Daniel Negreanu

Negreanu eyeballing hisopponent trying to get a read

Negreanu was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His parents, Annie and Constantin, left the old Communist regime of Romania in 1967, looking to start a new life in the United States. They ended up settling in Toronto instead, where Constantin found work as an electrician. They soon started a family, Daniel arriving five years after his older brother, Blake Vasser. It was a supportive environment, even when it became clear Daniel was destined for an unconventional lifestyle. While nursing dreams of a career as a professional snooker player, the 15-year-old learned how to play poker. By 16, he was spending time in pool halls, hustling, sports betting and playing cards. When he was several credits short of graduation, Daniel dropped out of high school and began his life as a rounder playing at the local charity casinos, namely Casino Country, and looking for illegal games around the city. While in Toronto, Daniel met and began dating Evelyn Ng, who would also become a well-known professional poker player. After building up his bankroll, he left for Las Vegas at the age of 21 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional poker player. However, “The Strip” got the better of him and he was forced to move back home to Toronto to rebuild his bankroll.

In 1997, he won two events at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods, earning $55,064 as well as being named the tournament’s best all-around player. Negreanu followed this triumph by winning $169,460 at the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event in the 1998 World Series of Poker and becoming the youngest WSOP bracelet winner in history — a record he held until 2004. Over the next few years, he became one of the most successful poker tournament players, winning two World Poker Tour (WPT) events, another three World Series bracelets, and appearing at 12 final tables. He was also named the World Series of Poker player of the year in 2004 and World Poker Tour player of the year in 2005. Upon opening, the Wynn Las Vegas resort recruited him as their “Poker Ambassador” to play for any stake in their poker room. The arrangement lasted until October 2005, when he opted out because it was restricting his ability to play for high stakes outside the Wynn. In December 2005, he started his own online poker cardroom “skin” site on his official site, Full Contact Poker, which also includes his blog and a variety of poker forums. He played at his cardroom under the screen name “KidPoker”. In 2006, he used Full Contact Poker to launch a competition to select a protege, whom Daniel would attempt to mold into a world-class live tournament poker player. In addition, he agreed to pay the protege’s entry fee into four $10,000 buy-in events. Daniel’s first protege was Brian Fidler. In 2007, Daniel ran a second protege promotion, which was won by Anthony Mak.

In June 2007 Negreanu signed with PokerStars, joining Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer and many other professional poker players as a member of Team PokerStars. His Full Contact Poker site has since returned to being a forum and informational site. Daniel has been a regular at the big game in Bobby’s Room, in the Bellagio casino, Las Vegas, for several years. He is a self-admitted action junkie who always seeks new challenges and sets high goals for himself, not only at the poker table but also on the golf course. Unlike many other players, he is very outspoken about his poker results and regularly posts updates in the forums at the Full Contact Poker website. Some of Negreanu’s success is attributed to his ability to read opponents. When asked about this, Negreanu explained that the most important skill he employs is observing what hands his opponents play and how capable they are of playing them.

Negreanu has played poker on various TV shows such as Late Night Poker, Poker After Dark, and High Stakes Poker, as well as serving as a commentator and stand-in host on Ultimate Poker Challenge. He also appeared in the third season of Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament. In January 2007, Negreanu appeared in the Fox Reality original series Rob and Amber: Against the Odds, in which he mentored reality television personality Rob Mariano in his bid to become a professional poker player. Negreanu was named “Favorite Poker Player” at Card Player Magazine’s Player of the Year Awards Gala in February 2006. In November 2008, Negreanu won the fourth-annual British Columbia Poker Championships main event, topping a field of 690 players (a personal high for Daniel), and earning $371,910 CAD ($299,951 USD).