Daniel Negreanu’s “Fresh Start” Kicks Off with $218K PGT Score

Just days after posting a video where he laid out his losses in 2023, Daniel Negreanu took down Event #1 of the PGT Last Chance series for more than $218K, his largest score in more than a year.

Jeff Walsh
Jan 3, 2024
Daniel Negreanu won PGT Last Chance series Event #1 for $218,400. (photo courtesy: PokerGO)

Daniel Negreanu has plans to do things differently in 2024 and just days into the New Year – they already seem to be panning out.

After posting a video earlier this week announcing his 2023 year-end results, which included more than $2.2 million in losses, Negreanu was back at the poker tables where he took down Event #1 ($10,100 NLHE) of the PGT Last Chance Series for $218,400, binking the first major tournament of the year.

For Negreanu, the $218K score is his largest since his Super High Roller Bowl victory in October of 2022 for which he won more than $3.3 million. After a long 2023 in which he played the most volume he had in more than a decade and suffered his biggest losses, it’s a great beginning to a New Year. For Negreanu, posting his losses for all to see, allows him, to some degree, a mental reset.

“I can put 2023 in the rearview mirror having looked back on what worked and what didn’t, and get a fresh start to the year in 2024,” Negreanu said.

The PGT event drew 91 entries and provided a late-night livestreamed final table full of heavy hitters including Nick Schulman (8th, $36,400), Isaac Haxton (7th, $45,500), David Peters (6th, $54,600), and Justin Bonomo (4th, $91,000).

In the end, Negreanu faced off against longtime grinder Daniel Smiljkovic in heads-up play. Moments after taking the chip lead, the pair played the defining hand of the tournament in which they got all the chips in the middle with Negreanu only having four outs to capture the win. Here’s how it went down:

Smiljkovic walked with a score of $150,150 for his runner-up finish. It was Smiljkovic’s second close call in under a month, having recently finished in third place in the 2023 WSOP Paradise $25K for $1.19 million.

“I just felt it…lucky year,” Negreanu said immediately after the win as he shook Smiljkovic’s hand. “I don’t know what I’m doing on the turn. I said **** it. If you have a jack take my money…

“I win! Cool…nice. It’s the first time I’ve won the first tournament of the year…in my life.”

It’s just one result – but an important one for him. One that embraced a new mindset that worked out well.

“The key difference was I wasn’t feeling emotionally attached to all ins that were out of my control. No anxious feelings, more feelings of confidence that good things will happen,” he said. “I’ve been confident in what I’m doing for a while now so it’s certainly nice to get a payoff so quickly to start the year.”

One of the other changes Negreanu mentioned in his earlier video was perhaps firing in fewer tournaments. But when asked if winning his first of the year will propel his desire to play more, he held firm that in 2024 he will only be in action when he’s really feeling it.

“Yes, but I’m committed to it,” Negreanu said. “Light bulb moment for me at WSOP Paradise when I didn’t rebuy in an event because I wasn’t feeling it, something I just never ever do, and my wife Amanda’s voice in the back of my head saying ‘You know you never do good when you don’t feel like playing?’ I slept instead and made a deep run in the $25k GG Millions the next day.”