The Professor of Poker

The Professor of Poker

Known in the WSOP as Professor of Poker, Daniel Negreanu is a poker legend and a legend in his own right. Few people know the story of how Professor Negreanu got his nickname. It all started when he was only a boy, living in Canada. An athlete in high school, Negreanu decided to major in marketing. After graduating with a marketing degree from University of Toronto, Daniel set to work for a major toy manufacturer. Seven years later, when Daniel’s boss found out, he was working as a sales clerk in the marketing department of the toy manufacturer. Little wonder why a guy that young became a card counter.

By the age of 21, Negreanu had quit his job, bought a small Canadian house, bought a new car, and was living it up on the Florida beaches. He was on a mission. He would travel the world playing in some of the best hotels on the west coast of the U.S.A. He was attending college in the middle of the worst Atlantic storm chasing hurricane. By the end of October, he was back in Canada an old friendlier than ever. He had managed to save enough money to go back home.

After he was home, he decided to return to the card room and fulfill his dream. He was in his hotel room talking to a friend about the latest hockey playoffs. The friend mentioned that he was watching a hockey game on a blackjack machine. Without missing a beat, Daniel went over the statistics. After he was done eating, he walked out of the casino and returned to his room. There was no conversation. He put a suit on and went out into the Vegas casinos.

Nobody knew how or when he disappeared into the world of gambling. In the following days he would go to Atlantic City and play blackjack and craps. By the time he made it back home things had changed. His friends and family realized that he was different, and nothing like the drinks and food he used to be. His family moved out there, and the casino company laid off him without pay.

A few years went by and Daniel had no idea where to go to play. The Professor did not play the cards. Instead he spent his time playing the blackjack and roulette machines. It was around this time that Professor Negreanu came into being.An enthusiastic young man who had just graduated from MIT with a PhD in computer science, Negreanu was working for the MIT blackjack team. Unfortunately, he did not approach the game the same way the Professor had done. He made it his goal to win the biggest blackjack game ever played. Knowing that the Professor had only made a small addition to the team, Negreanu worked his way up to the twenty-one table.

During the course of his trip to Vegas, Negreanu would make small mental calculations of the odds. By acquiring the odds, he would know what cards to trade out and when to play. He remember the first time he made the dreaded trip to the casino. It was to a game where he knew he had to play against the house. He had prepared to lose a lot of money. But in his mind, there was something on the long-term gamble. He was not gambling for lunch money. The Professor described gambling as “a bit of fun” and “something you might do in Naga303.”

The Professor was not gambling for “lunch money.” He was gambling with his life. If he lost, he would have to wait to get paid again. He was not going to lead a double life and waste the last $100.000 that he had worked for during the week.

The Vegas trip had changed the young man. He was no longer a student with big dreams of Vegas. Now, he was a gambler who was willing to work for his dream cash.

The Professor had tickets to the Thursday night affair. Heality didn’t pass unnoticed. An attractive woman who looked to be no more than six years his old age approached him at the game table. She was extremely distractive. Eventually, the Professor had to remind her to quiet down or she would lose the edge.

The young woman realized she was out of there. She remembered that she had lost the edge. The next thing she remembers, she was climbing out of the car.

The problem for the Professor was that the young woman was distracted. He could not concentrate on the cards. And, because of her distracting efforts, he had managed to bluff his way to a loss.

The second time she tried to approach the game table, she had a lot more practice. She knew exactly what to say in terms of cards. It was all in preparation for when she actually got to the casino. There was no stopping her as she went to the empty table and he could not stop her.