In 2013 Daniel Negreanu stormed back in the final moments of WSOP Europe to win the Player of the Year race. He will have to do the same again this year at the 2014 WSOP APAC if he wants to win his third POY title.
Negreanu is currently fourth on the POY leader board behind John Hennigan, Brandon Shack-Harris and George Danzer.
Of those three players, Danzer and Shack-Harris are down in Australia and both have a comfortable lead over Negreanu.
During Event 1 of the WSOP APAC, Danzer took the lead away from Shack-Harris, while Negreanu was busy trying to find some POY points in Event 2.
We caught up with Negreanu during a recent break in that event to find out how he sees the POY race playing out this year.
PokerListings.com: As you are aware, George Danzer took the lead in the POY race earlier today. How do you expect this one to play out over the next two weeks?
Daniel Negreanu: Well, I think I’m the only one of the player of the year crew still in this event. I don’t have very many chips and it’s not like min-cashes matter to me in the race anyway.
I need to have some big results.
PL: Are you coming into the WSOP APAC with a similar mindset to last year when you had to come from behind in Europe to win the POY?
Yeah my intention is to win Player of the Year again.
And win the Main Event again, win the High Roller again.
All that good stuff. That’s where my mindset is at.
PL: Is winning the POY your primary goal over the next two weeks?
The whole reason I came out here was for player of the year.
When you think about your big intention, what your goal is, that’s it.
Now, am I thinking about it in every decision that I make? Every hand that I play?
No, not at all.
I’m playing each hand the best way that I can. I’m trying to win every tournament that I play. But the whole ‘end reason’ that I am here is to win player of the year.
PL: If you weren’t in contention for the POY, might you have played EPT London instead?
I am pretty sure I still would have come down here.
PL: Brandon and George both play all the games very well and with there a couple of mixed event bracelets and the like here at APAC. Does that make it harder for you to win than last year?
A little bit because they are going to be small fields. So even if I make a final table, it’s very likely that one of them will be there too.
It’s hard to pass them if there’s only 50 people in some of those tournaments, which I predict may happen.
PL: The monetary value of winning the Player of the Year isn’t large, but you are obviously still passionate about it and it generates a lot of interest from the poker community. Why do you think that is?
Because it’s fun, right?
When you play poker tournaments, it’s monotonous. But when you have a series and you apply some meaning to it, like the PGA and tennis with the majors and stuff, it’s an extra feather in your cap, it isn’t just winning one tournament.
To win a Player of the Year you have to have a great run. Not win just one tournament. You have to be successful over a longer period of time.
PL: You may not have as many bracelets as Phil, but you have two POY titles. Is being the most prolific in this aspect of the game something that you place a high value on?
I’m already the most prolific with two, but my intention is to win three before anyone else wins two and I think I will do it this trip.
PL: You were a big proponent of the WSOP going global. Do you think it was a good decision to scale it back to one international series a year?
Yeah, I think it’s a better idea than three WSOP’s a year. Three is a bit of an overkill maybe. That was definitely the most we could handle. One every other year is not that big deal. Ten events outside of Vegas a year when there is 65 in Vegas, that’s fine.