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Daniel Negreanu Gearing Up For The Superstar Showdown vs Isildur1

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Daniel 'KidPoker' Negreanu, known mainly as a live tournament pro, has been tearing it up online for the past year or so on PokerStars. Playing in the big tournaments, big NLHE cash games, micro stakes full ring NLHE, $5,500 heads up Sit & Gos and lately 4 tabling heads up $5/$10 no limit hold'em.

He's been posting on the 2+2 forums looking for opponents willing to play 2,500 hands heads up against him across 4 tables.

It can't be a coincidence that the Superstar Showdown against Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom consists of 4 tabling HU over 2,500 hands.
Hardly a secret, I'm a fan of Viktor "Isildur1" Blom and watching him play the SuperStar Showdown on PokerStars on Sundays has inspired me to see if I can get to the point where I feel like I could be a worthy challenger for him.
Blom made a big splash in the online poker world last year when he fearlessly took on some of the best poker players in the world running up millions of dollars in winnings but eventually losing it all but has come back in action as a PokerStars Pro.

While Negreanu hasn't confirmed he's going to take on Blom he did say he's testing his metal to see if he can mentally and physically keep up with a game which at around 400 hands per hours is far far away from the 1 table, 30 hands per hour face to face battles that he's played for most of his poker career.

Online play can be tougher but has some obvious perks. Like being able to play in your bathrobe. :) 

He recently posted his heads up results on his blog and I've added in some recent matches.


Opponent# HandsProfit
adtina2247$1.00
serviobraga248$118.00
TCFromUB323-$3,213.30
knect_poker1,035$895.00
dim--trix1,050$6,913.50REPLAY
FMyLife1,546$11,057.25REPLAY
Nanonoko2,501-$854.50REPLAY
ZeeJustin *2,494$16,277.75REPLAY
bmwmcoupe2,506$11,252.00REPLAY
Bonomo's numbers are a little off.


For years now forum posters, especially on 2+2, have been ragging on Negreanu's poker skills, especially after his losses on GSN's High Stakes Poker. A number of posters thought he wouldn't even be able to beat the $10/$20 NLHE online. Negreanu jumped in to defend himself and at the end a challenge was proposed where he would play 2+2 poster 2eazy (bmwmcoupe on PokerStars) in a series of heads up matches at $25/$50 NLHE. After 5,000 hands bmwmcoupe walked away with around $30,000 of Negreanu's money.

Winning 1/3rd of his previous losses back from bmwmcoupe in 1/2 the hands at 1/5th the stakes must have felt pretty good.

Before the 2009 match Negreanu posted response on 2+2 and on his forum.
What a lot of these guys don't get is that while playing 2-3 tables seems really easy to them, they grew up learning how to play poker that way and are comfortable splitting their focus between several games. I honestly have enough trouble focusing on ONE game online and picking up betting patterns, etc. that playing two or three games is very, very confusing to me and I can't keep up with the action. I get that all the kids multi-table, but I grew up playing poker a very different way.

When I grew up playing poker there was always a ton of information available on a player, not only before I sat down, but in between hands watching them eat (sounds weird but it's info!), hearing them talk, finding out more about them. The game was much slower obviously, so after playing only 30 hands I had so much more information on my opponents than I would if I played 30 hands online. Adding more tables online only makes it that much harder for me.

Many of them clearly underestimate how difficult it can be for a guy who's played live all of his life to get used to the idea that he is looking at little pictures instead of people and pressing buttons instead of using poker chips. My most valuable skill set is unavailable to me online and I'm not going to compound that problem by further confusing myself with even more little pictures and more buttons.
Negreanu also felt that if he put in the time and effort he could become a real contender on the virtual felt. After nearly 2 years of hard work his results seem to prove his statement true.

Coming up he worked hard at playing as well as promoting himself and the game. Constantly posting on the Internet and publishing articles in print media. His hard work has turned into enough success both as a player as well as a poker celebrity where he could continue to live a very good life without putting the effort he is in online poker. Between his tournaments, PokerVT, interviews, appearances, tv, movies, music videos and living his life, his schedule seems pretty packed which makes his dedication admirable. His renewed enthusiasm for the game is contagious and I've found myself playing more as a result.

Bonomo, bmwcoupe (and I believe FMyLife if I remember correctly) all had praise for Negreanu at the end of their matches commenting that he was a tough opponent.

Not too long ago players were lining up to get a piece of him and now a couple of the contenders quit him well before the 2,500 hand mark. Of the 3 players that did play all 2,500 hands only one profited against Negreanu, the other two lost more than 10 buy-ins.

Negreanu felt his toughest opponent so far was Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew, the first player to play the full 2,500 hands. He had this to say about the 24 tabling NLHE beast in his blog:
Playing against Nananoko was the best training I could ask for. He was five times faster than any other opponent I faced which forced me to not only time out a few times, but also led to a few misclicks. It's all part of the learning process, and I'm a big believer in going all out against the fastest competition I can find, because then when I play others, the pace will seem comfortable.

It's no different than a baseball player swinging five bats before he goes up to the plate, or a golfer taking some practice swings with a heavy club.

Nanonoko was also twice as aggressive pre-flop as anyone else I'd faced, 3 betting me 29% of the time, while my other opponents generally hovered around 15%.
The tide turned both ways during the match and Negreanu was up over 7 buy-ins at one point but Nanonoko fought back to grind out a small win.

In the matches I've seen, Negreanu has been playing very aggressively both pre and post flop especially in position. I didn't analyze the hands against others but versus bmwmcoupe Negreanu was a lot more aggressive than him preflop and even more so post flop. 2eazy played very passively, especially out of position. The last half of the match he was barely even c-betting the flop in position. Might have been disheartened after having lost so much already.

When Will Negreanu Take On Isildur1?

He hasn't said for sure but it's only a matter of time. My guess is it will be some time before the end of the year. If his momentum keeps up my guess is he might take on the challenge in the next couple of months.

Negreanu has been doing well 4 tabling NLHE HU so far but Blom is a different kind of heads up player that's very aggressive and has the balls to play 8 tables against Phil Ivey, Patrick Antonius and Tom 'Durrrr' Dwan all at the same time.

Playing against Nanonoko a few more times as well as other players that are willing to 3, 4 and 5 bet wider pre-flop and play more aggressively on the river, willing to check-raise shove anywhere from thin to the nuts and even total air, might be good practice.

Maybe players like Phil Galfond or Daniel Cates will be willing to drop down in stakes to help Negreanu get ready?

At this point I can't imagine him not taking part in the Superstar Showdown, it's just a matter of time. When it does happen it's going to be worth watching.

Do you think Negreanu will have the stones to take on Isildur1 and if he does will he have a chance or just get eaten alive by the Swede?

2 Response to "Daniel Negreanu Gearing Up For The Superstar Showdown vs Isildur1"

Anonymous Says....

yes Daniel is definitely gearing up for the Isidur1 challenge. Since Victor bloom has recently became a Pokerstars pro, Daniel has been on the site 4 tableing a lot. In order for Daniel to remain a top pro he has to be able to win both on line as well as live. That being said, Victor Bloom should also have a lot to prove at a live game. I would wish for a matchup of them both in a live game as well as online. I think Daniel would own him live.

JoeAdams Says....

Actually the result is now all over the internet. Over the weekend, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, the Swedish online high stakes poker ace drew first blood and $150,000 in the first two heads up challenges against Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu in just 1,439 hands

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