Daniel Negreanu Emotional About Reason for Withdrawal from NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship

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Wednesday morning, ahead of the drawing of first round match-ups for the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship (NHUPC), poker pro Daniel Negreanu announced that he was withdrawing from the event. The announcement came via Negreanu’s “@RealKidPoker” twitter account with the promise of a further explanation later.

That explanation was given via a video posted on YouTube. In the video, Negreanu began by assuring everyone that he loves the event and feels that it is important that it is back after a year hiatus. He had to withdraw, though, because of a prior commitment. Explaining further, he said, “I promised some friends who need me, need my support, need me to be there for them this weekend.”

He had their blessing to play in the NHUPC, he said, but he just didn’t feel it would be right to put poker ahead of his commitment to his friends. As he continued to discuss his mindset, Negreanu clearly got emotional as he reflected upon his life.

I’ve looked back at my life and the amount of times where I’ve made a poker tournament a priority over my friends and my family…I promised my friends that I was going to be there for them and I want to be there for them. And I look back and I think like in a year from now, if I look back and say, ok, well I missed the NBC Heads-Up, you know, I could’ve won that thing. It would’ve been awesome for a lot of my goals, the GPI and everything like that, but in the same token when I compare that to skipping out on my friends when I can share an experience with them and really be there for them, I don’t know if I can forgive myself for that anymore.

“I thought about it as being a difficult choice,” he added, “but ends up being a really, really easy one.”

As the eight-minute video went on, Negreanu talked about how in the past, poker would have been the automatic choice over most anything. That resulted in him pushing people away to the put where he has realized that his closest friends are his agent, his two assistants, and his “golf guy,” all of whom share the common bond of being paid by Negreanu.

Again, Negreanu became emotional, getting choked up as he said:

Really, it’s a commitment to my friends. Friends that I have that are going to appreciate so much that I’m going to hang out with them this weekend. And, yeah, that makes me feel good. If I was going to be at the NBC Heads-Up, even if I had won and won the money and all that, I know that I would feel inside like an emptiness and that I’d let people down. And I’m not willing to do that.

During his explanation, Negreanu mentioned his desire to one day be a good husband and father, which he discussed further in the second part of the video. Part of his soul searching stems from his wish to find that woman of his dreams and the realization that the person he has been is not that kind of person who would be attractive to that kind of woman.

He concluded by saying, “Not to make a bigger deal of it than it was, it really was as simple as I’m just choosing to keep a commitment to friends versus playing a tournament…”

Negreanu has been replaced in the NHUPC lineup by David “Doc” Sands.

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