How Did Daniel Negreanu Become So Good At Poker

Like most players, Daniel Negreanu had to start from zero and had to overcome obstacles. And yet, he achieved his goals and became the man he is today.

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For many of us, poker may just be a form of entertainment to help us let off some steam. However, just like any other type of game, some take it quite seriously and have made playing poker their bread and butter.


One of the most successful poker players in the world is the Canadian professional poker player Daniel Negreanu, also known as “Kid Poker”, who won 6 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, as well as the World Poker Tour (WPT) championship title twice.

In 2014, he was named as the best poker player of the decade by the Global Poker Index, an independent poker ranking service. Negreanu is present on both the poker tournament circuit and high-stakes cash games, too.

Given his very successful poker career, one might ask how did Daniel Negreanu become so good at poker? Keep reading as we find out the reason why.

Daniel Negreanu early life

A son of immigrant parents from Romania, Daniel Negreanu was born in Toronto, Canada in 1974. Growing up, his love for numbers had been evident. In fact, while he generally did well in school, his favorite subject was math.

His actual love for gambling began during his teenage years where he first fell in love with the game pool and had become very good at it. He would spend hours with other people playing pool, making some amount along the way.

He spent some time enjoying playing pool until poker caught his interest. He then became a frequent visitor at card rooms in Toronto, most of the time playing against people twice his age. Since then, he became more captivated by the game.

So that’s how his poker career started.

Negreanu’s early career

His innate talent for playing further flourished until he became one of the best poker players throughout Toronto. He’s dominated local games pretty well, so he decided to take his career to the next level by going out of his comfort zone.

That’s when he moved to the world’s gambling capital, Las Vegas, at the age of 21. He tested his waters there, where although it wasn’t easy for him at first, became a significant piece in his professional career.

Young Daniel Negreanu

It was first a big challenge for young Negreanu to fit into the world ruled by exemplary punters. He thought he wasn’t quite ready just yet and realized that there’s a big difference between vegas games and the one he grew up with at home.

The level of competition in the LA gambling scene is so high that he experienced one of his significant career pitfalls. Also because of his poor bankroll management, he went broke and his Las Vegas stint came to an early end.

Despite this huge stir in his career, the Canadian player wasn’t just going to throw away his goal to become a professional poker player and was determined to continue chasing his success. He believed that he had what it takes to make it big to the industry despite experiencing a rough patch. That’s the spirit over there!

The birth of the ‘Kid Poker’

With his strong determination, Daniel Negreanu made his initial breakthrough in the year 1998. He joined the $2,000 WSOP Pot Limit Omaha tournament and was able to win over his other 228 opponents. He seized his first-ever six-figure win, as well as his first WSOP bracelet.

Being one of the youngest poker players and his younger look, he was called the “kid poker”. He was 21 years old at that time and people don’t know much about him, but it was becoming clear to them that the Kid Poker was gonna stay and that he’s not someone you could just underestimate at the tables.

Daniel Negreanu, wife and pet

After a few months, he won a tournament in California, bagging roughly $40,000. While the amount doesn’t seem that impressive, the tournament had just a $300 buy-in which was a big boost for him.

That road over his next few years wasn’t easy but the kid poker was still determined to carry on. He kept grinding until he was able to increase his ranking on the poker elite.

As Daniel Negreanu had said: “I think it’s easier than it’s ever been to become a professional poker player right now”.

As of 2019, he is named the 3rd biggest live tournament poker winner of all time for winning the $42,000,000 pot prize money. He was the WSOP Player of the Year for the years 2004 and 2013, making him the sole player who received the recognition more than once.

That, and among other achievements, are what makes Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu one of the best professional poker players of all time.

With his journey, he proved that nothing is impossible in achieving your dreams. Like most players, he also started from scratch and had experienced turbulence along the way. But that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals and becoming the person he is today.

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