Poker Mind In Depth Part IV: Daniel Negreanu

[Content Disclosure: Poker Mind In Depth series]

This is a continuation of my first pre-Series session with Daniel Negreanu. One of my concerns in asking Daniel to participate in this series was that he is by far the most prolific writer among the big name professional poker players. Not only does he write a lot, but he includes a great deal of personal information and insight about not just poker but also his life. Which means, Daniel is a great subject but like Mike Matusow, he has already done a lot of personal exposure in the poker press. In fact, the three players who are the best known by the poker fans are: Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow, my subjects for this series. So in light of this I asked Daniel:

Shrink: "You write often about your life away from poker, is there an element of therapy or even a public confessional in your writing?"

Daniel: "Absolutely yes. I learned fairly early that as a public figure, every thing I did would be observed and commented on. So my philosophy is to admit or recognize my mistakes and to put them and myself out there. There is a kind of defusing that happens when I am the first one to admit I made a bad decision. I do keep the personal revelations limited to myself. If friends are involved I either leave them out of the story or I don't tell it. They have the right to privacy even when there are with a notorious talker like me. But other than that, I am an open book and that seems to work better for me."

Shrink: "I want to ask about your preparation for the Series this year. First, have you done anything different."

Daniel: "Well, I have said for years that I was going to get in better physical shape before the World Series. This year, I did it. I started early in January. I got a trainer and have worked out continually since then. I do feel healthy and stronger. I hope that translate into better performance this summer."

Shrink: "OK, now let me put those first two questions together. You are a new adopter of Tweeter and over the past month or so you have been partying a bit."

Daniel (laughter).

Shrink: "I have recently reread your 2002 articles* on alcohol and poker. Would you like to make an updated 2009 comment on that subject?"

Daniel: "Sure. I have been doing a bit of partying. Phil, Eric and I have sort of been getting it out of our systems because during the World Series it's all business. So there is just the element of relaxation before the big summer. But I also know I did go a bit overboard on my own and some of that is guilt over my Mom. You know she had a stroke and she is back in Canada. I would really like to be there with her but I am in Las Vegas playing poker. Now I know her, she is old school. If I even tried to skip the Series to be with her... well she just wouldn't allow it. She wants me here doing what I do. But that doesn't alleviate the guilt of not being with her. But I hopefully have that all straightened out. She is in no danger and is doing as well as can be expected. I was with her a few days ago and will be back there as soon as the Series is over."

Shrink: "That takes us back to what you said earlier about dealing with the fans, when they don't know if something has gone wrong with your day. I assume your Mom's health issues are always with you but you not only play poker but you deal with the fans the same as you always have."

Daniel: "Right exactly. If I am a public figure then I am going to be the best I can be in that role, including giving the poker fans my time when they ask for a picture or autograph."

*Here are the links to three articles Daniel wrote on poker and alcohol back in 2002. I strongly recommend them for any player who even thinks they are experiencing problems with their game or their life due to alcohol use.
Previous posts in this Series:

Poker Mind In Depth Part III: Daniel Negreanu
Poker Mind In Depth Part II:  Phil Hellmuth
Poker Mind In Depth Part I:   Mike Matusow