WSOP 2015: Daniel Negreanu daring to think November Nine


There was a moment today when we thought we were counting time until Daniel Negreanu, graciously, and gracefully, bowed out of the World Series of Poker Main Event. Coming back today he was below average stacked, surrounded by bigger stacks, and apparently dependent on good fortune to rescue his Main Event campaign. So we sat waiting for this momentum come to an end and to report the inevitable.

Well that moment didn't come.

Negreanu bags up 8,495,000 tonight, a figure incomprehensible 24 hours ago when he was a short stack looking merely to work as far as he could into Day 6, but one that ensures he returns here tomorrow with 27 players remaining.

But if there were people expecting his demise they were people who had lost their grip on what has become a poker reality over the course of Negreanu's career, people who had not realised that this was a player who worked differently.

They were people who wanted the poker Gods to acquiesce. They were people who wanted bad beats to rue the day, and they were people who had yet to realise that poker is skill, not luck.

Because what they were asking for was for the greatest player of his generation to slip up, to err, and to make a mistake. Well, Negreanu didn't err, and he didn't make a mistake, because Negreanu has a top ten spot going into Day 7.

If you read Negreanu's twitter feed there's a good argument to say we shouldn't be that surprised. After all Negreanu made his intention clear at the start of the day.

But let's be clear. Negreanu himself would not pretend that by stating what he wished to achieve he would ensure it. But he met it tonight.


What he did was start he day with a plan - an intention - one that would define his day, and one that would leave the poker world marvelling at a man who knows what he wants to achieve and doesn't shy away from saying it.

But he's earned the right, being a man whom most players today can credit at least in part with serving as their example. A player who has joyfully sought to beat a game most of us struggle with, and a story soon to be made available:

And so Day 6 ends with the prospect of one of the game's best players having a part to play in November. That was unthinkable, or at least unlikely a week ago, if only because of the sheer weight of numbers. But it's a reality as play ends tonight.

There is an old hymn, sometimes recited by politicians intent on making it clear that their plans do not depend on the actions of others but only on their selves. It features a refrain that goes:

"Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known."

There might have been a moment when this was more relevant, but I can't think of it. Daniel Negreanu today dared all of those things, making his intention clear and standalone against those who seek to stop him.

This is only poker of course. Life goes on, Negreanu will survive regardless of how events pan out tomorrow, and the stories will be memorable whoever advances to the November Nine. But in the era of enormous fields, of players wishing to make a name for themselves, there stands a man with a familiar one, ready to change that, and be himself.

It should be one heck of a ride, which we'll continue tomorrow with coverage of Negreanu's progress on Twitter. Join us there, as well as on the @PokerStarsBlog, when play restarts tomorrow at 12pm.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.