WSOP 2016: Kid Poker shaves the Face of Poker

By any human standard, Daniel Negreanu's 2016 World Series doesn't look incredibly bad on paper. He has four cashes, three of which are top 20 finishes. One of those was fourth place in the $1,500 Razz. He's grossed $81,570 in winnings since the 2016 WSOP began three and half weeks ago. It's not the kind of summer about which many people would complain.

Negreanu is not many people.

That's why he did this.

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I'll give you a moment to collect yourself. If you need longer, feel free to bookmark this and come back next week after you've become more accustomed to the idea and the night terrors have stopped.

Full disclosure: I am not the best person to be writing this story. When I was a toddler, my mother cut her hair very short, and I wouldn't go near her. I cried for days, at which point my mom bought a wig and wore it 24 hours a day until her hair grew back out.

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If you're ready to continue, here's a explanation from the man himself.

I've known Negreanu longer than I've known one of my children, and for as much of that time as I can remember, Kid Poker has looked closer to Grizzly Adams than Baby Face Nelson. There was a part of me that had come to believe he was poker's bearded version of the Bible's Samson, a man who could take the jawbone of an ass and beat all the donkeys into submission. Negreanu looked for all the world like a man who drew his power from his bewhiskered face. He was, by any standard, poker's Wooly Bully.

There was evidence for this belief in a flocculent Negreanu. I mean, here is just the first page of Google Image results for "Daniel Negreanu."


That guy--THAT HIRSUTE JESTER OF POKER'S BIGGET CASTLE!--turned himself into the (lots of expletives) king of poker's biggest castle. Bearded Danny is in the Poker Hall of Fame. He's a multi-millionaire, an international superstar, and one of the game's best ambassadors.

He's the (more expletives) Face of Poker!

And he shaved it. Daniel Negreanu shaved the face of poker.

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The people of the poker world know the barbate Kid Poker. They know the power of that beard. Be he bushy or goateed, the fuzzy Danny is a successful Danny.

But now Negreanu, poker's Samson, has become his own Delilah.

And I'll be damned if it doesn't seem to be working.

That's right. The freshly-pruned Negreanu bagged a top 20 stack last night in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event. Nearly 800 people entered, and Negreanu is 12th out of the remaining 128.

I'm not entirely sure how to deal with this on an emotional level. Part of me is shivering in a corner begging Mommy to put the wig back on. Part of me is going to find a really good therapist. The rest of me is eager to see if the decorticated Negreanu can manage to turn a baby face into a bracelet.

We'll be watching tonight as he goes back to work in the PLO event and turns this into a sponsorship opportunity with Gillette.

In the meantime, I'm going to comfort myself by listening the Reverend Gary Davis. About 120 years ago, Davis was born just a few miles from where I sit. One of his most famous choruses comes from "Samson and Delilah," one I imagine Negreanu will be singing as he sits down at the Rio today.

"If I had my way, I would tear this building down."

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is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos by PCA photo by Neil Stoddart.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker