Over the course of his 25-year plus career at the felt, the Canadian Poker Hall of Famer helped as many players as anybody, putting together courses such as his Masterclass, penning strategy books, writing blogs and recording his thoughts on video blogs for PokerStars, GGPoker, or even just himself.

Kid Poker really does love the game of poker as much as anyone out there. We’ve put together some of his best words of wisdom over a career that has made him the most recognized face in the game.

The Origins of Kid Poker

Daniel Negreanu’s parents hailed from Romania, but the young poker master grew up in Canada. A proud Canadian, Negreanu credits his beginnings as extremely formative in making him the person he is today.

1. “I dropped out of school to play poker, and at 21, I moved from Toronto to try my luck as a pro in Vegas. I ate the typical meat-heavy diet of most poker players in the ’90s: burgers and steak, along with French fries, mash, and a bucket-load of wine, beer, and vodka. There was nothing fresh in my diet, and I felt terrible.”

When it came to healthy eating, Negreanu was given great discipline and advice at home… although he’d later ignore it! His parents made him a packed lunch for school so while other kids ate McDonalds, Negreanu was getting some nutrition. DNegs admits that he “hated it at the time, but looking back, I’m glad”. Negreanu became vegan in 2006 and credits that period as the time when he started taking healthy eating seriously.

2. “I always make sure that the table I’m at is the most fun table of the room.”

It’s hard to disagree with DNegs here! Any table featuring Negreanu is always a fun one to watch. Kid Poker loves nothing more than to chat with tablemates and is the king of banter at the live poker felt. Not only does Negreanu make sure that he’s fun at the felt for opponents but for fans too. His legendary WSOP video blogs are entertaining and show just how much happy comes with the hustle.

3. “You can’t be afraid to lose if you want to win.”

Having the mentality of a winner is all about putting your chips on the line at the right time. Whether it’s running an outrageous bluff of making a hero call to end them all, Negreanu has got the full playbook in his armoury and regularly busts out some big moves to put himself in the position to win… at any cost!

The Strategy of a Champion

Over the decades, Daniel Negreanu has become synonymous with winning. His methods have changed over the years, with his smallball playing style evolving into a more dominant and dynamic strategy. Winning is still everything, however, and whether it is going back to the books to take on a heads-up specialist in Doug Polk or relearning GTO theory in order to continue crushing the high rollers, Negreanu has shown that he is prepared to do anything to keep improving and remain at the sharp edge of the game.

4. “The correct strategy in heads-up poker is based on identifying and acting upon your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Negreanu, of course, lost big time to Polk, to the tune of around $1.2 million. In that time, however, he learned a great deal from his more experienced opponent in terms of specific heads-up online style. Negreanu has arguably already won back three times what he lost to Polk with the skills he picked up from their match, winning the Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas for $3.3 million shortly after. He even took a chunk from Polk himself, beating the younger man in High Stakes Poker live in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.

5. “In poker, position is power. When you’ve got position, play more hands and apply more pressure before the flop.”

Defending your big blind is one thing, but going crazy in early position is ill-advised and Negreanu knows it. Late position is where you’ll see him do a lot of his damage, but in any position at the table, Negreanu always seems to make a good read. Here, in this strategy video, Canada’s finest describes how and when to defend your blinds.

6. “Bluffing is most effective when done sporadically; bluff too often, and you’ll blow your credibility.”

Bluffing is often known as the ‘Cadillac of Poker Moves’. If so, Negreanu knows when to jump in the driver’s seat and when to leave the beast in the garage. Negreanu is known more for hero-calling than bluffing, but he gets away with it a lot more than people ever see. In tournament poker, Negreanu is often the player to catch, the one they all want to beat. That often leads to his bets being called, so he has learned to space out those moments of over-aggression to steal pots or blinds.

7. “Tournament play demands patience to survive and win. Winning at cash games demands a whole other level of thought and deception. You need to reach into your bag of tricks and run the occasional big bluff to be a consistent cash game winner.”

Playing a slew of WSOP events – at least 75% barring unforeseen circumstances – Kid Poker knows when to hold ‘em, fold ‘em… and attack ‘em. In big field events, Negreanu’s mental and physical energy – he trains religiously for six weeks prior to the WSOP – mean he’s in peak condition from May to July.

Philosophies on a Life in Poker

Daniel Negreanu’s stance on poker has changed over the years. He’s been the sponsored pro at every event, pounding the tournament circuit. Now he’s evolved into a strategic player, actively focusing on quality over quantity. As such, the Canadian top ten All-Time Money List player has some genuine wisdom to pass on that has been decades in the making.

8. “To be a successful poker player, you have to be able to ignore the result and focus on making the right decisions.”

You can’t be results-oriented in poker, every great player knows that, and Daniel Negreanu is chief amongst them. You can only make the best decision you can with the information you have; your mission is to refine the information and improve your decision-making every game you play. In this World Poker Tour Main Event, Negreanu makes an astounding call with ace-king. As the late great Mike Sexton says, it doesn’t matter if the decision pays off, the decision itself is what was great and should be celebrated, as Kid Poker proves!

9. “The most important thing is to focus on what you can control. You can’t control luck or the cards you get dealt, but you can control how you play them.”

We all wish we could control poker, but we can’t. Poker results should only be considered in the long term, not the short term. Or as Negreanu puts it, ‘Don’t let a few bad beats get you down’.  By focusing purely on what he can control and letting go of the things he cannot, Negreanu has proven himself adept at staying in the moment and living his best life in the here and now. There’s no reason for you to do any different.

10. “The best players aren’t afraid to fail. They understand that failure is part of the process and learn from it.”

Over two decades and more in the game, Negreanu has come to accept the truth about poker – that it’s a zero-sum game of reducing negatives. Having terrific discipline in doing what he knows needs to be done is a core strength in terms of Daniel Negreanu’s characteristics and he’s able to swallow the bitter pill of defeat and transform that feeling into a determination to learn from each experience. That’s an elite mentality.

Over many years in professional poker, Daniel Negreanu has proven himself the master of mastering himself. His ability to see the best in any situation, live in the moment and take the lesson from every happenstance in his career has turned him into the poker boss he is today.

Did this article deal you a winning hand?

Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!

Looks like you’ve been dealt a bad beat. We’ll shuffle the deck and try again.

Paul seaton


Paul Seaton,  poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He’s not just a spectator; he’s been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul’s poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he’s interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton’s expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide. 

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