The Muck: Uproar Over Daniel Negreanu’s State of Poker

Daniel Negreanu

What is the state of poker in 2019?

It’s a question Daniel Negreanu has addressed, first in a controversial tweet and then a blog post on his Full Contact Poker.

In the now-deleted Tweet, Negreanu said:

“Worst kind of poker player has the following traits: Winner
Slow
Quiet (Also Miserable)
Nit (Cheap/Selfish)
Hater (Complainer/Negative)

If you match all of these categories then you are probably a real treat to have at parties. 2 of 5 is still bad."

The next day he added: “this type of player is a cancer to poker. The Nits are like a disease. Some just don’t know any better, they aren’t bad people, but they do way more damage than good by playing poker.”

O’Kearney and Lappin on the Offensive

The backlash started immediately with many people taking issue with Negreanu criticizing winners and quiet players. DK Lappin and Dara O’Kearney, hosts of the Chip Race Poker Podcast, even wrote blog posts in response. The latter drew upon some personal experiences to refute Negreanu’s arguments and then put the PokerStars ambassador on blast.

Lappin: "[He] thinks he has a right to tell other people how to act, or worse still, be.”

“The problem is that Daniel just isn’t funny,” O’Kearney wrote. “His attempts at humour always come across as smug and sanctimonious and patronising. He has lost almost all his credibility as a spokesman for anyone but his paymasters, yet he insists on preaching to the rest of us as to how we should behave.”

Lappin’s blog suggested that “Kid Poker” was out of touch with a large portion of the poker world.

“I suppose my biggest objections to Daniel’s tweets are that they come from a position of such privilege, are so dogmatic, possesses such a ‘holier than thou’ patronising tone and ultimately come from a man who lives in a bubble,” he wrote. “He doesn’t play €20 games in his local casino. He doesn’t play €1/€2 cash games. He doesn’t play the €500 or €1K circuit. Yet he claims to know what’s best for everyone and thinks he has a right to tell other people how to act, or worse still, be.”

That post was shared by Doug Polk, who is no stranger to fanning the flames when it comes to Negreanu.

Negreanu Responds with Blog of His Own

That inspired Negreanu to write a blog post of his own in which he admits his was too harsh and reworded what he was initially trying to say. Instead, he offered “positive traits” that make for an attractive player including lose money, act quickly, be friendly, be generous/give action, and be positive.

“Many people misunderstood my meaning in that initial tweet,” Negreanu explained. “My choice, blame them for not understanding, or take responsibility for not communicating my position clearly enough. In this regard, choosing to stand responsible for my decisions or be a victim to circumstance (blaming others), I try my best to practice what I preach. Part of that entails admitting when you are wrong and apologizing. I have done that, and upon further reflection there were things about that first tweet I didn’t communicate well.”

Witteles: “The pro grinder has no duty to make the game fun for people."

Once the blog was posted, reactions continued.

Todd Witteles posted on Poker Fraud Alert that while he isn’t a Negreanu hater, he took issue in this particular case.

“Poker is an individual game,” Witteles wrote. “The pro grinder has no duty to make the game fun for people. In fact, many grinders lack the personality type to make the game fun, and would just come off as awkward and/or annoying if they tried. Others just find it to be a burden to constantly provide entertainment.”

Witteles instead offered what duties he felt a player owes when they sit at the table, including to be courteous and honest, don’t impede gameplay, and “take extra care not to anger the fish.”

On the flip side, Phil Galfond played devil’s advocate.

WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Laplante didn’t hold anything back responding to Galfond.

“I have an issue with him saying winners are the problem. I have issue with him acting as though he is a moral authority on anything, especially poker. I also have an issue with asking to stop receiving hate. If he wanted to stay an icon he shouldn’t have profited from theft.”

Mark Rutherford echoed those sentiments.

“Dan clearly isn’t providing advice, he is basically insulting and deliberately targeting a large section of poker players,” he wrote. “Sure, if he tells me like GMan on RIO how to get live tells etc I'm gonna listen, but i aint listening to someone who tells me im bad for poker.”

As for Sandor Leitenroth, he articulated what was mentioned earlier – that Negreanu is out of touch with large portions of the poker world.

“He also doesn't really know what RECs want, esp. not ones at low stakes,” Leitenroth tweeted. “He claims he is talking to them frequently which may well be true, but I doubt he really is able to get a stern and unbiased opinion. I can imagine there is a lot of projection going on on both sides.”

Some Side with Negreanu

One man who tried to find the middle ground was Joey Ingram.

Charlie Carrell even chimed in by coming to Negreanu's defense.

To close out his blog, which seems an applicable spot to close out this edition of The Muck, Negreanu wrote: “I’d love to see a return to ‘I hate your ideas’ rather than ‘I hate you.' Would do us all some good.”

What do you think?

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