Perhaps I’ve reached the golden age of trust-no-one or it was always there. I can’t help but look for ulterior motives every time someone does a seemingly good deed, especially someone’s that are famous. And even if they don’t do a good deed, I find myself looking under the rug for the cause of their actions. I’ve had this flipping around for quite some time and a recent event brought it all back – my focus is on Daniel Negreanu.
I remember him from way back…like way, way, way back. Only once did I ever hear him say something harsh about another person back in the day. A dealer was the subject of his dislike and he made the statement to the table that he would “never tip her!” but it wasn’t directed to her, she was already gone. She was a true PITA to work with and follow so it wasn’t like it was an undeserved statement. Just in general, he was always bubbly and happy, even when he took a beat or was running bad.
I watched and listened as his poker career grew and he became PokerStars lead player – he does it well, no problem there – and became much more publicly known, not only as a poker player but a person.
It appears to me that the more powerful Negreanu became with the public, the more he lost his initial public appeal. I expect his name to be everywhere poker is; just like Phil Ivey only with more bubble and fizz because Negreanu makes noise, Ivey appears to try to hide from it…or does he?
With all the Full Tilt Poker issues through Black Friday and in the interim following (until PokerStars purchased it), I was floored when he came out with all of his ‘Negreanu rants’ on Youtube on Howard Lederer and the team behind Full Tilt Poker. Not shocked because of his attitude towards Howard or Annie Duke because he’s been on a hate-you-til-you-die mission with them for quite a number of years. I was shocked that Negreanu thought bodily harm would work well for Howard and FTP management and let everyone know how he felt on Youtube.
Negreanu wanted to dish out pain to Lederer and crew because of the way they handled players money and their lack of integrity to the people they should take the best care of. Yet Negreanu was willing to let his friend Erick Lindgren slide for doing the same thing, not one time did he mention a baseball bat for Lindgren (hey, I don’t like physical violence and am not advocating, just making a comparison). And Lindgren has always been one of my favorite players although my opinion has changed somewhat after the FTP loans and non-pay-back issues with gambling debts, etc.
Haralabob Voulgaris took a stand in his blog about Negreanu’s rants and the leniency he showed his friend and filled in some blanks on Lindgren:
Black Friday turned the poker world on its ear. People who were heroes (as much as a poker player could be I suppose) have since been cast as villains, and it has actually become quite difficult to discern (aside from a few obvious choices) who the heroes and the villains in post Black Friday poker world are.
Unless of course you are Daniel Negreanu, he seems to have an easier time than most. Daniel is unapologetically loyal, and luckily for him (at least in his eyes) most of his friends have done no wrong, and most of his enemies can’t seem to ever do right.
I say most because Erick Lindgren is one of Daniels closest friends. Daniel hasn’t given Erick the rough treatment he normally gives people the people he has earmarked as villains. But he has talked about how what Erick did was wrong and that he is a just an old fashioned run of the mill degenerate.
As an aside the word Degen has been used a lot in the poker and gambling world and I think we are doing ourselves a disservice by deifying people with a “lot of gamble” as being “degen”. There is nothing cool or admirable about gambling way above your head if it means you have to borrow and stiff in order to do so.
Erick the Degen has owed me and countless others money for a number of years and never quite got around to settling these debts while the FTP money train was chugging along. I’d estimate that Erick received at least $12 million from the sale of some of his full tilt shares as well as the monthly dividend distributions.
Negreanu put up a Vlog on integrity that addressed his getting called out by Harlabob along with other issues like the shot clock in poker.
It’s one of the few rants in the last year or so that I felt actually talked about issues instead of going off the deep end with the Lederer crew. Let me say this about that, I’m not a fan of the FTP mess and I’m not a fan of how any of it was handled by the management team, I just don’t want to keep hearing repeat hate tripe or I’d make a few recordings and direct them at people that have pissed me off or screwed me over in my lifetime and replay them until my head blew up. I’d like to hear something fresh and fun from Negreanu. Since it is his Vlog, he’s entitled to say whatever he wants, as long as he wants, and I don’t have to listen or go there, just like you don’t have to be here if you don’t like what you’re reading.
And now I’m to the next step of skeptical and jaded. Recently Negreanu ran a Vlog about raising $100K to help the Children of St. Jude.
It’s a great cause, and believe me I understand the need to get the word out so people are aware and help others in need in our country, I just have the feeling it’s geared more to showing the public that Negreanu gives back. Why not just make a silent donation of $50,000 and then spread the word about St. Jude hospital? How pure is Negreanu’s heart when he screams baseball bats to the balls and then changes his hat to help a worthy cause with a donation?
I liked the Negreanu of old much better. The one that didn’t hate Annie Duke and Howard Lederer and the FTP management team. And since Negreanu never played at FTP (not from what I’ve read anywhere out there) or had any money tied up in it, why did he champion so hard about punishing the FTP team with physical harm? I think it goes back to his hate issues with Annie Duke and Howard Lederer and it was one more way for him to express anger at them, a couple of times through the Vlog should’ve satisfied it if it was just about the FTP injustice which really had nothing to do with Duke. Even back in June, 2012, Negreanu did an interview with pokerlistings.com in which he stood up for Phil Ivey’s actions in distancing himself from FTP and Phil Hellmuth in his stint at UB Poker – Hellmuth was excused but Duke was wrong.
…begin interview snippet
PL: Is the same thing true for Phil Hellmuth and his association with UB? People go after Annie Duke a lot but nobody has much to say about Hellmuth having endorsed the site.
DN: I think that’s because people know the truth. Annie was involved in the business side of things and that’s a fact. She knew the inner workings. She knew that god-mode existed.
Phil Hellmuth, much like Ivey, is about himself. I don’t mean that in a bad way but Ivey and Hellmuth are about playing poker and getting it done and getting a paycheck.
Phil Ivey had nothing to do with the setup or the running of Full Tilt and neither did Hellmuth with UB.
…end interview snippet
It all comes across to me like Daniel lost his happy face somewhere in the mix of poker and relationships and can’t separate his own feelings from what is at issue and important. As much power as he has with his twitter feed, Vlog, blog, PokerStars as his stage, he should be able to help change the world to a better place, not one that advocates beating up people because they pissed you off a million or so years ago.