In another tale of famous poker pros behaving badly while playing online poker and streaming their play to an audience on Twitch, Daniel Negreanu has been hit with a ban by the service following his vile outburst during a recent 2020 WSOP Online bracelet event.
Like Mike Matusow, whose threats against an opponent and solicitation of his audience for info about that player brought huge poker-world backlash, Negreanu also found himself making a bad situation worse while recording it all for posterity. Major pros such as Negreanu or Matusow, each of whom has been involved in numerous controversies in the past, have built up large numbers of both fans and detractors over their careers.
One of those detractors seemingly triggered Negreanu’s outburst by trolling DNegs in his Twitch stream’s chat by making nasty comments about Negreanu’s new wife, Amanda (widely known, pre-nuptials, as poker commentator Amanda Leatherman). When DNegs lost it, he lost it good, proclaiming this, as transcribed in several locations online:
“Hey, Tom Estrada, go fuck yourself, you piece of shit. Block that cock motherfucking piece of shit. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you in your ass. How about that? Okay, Tom Estrada, fuck you in your ass. Eat some of that, you piece of shit. Come fucking step to me and say that and I will knock you the fuck out. How about that?”
He then added, “I will break your fucking teeth if you come step to me and I will feed them to you anally.”
Okay. This is all a mouthful, pun sort of intended. First, as I tweeted soon after the incident, I understand Negreanu’s rage. A player’s family should be out of bounds, even if wife Amanda is a poker figure herself, with at least a little bit of controversy in her own past. However, Negreanu has to know that his own checkered past makes him an inviting target for trolls, and he has to control that rage when he’s on public point.
Exactly why Negreanu didn’t boot the offensive “Tom Estrada” from his Twitch stream’s chat area is also an unknown. Negreanu, knowing he was being tilted, could also have turned off the observer chat entirely, but he didn’t do that either. Instead, he lost it and subsequently earned the Twitch ban — it’ll probably be for a week or two — for something he could easily have averted.
It’s an interesting situation in which the public viewed a little bit of what I’d term the real dark side of Negreanu. DNegs is absolutely one of poker’s most personable players when he wants to play that role, especially when a crafted TV narrative frames him in that light. On the flip side, he’s prone to these outbursts, can be snide and mean, and he’s one of poker’s champion hypocrites. In his case I’m not sure the hypocrisy is intentional, as he seems to have an unusual sort of tunnel vision on certain topics that blocks most objectivity.
Yet all that is small potatoes, relatively speaking. The larger issue is that Negreanu has long since become one of the spokesmen for professional poker itself, and in that framework, this outburst is a very bad thing. He’s also a paid spokesman for GGPoker, which is sponsoring the European portion of the ongoing WSOP Online series. No company wants to see its well compensated representatives behaving like this online.
Unlike Matusow, who has other issues, Negreanu really should know better. When contrasted against Matusow’s outburst, it’s less serious in most ways, but still plenty serious enough. Matusow’s outburst was horrid not only for its violent nature but for its misogyny. Negreanu’s outburst was also vile and violent, but its larger impact was because of Negreanu’s own huge brand image and the damage to that image these outbursts do.
No one’s excusing the troll, of course. However, Negreanu has an ongoing responsibility to be better and do better.