By Thomas Hviid
Only five months ago, one the world’s largest poker profiles — Great Dane Gus Hansen — turned 40, and now it’s Daniel Negreanu’s turn.
The Canadian hits 40 this Saturday, July 26, and he has invited family, friends and fans to a big party at the Marquee Nightclub in Las Vegas to celebrate.
It’s a typical Negreanu move to invite fans to his birthday, as he always has been accommodating to them.
Almost everyone in the poker media has requested an interview with the likeable Canadian over the years and he always seems to find the time.
His friendly nature is part of what gave him stardom in the poker world - of course along with that he is one of the world’s best poker players.
Growing Up in Toronto, Taking his First Shot at Vegas
Negreanu's family moved in 1967 from Romania to Canada to find work, and seven years later, Daniel came into the world in Toronto.
As you can probably guess, he was a fast-talking type from an early age. At 15 years old he learned how to play poker and some years later he dropped out of high school to dedicate himself to the game.
It did not go especially well at first. He went broke several times, and when he moved to Las Vegas as a 22-year-old to Las Vegas to play professionally, he went broke yet again.
According to him, the risk was part of the game back then:
“In the old days, yes, you might have to go broke. You have to be brave enough to bet it all, and some people lose, man,” said Negreanu in an interview with PokerListings.
Fortunately Negreanu recovered and a few years after the debacle in Vegas he returned home to win his first WSOP bracelet in the $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event for $169,460. At the time he was 24, and he was actually the youngest bracelet-winner ever- a record he held until 2004.
Negreanu Destroys the Competition in 2004
As one of poker's biggest talents, Negreanu was in perfect position to get the maximum exposure from the poker boom. Bracelets two and three came in 2003 and 2004, and he won two tournaments on the World Poker Tour.
It made him an international star, and since then he's posted numerous victories around the globe. The only thing missing on his resume is an EPT win.
As a sponsored PokerStars pro he has had plenty of chances on the EPT but has thus far fallen short. He has several runner-up finishes in EPT High Rollers and last year came fourth at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
WSOP titles are very important to the Canadian and he has spoken many times about how many bracelets he would like to win by the time he hangs up his poker-playing jersey. He was stuck at four for a number of years but over the last year he’s been on a tear winning two bracelets and earning WSOP POY.
Besides poker Negreanu has gotten quite handy with a golf club lately and according to his Twitter he recently fell to a 12.5 handicap.
Negreanu has been married only once and at this point remains a bachelor but talked earnestly about starting a family after his WSOPE High Roller win in 2013.
At any rate it’s certain that “Kid Poker” has certainly done some growing over his poker career.
Below are some highlights from Negreanu’s rather impressive poker career:
We couldn’t find the video from his first WSOP victory in 1998 but instead found this win at the USPC in 1999. It’s a blast from the past to say the least (also don't call him "Danny"):
Negreanu has made a career out of reading people. Here are some of his most incredible soul reads over the years:
Negreanu has had a lot of success in his poker career but for some reason he always got unlucky on High Stakes Poker. Here’s one of his most memorable hands against Gus Hansen:
Never one to shy away from controversy Negreanu wasn’t afraid to speak his mind about the Full Tilt situation after Black Friday. Negreanu was not a fan of Howard Lederer after FTP failed to immediately pay back its players.
Finally here’s Negreanu coming second in this year's WSOP Big One for One Drop and becoming poker's biggest all-time tournament winner: