PokerUpdate.com contributor Robbie Strazynski caught up with Real Kid Poker himself, Daniel Negreanu at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. Want to know about being at the PCA, what events Negreanu will be at, and how’s the gym at the hotel? Check out our interview below!
And be sure to stick with PokerUpdate here and on Twitter @PokerUpdate to get all the updates at the 2016 PCA!
So some guy just dragged me into his room and he’s like: “Please interview me – it’s been like a month already since I’ve been interviewed.” So I’m like, okay. This is Daniel Negreanu. We’re here at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (‘PCA’) 2016. I’m Robbie Strazynski for PokerUpdate.com. How are you doing?
You know, chilling bro. I’m in the Bahamas, I was about to go to the gym and then you people barged into my room. So I guess we’ll do this interview thing.
Very cool. Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
You got it.
Cool. So, you’ve been playing at the PCA since the inaugural event in 2004. What keeps you coming back here, besides being a sponsored player?
Well, the first one they did was on a cruise ship. It was actually really fun. It was me, Gus Hansen, and Hoyt Corkins – which back in the day was like: “Holy crap, those are like three really good players.” And then since then, they’ve moved it here. I’ll tell you the truth, I’ve had more fun each year that I’ve come. In the beginning there was a time period when it was a lot of really young kids – this was pre Black Friday – and not that it was good or bad, it was just different. You’d go to the lobby and it was a sea of laptops. Since Black Friday changed things it became a little bit more of an older crowd, a little more intimate, and a little more fun.
I hear that. Cool. Well, over the years you’ve performed quite well here and you’ve got a little over $1.5 million in earnings. What is it about this series (the PCA) specifically that brings out your A-Game?
Partly, the PCA is the first one of the year. You don’t have any year-end things like knowing you’re not going to be player of the year. It’s your new chance. It’s the first one and I think for a lot of people, they want to start the year off right. They start it off with a big one – a $100k right off the bat, then the Main Event, and then for other people who don’t have clear intention, they plan to play several events. I don’t. I’m playing two.
Well how can I play anything else?
So, just the High Roller and the Main Event?
Yeah because that goes all the way through the end.
Ah! Of course, because you’ll be winning both events.
Somebody gets it!
I’m teaching him.
You said the PCA is more intimate than when it first started. Is there anything that makes this year’s PCA, or the one 10-12 years down the line, different than what it used to be?
Yeah the biggest difference is that now it’s like a festival, right? Before it was just the main event – that’s it, and then people would play a little cash. Now, a lot of people come and they’re not even playing the Main Event. They’re playing a lot of the smaller events, and then there are people who come in just for the Super High Roller, the $50k, or the $25k. It’s got a lot more variety in terms of you coming here and if you bust you don’t just leave. You come here and if you bust you play the next one.
That’s why they put the Super High Roller first on the schedule, right?
There’s a few reasons. You can’t really put the Super High Roller overtop the Main Event because it doesn’t work as well. You want to have it clean and simple so people can come here and play both. It’s very easy – well, I mean it’s not very easy – but I’m going to make the Super High Roller final table a lot because I’m really good at poker. I swear.
Do you think you’re going to have time to do a bit of cash game play? I saw a high roller area there as well. Or just tournaments for you?
I won’t have any time to, because I’ll be playing the Super High Roller everyday and then the Main Event everyday. Those are 9 hour days or so and after that the last thing I want to do is play more poker. I just want to stay tranquillo and meditate by the ocean. No I’m not going to do that.
Sounds like a plan. So, besides playing poker and making final tables, what do you do to unwind here? It’s obviously called Paradise Island for a reason. It’s pretty sweet here, so what do you do to chill? What are your favorite spots on the Island to chill?
The craziest thing is that when I come here I’m always playing. I really just enjoy getting this room where I have friends and family come. My brother and his wife are coming, and we’ll have a couple days (today and tomorrow) before I start playing, so we can do some things. I don’t have a specific place. The gym really. It’s a decent gym.
Yeah it’s pretty good. I was there yesterday. It’s awesome – good machines. So you eat healthy. People know you’re a vegan. Where are some of the best vegan spots to eat, or do you just bring it all with you and put it in the fridge?
I will admit, this is not the most vegan friendly joint. So what I do is, I go to Solomon’s Fresh Market – which is like a Whole Foods – and I pack up stuff in my mini kitchen over here. What I do is, I call like two months ahead and give them a low-down of what I will eat and what I won’t eat.
And they’re like: “Dude, what on Earth are these requests?”
Yeah. No oil, no strawberry, no corn, no gluten, no this, no that. No dead animal or fish, or that. So basically that’s what I bank on – that meal that room service makes every night, plus all the stuff I bring with me. Otherwise during the day, when I’m playing, I just overload on fruits and vegetables.
You don’t really go hungry at any point in time though.
Well. There are moments during the day, when I’m playing the tournament. I would say the food in the Bahamas is very American-centric, and I don’t really eat American-centric – burgers and fries kind of thing. It’s not my thing. Like catfish covered in cheese.
You’re Canadian anyways. What’s good? Maple syrup and pancakes?
I don’t know, but I don’t do that either.
Okay. So what’s next for you? This is the beginning of the year, first chance to make a big splash. So are you going to Aussie Millions? What’s the next thing on the schedule?
I don’t have plans to go to Aussie Millions, but that could change. I’m just such a spontaneous person that I might just get on a plane.
Like a feather in the wind.
I have another project that I’m working on that will likely take up some time in early February, and then after that is LAPC and also the GPI thing is happening. So all that kind of stuff.
Aiming to be #1 on the GPI?
That’s not part of my goals this year. If you really want to go for that it requires high volume. I don’t do high volume, like the kids. I was reading and this one kid has 42 cashes. I played 42 tournaments, how does he get 42 cashes? That’s insane.
So if you’re not one of the kids, what does Kid Poker change his name into at some point?
You don’t have to. Look at Kid Rock, he’s like 60 or something.
He’s like 60 and he’s still Kid Rock. I’m not gonna change my name. If I do it would be like Dan The Man.
Dan The Man! You heard it here first on PokerUpdate.com. Okay, I think we can end off with this one: You took part in the PokerStars Pro Tour in California last year. Will we see another series like that in California, or any of the other States soon? Maybe you’ve got some extra details for us.
I think eventually you’ll see some more of that. I think right now is an interesting time because the election is happening. A lot of people are focused on different stuff, like getting re-elected. So if you think about California specifically, online poker is probably really low on their list of important things to address. They have a water crisis, and they have other things like education and roads. So as much as poker people are like: “Oh My God, online poker! It’s so important,” when you think of society and the problems the average American has, online poker isn’t one of them. Realistically it affects a much smaller group of Californians than other issues. Having said that, it is an important issue. It’s about freedom, but we don’t want to be absurd and think that they’re going to put online poker ahead of water in terms of their priority list.
Right, okay, I hear that. So, we’re going to put away the script for a second, and we’re going to have one last question here with ‘Question from a hat.’ Go for it, sir. Here’s the hat.
Okay! This is going to be goofy, right?
I hope so.
Okay, here we go.
Wait, one second, I’ll ask the question.
Well you can just make it up now.
Okay. What is one TV show you can watch over and over again?
There are several, but I’m going to go with ‘Survivor.’
Survivor! You want to be on survivor, right?
Oh, like watch it over and over again. After I’ve seen it?
Not that one then because after you’ve seen it you already know what happens. I’m going to go old school with Three’s Company.
Really? Jack Tripper?
Yeah, Jack Tripper. That never gets old.
I hear that. Okay well, thanks everybody for joining us here at PokerUpdate.com. This is Daniel Negreanu, and I’m Robbie Strazynski. We’re at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2016. Thanks so much for tuning in.