Daniel Negreanu Net Worth4 years ago
Some 35-odd years ago, somewhere in Toronto, Canada, a young kid told his mom - a middle-aged Romanian immigrant - that he was going to be so rich when he grew up that he would build a house out of Popsicle sticks and move to sunny California.
Looking forward, that kid - the youngest son of the Negreanu family - was a little bit off with his prediction. He never ended up moving to Cali, but he visited every place on Earth that a grown man could wish for. And that Popsicle stick house? Well he could build hundreds of palaces made of Popsicle sticks with his fortune.
One fact is for sure: Daniel Negreanu has come a long way since his childhood days in Toronto. Now he’s one of the richest poker players in the world. How rich exactly? You’re about to find out; but before telling you the magical number, let’s break it down and see how Negreanu actually made his fortune.
Live Poker Tournaments
We start things off of course with the live poker tournament earnings. Why? Because Kid Poker tops the all-time poker money list. That’s right: according to the HendonMob DB, no other poker player has won more on the green felt than Daniel Negreanu; from 1997(Negreanu’s first cash, a tiny $1k in Las Vegas) to 2015(included), he won $32,315,816.
At the World Series of Poker, he won six gold-bracelets and cashed in 83 times. His largest cash? $8,288,001 for finishing second at the 2014 one-million-dollar buy-in Big One for One Drop. KidPoker is also the only poker player ever to win the WSOP Player of the Year more than once (in 2004 and 2013).
But that’s not all : he has two World Poker Tour titles and a WPT Player of the Year award for the 2004 - 2005 season.
As of late, he has focused on the high-roller and super high-roller events winning close to $14 million in the last couple of years. It is safe to assume however that in some of these games - like the Big One for One Drop - he was staked in one form or another. Not to mention that the above numbers don’t tell the whole story: the actual profit (winnings - buy-ins - possible re-buys), legal taxes paid (the IRS is known for being greedy when facing gambling income and can retain close to 50% of the actual earnings) and travel expenses.
So how much did Negreanu actually win from the live poker tournaments? Is half a good assumption or maybe somewhere closer to $10 million? We certainly think so.
Live Cash Games
In this area, unfortunately, the facts are blurry as there is no legitimate source to tell us the whole story. What we can do though is gather up bits of information and try to solve the puzzle.
For example, from the 2014 iGaming interview with KidPoker, we can find out what stakes the Hall of Famer has been playing throughout his very interesting life. When he was in high-school, before calling it quits, Negreanu said in the interview that he was already making $44 per hour playing Limit Holdem. He explained:
I remember this arrogant little kid inside of me thinking, ‘This teacher is trying to teach me math stuff and I make more money than he does. And I know how to do this math stuff better than him. Hell no, I’m not going to that class anymore.’
Before his first WSOP bracelet, he had a $70,000 bankroll
In the beginning, when I wanted to play higher stakes, I would sell pieces. Sometimes I would even get staked for a big game and that would help me build up my bankroll. After a few very good sessions at $4,000/$8,000, I cut out the people that staked me or bought percentages. From that point on, after leaving them a nice profit, I was completely on my own.
Then came the real swings: losing $1.3 million at Pot Limit Omaha and facing billionaire Andy Beal with the rest of ‘The Corporation.’ The group - KidPoker was also involved - won $16.6 million after losing around $5 million initially.
There was no doubt: Negreanu was poker’s hottest asset, a very likeable person, very fun at the tables, and one of the best at playing cards. The myths surrounding the Canadian grew in number, telling stories of epic wins against big whales such as Guy Laliberte and epic games played in ‘Bobby’s Room,’ at the Bellagio, Las Vegas, at stakes like $400/$800 no-limit and beyond.
Since there are still many legends unconfirmed - at least in the last decade or so - we can’t come up with an exact number, but we can assume Negreanu won several million dollars from those live cash games, maybe even close to the $10 million-mark.
TV Poker Shows
Last decade, when poker was a hot topic on television, Daniel Negreanu made a lot of appearances in front of the cameras on highly-acclaimed TV shows like Late Night Poker, Poker After Dark, and High Stakes Poker. Did he win any real cash there? There is a strong possibility, although some numbers don’t add up.
For example, according to the 2+2 forums, during the seven seasons of the High Stakes Poker TV Show, KidPoker was the biggest loser with over $2 million in the red. Again, we don’t know many details behind the scenes so we can’t be sure if Daniel actually lost all those millions from his own pocket. We also don’t know the results from the other poker shows so it’s better to leave it as it is: more or less break-evenish. Don’t you agree?
This sub-topic may be very well the hottest debated in our times. How much does PokerStars pay its ambassadors? And how much does Daniel Negreanu earn from that PokerStars sponsorship?
The Hall of Famer definitely made the right move in 2007 when he chose PokerStars. He had other offers to from Full Tilt, UltimateBet, and PartyPoker but declined them because PS offered the most possibilities going forward (being initially run by a group of former IBM employees).
Nine years later, KidPoker is still the face of the company although much has changed in the online world - UltimateBet scandal, Black Friday, Amaya’s takeover. Some part of the poker community even accused Negreanu of holding Amaya’s hand too tightly when he should have stood up for the game he loves most. But that’s debatable. Are money and other incentives factors when Daniel defends Amaya’s new policy? Of course they are!
The sponsorship may very well include free registration at some of the PokerStars’ sponsored live tournaments, travel expenses,100% rakeback when he plays on the platform and of course, financial rewards. Some say the total worth of the deal could exceed $1 million per year; we believe the deal is actually worth several more. Even more important is that the deal could very well be extended for life. The Canadian remains one of the most popular poker players even after all these years and is still appealing to the masses. How could PokerStars ever want to get rid of such an asset?
Other Poker Activities
The PokerStars deal was not the only one for KidPoker. Before 2007, in 2005, Wynn Las Vegas recruited him as an ambassador. The deal lasted only several months as the Canadian was unhappy with the fact that he couldn’t play poker elsewhere, other than Wynn Casino. That year, he also became a professional spokesman for an online poker site named Poker Mountain. The deal was again short-lived because of software issues that eventually caused the site shutdown.
But all of these events didn’t stop Negreanu from trying to enter the rising online poker market. In 2006, he created his own poker site named Full Contact Poker. He promoted the room for over six months, from TV and radio ads to the ‘Protege contest’ - the idea being to take an amateur and turn him into a world-class poker player. After those six months, KidPoker received an offer too good to be true (around $170 million) to sell his online room. The deal was never closed as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) passed the Senate and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. As a result, the online poker room closed its doors.
In 2008, Negreanu made one more attempt to create a poker venture, this time an online training site - Poker VT. The site had some success in the beginning but Black Friday and the US online poker ban forced the Canadian once more to close his startup.
What About Online?
The Poker Hall of Famer has never been an online grinder. He has only one major tournament title under his belt won in 2013 at the SCOOP $5,200 Pot Limit Omaha 6-max. The cash prize? $216,000. At the cash games, he only played around 25,000 hands, according to HighStakesDB and lost over $350,000 on PokerStars. He did say in 2014 that he could become a 5000NL ($25/$50 No Limit Holdem 6-max) winner given two weeks of hard training. Negreanu was so sure that he was willing to bet $1 million. Unfortunately, the challenge never happened (maybe because Daniel figured out that it’s easier said than done) although Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk tried to lure him into that bet. What we do know is this: Negreanu was never at the nosebleeds Holdem tables again.
A wise decision for KidPoker we might add.
Why sure, he also released three books - Holdem Wisdom for All Players, Power Holdem Strategy, More Holdem Wisdom for All Players - and contributed to Doyle Brunson’s revised book Super System II.
And remember his childhood acting dream? Oh wait, we didn’t quite tell you: well he first wanted to become an actor and was close to embracing the career as he made it through the preliminary selection at an NBC movie talent hunt. The movie never happened, though, so young Daniel had to choose poker instead. Luckily for him, poker threw him into the spotlight and he has now had several chances to show his acting skills in films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Grand, and Lucky You.
Nowadays, he spends a lot of time playing Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, yet we don’t quite know if he’s a winner or not.
Net Worth: $12 Million? Nah... $30, $40 Million? Getting Closer...
Overall, Daniel Negreanu is a wealthy person, much wealthier than he has probably ever dreamt of being. Some sites say his net worth is somewhere around $12 million. We at PokerTube believe his fortune is a lot bigger than that. The $12 million is a fair number if we think solely about his live poker tournament earnings. If we add the live cash games, the PokerStars sponsorship, the other poker deals he had, and his books, then it’s fair to assume Daniel Negreanu net worth is closer to the $50 million mark some other sites are showing.
The good news (for him at least) is that he’s far more cautious and money-aware these days than compared to his earlier days in the 90s and 2000s. In his 2014 iGaming interview, he mentioned expanding his horizons, playing poker less and less and making some worthy investments.
But does that means he’s the richest poker player ever? Probably not - just look at Phil Ivey Net Worth - but he’s definitely among the richest, not to mention the most popular.
What do you think? Is Daniel Negreanu the richest poker player ever? Is his net worth of $50 million or thereabouts a fair assumption? Please give your opinion in the comments section below.
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