Get rich or make history: Why do you play poker?

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu had the most cashes at the 2009 WSOP, but says he doesn't play for the money.

What drives poker players to strive for success differs to a man.

Some play for the cash. Others want fame, glory and the chance to make history. Some just want to beat their buddies.

Daniel Negreanu doesn't play poker for the money.

Along with seasoned pro David Baker, the Team PokerStars Pro led all players with eight cashes at the 2009 World Series of Poker this summer.

He earned $331,860 in the process, but at the WPT Legends of Poker this week; Negreanu told PokerListings the cash isn't the thing.

"It's not about money," he said. "I have money already. I don't really need any more.

"For me it's about accumulating stats. It's about history and it's about the fact I want to be number one at anything I'm doing."

Darryll Fish cashed seven times at 2009 WSOP for $116,068, tying him for second in cashes this year with four others.

But Fish, who recently made the move from online pro to playing a lot more live poker, says glory be damned, he plays the game for the cold hard cash.

"Both [records and money] are nice, of course, but until I become a millionaire like Daniel has been lucky enough to become, then I'm going to worry about the money," Fish said.

Daniel Negreanu
'For me it's about accumulating stats.'

Despite the number of WSOP cashes Fish accumulated, he still isn't quite sure if he's counting his WSOP a success.

"It is and it isn't," he said. "This was the first year I got myself close enough to have an opportunity to win. But the goal is to win the most money not necessarily to win the tournament; to put yourself into spots to win the most you possibly can.

"It's a good and a bad thing. I can't really feel bad about it because I have plenty of friends who didn't really cash at all, but at the same time, getting close seven times and not actually breaking through was still a disappointment."

With a number of well publicized bracelet and other prop bets on the go at the World Series, Negreanu may have ended the summer in the red, but he still considers his Series a successful one.

"Overall it was still a success," he said. "Even if I lost money on the Series as a whole and did well in the Player of the Year race it would be a success for me.

"Anytime you are in the top ten for player of the year you're doing pretty good in my books."

Fish seemed less than convinced.

"I want to get rich," he said. "For me, that's what poker is all about."

Now sitting third on poker's all time leading money winners list with over $11 million in live tournament cashes, Negreanu said he just sees things a little differently.

"If there's a leader board of any kind, anywhere, I want to be on top of it," he said. "That's just how I am."

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