Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Daniel Negreanu Wants to Revamp the Poker Hall of Fame on 888Ride

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In the latest installment of 888poker‘s acclaimed podcast series, 888Ride, host David Tuchman welcomes a titan of the poker world, none other than Daniel Negreanu.

Renowned as a luminary of the Poker Hall of Fame and boasting a staggering $50 million in live tournament winnings, Negreanu stands as an icon within the global poker community.

Delving into the depths of his career, this episode offers a glimpse into Negreanu’s journey from his formative years in Toronto to his ascent as one of the game’s most illustrious figures.

Negreanu’s Early Years

The son of two Romanian parents, Negreanu beamed about his growing up in Canada.

“Toronto was a great city to grow up in,” said Negreanu. “I had a very European-style background in the way that I was raised, which was great. Both my parents loved me more than I could have ever imagined. They taught me about generosity, about being giving, about hard work, all the things that make me who I am today.”

“I remember going to that first night with ten bucks and a six-pack of beer.”

Long before the allure of poker captured his imagination, Negreanu found solace in the dimly lit snooker halls of Toronto.

“[In Toronto] Snooker’s a big game, it’s much more prevalent than eight or nine ball [pool]. I was thirteen when I started doing that,” reminisced Neagreanu. “I fell in love with it, then I realised they had tournaments, and now I was hooked.”

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu

As Negreanu immersed himself in the intricacies of snooker tournaments, his affinity for numbers and the competitive spirit flourished.

“There are handicaps in tournaments, and I was always a number’s nerd. I loved that sort of competition. I got fully into snooker, and through that, some of the guys who played were like, let’s go play some poker. I never played before.”

“I remember going to that first night with ten bucks and a six-pack of beer. My ten bucks was gone, and so was the six-pack.”

“[From then] I was intrigued. I thought it was all luck. We’re playing stupid games like Fiery Cross and Follow the Queen. But then I’m like, how do the same guys keep seeming to win, and it’s all luck? From there, I started to think about poker more deeply.”

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Revamping the Poker Hall of Fame

Reflecting on his own induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014, Daniel Negreanu doesn’t shy away from discussing the institution’s strengths and shortcomings.

“How do you compare Josh Arieh to Matt Savage?”

“I think there’s been a lot of mistakes with the [Poker] Hall of Fame.” Negreanu observed. “When the media had a vote, all respect to them, they had no idea in terms of what the actual criteria used to be about.”

The established criteria for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame includes:

  • Playing poker against acknowledged top competition.
  • Playing for high stakes.
  • Consistently performing well and earning the respect of peers.
  • Standing the test of time in the poker world.
  • For non-players, contributing to the overall growth and success of the game with lasting results.
  • Minimum age of 40 to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (added in 2011).

Negreanu underscored the significance of a player’s track record and respect from peers, drawing attention to lesser-known figures like David Oppenheim and Ray Dehkharghani. “It’s not about a nice guy, it’s not about a good guy, it’s not about a popular guy,” Negreanu asserted, echoing sentiments shared by many in the upper echelons of the poker community. “It’s about the numbers. Do they have the results to get in?”

Negreanu suggested expanding the annual induction quota to accommodate two players instead of one. This, he believes, would better honor the depth of talent within the poker community and address any backlog of deserving candidates.

Moreover, Negreanu advocated for a separate category for industry contributors, such as Isai Scheinberg and Matt Savage. “How do you compare Josh Arieh to Matt Savage?” Negreanu questioned, acknowledging the disparity in evaluating nominees from different spheres of the poker world.

Poker TDA founder Matt Savage
Poker TDA founder Matt Savage

“I still think its important that it’s the players themselves that make the votes. I love [Chris] Moneymaker, but I thought him getting in was like sort of a sign of like ‘this isn’t what the hall of fame was supposed to be about’ it’s changed.”

“He doesn’t meet the criteria as a player. He doesn’t. So, does he meet it as an industry person? If he’s graded on that, you can make a case. But the two were supposed to be separate as written. I’m a very literal guy, so I vote on what the criteria say.”

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Watch the Full Interview

The above only covers a few topics discussed in the hour-long interview, so sit back, relax, and discover a few more things you likely didn’t know about one of poker’s most talented players.

Check Out These Previous 888Ride Episodes:

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Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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