PokerStars 10th Anniversary: Negreanu’s pizza surprise

November 08, 2011


I remember a funny story from the “old days” well before no Limit Hold’em took over as the most popular form of poker in the world. It used to be that Limit Hold’em was the most popular, both in tournaments and in cash, and that’s actually the game I cut my teeth on when I started my poker career. The biggest regular game you could find online at the time was $30-$60 Limit Hold’em.

Then the brain trust at PokerStars thought it would be a good idea to introduce a super high limit game online, $100-$200 Limit Hold’em! At the time I played as big as $4000-$8000 at Bellagio, but no one had ever seen anything like this online before. Funny, when you compare how big the stakes are online today as compared to then. So the plan was, the $100-$200 tables would open up on Sunday evening and the tables would be left open until the tables broke. Once they broke, you’d have to wait until next Sunday to play again. Eventually, the games started to go around the clock so they changed that policy, but in the beginning, locking up a seat was a big deal, and once you had one, you couldn’t really justify taking a break. The lists were too long and you probably wouldn’t get back into the game.

I was one of the first people to have an air card at the time, so at one point I was actually walking down the aisles of the grocery store with my laptop on the shopping cart, just so I wouldn’t lose my seat in the game!


Lee Jones, who was the poker room manager at the time, realized that the customers were a bit trapped. If they wanted to play in this game, they just couldn’t sit out. So I guess Lee had the bright idea to type the following into the chat box, “Does anyone want a pizza sent to their house?” Most people typed in “LOL” since the idea sounded so ludicrous, but Lee made it seem like he was serious. I figured, “Why not.” I was a vegetarian at the time (later becoming a vegan) so I typed in, “Sure, I’ll take a Veggie pizza with pineapple.” Never in a million years did I actually think a pizza would arrive at my doorstep courtesy of PokerStars.

Lo and behold, 30 minutes later the doorbell rang and I remember thinking to myself, “No way! You’ve got to be kidding me!” I went to the door, laptop in hand, and there was the pizza guy with a large veggie pizza for me. It was surreal, funny, and pretty darn cool all at the same time, and the pizza was pretty tasty!

Back then PokerStars was just becoming the monster it is today in terms of size. If they still did the pizza delivery today, I’m sure they’d make a lot of pizza parlours really happy!

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