Too much of a good thing

Daniel Negreanu has long been one of the most open poker pros with his fans. At the end of every year, he provides a rundown of how he did along with an analysis of what he liked and didn’t like about his performance. This week, he published his annual performance review and, well, 2023 did not go his way, as he lost $2,228,174.

Negreanu also added that his two-year combined profit/loss could have been a ton worse, as had had a losing 2022 until October, when he profited $3 million by winning the Super High Roller Bowl. So if it wasn’t for that, he would have had two losing years in a row.

He cited that Super High Roller Bowl win as one of the problems with his play in 2023. Negreanu said he went into the year on what he calls “winner’s tilt,” riding a high from the end of 2022. It didn’t necessarily make him overconfident, but rather made him not really care about playing well to start 2023. He played looser than normal, was more willing to play in tournaments that he wouldn’t have normally played in, just didn’t really value his buy-ins or his chips.

That rolls into another issue he pointed to: he played in too many tournaments. In all, Negreanu participated in 145 tournaments in 2023, up from 107 the year before; those are the only two years in which he hit 100 tourneys in the past decade. Playing so much leads to burnout and he said he often played in events he didn’t want to play in, leading to subpar decision making.

Bad luck

And Negreanu wouldn’t be a true poker player if he didn’t blame luck for some of his losses. Now, to be fair, he didn’t pull a Phil Hellmuth and say if it wasn’t for luck, he’d win every time, but rather that his deep runs in 2023 tended to come in lower buy-in, massive field tournaments. So even though he did really well, coming in, say, top 50 or top 100 out of thousands or tens of thousands, the payouts weren’t enough to make up for not cashing in $25,000 and higher buy-in events. Basically, he cashed in the wrong tournaments.

He did also say that he rarely got all of his chips in behind, so there was some bad luck in his all-ins, too.

Going forward, Negreanu says he plans to play much less in 2024, allowing himself to stay fresh and make better decisions. If he doesn’t feel like playing in a tournament, even if he was planning to, he just won’t.

Most interestingly, perhaps, is that he claims he is not going to chase the World Series of Poker Player of the Year title. WSOP POY has always been extremely important to Negreanu – he’s won it twice – and he is known for going for it every year. Going along with his playing too much observation, though, he decided that it will be best for his results to not play because he feels he has to, but because he wants to.

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