Daniel Negreanu Reveals All about Cheating, Hellmuth and GOATs with Doug Polk

Daniel Negreanu Reveals All about Cheating, Hellmuth and GOATs with Doug Polk

11 May

They were once the bitterest of enemies, but you’d be hard pushed to guess that from Daniel Negreanu’s latest appearance on Doug Polk’s podcast, the pair discussing everything from the Poker Brat’s behaviour to highstakes cheating to who is the poker GOAT!

It is only 18 months since Polk and Negreanu battled it out in the infamous online “Grudge Match of the Century”. That battle saw Polk take Kid Poker for $1.2million across 25k hands, but in doing so he found a new respect for his opponent.

Their chat started off with a brief discussion of how DNegs improved following that tough match, with Daniel revealing one aspect related to punting, with running big bluffs an important part of the highstakes game.

“Playing against you changed my relationship with punting in general…20-30 years of tournament play teaches you…whatever you do, don’t make a big mistake!”

Then it was on to juicer topics, with Phil Hellmuth first up…

Hellmuth’s Horrible Behaviour

The self-styled Poker Brat hit the headlines recently for a train-wreck showing on the Hustler Casino Live show, which saw him berate fellow, mostly amateur, players. He was even accused of angleshooting and singling out one opponent in particular

Negreanu told Polk:

“It seemed like he was attacking Alexandra Botez, incessantly, the only woman at the table,” though he added, “nobody was all that intimidated…” by Hellmuth’s antics. “The only thing that surprised me was he didn’t have a jovial attitude in a spot where it seemed like what you should be doing.”

With Polk not believing that the “Poker Brat” is a persona Hellmuth puts on for show, Negreanu replied:

“You are 1000% correct and anyone who say it’s an act just hasn’t been around him!”

This year’s WSOP could be interesting if he acts like that in front of Negreanu, with Daniel explaining that he will pull him up:

“He called someone a “fucking moron” just for calling the river…I’m calling the floor for stuff like that…he has to do a better job of approaching that line, but not crossing it.”

Negreanu on Highstakes Cheating

The highstakes poker world has been swamped by accusations and allegations of cheating, ranging from live rubbernecking to online ghosting and RTA use, and much more besides.

With Ali Imsirovic, Jake Schindler, and Bryn Kenney chief among those accused in recent weeks, Negreanu admits that the cheating was as an “ugly secret” among the highstakes community.

The problem, he says, was that it was hard for anyone to provide proof as the online sites were limited as to what information they could give out for fear of legal reprisals.

“I’m hopeful, that this all sparks significant change…specifically for the online sites, to change the ToS so that they’re not held to these privacy laws, where, when someone cheats, we can’t reveal who…and what they did. I think it would be so much better if we could just, like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom – these guys all cheat – let’s get rid of them.”

Imsirovic the Chess Cheat?

Ali Imsirovic was the first player to be outed as an alleged cheat, with Negreanu commenting on the infamous rubbernecking hand that Alex Foxen shared on Twitter:

Ali opens the CO with Ah9c. Then quite visibly looks down at Paul Phua’s hole cards, Ad5. The actual footage makes it even more clear than this screen shot. Paul folds and Addamo defends the BB. Ali cbets and gets raised on 642ddd, sticks in a 3bet and wins the hand. pic.twitter.com/aIhQw4Hqv4

— Alex Foxen (@WAFoxen) April 18, 2022“I think it’s shooting an angle…but you’re shooting an angle against everyone … not just him [Paul Phua]”, said Negreanu and then went on to tell an incredible story of Imsirovic cheating at chess.

Apparently Imsirovic was playing his friend Chris Brewer for fun online, and Ali won all 15 games. When Brewer checked the games for accuracy, Ali was playing at Grandmaster level – which means he was either using a chess engine or had a very strong helper ghosting him, the former most likely.

“For no money…he cheated the guy…what type of person is capable of doing something like that?” asked an incredulous Negreanu.

Polk responded:

“Wow, that’s a low…that’s a pretty low, low!”

Poker Blacklist and the EPT ban Mystery

This story made the news last week, with the PokerStars EPT taking place in Monte Carlo. As Negreanu tells it: “Jake, Ali and Rok Gostisa were not allowed to play in Monte Carlo…they went to the cage to register then they were on the beach….they were showered, not allowed to play. Jeff Platt spoke to Ali and said ‘Would you like to speak on camera’…he said ‘no’. He said, ‘would you like to speak off camera?’ he said ‘no’.”

If true, this, says Negreanu, is how to deal with cheats. Operators one-by-one tell cheats they are persona non grata and hope that the bans add up to a significant change in those thinking about cheating.

Bryn Kenney and the No-No List

“When he said ‘frog poison’ I literally spit up what I was drinking!” says Negreanu of the incredible accusations that the number one all-time tournament moneywinner ran a cult-like operation that also involved various forms of cheating.

Kenney’s former horse, Martin Zamani, released multiple screenshots to go along with his accusations, and DNegs stated:

“What it seems like to me from the text logs…he was aware that ghosting was happening, potentially was encouraging it in some cases (“orchestrating it” says Polk).”

The Bad the Good and the Enticing

On the levels of cheating, Negreanu stated: “Number 1 is RTA and Collusion together, then number 2 is RTA, 3 would be Collusion….further down the list you’d have Chip Dumping, Ghosting and… Pre-flop Charts obviously insignificant for the most part.”

To round off a two-hour discussion, Negreanu’s Poker GOAT list was discussed, his order looking like this:

  1. Ivey
  2. Reese
  3. Brunson
  4. Oppenheim
  5. Negreanu
  6. Antonius

He admits it’s a purely-personal old-school list because he grew up at poker being told:

“Unless you can play all the games, in Bobby’s Room at the high stakes, you can’t be the best player.”

As for whether or not we’ll see Negreanu at Doug Polk’s Lodge Poker Club in Austin, Texas, the response was vague but enticing:

“After [the WSOP] maybe I’ll find you and play you heads-up live! See if I can get even in fucking 4 hours!”

You can watch the full discussion below, with time-stamps making it easy to navigate the wide range of topics discussed.

Did you like this article?