While promoting the freshly announced PokerStars Players Championship, Daniel Negreanu had a quick Q&A with USA Today where he revealed which of the hands he lost hurts him the most still.
Negreanu’s successful poker career spans over two decades so the Canadian pro undoubtedly lived through countless bad beats and coolers, on both the winning and the losing end. However, when he recently was asked about the worst bad beat he suffered, he somewhat dodged a question – he told about a hand where he actually got his chips in as a 45% underdog pre-flop in the 2001 WSOP Main Event.
“It was 2001, and there were 12 left in the World Series of Poker Main Event and I was chip leader. I got involved in a hand with Ace-King against a pair of 6s. The board ran out Jack-10-blank-blank-blank” – said Negreanu in an interview published in USA Today Sports’ For the Win column. “I lost the pot, a huge coin-flip situation. What really stings is I would be in that situation today and I never would have played the hand the way I did. I would have just folded it. You don’t get many opportunities to get that close to winning the Main Event. That sticks out. That’s one I’ll never forget.”
When people think of Negreanu and his unlucky beats, likely the hand he played against Gus Hansen on the TV show High Stakes Poker comes to mind. Hansen got dealt pocket 5’s under the gun, while Negreanu had pocket 6’s right next to him.The flop came 965, great for Negreanu so far, but the last five in the deck fell on the turn, giving Hansen quads over Negreanu’s full house.
You can watch the entire hand below.
The fact that Negreanu brought up his AK hand from the 2001 WSOP over his “sunken boat” against Hansen when he was supposed to pick his worst bad beat suggests that he may have some regret about never winning the Main Event. He addressed this issue too in the cited interview. When asked if the Main Event win was his “Holy Grail”, he answered:
“Obviously, that’s the one.” But then he went on to be a little dubious about the subject, saying: “If you’re a professional poker player, you’re beating the odds. No longer do you feel like you need a Main Event title to say you’ve done it all. I say maybe when I started in the late 1990s, that was kind of a feather in your cap. Sure, every poker player dreams of cutting through that field of 8,000 players and be the last one.”
Even though Daniel Negreanu has never won the WSOP Main event in Las Vegas, he does have a ME championship title from the 2013 WSOP Europe. He also has 6 gold bracelets overall, and he is first in Hendon’s live tournament earning rankings, so Kid Poker has a lot to be proud of despite his missing Main Event trophy.