KidPoker

KidPokeri is a documentary that follows the life and times of Romanian-Canadian poker all-star Daniel Negreanu. One of my favourites back when I played my way through overtop of undergrad, and all the more appreciated now for the background detailed in this feature, Daniel is as iconoclastic and brazenly outspoken as they come. Fearlessly opinionated, uncannily astute, and a born entertainer, he’s been making the televised game worth watching for over a decade. Always flirting with the fine line between politic and impolitic speech, he’s also not afraid to call a fraud a fraud, even when he’s the only voice in the room.ii Accepting his induction to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014, Negreanu quoted Aristotle :

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

So to the little kids reading this, when an adult asks you what you want to be when you grow up, look ‘em straight in the eye and say : “Me ? Criticised.”

At just 89 minutes in length, this is a tightly woven and interview rife account of a loving son of immigrant parents, one who made his way in Toronto’s underground poker scene a decade before anyone had heard of Chris Moneymaker or the ponzi scheme Full Tilt Poker.iii Thanks to his properly Romanian head for math, Daniel even reinvented himself in the face of the Internet onslaught.

While he’s not much of a kid anymore, he’s definitely still poker.

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  1. 2015, directed by Gary Davis and Francine Watson. []
  2. Remind you of anyone else ? Taleb perhaps ? Of course, MP calls out frauds too (and how), but no one has yet managed to isolate the latter to the same degree as the former was isolated in the early- and mid-2000s. []
  3. Howard Lederer, Ray Bitar, and Chris Ferguson were the Full Tilt Madoffs. Incidentally, over five years on from Black Friday, Lederer only issued an apology two months ago. []

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