2008 World Series: KidPoker, celebrity

Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu was on hand this afternoon in the Rio to sign autographs and meet the public. He busted early yesterday but was still a huge hit among the weekend crowds at the World Series, as our spy in the Champions Lounge confirms:

If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I might never have believed it. For a few days now, there’s been a sign up outside the Champions Lounge in the Rio inviting people to come along and meet Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu.

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Now, I know Daniel’s popular n’ all, but quite how popular really took my breath away. The queue to meet him during his three-hour T-shirt signing session went right down the hall – and we’re talking a pretty long hall here.

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I wasn’t around for Beatlemania and admittedly no one here was screaming, but hundreds of fans turned up and all of them looked more excited than any crowd of fans I’ve ever seen anywhere.

Polly Mattson, from Venice Beach, Calif., works in the film industry in Hollywood and said she is normally unimpressed by celebrities.


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Polly Mattson meets her hero

But Daniel is different. ”He’s so cute when you watch him play," Mattson said. "He makes you laugh. He’s witty, he’s funny. He’s totally my favourite.”

For Whitney Rexrode, from Wichita Falls, TX, meeting Daniel today will make up for her bitter disappointment at last year’s World Series.

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Whitney Rexrode finally catches up with Kid Poker

She came to watch the last few days of the main event and when she realised Daniel had already busted, she burst into tears. “Really,” Rexrode said. “Real tears. I was that upset.”

But it’s not just the girls who like Daniel. In fact, today’s line-up for the T-shirt signing comprised mainly guys. David Crawford, from Canton, Ohio, who is playing in the main event and through to day two, said: “What do I like about Daniel? Well, it’s his personality. He’s very outgoing. Very entertaining. He definitely makes you smile.”