Daniel Negreanu: The highest-earning poker player ever

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For some of us, poker is about having fun. Whether you’re trying your best poker face at the local casino or playing video poker on your Lucky Nugget Casino app, you’re sure to be entertained. For others, you can make a career out of it. Then, there’s Daniel Negreanu.

The Canadian has firmly established himself as the number one in the game and has collected more prize money than anyone else, as well
as many prestigious World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. Here we profile the great man and look at moments that defined his career.

Who is Daniel Negreanu?

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Negreanu was born in Toronto in 1974, seven years after his parents had emigrated from Romania. His initial passion in life was snooker, where he would regularly play at a local club and harboured dreams of making it professionally. It wasn’t until he was 15 when he began to understand and start playing poker.

By 16, he was playing local halls and doing all he could do to find illegal games, given his age. His love for poker combined with falling behind at school, so saw Negreanu drop out and embark on what he hoped would be his new career. However, it didn’t go to plan.

After building his bankroll through wins on the local circuit, Negreanu, now 22, decided to leave his home city to head to Las Vegas in a bid to become a professional poker player. Unfortunately, his time in Sin City was short-lived and he would go back to Toronto to start again.

Making a name for himself

Despite the setback, it wouldn’t be long until Negreanu was making a real name for himself through poker. In 1998, he made his first cash at the WSOP, which was his first bracelet too. It saw him take home a cool $169,460, and built his bankroll as well as his reputation. That victory saw Negreanu become the youngest bracelet winner in the history of the WSOP, although the record has since been beaten in 2004 by Scott Fischman. Over the next few years, ‘Kid Poker’ really began to establish himself as one of the better players in the game. This was backed up with his second bracelet in 2003, which saw him earn $100,000.

The following year was followed up with yet another bracelet at the WSOP but he also landed high profile wins on the World Poker Tour that generated combined earnings of over $2.8m as poker began to introduce some serious prize money.

Negreanu’s first title came at the $10,000 Borgata Poker Open and saw him top a field to leave with over $1.1m. Not long after victory at the $15,000 Five Diamond World Poker Classic, he landed just under $1.8m which remains the second highest amount the Canadian has ever won at the tables. Such a successful year saw Negreanu land several personal accolades, including the WSOP Player of the Year.

Negreanu maintains his levels over the years

What makes Negreanu stand out from other poker players is the length of time he has managed to stay at the top. As mentioned, he began playing at a prominent level in 1998 and still competes to this day. Throughout the years poker changed with the introduction of online gambling creating a host of exciting, different players, but he adapted and benefitted.

That consistency is also reflected in his WSOP bracelets. Negreanu secured his fourth in 2008 and added another two in 2013, meaning he has won six bracelets in his career. Yet, his single biggest win, by far, came when he finished second.

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Negreanu entered the $1,000,000 No Limit Hold’Em – The Big One for One Drop at the WSOP in Vegas, July 2014. As you would expect for such an astronomical buy-in, the game featured the best poker players on the planet and the Toronto-born player had made it to the final table.
Ultimately, he would come up short against Daniel Colman in this particular game, but still left with over $8.2m, whilst the victorious American landed $15.3m!

Those winnings have added up to make him the highest earning player ever, boasting a fortune of over $34m from his wins. What’s more, that will continue to rise, as the 42-year old is still very much involved with the game. In July 2017, he has secured several more money finishes at WSOP events, and you wouldn’t bet on another bracelet coming his way as Daniel Negreanu continues to thrive at the tables.