Negreanu: “A Poker Game with Trump Supporters is a Really Good Game”

Daniel Negreanu5

These days it would be easy to mistake Daniel Negreanu for a political analyst rather than world-famous poker pro.

The Las Vegas resident has been particularly outspoken in his contempt for Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee in the upcoming 2016 presidential election.

Half a year ago at the PCA, Daniel Negreanu said that Trump would have no shot at becoming president.

Trump has made it a lot further than most people expected but even worse, for Negreanu, is finding out that some of his poker friends are Trump supporters.

Of course this year marks the first time the former Canadian resident will be able to vote in the US election so he's particularly interested in the outcome.

PokerListings' Dirk Oetzmann caught up with Negreanu at EPT Barcelona and got his thoughts about impending election and the effect it’s having on the poker world.

PokerListings: Are you surprised how far Donald Trump has gotten?

Daniel Negreanu: What’s really interesting is here is that in the primaries, only 9% of the voters voted for either Trump or Clinton.

Negreanu 249429042 long
Not a fan of The Donald.

That means a lot of people don’t like them. They just need to get enough people to like them a little bit more than the other people.

With Trump, the media really helped putting him in the forefront, and there are enough people who get – I think – conned by him.

He lies so much it’s hard to keep up. He gets away with it because nothing he says surprises anyone anymore.

Trump tapped into the people’s frustration. They think they’re frustrated with the government, but they’re really frustrated with the world changing.

A lot of workers jobs, like in the car industry for example, have been outsourced because it’s cheaper, markets are globalized, and the economy has changed.

Trump says ‘Let’s make America great again’, and people hear it’s going to be like the 1950s and 60s, but it won’t be.

PL: It feels like his campaign is more like "Make America afraid again".

DN: The fear is interesting as it really plays with the hearts of people. I recently asked on Twitter "How much does ISIS affect your life on a daily basis?"

Trump poker
Donald Trump

It turns out that the constant threat is just something that Fox News created to scare the s**t out of you.

Of course it’s tragic that we lost people at Orlando or San Bernadino, but it’s a relatively small number that are killed in renegade attacks.

And the criminals who did this are already in the States, they’re American citizens, so it won’t help to stop them from immigrating.

Trump tries to create an atmosphere of fear of Muslims like Hitler did with the Jews. It’s textbook demagoguery.

PL: The amount of dirt thrown around is staggering. Lately, they said Clinton has some form of brain disease. Are people taking this seriously?

DN: [Laughs] Yes. I heard Doyle Brunson say her health is bad, and I’m asking where are you getting this? Fox News? Breitbart?

Doyle Brunson
Poker icon Doyle Brunson doesn't care for Hillary Clinton.

What’s really funny is, Donald Trump has released one letter from a doctor about his health. It said something like, “...His health is the best ever. He’ll be the most healthiest guy ever running for office”.

Come on, that doesn’t sound like something a doctor would write. It sounds like Trump wrote it himself, and I wouldn’t put it past him.

What do you think we’d find if he released his tax declaration? We’d probably find that he doesn’t give nearly as much money to charity as he says.

We’d likely find that he’s not nearly worth as much money as he says, and we’ll likely find that he doesn’t pay nearly as much taxes as he’s supposed to.

He can’t reveal his tax declaration because it would be game over. This is a guy who talks about his penis size. Don’t you think if he paid loads of taxes he would gloat about it?

He brags about everything else. Except the polls. The polls have gone bad for him, so he doesn’t mention them anymore. Suddenly the polls don’t exist.

PL: Do you think he’s genuinely interested in being president of the United States?

Daniel Negreanu 2015 WSOP Main Event Day 7 7

DN: I believe that in the beginning, he just wanted to be more famous. One of his mottos is “What’s the point of having money if you’re not famous?”

Recognition is extremely important for him. Then he started ruling the polls, and now he wants to win, but he doesn’t want to do the job.

There are many signs for this. His son met with former candidate John Kasich and basically offered him to run the whole show.

They offered Kasich the vice-president position, but in a way he would have more power than any vice-president before.

He’s setting himself up just like a coward would. He screwed up by going after the Khan family, he talks about Hillary Clinton "picking her judges" like she’s already won, and he says the election will be rigged in her favor.

PL: There’s a rumor that he’s trying to set up a new right wing TV station that would maybe replace Fox News. Is there anything to this?

DN: He’s friendly with Fox News’ ousted Roger Ailes, and he’s just hired Steve Bannon from “Breitbart”, which is the most insane right wing conspiracy website.

Putting these three together, it seems very likely that they’re trying to establish a network that’s worse than Fox News.

And it could be viable, too, because there are enough people angry enough to buy into this.

Mike Matusow
Mike Matusow

It’s as if they are in a Twilight Zone. The people act as if they’re hypnotized. Look at Mike Matusow.

He’s somebody I have considered a friend, but that’s no longer the case. Matusow buys everything Trump says, no matter what.

He’s about as one-sided now as Sean Hannity on Fox News. A man who doesn’t ask questions but presents you with answers.

His questions come like this, “So, do you think Hillary is the devil or the spawn of Satan. Which do you think it is?”

PL: Are there more people who surprised you when they turned out to be Trump supporters?

DN: So, Doyle Brunson is an old Texas guy, and he’s of course a Republican. I’ve spoken with him. He doesn’t like Trump, he thinks he’s an idiot, but he hates Hillary, so he will vote Republican.

Mike Matusow is a bit of a surprise, but he fits the demographic. The demographic for Trump is uneducated, low-intelligence, older, white, angry people, and that’s Mike Matusow to a tee.

What was much more surprising to me was that Matt Glantz is a Trump supporter. But the truth is, his support isn’t really for Trump.

Glantz wants to blow up the system, destroy the GOP and start from scratch with an outsider. His second option would have been Bernie Sanders, so, whatever.

In poker, there are a lot of intelligent people. If you searched a high roller tournament, you’d have difficulty finding even one Trump supporter.

If you find yourself in a poker game with nine Trump supporters, you’re in a really good game. I’m serious. You’re in an amazing game.

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