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Being Real

by Daniel Negreanu |  Published: Oct 14, '11


I read a blog recently written by Jesse May that I felt nailed it on various issues. Mainly, how most of the people in our industry are a bunch of wusses who don't speak their mind and prefer to allow unsavory things to go on in the poker world that ultimately make us all look bad.

I've never really been one to mince words. One of the things I'm most proud of is the fact that people who are my true friends know it, because if I didn't like you, you'd definitely know it. I don't do the phony. I actually despise it. If I talk to you, or even say hi to you, I probably think you are an OK dude, or woman.

When it comes to rules, structures, or a wide range of poker related topics, I'm going to offer my opinion, regardless of how some people will take it. For example, I recently took to twitter to express my displeasure with several of the newer EPT rules that are not player friendly. On top of that, because I was so opposed to the way they handled late registration, I chose to not participate in the high roller event. I would have shown up on time anyway, but I just don't think it was fair to penalize late players, who for example, had just busted out of the main event and may want to late register.

I'm not stupid. I realize that the EPT is sponsored by PokerStars, and I represent PokerStars. Obviously this isn't something they are going to love hearing, me speaking out against an event they sponsor, but how credible of a human being could you be if you only found fault in organizations that didn't write you a paycheck?

As an organization, I genuinely believe that PokerStars is the premiere poker site in the world, and frankly, always has been. They do a remarkable job across the board. Customer support is the nuts, and never has had a rival worth mentioning in that department.

The company is also extremely well organized as evidenced by how well they handled the events of Black Friday. I'm very happy, and proud of my association with the company, but how much of a phony would I be if I pretended that I agreed with every single thing? How credible is that? I'd feel like I needed a shower.

So yeah, I strongly disagree with several things that the decision makers at the EPT implement into their tournaments, and I've told them that on several occasions. Sure, it frustrates me. I've been around poker a long time and have offered feedback to many organizations, TV shows, etc. who've trusted in the fact that I'm always concerned with what the majority want, as well as what's best for the event/best for poker.

I really, really, really, really... really, care about poker and am an absolute geek when it comes to structures, rules, and tournament formats. I spend way too much time thinking about these kinds of things, because, well, I just enjoy it. It's fun for me, and there just isn't many people out there with more live poker tournament experience than me.

Matt Savage gets it too. He's very good at what he does and we agree on virtually everything but that infamous debate on the whole talking issue. Once again, I like Matt, but if I think he's wrong, I'm not one to go with the flow and I'll fight for what I believe in.

I'm also extremely impressed with how the WSOP has evolved over the last five years, and I think part of the reason Ty Stewart, Jack Effel, and the crew have been so successful at improving the player experience each year, is because they elicit feedback from the players. That's so important. Frankly, the players usually do know best, so why not use that source of knowledge to improve your events? The system works.

Sometimes what I say publicly creates controversy. To that I say, "Oh well." If someone asks me a question, I'm going to answer it honestly. Recently as I was running up the stairs I was interviewed about the Poker Hall of Fame. I mentioned that my vote would go to Bruno Fitoussi who isn't even nominated, and went on to explain that I think the process doesn't weigh heavily enough the influence of European players like Bruno, who've helped grow the game globally.

I mean, they are now giving away World Series of Poker Bracelets in France! I have to think that part of that was due to Bruno's early efforts to convince Americans to come to the Aviation Club in Paris, and also holding a WPT event there. Bruno, with pamphlets in hand would play high stakes poker at the Bellagio, and let people know about what was going on overseas and was very effective in helping poker grow in France. None of that made the interview, but this did:

Later I was asked about Annie Duke's nomination. So I said something like,

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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