PokerStars Championship Bahamas: Rest in peace, Mushu Negreanu
How long have you known your best friend? Ten years perhaps? Twenty? Thirty?! Well, Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu had you beat, even at just 42 years of age. He'd known his best friend for a staggering 82 years.
82 dog years, that is. This morning, Negreanu's best friend tragically passed away.
Woke up to the news I have been fearing for years. RIP Mushu. My best friend of almost 17 years. pic.twitter.com/fc5soK8mJN— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) January 13, 2017
Negreanu is currently playing in Day 2 of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas $25K High Roller. Normally, waking up on Paradise Island with the chance to go deep in a tournament that has a first place prize of over $900,000 would be the perfect start to the day.
But not today.
"I already knew he was old and sick, so I expected it to happen," a clearly emotional Negreanu told me on the $25K break. "But then hearing how it happened was really tough. Because then I was concerned whether he'd suffered, and I've been racking my brains.
"He never goes near the water. He hasn't in 17 years. and so for him to drown at two o'clock in the morning..." Negreanu trails off. "Now I'm doing research, and it's actually more common that I thought. Little dogs get disorientated and they try and go away. Because he'd never go in the water. Nowhere near it. He'd already had vision problems and things like that, so the hardest part is thinking about whether he suffered."
Mushu Negreanu, a chihuahua, led a charmed life. Mushu often travelled the poker circuit with Negreanu, staying in the kind of hotel suites you'd expect a player as successful as Negreanu to temporarily call home. But I wondered how Mushu entered his life in the first place?
"That's actually a really long, funny story. He was the neighbours dog. I was living with my fiancé at the time, and she was looking on the computer at dogs, and I was flicking through a dog book. She ended up randomly on a chihuahua page, and I was randomly on a chihuahua page too.
"Then the doorbell rang. It was my neighbour who said they were moving into an apartment and they couldn't keep little Mushu."
Thus began a years long friendship. When not on the road, Mushu stayed at Negreanu's Las Vegas home where he often appeared with him in photos and TV shoots, but perhaps most prominently on his live stream right from the comfort of the living room. Heck, Mushu even had his own Twitter account for a while.
Down to heads up for the Bracelet. Will Daniel do it. Stay Tuned!— Mushu Negreanu (@Mushu_Negreanu) June 8, 2009
But father time is undefeated. In Mushu's later years, he was showing the same signs of ageing that we all eventually will.
Sad, cute, and funny all in one: Mushu's sight and hearing are fading so I can sneak up on him. pic.twitter.com/aMzm8qWbtn— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) August 4, 2016
A dog doesn't care whether you've won big or lost big. They're always there for you when you get home, no matter what. They truly are man's best friend.
"I'm going to miss his personality. He was feisty. He would bite you," Negreanu laughs. "I always used to joke about it, like if you touched him he might bite your face! You really had to earn his love. He was just fun, cuddly, and a good dog."
Negreanu's mind might be focused at the poker table today, but his heart will be back in Las Vegas, with Mushu. Our deepest condolences, Kid Poker.
RIP Mushu Negreanu
Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.