What if Daniel Negreanu Made the November Nine?

5 years ago
Daniel Negreanu November Nine
27 Aug

The World Series of Poker Main Event has changed a lot since it was played around a single table in the early 70s. This year 6,420 players anted up the $10,000 entry fee for a shot at poker’s ultimate prize. With 27 players left on Day 7 all eyes were on one man. Daniel Negreanu – the leader of poker’s all-time money list and the game’s greatest ambassador – had been quietly building a stack without ever threatening the chip lead. At the start of the day he was 9th and if he could maintain that he’d make the biggest final table of his monster career.

In the absence of live streaming the poker world was following the action any which way it could. Those in the know were following Negreanu’s agent, Brian Balsbaugh, on Twitter. Balsbaugh was live tweeting every hand from Negreanu’s table and it was the quickest way to keep up to date on his progress, from the start…

Through to the bitter end 200 hands later…

When the Queen hit the river Negreanu’s knees buckled and he dropped to the floor, devastated. If he’d survived the river a double up would surely have been enough to see him through to the final table. It was a heartbreaking moment that reaffirmed what everyone who’s played knows – poker’s a cruel game. But what would have happened if the river had bricked and Negreanu had made the November Nine?

1. The November Nine was made for Negreanu.

Phil Ivey might be the world’s best all-round player but he shuns the limelight. When Ivey made the November Nine in 2009 he didn’t offer anything apart from the spectacle of him playing – which didn’t last long. When Negreanu busted he posed for photos with his fans on the rail and gave an interview where he acknowledged that he could have done so much for the game given four months to work his magic: ‘It is the most special final table of the year,’ he said. 'I believed I could help by being there.’ You can check out a video Daniel posted to his Twitter just after busting where he thanks his fans for being so supportive.

2. It would have helped the push for regulated poker in the States.

This is debatable but the game getting column inches and Negreanu on mainstream chat shows certainly wouldn’t have hurt. Negreanu threw himself straight back into the push for regulation in California the next day.

3. Ratings would have gone through the roof.

As it is people will be glued to the ESPN highlights, but a nearly-live broadcast of the Main Event final table, with Daniel Negreanu on it? In 2008, 2,364,000 watched the final table highlights. It moved to a nearly-live format in 2011, dropped to a low of 735,000 in 2012 and rebounded to 1,234,000 in 2014. A final table with Negreanu on would have drawn at least 2m including a raft of casual poker fans who might go on and take the game up. Another poker boom? That’s perhaps going too far, but it would have definitely increased poker’s player pool.

4. We would have witnessed a master at work.

Negreanu is without a doubt one of the top five poker players of all time. It would have been fascinating to watch how he would tackle the Main Event final table given four months to prepare. Afterwards, win or lose we’d have been treated to one of the most fascinating stories and analysis from a man who claims ‘at this point in my career my mistakes are very, very small in the bigger picture.’ He blogged about a couple he made on Day 7 here. Neither of them was his exit hand.

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Dave Woods is poker writer and avid player. He has played in some of the biggest poker tournaments, interviewed the most prestigious players in the world and is considered to be an expert in the field. His love and enthusiasm for the game far outweighs his raw talent, although he did place 204th out...Read more


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