Daniel Negreanu – Poker Articles
The Woman Who Made MePoker article written by Daniel Negreanu and published in Card Player Magazine
This column is long overdue. If you have been reading my column for a while, you might remember a three-part series I wrote, "The Woman Who Broke Me" (Vol. 15, issues No. 19-21, Sept. 13, 2002-Oct. 11, 2002). If you haven't read it, you can find it at either www.cardplayer.com or www.fullcontactpoker.com.
In that three-part series, I discussed how an unhappy relationship not only caused me to feel extremely frustrated, but also did severe damage to my poker game and my bankroll.
I did learn a valuable lesson from the whole ordeal, for which I'm thankful. It was a lesson that I think just might be the single most important poker lesson I've ever learned. It has nothing to do with playing tight from early position or folding A-Q to a raise. It's much deeper than that.
It's about happiness more than anything. It's no coincidence that when things in your personal life are going smoothly, your health is good, and your priorities are in order, you just "happen" to do well at poker, too.
Well, I am sitting here in my hotel room in San Diego, getting ready to board the PartyPoker Million cruise ship that leaves in the morning. One year ago on this same cruise, I received my biggest windfall ever. No, I didn't win a million dollars in the tournament, I did much better than that: I met the woman of my dreams.
About a month before that cruise, I was sitting at the bar talking with my good friend Jennifer Harman. She asked me to describe my ideal woman. Little did I know that I was describing Lori to a T! It is uncanny; every trait I value, she possesses. She's caring, supportive, sweet, independent, fun, easygoing, beautiful … I mean, she is the total package.
I can remember that cruise as if it were yesterday. I remember going to the Crow's Nest (the nightclub on the ship) and seeing her by the bar surrounded by a lineup of desperate men. All of them were feeding her their best lines:
"What's your sign?"
"Don't your feet hurt? Because you've been running through my mind all day."
"Come here often?"
"Is your dad a thief? Is he the one who stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes?" Oh, brother.
It was as though guys were taking numbers at the market. It was rather pathetic, if you ask me. As much as I was interested in her, I wasn't about to throw out some cheesy lines and fight off the crowd of guys. That's just not my style.
We became friends on the ship, and then got to know each other on the phone and through e-mails. She then told me she was planning to come to Vegas during the World Series of Poker. On the day she arrived, I won my second gold bracelet in the S.H.O.E. event. Coincidence? I think not!
Lori has a very calming effect on me. Normally, getting knocked out of a big tournament is a traumatic experience for a poker player. In fact, it has often been said that the worst day of the year for a poker player is the day he is eliminated from the "big one."
When I get knocked out, I usually go home as fast as I can, turn my phone off, hide under the covers, and shut out the rest of the world. But at the 2003 WSOP it was different. I got down to the last 140 or so, from a starting field of 839, and was knocked out. I planned on getting in my car and proceeding with my usual WSOP routine when I get knocked out.
Then, it hit me — a calm like no other. "This isn't so bad," I thought. "At least now I'll have a chance to spend some time with Lori." So, I gave her a call and we lounged around all day talking and watching movies. It was the weirdest thing: I had just gotten knocked out of the biggest tournament of the year — and I was happy!
I know what you're thinking: That's how things are in the beginning, but as time goes on, the feeling fades. Nope. In the World Poker Tour's second season, I was the chip leader in the Paris event with just seven players left. Instead of going on to make my first WPT final table and win the event, I finished seventh. Considering the circumstances, that's a pretty devastating result, normally; but again, it didn't seem to faze me. "Things could be worse," I thought. "At least now I can enjoy Paris with the most special woman in the world."
In fact, that night we had a great time. Lee Salem and Freddie Deeb took us out to a fantastic Arabic nightspot. We ate falafel, hummus, and an array of tasty appetizers, drank champagne with strawberries, and danced the night away.
Lori doesn't play any poker at all. In fact, I'm not so sure she even knows the ranking of hands. Having said that, she is the best poker coach I could ever dream of having. She gives me the perfect poker advice every time I go to play a tournament: "Don't do anything stupid!" I just love that. I mean, seriously, that simple phrase is like an epiphany to me. It's like, "Yeah, that's the ticket. Don't do anything stupid. That might work!" It's just what I need to hear.
Since meeting Lori on that cruise last year, I've had the best year of my life in so many ways. I've had decent success in tournaments, but more importantly, my results in cash games have been outstanding. I genuinely believe I owe a great deal of that success to her supportive and understanding nature. I don't think I'm even the same person I was a year ago. I'm 10 times the player I was last year, and overall I'm just more positive and driven than I've ever been. You may recall a line from the film As Good as It Gets, starring Jack Nicholson, who says, "You make me want to be a better man." Now, I know that's not a Negreanu original line, as it has already been used, but it perfectly sums up my feelings for my girlfriend.
Being in a relationship and dealing with the inevitable and sometimes brutal swings of poker isn't always easy. Lori and I seem to have made it work, though. She doesn't give me any flak about my job, and I do my best to leave my work at work. If I had a tough day at the tables, there is just no good reason to ruin her day, as well. I mean, seriously, do you think your significant other really wants to hear this when you get home: "I'm so unlucky. Why can't I ever catch a break? Every time I get two kings, some idiot stays in with an A-3 and catches an ace on the river. Nothing good ever happens to me; I'm just so unlucky." Oh, brother. I'm sure that's exactly what your wife wants to hear from you — that nothing good ever happens to you. That makes her feel real special, I'm sure!
Well, Lori, if you are reading this, I want you to know that you are undoubtedly the best thing that has ever happened to me — and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being who you are.
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With over one hundred poker articles spanning the last five years and a new poker article written every two weeks and published in Card Player magazine, Daniel Negreanu brings the world of poker to the tables of countless poker enthusiasts and poker players alike.
As a regular Card Player columnist, Daniel's poker articles have helped many readers learn the game of poker from the early days of an upcoming professional poker player to the realization of a true poker champion last year as Daniel became the 2004 Card Player Player of the Year, as well as, one of the most successful tournament players in history with 36+ worldwide wins and bragging rights as the WPT All-Time Top Money Winner.
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