WSOP 2014: The Negreanu effect
Over the course of the main event all manner of celebrity figures will sit down to play. Just this week we've seen television stars, football players, basketball players, actors, comedians, cricketers, all shuffle up and deal like ordinary human beings. But it's a poker player who seems to get his picture taken the most.
Perhaps it's because Daniel Negreanu tends to stick around for longer. His is not a fleeting appearance, it's the day job. And the reigning Player of the Year tends to do quite well at it.
Negreanu was still unpacking his chips as an informal but orderly queue began to form. Kenneth Adams on his left asked for a photo, unstrapping the tablet he had fastened to his thigh to take a selfie. Only getting it right proved too difficult so Negreanu tried to help, pressing a few buttons before passing the device to the dealer to take the shot.
The dealer was no better. He couldn't hold the device and press the button at the same time without dangling his thumbs in front of the lens, which appeared on screen like big smudges. So while the dealer held it up Oskar Prehm leaned over from seat one to press the button.
Prehm was eager to help because he was next in line for a picture, having asked if was okay first. Negreanu had no objections and Prehm took one quickly having a better understanding of how his own contraption worked. Then another player did the same while Griffin Paul in seat 7 leaned over to shake Negreanu's hand.
Negreanu is a talismanic figure. It helps to be tanned bronze and glow with good health, as opposed to our own dull veneer brought on by a taco lunch. Part of the Negreanu charm is that he makes everything look so easy. Whether it's an early double-up, the breakdown of an opponent's hand, appearing in front of a TV camera, or that knack of treating random strangers like old friends. It all appears effortless.
All this takes place alongside his sole purpose for coming into the day which was to turn a short stack into a big one.
Some players might have preferred to focus on that, politely excusing themselves, instead of talking about their first trip to the World Series (1996 in his case, although he didn't play until '98) or general stuff that people want to ask him. Which is incredible, because a lesser man would quite understandably think to himself: "What kind of oddballs will I have to sit next to today?"
All of which is now irrelevant of course. Negreanu's day, and indeed his World Series summer, is now at an end. Despite signs to the contrary early on. As Negreanu put it, he couldn't' fade hands/coolers any longer.
Still, not a bad summer.
WSOP Final Total: Events 32 Cashes 9 Hours 292 Buyins $1,233,000 Payouts 8,545,408 Profit $7,055,001 Time for golf this week— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) July 10, 2014
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.