At 44 years old, Toronto-born Daniel Negreanu is considered one of the best poker players of his generation. Over the course of his illustrious career, he’s won six World Series of Poker bracelets and two World Poker Tour championships. He’s been named the WSOP Player of the Year twice, in 2004 and 2013; in 2014, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. A frequent (and daunting) presence at super high-roller events, he’s also, unsurprisingly, a millionaire many times over. So that’s cool, too.
Given his perch atop his respective field, it should come as no surprise Negreanu has turned to MasterClass to share his particular set of skills with the world, as Judd Apatow, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Curry and many more have done before him. His course launches today.
Though Negreanu has offered “study sessions” before, he tells me the MasterClass is something else entirely.
“Honestly, the production value is through the roof, as is the layout for the course,” Negreanu says.
This is manifest, particularly, in a section on physical tells: the program will give students opportunities to “spot the bluff” by simulating different reactions a player may have, from their arm placement, their posture, their eyes, even how they place their chips into the pot.
“There are two approaches to poker,” Negreanu explains. “One is a game theory optimal approach (GTO) and the other is exploitative. I've always been a master at the exploitative side of the game.”
"GTO" is how you’d play if you were facing “the perfect robot,” who made zero mistakes, because he is, you know, a perfect robot; in other words, you’d simply play the odds. With exploitative play, you look to take advantage of opponents' mistakes to optimize profits. The course, Negreanu says, will teach players a hybrid of both.
Naturally, the class isn’t for everyone. Negreanu isn’t doing this to teach you the basics. And becoming a next-level poker player takes more than a technical knowledge of the game. The critical distinction between good and great players, Negreanu says, is an incredible work ethic—a commitment to study and constant self-improvement, both at and away from the tables.
But if you’re looking to get serious about poker, or simply want to become the top dog at your weekly game, Negreanu has shared some pretty juicy secrets.
“I definitely crossed the line and revealed too much,” he jokes, adding, “I'm okay with that, because the teacher will always know how to adjust better than the student.”