant detail like what the hourly win rate can be and then say that’s not true, but they're completely missing the point.
What I do is I’m creating a template and then people can take it and use it. The only controversy ever comes from the cesspool, the forums, and the people who run it.
They’re creating a way of speaking with each other that is designed to be combative, argumentative and not a win-win-situation for everybody.
The goal of most posters is to say ‘I’m right, you’re wrong, I’m smart, and you’re fu….. stupid.’ Sure that gets the discussion going, but it’s not going anywhere.
I’m used to this. And there are people like Sklansky and Malmuth who think they know everything and there's just nothing anyone can say they would ever learn anything from.
I couldn’t go into these forums every day because I don’t want to surround myself with this negativity.
There are people whose lives are so sad and miserable that they want to rip mine apart to make them feel better. And they don’t even know me.
I feel empathy for them but I’d rather surround myself with high-level people who want to break barriers - not with cynics who feel sorry for themselves.
PL: You're going to work with the new network Poker Central. What’s your involvement going to look like?
DN: Poker Central is a new website and TV network that’s going to go live in the fall this year.
They already have the rights to show EPT, WPT, High Stakes Poker, Aussie Millions, so there will be a lot of that but there will also be fresh content.
The first example of this is going to be the Super High Roller Bowl, which is on this summer with a $500,000 buy-in and 70-80 players.
Also, I’m going to have a show. I’ve created a show and it’s going to be on a weekly basis. I can’t give away too much for now.
PL: Did you watch the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight?
DN: No. I woke up in time but then I went back to sleep. I didn’t really want to see it because I had a feeling that Floyd would win and I don’t like him.
He’s just not a good person. He beat his wife and other women and got away with it because there’s no visual evidence.
I’m not interested in boxing but I would have liked to see Manny break his face and have him lie bleeding on the ground.