Daniel Negreanu hasn’t played a lot of World Poker Tour events the last few years. It’s certainly got nothing to do with the Poker part of the World Poker Tour, but more about the World part.
“I love to support WPT, I really do. I just don’t like to travel that much. I used to travel the (WPT) when they were all $10Ks and the fact is I just don’t travel much at all, since even before COVID,” said Negreanu, who lives in Las Vegas. ”But when they do have events here, I’ll play. Whether it’s Bellagio or here and this one was obviously really special.”
Negreanu, who won WPT Borgata Poker Open and WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2004 on his way to winning WPT Season III Player of the Year, recently discovered his early success on the WPT still has him near the top of the all-time money earners for the Tour – but not the top.
“I took a look at the (WPT) all-time leaderboard, I’m still second,” said Negreanu, who has $6,437,353 in WPT winnings. “So let’s go knock this one off and finally pass Carlos (Mortensen).”
With fewer than 60 players remaining, Negreanu is in position to not only pass Mortensen, but put some real distance between himself and every other contender. He trails Mortensen by $301,317 and can pass him with a 12th place finish or better. Helping matters, Negreanu feels very confident with where his game is at right now.
“Especially coming off the Super High Roller Bowl, I feel like I’ve cracked the code, big time. When I feel dominant like I do right now, I’m not going to skip an event like this,” Negreanu said. “I don’t know what it is, but I just came in here, started on time Day 1A, 11 AM fresh and ready to play, just have my phone on do not disturb.”
It’s obviously nothing new for Negreanu to be dialed in and focused, but he realized very early on that ignoring any distraction is even more important in this tournament that it is in the high roller events at PokerGO that he frequents.
“When I play in the high rollers, those are the ones I don’t need to pay as much attention because I play with all these guys a million times,” Negreanu said. “I don’t play with any of these people. So if I’m sitting here on my phone in those spots, I’m missing out on way too much. So I feel like it’s even more important in big field events to put your phone away.”
That doesn’t mean the style of play is going to be any different though. Negreanu has been working on a new strategy since the tournament started and it seems to be paying off. For some it might be reminiscent of the small ball poker he was such a proponent of 10 or 15 years ago.
“Day 1, I limped a lot. Day 2 and 3 I didn’t have chips, so I didn’t limp (as much). I’ve just started limping this last level, because now I have chips again and because of the dynamic,” Negreanu said. “I really feel like I’ve cracked the code on a limping strategy that not only I don’t think I could study, but I don’t think I could teach it because it’s way more complex.”
That complexity is specifically designed to put the solvers – and the players who work extensively witht them – to the test.
“You think about how these guys study, they study ranges. Well now imagine four-way to the flop with the big blind range and the small blind range, which is infinite. Good luck. Good luck putting that into your computer and figuring out what the right sizing is,” Negreanu said.
Follow Negreanu’s chase via WPT World Championship live reporting on WPT.com.