Friday, September 06, 2013

Negreanu Protests Rule, Binks Off EPT Buy-in

Daniel Negreanu, a/k/a "Kid Poker," made a diva-like return to the headlines yesterday after protesting a strict interpretation of a new TDA (Tourmanent Directors Association) rule that is used at European Poker Tour events.  The "At Your Seat" rule requires players to be either seated or standing immediately behind their chairs when the hand is starting to be dealt; if not, the player's hand is declared dead.

Negreanu had that happen to him, in a hand in an EPT Barcelona high Roller tourney where he posted the small blind, then wandered a foot or five to continue an ongoing chat with Philipp Gruissem, who played at a neighboring table.  The cards were dealt, Negreanu's hand was declared dead.

Whether or not Negreanu was within the required "arm's reach" of his seat became a point of heated debate, with Negreanu demanding a ruling from the floor.  That roving TD sided with the dealer, Negreanu's hand remained dead, and then the real fireworks started.

As PokerNews and others reported, "This rule is so bad.  Fuck it. I'm all in blind. Come on, next hand. Let's go. I'm all in blind."

It was indeed folded around to Negreanu on the button, who as promised, jammed in his 22,000 or so in remaining chips, all that remained from a 50,000 starting stack.  Tim Adams called from the small blind, and after the big blind folded, flipped up 7-7.  Negreanu didn't improve and was out, but still ranting.

After another exchange with the TD, Negreanu then took to Twitter, and then to the Full Contact Poker forums, where he participates, all in an effort to plead his case and drum up support.  And yet it didn't quite work that way; despite lots of other derailing, the public forum where Negreanu could have expected the strongest support offered a large consensus that Negreanu was, indeed, being a diva.

There are all kinds of reasons to believe that the story didn't occur quite exactly the way Negreanu described it, and despite his fan popularity, Daniel has a long history of pushing the edges and creating unneeded controversies in these types of situations.  The rule in question is designed to keep players in their seats and keep the pace of play moving, and Negreanu and a few other noted aisle wanderers, such as Jason Mercier, were very vocal in their opposition to the rule when recently adopted by the TDA.

There's also the whole thing about appearances.  This took place in a 10,000-Euro High Rollers event at EPT Barcelona, a venue and event where perhaps only 1 in 10,000 players could dream of participating.  And Negreanu, as a spokesperson for EPT sponsor and founder PokerStars, gets millions in Stars money, a little bit of which was certainly used for his buy-in... or rather buy-ins, since this was indeed a re-buy event and he bought back in in today's Day 2.

It's all so shallow and diva-like; it's all about Daniel making a show.

Is the rule a good rule?  In the context of Negreanu's display, that question hardly even gets considered.  The rule requires the hand to be declared dead upon the first card being dealt to the small blind, which is probably the harshest way that the rule could have been developed and implemented.  Nonetheless, the rule is the rule, and when Negreanu writes crap like the following, as he did at FCP, it's hard to feel sorry for him:

"Here you have a situation where a player and a dealer are arguing over semantics. Arguing over what essentially amounts to 12 inches. Again, as I mentioned previously, even if she was right in where she claimed I was standing, the ruling was still very much incorrect, but for the sake of argument, lets say it mattered. In situations like these, its in the best interest of everyone involved to give the player the benefit of the doubt. That's just good policy and good business. Even in baseball, a game of inches, the tie goes to the runner!"

Except the dealer isn't the "opponent," and the concept of Negreanu achieving a "tie" isn't even part of the equation.  The dealer is more akin to the umpire than an opposing player; that's very typically Negreanuesque in his willingness to twist a situation for personal advantage.

Negreanu was allowed to re-buy today, after something of a muted acknowledgment that he was on tilt yesterday.  Kind of a shame; his sponsor should have unofficially benched him for an event or two, to make a point.  It'd still be nice to see Negreanu endure a solid stretch of run-bad, just to drive home the point.  Maybe karma should take a hand in helping him see that the lenses through which he views the world are just a wee bit distorted.

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