KidPoker documentary's summer of cheers and tears
There was a point many years ago at which I wondered if there was anything more than could be said or written about Daniel Negreanu. After crushing the game for two decades and establishing himself as a man who will only close his mouth when it's to his advantage, it was fair to think that there wasn't much more to say.
This summer, Negreanu and the PokerStars team blew that theory out of the water with the documentary, KidPoker.
After premiering earlier in Canada and getting a special screening at the PCA, the documentary finally hit the big time when it made it onto Netflix in June. Since then, the response has been rather overwhelming for the producers.
Just go do a #KidPoker search on Twitter, and you'll see some of the responses, ones that range from cheers to literal tears.
It went to prove that, against all odds, there was a lot more to say about Negreanu. While he may have been vocal throughout the years on just about every subject, there were parts--really important parts--that people had never heard.
Even some of the people who had spent years around Negreanu as part of Team PokerStars Pro were surprised. Liv Boeree, a big Netflix fan, looked one day to see #KidPoker trending.
"I was so excited to see our very own Daniel trending on there! The documentary was a beautifully presented, gripping insight into his life, and it turns out there's a lot about Daniel I didn't know!" she said.
Not only was it a fountain of new information, it was also full of nostalgia. The deep dive into Negreanu's former life in Canada and the back room poker games touched off a flood of memories for people who had lived the same life.
Fellow Canadian Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome found herself waxing nostalgic after seeing it.
"I enjoyed seeing the flashbacks to the old school poker days reminding me of the dark smokey poker rooms I started in," she said. "It has been pretty incredible to watch the poker community and environments change from then until now. A big kudos to Kid Poker for staying on top of the game for so many years."
Beyond the nostalgia, there was something else, something even seasoned pros mentioned when they finished their screenings: inspiration. If there was one common thread among all the social media responses, it was the one echoed by Negreanu's fellow professionals: they were inspired by the movie. Chris Moneymaker said it was "filled with honesty and inspiration." Jaime Staples said, "Seeing his family life, he became more relatable. Like what he has accomplished is something that other people can, too."
Fatima Moreira De Melo may have said it best. After she watched the film, she said, "I loved seeing the passion that Daniel has always had for poker, the belief that he could and would make it no matter what, and the switch his parents make from being skeptical and scared when their son started playing poker for a living to eventually being really proud of him. It's a documentary about love, pain, determination, and success."
While that may seem like a lot to fit in one film, KidPoker seems to have done just that.
If you want to see for yourself, hop on Netflix where it is available in many countries. Be careful, though. You might just end up crying. After all, it's happened before.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.