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Daniel Negreanu is no ordinary poker player. Not only has he won the World Series of Poker six times, and two World Poker Tour championship titles, but – according to Global Poker Index – he is also the best poker player of the last decade. The Canadian star is on top of the Poker world, but here are a few things away from his skills at the poker table that you may not already know.
#1 Negreanu is of Romanian decent
Whilst “Kid Poker” was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1974, his parents had actually emigrated from Romania seven years earlier. Per his blog Full Contact Poker, Negreanu says that his father’s favorite place in the world was beside his pool, claiming that he spent so much time in the sun that he “looked Indian.”
But the star poker also says that his parents earned their more relaxed lifestyle in Canada due to the hardships that they endured in Romania.
They grew up in communist Romania, and his father got his first job when he was just 4-years-old – carrying water down a hill for $1 a week – whilst his mother was in hospital, and his father (Daniel’s grandfather) had already passed on. As for the “Kid Poker’s” mother, she was the youngest of ten children, in a family that lived in a house smaller than a typical kitchen. She would have to steal eggs from the neighbours as a source of food.
#2 Negreanu’s father killed a Nazi
In his own blog on FCP Daniel Negreanu told of how rough his parents had it as kids in 1930’s Romania, which included encounters with Nazis. The poker champion tells of how, when his father was just 6-years-old, a drunken Nazi soldier held a gun in his father’s mouth when he was “having some fun” with the youngster.
His father saw the whisky bottle in the Nazi’s hand so, with the gun still in his mouth, the six-year-old smashed the bottle and drove it into the drunken Nazi’s throat. He then bolted, and doesn’t know if the Nazi survived.
#3 Negreanu was chewed up and spat out by Las Vegas
That’s right, the greatest poker player of the last decade actually failed in his first attempt to conquer the Las Vegas strip.
After dropping out of education at the end of high school, due to not earning enough credits to graduate, Daniel Negreanu started as a rounder, playing at his local casinos, whilst looking for illegal games to participate in around Toronto – according to Poker Listings.
Once he had built up his fund, Negreanu, aged 22, hit The Strip, aiming to commence his career as a professional poker player. He played all the casinos but was ultimately sent back to Toronto with his tail between his legs, and with an empty bank account. So he moved back to Toronto to rebuild his bankroll.
#4 Negreanu is a Philanthro-maniac
The star poker player, with all his millions of dollars in winnings, is a well known charity man, with many organizations and events to his name.
Alongside his regular attendance to charity events – such as the Darfur crisis charity Ante Up for Africa – Negreanu is also the founder of his own money raising events.
The Big Swing is an annual charity golf event, founded by “Big Poker”, in which poker players and celebrities team up for a doubles golf tournament. All participants donate $3,000 to the Lili Claire Foundation – a Las Vegas based charity that helps the families of children who are born with special needs, and the children themselves – with the event taking place at the Harrah’s Rio Golf Club.
#5 Negreanu has two protégés
Using his website Full Contact Poker, Daniel Negreanu launched the search for his first protégé, in 2006. The search involved an online poker competition, in which he would select a player whom he would attempt to forge into a world-class live tournament poker player. The prize also included Negreanu footing the bill for four events that required a $10,000 buy-in.
The tournament received hundreds of bidding poker stars, but in the end the winner of the first competition was Brian Fidler. Fidler found success in the same year of winning Negreanu’s protégé search, by coming second in the World Series of Poker circuit event, amongst a set of 110 players. Fidler took home $206,800 from that event.
“Kid Poker” found another protégé at the end of 2006, once again via Full Contact Poker, with Anthony Mak being taken under the world-star’s wing. Card Player records Mak’s most recent, and highest earning, win coming in April, 2012, where he raked in £18,900 in Jacksonville.
#6 Negreanu was Player of the Year without a first place finish
Given the record of the world class poker star, and the fact that he’s rated as the greatest player of the last decade, that fact that he has only been awarded Poker Player of the Year just once is quite peculiar.
The award is given out by ALL IN Magazine, with Daniel Negreanu being deemed worthy of the award in 2013. To earn the award and title of Poker Player of the Year, the Toronto native pulled in $1,837,344 in cash from 16 different events, in which he failed to win any.
His highest finishes came in Event24 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller Eight Max in Monte Carlo on May 1st, where he placed second and cashed $791,649; and SCOOP-06-H: $1050 No-Limit Hold’em Draw on May 8th, where he also placed second but pulled in $15,330.
#7 Negreanu loves Warcraft
But not the World of Warcraft computer game that last recorded having about 5.5 million subscribers. No, Daniel Negreanu instead fills his Warcraft cravings on the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft app. According to Forbes, the poker hero started playing in 2015 and began to stream his play on Twitch, whilst playing poker.
At BlizzCon 2015, in Anaheim – a convention hosted developers Blizzard to showcase their games and host tournaments – Daniel Negreanu played in a show match, for the Hearthstone World Championship, against Bertrand “ElkY” Grospeillier – who’s a fellow World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour champion.
The poker star match-up ended with Negreanu beating Grospeillier on Hearthstone by 3-1.
If you liked this, check out Negreanu’s tips on how to ace every poker hand…