08
Oct
09

Daniel Negreanu is no fool

The world’s top poker players will rarely shy away from a challenge.

So it comes as no surprise that Daniel Negreanu, top of the all-time poker money list, has challenged Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina to a penalty shoot-out.

Negreanu, who supposedly met Reina in London during last month’s World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), will take five penalties against the Spanish international. If he scores just one, Reina will pay him £12,000.

The money is mere pocket-change for Negreanu, who recently scooped just under £500,000 for his performance at the WSOPE, but the Canadian is not a foolish man.

Daniel Negreanu on the TV show 'High Stakes Poker'

Daniel Negreanu on the TV show 'High Stakes Poker'

He is well aware that he stands to benefit even if he loses the bet. The £12,000 sum may well be used to buy Reina into next year’s WSOPE at the glamorous Empire Casino, bringing poker to an entirely new audience.

The Moneymaker Effect

The most recent ‘poker boom’ came when Chris Moneymaker, an accountant from Tennessee, became world champion in 2003.

Moneymaker’s win showed that anyone could play against – and beat – the best in the world, and encouraged plenty of ‘average joes’ like him to deposit money on online poker sites.

Many lost their money, but to this day they keep coming back to chase the dream that Moneymaker had made seem viable.

But why stop at the general public when celebrities have far more money and are often willing to spend it more lavishly.

Poker’s new hall of fame

Bear in mind that one of the biggest ‘donators’ in poker’s largest cash games is Guy Laliberté, the billionaire founder of Cirque du Soleil who has recently spent around £20 million to go into space.

Many Americans have already relished the opportunity to take on their heroes from the world of sport and film, with LA Lakers player Jordan Farmar increasing the profile of poker within basketball circles.

And what fan would pass up the opportunity to sit across from one of their heroes like Reina, Teddy Sheringham, or one of the many other footballers to have been bitten by the poker bug.

Basketball player Jordan Farmar at this years World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

Basketball player Jordan Farmar at this year's World Series of Poker in Las Vegas

Add into the mix the relatively untapped market of the players themselves, who have the enviable combination of disposable income and a competitive nature, and it is clear to see that Negreanu’s decision smacks of marketing nous above all else.

So, what odds on Daniel firing the penalties wide and instigating another poker boom?

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Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

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