Eight-year drought

Daniel Negreanu is third on the all-time live tournament earnings list with over $43 million in lifetime winnings. He is enshrined in the Poker Hall of Fame. He is one of the most popular poker players in the history of the game. But entering this week, he had not won an open live tournament in eight years. The winless streak finally ended Tuesday, as Negreanu emerged victorious in the PokerGO Cup Event #7: $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em, banking $700,000.

“If I look at my results since 2013, I’ve cashed for $20 to $30 million, so I’ve still been able to post wins in terms of finances, but the elusive top prize has been missing,” he told Poker Central afterward. ““I’ve been a bridesmaid so many times. Just the demons and the ghosts in your brain, like when I’m heads up with [David Coleman] and that three hit the turn, it was just every reminder, like Buckner back in Shea Stadium. Every possible bad thing I’m thinking in my head. I can’t help it. I’m human. So just to get that win out of the way it feels like I don’t have to think about that anymore.”

Negreanu’s last victory before this week was in the $25,000 High Roller event at the 2013 World Series of Poker Europe. As Negreanu said, it’s not like he hasn’t had success in the past eight years, he just has not claimed the trophy. He did win Shark Cage Season 2 in 2015 for nearly a million dollars, but that was an invitational, not an event open to all comers.

Ok, maybe “drought” was an exaggeration

Among his near misses include runner-up finishes in the $100,000 High Roller event at the 2019 WSOP where he won $1.725 million, the 2018 Super High Roller bowl for $3 million, and the $100,000 Super High Roller at the 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $936,000.

Negreanu also cashed for about $8.3 million after coming in second in the 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop to Daniel Colman. So again, it’s not like he has just been failing left and right. It is not easy to win a big poker tournament and sometimes even the best go through dry spells. I think, though, that all of us would absolutely love a dry spell like the one Daniel Negreanu just experienced.

Top-tier competition

That said, this tournament was not “big” in the field size sense of the word. There were only 35 players, so statistically, Negreanu had a much better chance to win than he would in, say, any given World Series of Poker event. But at that price point, the field was jam-packed with top-notch competition, so while there were fewer minefield, those mines were much more lethal.

“I have the utmost respect for my opponents and how good they are. I do believe it’s the best learning ground, too – watching what the top players do, the Ali Imsirovics, the Jake Schindlers, and Alex Foxen – there are so many great players here. I have the luxury of being able to afford to play with them and feel like I’m doing pretty well against them, but it’s the best test of where you’re at,” Negreanu said. “If you really, really, want to say that you’re the best tournament player in the world or you’re among them, then you need to compete against them and they’re here in droves.”

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