With a lucrative PokerStars sponsorship deal and over $21 million in poker tournament winnings, Daniel Negreanu is one of the richest players in the world. So it’s weird to think of him as once being broke. But like pretty much every poker pro, Negreanu did go through a period in Toronto where he struggled to make it. However, as he told iGaming, he never let his bankroll problems keep him from sticking with poker.
“Even when I went broke, I woke up the next day ready to kick ass,” Negreanu said. “There was no quit in me and I was determined to learn how to play better after getting beat. When I was getting beat I paid attention to why I was getting beat and I was trying to learn from every situation. Of course there was bad luck, but even at that age I didn’t believe that my losses were just due to being unlucky. It was more the sense of, ‘What am I doing wrong?'”
Obviously Negreanu worked through his early issues to become one of the game’s best. And this allowed him to realize his dream of playing against other top players in the WSOP. To hear Negreanu describe it, the WSOP, and Las Vegas poker in general, was much more exclusive:
Playing a WSOP event was big back in the day, it was for real men! It’s not like nowadays with all those pansy 1ks. The minimum buy in was $2,000 and most of them were $3,000 or $5,000. If you wanted to play small you’d play satellites, while nowadays there’s even $20 events going on everywhere, so I think it has lost a lot of its luster in terms of having that financial barrier. If you think to the nineties, the smallest buy in was bigger than it is now, which is kind of backwards if you ask me.
If someone sat down at your table and you didn’t know them there was no chance they were any good. It was just impossible, because if they were good, they would’ve been in Vegas playing before that. The biggest change with today is, if you sit down at a table there’s some 20-year old kid I don’t recognize and people tell me that he’s won $4,000,000 online that year. That’s the huge difference, now the unknowns are much stronger while back then those were probably just businessmen who came to enjoy themselves