Negreanu Talks PokerPlayer #80

Kid Poker responds to our cover feature

PokerPlayer ran an exclusive interview with Daniel Negreanu in our January edition that caused a bit of a stir, not least with Kid Poker himself. As a result the Canadian poker legend wanted the chance to clear up a few points. Over to you Mr Negreanu…

‘I read the cover story in last month’s Poker Player magazine, and while the majority of the article clearly gets the gist of what I was trying to convey, there were a couple minor things I didn’t say, and would like to clarify.

‘The cover states, “How I conquered Online Poker” and I’ve never said any such thing. Did I improve? Yes. Did I become competent? Yes. Did people start to view me as less of a mark in a short period of time? Yes, but conquer is a very strong word and I certainly don’t feel like it accurately displays how I feel about my online skill set in comparison to the many great, young online players who have a lot more experience than I do.  Had it read “How He conquered Online Poker” that would be an opinion, but when it’s written as “I” it implies I said that obviously.

‘The headline of the article was “What is Wrong with You?” followed by, “Daniel Negreanu asks what the hell is wrong with players these days”. I think both are misleading. It implies that I think there is something wrong with the young players of today, and that’s not at all what I was saying. I have the utmost respect for the skill set of the younger generation, and have echoed those sentiments in various interviews over the past few years, giving credit to many young players who’ve helped improve some of the flaws in my game.

‘I was commenting more on the state of televised poker in the US, and there is currently a bit of a black hole in comparison to the days when you could find The Big Game, Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, Million Dollar Challenge on your television nightly. With the lack of funding for these shows by the online sites, coupled with a rather limited group of younger players who combine both the skill set, and the personality to excite the mainstream, poker on TV in the U.S. is going to face a lull until things get sorted with legislation.

‘I don’t think poker is in “big trouble” as was implied in the article, and I certainly don’t think there is something inherently wrong with the younger generation of player. As I was correctly quoted in the article stating that players like DevilFish, Sammy Farha, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey became fan favourites not only because of their skill set, but because of their interesting, and unique backgrounds and storyline. My fear is that the current story line for many of the younger generation lacks sexiness, “I built my bankroll in college 20 tabling micro stakes and have invested the money into mutual funds and have a rather extensive portfolio” is a bit boring. It certainly doesn’t hold up to the old school tales of the likes of Doyle Brunson and DevilFish, or the incredible tale of Scotty Nguyen coming over on a boat and having a discussion with his family as to when they would eat their ailing brother while stranded at sea. I don’t think the story of a majority of the young players today connects with the mainstream, nor will causal viewers find it all that interesting especially since they are so similar and repetitive. 

‘There are a few bright spots, and some exceptions to the rule, but many of today’s young players are having a more difficult time standing out from the crowd. There is nothing “wrong with them,” but with all due respect, the public is going to find the sexiness of a suit wearing, cigarette smoking, wise cracking, Sammy Farha, a lot more interesting than a young, intelligent, level headed, and well spoken kid like Mike “Timex” McDonald.’

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