High Stakes Poker Snapshot: Negreanu Runs Bad, Plays Worse

Published On: 26 April 2010 / Modified: 27 June 2018
Created By: Daniel Skolovy
Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu losing money on High Stakes Poker is becoming the norm. There's no denying that he runs bad, but he certainly doesn't do himself any favors with his awful play.

In episode 11, like in so many episodes of High Stakes Poker, Negreanu runs into some tough spots and manages to lose the maximum each time.

The benefactor this time is Mike Matusow, who in two hands takes just over $300,000 from the PokerStars pro.

Hand #1 Costs Negreanu $160k

Matusow limps upfront with K K and Negreanu limps in from middle position with 8 9. Eli Elezra makes it $5,000 with the A 7 and it's folded to Matusow who once again flat-calls.

Negreanu calls as well and they take a flop three-handed of K 9 9.

Mike Matusow 2

Matusow and Negreanu both check to Elezra who fires $8,000. Matusow flats with his nut full house and Negreanu makes it $28,800.

Elezra instantly mucks and Matusow thinks before making it $68,800.

Negreanu hems and haws before moving all-in for $151,300. Matusow snap-insta-beats Negreanu into the pot with a call.

They choose to run it twice and naturally Negreanu bricks the one-outer both times.

The only explanation I can think of for this atrocious flop play is that Negreanu just really didn't want his $150,000 dollars.

Matusow (the tightest player in the game by a mile who limped UTG) check-calls a c-bet only to back-re-raise when Negreanu check-raises.

Is this ever not the nuts?

What does Negreanu hope to accomplish by moving in? Not only is it impossible for Matusow to have a worse nine, it's impossible for him to have any nine in this situation given how tightly he's been playing.

Yet Negreanu moves all-in. Since Matusow never has a nine there are only two outcomes: either Matusow folds his bluff or he receives a belated Christmas gift of $150,000.

Either way it's an awful play. It's not like Matusow is going to felt AK here, so what does Negreanu expect to get value from?

Mistake number one costs Negreanu a $329,200 pot.

Hand #2 Costs Negreanu More

With the straddle on, Matusow once again limps up front with a big hand - this time the A Q. Benyamine, Elky and Galfond all call with trash hands and Negreanu makes it $16,000 in the small blind with T T.

Matusow limp re-raises to $45,000 and everyone gets out of the way except for Negreanu who makes the call with his two tens, $200k effective deep.

Daniel Negreanu

The flop comes 6 4 7. Negreanu checks and Matusow shoves all-in for $199,100 into the ~$100,000 pot. Negreanu thinks before eventually calling with his two tens.

Matusow is a very slight favorite with his overcards and a flush draw and when they run it twice Matusow manages to win both and the enitre $496,800 pot.

Again, obvious bad luck for Negreanu losing both in a coin flip. However, he didn't play the hand well by any means. Sure, once the cards are turned over, it looks like a decent enough call but that's results-oriented thinking.

Negreanu was lucky enough to run into the very bottom of Matusow's range. Matusow limped UTG then re-raised a massive $16,000 raise from the small blind.

Given how tight he's been playing a limp re-raise screams strength but Negreanu calls 10% of his stack pre-flop out of position anyway. Negreanu has already put himself into a tough spot. He's going to be left guessing on every flop and, out of position, he's seldom going to be making the right decisions.

But he calls pre then checks and Matusow shoves for 2x pot on the flop. Negreanu makes the call - and believes it's a good call - because he has so much invested and it's a coinflip. But in reality it's a terrible call vs. Matusow's range.

Against Matusow's very hand it's correct, but against his entire range it's terrible. Negreanu was very lucky to run smack into the bottom of Matusow's range and even the bottom of Matusow's range is a favorite. So the call is actually negative g-bucks.

Negreanu used up all his luck just not to be up against aces, so when both boards bring Matusow flushes it should come as no surprise. It's a good thing Negreanu's won $12 million in tournaments because he's lost - and continues to lose - a boatload on High Stakes Poker

More Strategy Snapshots from High Stakes Poker Season 6:


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Sean Lind 2010-04-28 01:00:17

I have to agree with Dan here. Matusow feels he runs bad, and knows he can't afford to be playing a game that big. He would have only come with one bullet, possibly two.

For this reason, I think Dan's evaluation of his range is dead on. Matusow is not a player to risk anything if he can avoid it. He knows he's up against better players with more money, he's not about to get tricky. He'd rather make you fold, than make a value bet and risk getting drawn out on.

bigblatch 2010-04-27 21:54:02

Are you sure Matusow's overcards + NFD are the *bottom* of his range there? Is he really shoving 2x the pot with big pairs? The overbet shove smells to me more like a draw. If Matusow really had JJ+, I feel like most of the time he's going to bet about $50k on the flop, then probably shove the rest on a non-scary turn.

Daniel Skolovy 2010-04-27 18:56:08

In hand #2 Phil Galfond was the button.

online poker community 2010-04-27 13:49:46

As you all know is not the first time when Negreanu plays poker and loses a lot of money. Anyway at his poker level i am sure that in the future his luck will turn around and soon he will recover the looses.

James Atkin 2010-04-27 12:43:20

I'm fairly certain Negreanu was on the button in Hand #2

poker 2010-04-27 06:00:29

good thing he receives some $2 mil from pokerstars every year too so I have heard. lol.



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