Having been playing live poker tournaments since 1998, Daniel Negreanu knows quite a bit about how they’re run. And he certainly wasn’t happy with how the EPT Barcelona High Roller was run. In fact, KidPoker got so angry that he stormed out of the tournament after basically giving up.
The controversy started when Negreanu was allegedly not in his seat when the first card of a hand was dealt. The dealer then called for the “first card” rule, which says that players must be in their seats when the initial card is dealt, otherwise their hand is dead.
Thinking that the rule was being enforced a little too strictly, Negreanu got angry about the matter and the tournament director was called over. The TD upheld this decision, which meant that the hand was indeed dead. What ensued involved Negreanu going all-in on the very next hand, busting out, then storming off in a rage. Afterward, he tweeted the following:
– The first card off the deck rule is so poorly enforced it makes me not even want to play! So absurdly anti player and customer service!
– I put my small blind in and was standing next to my chair. Dealer kills my hand immediately. So I just literally quit the tourney lol
– I was 100% aware of the rule and did NOT break the rule. It was ruled 100% incorrectly by the TD because the rule is absurdly stupid.
After cooling down for a while, Negreanu expressed his concerns about the first hand rule through a blog post. One excerpt from his post reads as follows:
I stood up from my chair to stretch my legs a little bit, threw in my ante and small blind awaiting the next hand. Obviously since I threw in my chips on my own, I was directly behind my chair. My friend at the table next to me said hello, so I looked over at him and said hello back. I moved maybe 12 inches to the left, still very much in arms reach of my chair. I was actually, in the moment, very conscious of the rule and knew it was important to not walk away from the table as my hand may be killed.
When I turn my attention back to the table the dealer scooped in my cards. I at first politely explained that I was standing right at my chair and my hand is live. The dealer argued that it wasn’t.
Assuming the five-time WSOP champ was indeed stretching, then this incident sounds like it was enforced a little too strictly. Of course, we only have Negreanu’s word to go on at this point. It would be interesting to hear the dealer’s side of the story.
Nevertheless, it seems as if the first card rule is quite unpopular across the board. Jason Mercier also tweeted in Negreanu’s defense by saying that they’ve both been trying to get the rule removed ever since it was implemented.