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Deal Me In -- Poker Pro Daniel Negreanu

An Exclusive Excerpt from Phil Hellmuth's New Book


Daniel Negreanu tells his story in Phil Hellmuth's Deal Me InIn its pages are never-before-revealed details of the lives of some of the biggest names in poker. Phil Hellmuth’s new book profiles 20 of the biggest poker players in the world, giving the reader an intimate look at the game’s biggest celebrities.

Deal Me In, a collection of autobiographical accounts from many of poker’s elite, is now available to order online exclusively at The book highlights the struggles, obstacles, and tragedies that 20 of the greatest poker pros have overcome in their journeys to the top. is providing exclusive excerpts from the book each Sunday. This week’s passage focuses on Daniel Negreanu, as he talks about his tumultuous, up-and-down journey to his first WSOP bracelet:

“I had more money than I had ever had before, too — over $60,000.

“But that money too didn’t last. At the Rio Carnival of Poker in January 1998, I blew a bunch of money playing $75-$150 limit hold’em, made a ton of bad loans, and by the time WSOP 1998 rolled around, I was again struggling to stay afloat. I won three tournaments leading up to the WSOP, but I also staked the wrong people, and still had awful money-management skills.

“By this time, I started to get to know some of the Vegas locals. One guy, a poker dealer who had recently quit dealing to play poker, was especially friendly. His name was Mike Matusow. Anyway, I ran into Mike in a $200 buy-in satellite for the $2,000 pot-limit hold’em event at the WSOP the next day. It ended up getting down to me, Mike, and Todd Brunson.

Daniel Negreanu"They asked if I wanted to do a save, meaning everyone gets $500 and we’d play for the other $500. Considering that my bankroll at the time was about $2,800, I obviously took the deal. Heads up against Todd, my K-J beat his K-Q and I’d won the satellite. Todd then throws me a $500 chip and says, “Here, I’ll take a piece of you in the tournament tomorrow.” Well, I hadn’t even planned on playing the tournament, but if Todd Brunson had the confidence to throw a total stranger $500 to play the event, I figured, why not!

“This was my first ever WSOP event. I would have been ecstatic to just make the money. Before I knew it, I was in the money…then, down to two tables…then, at the final table! At that table was some guy named Chris Ferguson, who later went on to do pretty well at the WSOP. I ended up playing heads up for the title against an Englishman named Dominic Bourke. I’d never played pot-limit hold’em heads up before, and didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

“Dominic clearly did know what he was doing, but it all came down to the coin flip of all coin flips. We were all in, almost dead even in chips. My hand was Ah Qh, and his hand was Jc 10c. The flop came Qc Jh 3c, and that’s when all the chips went in. The turn was a black card, a spade. The river was another black card, a six, and I swear I couldn’t see if it was a spade or not. I looked up at the crowd watching, and saw people raise their hands and cheer. Then, and only then, did I know that I’d won.

“I remembered collapsing to the ground. I couldn’t believe it. At the time, I was the youngest bracelet winner ever, at age 23.”



12 years ago

WTG daniel....wait, that was like 11 years ago. still gets me excited though. Nuff Said.