We've scoured Daniel's 2023 recap for the most useful parts, but if you want the short and sweet version, we've got that too.
-- (Daniel Negreanu) Alright, hello everyone!
Every year I do this on Twitter (or whatever you call it) – I post my results, each and every year, win or lose. Throughout the years, I've been incredibly fortunate to only have one losing year (where I lost about $1 million) and another one where I broke even. Every other year has been a winning year, which is difficult to do when you play tournament poker because of the nature of the game and the sample size. You're talking about hundreds of tournaments. In over 100 tournaments, you can go through really bad streaks and really good ones. So, throughout my career, I've been very fortunate, and we're going to go over the results as always. I'll just lead with it because why not? Here you go:
The Big Number, ladies and gentlemen, voila! This was my 2023. Wow, whopping big ol' number. As you can see, we've hit the $2 million mark! So, on record from when I've been keeping track, this is going to be my worst year that I've had. What I do at the end of a year like that is break down what exactly happened, and I know a lot of you armchair quarterbacks are going to tell me a whole bunch of reasons why and you're wrong (most of you). Some of you may have it, but like, I don't really need your unsolicited advice, and I'm sure there's going to be plenty in the comments – I promise not to read any of them, okay?
Listen, I've been doing this for 30 years, so the person with the most insight about my results is going to be me. I have the bird's eye view. A lot of you get to see the vlogs and you see kind of, a lot of the big spots, you know, and those all-in moments.. just hasn't gone my way. A pretty crazy number in terms of my win percentage and all-in pots and stuff like that, so let's take a deeper look at the numbers if you will.
So, every year you're usually going to have (if you play the high rollers) a couple hundred thousand dollar score, or two, three hundred at least. I didn't have one. I didn't have any scores that were like over $100k, and I think I only had like two scores over $100k and one of them was in a $50k buy-in. So, I really just missed out on late, deep in a lot of tournaments.
Because, if you look at the number of cashes and you know, percentage-wise, I played 145 events this year, which as you can see, is way up.
That's the most events I've played in a single year, like ever, pretty much, or since I was much younger. We'll get into that a little bit later, but when you look at the cash percentage (just for the record I do this wrong), I don't do it per bullet, so the number is going to be inflated, you know where it says something like 25% is in cashes, that number is inflated because I just count the entire tournament. So if I spent two bullets in a tournament and I cashed, I consider it one for one rather than per bullet, so the actual cash percentage is going to be lower than what you see here because there are rebuys throughout, okay?
Got into a little bit of nitty-gritty there, but let's start off the top with sort of my notes on my own year and what went right and what went wrong. This is kind of how I coach myself, it's how I coach other people, whatever it is, whether it's a tournament or a year or whatever you're doing – at the end of it, simple coaching triangle: what worked, what didn't work, right? Forget about the result. You look at the result that occurred, and then you sort of like work backward and say okay, what are some of the things that I did that worked really well and what are some of the things that maybe I can change and improve upon?
#1 Winners Tilt
I had a year-saving win in the 2022 Super High Roller Bowl, which banked me $3.3 million in December of 2022, and I was high on the victory because I came in there with some significant exploits. I was using "Limpin is pimpin", I was doing a lot of things size-wise to mess with my opponents, and it worked flawlessly. I went almost wire to wire in that one after hitting that crazy hand against Bryn Kenney, where he had aces full, and I hit runner-runner quads, which was nice. It's funny because I didn't even have the nuts; the straight flush was possible there. After that, that propelled me, and I came into the year a little bit too high on my britches, winner's tilt. Just feeling too good probably about where I sit.
What that led to, was me sort of coming in and being nonchalant, not caring as much, because I went from $300K buy-ins winning $3.3 million to playing in some $10K buy-in tournaments. Ultimately, you know, I found myself not really caring as much about each bullet. I was re-buying too much, being sloppy, like I remember a PLO tournament at the Wynn early on where I was just like, raising dark and doing stupid stuff. Like, not caring as much because just again that's part of what's called "winner's tilt". People think about tilt. They always think about, "When you're losing, you tilt," but sometimes when you've won too much, you get sloppy and you start to play poorly as a result. That was happening with a lot of the bullets. I was gambling too much and being goofy, not caring enough, because again, the money isn't life-changing for me in a $10K, but I care about winning and putting up good results year in and year out. When you start off the year being loosey-goosey, playing sloppy, you can dig yourself a big hole.
#2 Playing Too Often
Number two, now this is a big one.
This is going to affect what we talk about, going forward to 2024. Number two is: I played too many tournaments. Again, if you look, that was 145 events compared to 107 the year before, and then less and less even before that, all the way down to like 60 events in 2018, I believe. So just by sheer numbers, I was playing far too often.
Part of the reason for that was I sort of made the mistake of making a couple of side bets, and they weren't even that big or that important, but I made a couple of side bets on PokerGO tour points. Basically, the only betters I got were Alex Foxen and Carrie Katz. And Carrie actually, midway through the year, he was burnt out and he canceled his bet. So really all I lost was a small peanut to Alex Foxen on that, but what it did was, it had me playing in the studio a ton. Normally my schedule is World Series of Poker-heavy. June, July, I'm playing pretty much every day. But outside of that, not so much. This year, my god, there was just a lot of poker being played after the World Series. You know, I usually take my six weeks to get back into shape, but we had, I think it was Poker Masters, US Poker Open, Super High Roller Bowl, the PLO series, The mix game series, The PLO super high roller, boom, boom, boom, right after me playing online on GGPoker, streaming it.
So was putting in essentially another World Series of Poker-like effort. You know, um, not too far after, about four weeks after, and that doesn't bode well for me.
The reason is this: generally speaking, when I play too many tournaments, it leads to, well, listen, I'm older, so it leads to some fatigue for sure, which leads to some weaker plays, just not as focused and things like that. But it also leads to some sloppiness where you just don't care enough about each bullet, you know, as much as you should. So I do my best when I really want to play, not when I feel like, "Oh my god, I gotta go play," or I just, you know. And when you're in one of these series and you're playing, you know, Player of the Year stuff, (which we're going to get into later, which is going to be a big shocker to you), you're sort of forced into play. You don't just, like, not play even if you don't feel it. You're having an off day. You still go in there. When I'm doing that, I simply am not as successful, period. And I don't know that anybody is, but for me, I think it's pretty significant.
So that's number two, playing too many tournaments.
#3 Bad Luck
Now, number three, and you're going to say, "Oh, you, Daniel, you're just whining, you know," but facts are facts, okay? Bad luck, in the wrong spots, okay? If you look at the number of cashes, I think I had 39 cashes, okay? And again, the biggest ones were, like, $120,000. Now, part of it was some good runs and especially at the World Series in the summer, in the $1,500 buying, you know, 3,000-and-under buy-ins. I made some crazy deep runs through thousands of players. I was consistently coming, like, 40th, 50th. I played in the Giant, which had 23,000 players, and I finished in the top 100 in that one too.
So, a lot of really deep runs – and good runs – in those events that are exceptionally hard to win just by sheer numbers. So, you know, you don't get to choose when you're lucky and when you're not. But like I said, deep runs in those, not all the way to the finish line, but cutting through, like, a very big percentage of the fields. Now, in the high rollers, the ones that matter, the $25K and above, the $50Ks, the $250K, the $100Ks – I did not run well in those at all. Lost a lot of all-in key situations, you know, where there were flips.
#4 Smaller Edges
The next reason is the smaller edges. When you play high rollers now, because players are so much better, your edge is much smaller, which means luck is going to play a much bigger role. Okay, so imagine you have a really, really big edge against an opponent. Well, doesn't really matter what the cards are all that much, right? Because you're just going to beat them, you know, in the trenches, if you will. But when you're playing these high rollers, especially since some of them are turbo structures, they're really fast, and you need to win these all-ins.
Sometimes people look like a hero, and they're like, "Wow, he must be the best in the world right now."
I can tell you that player is probably playing well as a result of running well. But to correlate that result, it's so highly unlikely that the number one predictor of why, is luck, okay?
When you look at the bigger scope of things (if you're an online poker player you can probably relate to this more than anybody), look at sample sizes. Online players play so many more events than, you know, the average, and they'll see crazy swings where they're down a significant number of buy-ins over stretches of time.
I go through my checklist every year. Number one, you know, am I getting it in bad often? Well, we know that's not the case. Almost every time I'm all in, if you see, I'm usually ahead, almost always, you know, either coin flip occasionally or, like, two-to-one favorite or better. Very rarely am I getting it in worse than that. So that's number one. Number two; am I paying off too much on rivers, you know, where I'm just getting sloppy and paying it off and losing my stack? That's not been happening either.
Daniel Negreanu's Vision for 2024
So 2024, what is going to change for Daniel? Well, first of all, I'm going to run better.
I haven't laid out my entire schedule yet, but we're looking at the World Series in full, as always. Looking at World Series Paradise. Hopefully, that happens again. That was a blast in the Bahamas. The GG series online, after the World Series, and then possibly maybe like, I'm looking at a Triton series. I haven't played one yet. Really looking forward to playing Triton. So here are some of the ideas after the year that I've sort of come up with for myself in terms of what I'm going to do. Number one, and this one, play only when ready, I did this once in the Bahamas where I didn't re-buy in an event, and I just said, you know what, I don't feel like playing it. I'm just going to go to bed, and then I didn't, came back the next day, played a big one, played very, very well. I believe it was a 25K GG Millions. I got really deep. I cashed in that one.
2024, you know, whatever, we just win every all in.
So number one, and really, Amanda mentioned it to me. She's like, "You never say I don't feel like playing and do well, right?" Like, you got a point. There are many times when I just go, "Yeah, I'll just play. I don't feel like playing, but I'm going to play." Doesn't usually work out, right? Yeah, sure, some of that's luck, but also some of it's just me not grinding out spots that need to be grinded out, where, you know, you're like, "Ah, all right, I'll either get a stack or go home." That's not a good mentality to play tournament poker. You've got to approach each and every decision as though it's your most important one, if you will.
Right now, I realize we're human; we're not robots. So you're going to have moments where your focus is intensified and higher, stuff, and maybe you take some moments where, you know, you need a little break from it, and that's okay, right?
Alright, number two: don't just shrug, gamble, and rebuy, okay? Like I said, winner's tilt started off the year for me where I was playing the PLO and I'm just going all in dark and rebuying and being silly, right? It's a negative EV play. You know, a lot of these people, they don't understand how rebuys work. Everyone thinks that it's unfair; it's unfair somehow that a guy's going to play like an idiot and just go all in blind and it's and just be negative EV on that bullet. It's unfair to the field.
That's not true. That guy loses money doing it, I promise – and when I do it, that's not a plus EV play. Yes, it does give me a better chance to build a stack, but I'm paying double, triple, and sometimes four times what you're paying to play in the same tournament. And again, there's no guarantee that just because I maybe win one that, you know, you're going to win. So overall, you know, that isn't a winning strategy.
So I'm going to focus more on not being silly in any tournaments where, you know, I'm just like go all in rebuying. And I'll tell you this one thing that I can promise you is anytime I sell pieces, you know, World Series or whatever, I never do this stuff. Like it's only with my own money when I'm like, "Eh, who cares," right? When there's packages on the line or anything like that, I really try my best. But again, even in that regard, we're going to do even better this year with a few things.
Number three, and this one's simple: stay humble and work hard, okay? So I'm just going to realize that, listen, my opponents are good. I need to bring my game. I also need to work on different spots. You never want to be the guy, and I did this. I remember when I was, like, 23, 24, and I was playing the World Series, and I was in the trenches. I'm grinding and I'm watching, you know. I won't name them, but there are these older guys that are pros, world champs, and they're babbling about how bad these young guys are and how aggressive they are, and I'm thinking, "You guys suck, okay? You just don't see it; you don't know yet how much better I am already than you." And I never wanted to allow myself to be that guy, and I won't.
So humility comes from respect for what the younger generation is doing and not poo-pooing and going, "Ah, solver says this, solver says that." Listen, I'm always going to exploit people; that's always going to be a part of, uh, you know, the fabric of what makes me good at what I do. But that doesn't mean that I throw theory out the window, right? You have to continue to stay up to date and put in the work, you know, along with staying humble.
Okay, this is the big one. So, the World Series of Poker Player of the Year is incredibly important to me. Right. I've won it twice, I sort of won it three times, and then four days later found out that no – Robert Campbell won. So it was the first of three; they took one away. Such is life. Dang.
So this year, and I'll tell you why – I am not going to focus on WSOP Player of the Year. Not going to do it.
"What? That's a big thing for you. Blah, blah, blah."
Here's the thing. Okay. The system is broken, and it has been broken for a very long time, and you see that. You've seen that in the vlogs in 2019 where we're running around dropping stacks, rebuying, being sloppy all in, all this stuff – just to chase a title that is for no money. You know, so all these players like The Deebs of the world and everybody were burning money (equity) to win this picture on your wall type thing, right? Also, the biggest thing is that you're also forced to play the online events while you're playing live, and sometimes, there's two of them.
I remember specifically being in the $10K Short Deck, which I really wanted to be in and I enjoyed the game. But one of the keys about that game is you really got to focus and pay attention to how people are checking, who's interested, who's not. There's a lot of little stealing that should be going on. Well, I'm missing everything because I got two online tournaments that I'm trying to play just, you know, I can't do it.
Final Thoughts About 2023's Performance and 2024
So it's all about quantity over quality, and that's going to be a flip in 2024. We are going to focus on quality over quantity. The number of events I'm going to be playing is going to go down, right? Um, that means the chances of me winning World Series Poker Player of the Year also go down, but you know, if I'm more focused on the events that I do play, it's likely going to be the higher buy-in stuff.
So you won't see me most likely playing the $300 Gladiator in 2024.
So we're still up the last couple years we haven't made any money the last two years, you know, um, I had a rough 2002 until the U, the big super high roller Bowl win. So How I can be Better it's like it's been about two years of these weird situations so I look at it, I say okay well big part of it is luck but also there's things I can do better I can increase my focus on what matters and that's going to be the bottom line in 2024.
I do feel there were moments in 2023 where I played some of my absolute best poker. So, my A-Game was elevated to a degree it's never been but the complacency (because of number of events) was also weaker than my baseline. So if you give yourself a grade of A to F in terms of what you play like, I played a lot more A, like really high-end stuff. Some A+ stuff but there was too much D- in there, so we're going to try to eliminate the D-, focus more on A and A+ efforts in 2024.
I'm not just going to share my winning years. I'm going to share my losing years, so when I see this number it just motivates me it lights a fire under my butt. 2024 look out because D-Negz is coming for you!