Daniel Negreanu has always fascinated poker players. Now, those fans can learn more about their idol, at least if they’re in Canada.
Negreanu’s documentary on his life,aptly named “KidPoker” after the star’s long-time screen name, invaded televisions in Canada this week.
The film premiered on The Sports Network (TSN) across the country. What was initially planned as a short web clip transformed into a feature-length film after producers Gary Davis and Francine Watson discovered there was much more to Daniel Negreanu than just an very skilled poker player.
“We realized there was so much more of a story to tell,” Watson recently told PokerNews. “We spoke to a lot of his closest colleagues and friends and at that point was when we realized our 10-minute video for the Internet is actually going to be a feature-length documentary.”
The film chronicles Negreanu’s life from his early and humble beginnings to becoming the most feared player in Las Vegas and around the world. Along with presenting a true inside look into what makes him tick, “KidPoker” also displays the Canuck’s devotion to family and his close bond with his brother Mike.
Born and raised in Toronto, the Negreanu feature understandably debuted in Canada, but it could soon make its way south to the United States, as TSN is partially owned by ESPN. “I will keep you updated when it becomes available elsewhere,” Negreanu tweeted on Tuesday.
Throughout his storied career and the amassing of over $30 million in live winnings, along with six World Series of Poker bracelets, Negreanu at times became a polarizing figure. This was not only for his occasionally chatty play, but also for his off-felt actions.
Negreanu isn’t one to keep his opinions to himself, the game’s all-time money winner voicing his opposition to the Tournament Directors Association last spring, when the organization decided to host its yearly summer at the Venetian in Las Vegas, a property owned by anti-online gaming advocate Sheldon Adelson.
And he doesn’t just venture into gambling-specific topics.
KidPoker has additionally used his position to support controversial matters, most notably backing Israel’s defense from Palestine.
“I applaud people who take a stand,” Negreanu wrote during the Israel-Palestine conflict. “I find it a lot more honest and genuine and even though I may disagree with the conclusion, I can trust that this person is sharing with me what they truly think.”
Giving viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of poker’s most accomplished and celebrated players could be a smart marketing strategy for the overall health of the game. Should “KidPoker” make its way to ESPN and countries outside Canada, the documentary would be a valuable tool in reaching a new demographic.
Negreanu’s rags-to-riches story isn’t uncommon in sports.
Shaquille O’Neal grew up in the Boys and Girls Club, LeBron James didn’t have a permanent home for much of his childhood, soccer legend Ronaldo was raised in the poorest of neighborhoods in Brazil, and the list goes on and on.
“Both of my parents came to Canada with five dollars in their pocket, and really just worked their way up,” Negreanu reveals in “KidPoker.”
Even the most casual poker player knows the name Daniel Negreanu, but perhaps not his story. Revealing his journey will likely bring more followers to the star’s base of fans, and ideally sprout a fresh crop of players to the game.