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Daniel Negreanu Talks Mr. D, Survivor and Upcoming PokerStars-vs-FTP Challenge

Daniel Negreanu on the set of Mr. D.

On Wednesday, March 20, Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu will appear on the hit Canadian sitcom Mr. D. The show stars a former physical education teacher and hockey coach, played by Gerry Dee, who placed third in Season 5 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Negreanu recently spoke with PokerNews about filming for the show, his desire to play Survivor, and much more.

Before we get to all of that, here’s a summary of the episode from the the Canadian Broadcast Company, which airs Mr. D:

In an upcoming episode of Mr. D entitled "Poker Night" airing on March 20 at 8 p.m., Canadian professional poker player Daniel Negreanu is guest starring as himself. When Gerry comes across a down and out Daniel Negreanu, he orchestrates a staff poker night in order to get Daniel back on his feet. The plan ends up going awry when Lisa, with Bill’s help, wins the poker night.

Affectionately known as Canada's favorite TV teacher on the weekly sitcom, Dee reached a sponsorship agreement with PokerStars last year that saw the comedian serve as a brand ambassador, which included a trip to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. It was there that PokerNews caught up with Dee for an interview, which you can read by clicking here.

From now until March 30, PokerStars is running the “Meet Gerry” promotion for Canadian players. The promotion allows players to compete for three prize packages, which include flights to Toronto, hotel accommodation and $500 spending money, along with tickets to see Dee’s stand-up show and a private meet-and-greet with the comedian.

Here’s what Negreanu had to say about appearing on Mr. D, as well as other things.

PokerNews: When did you film this episode of Mr. D?

Daniel Negreanu: Wow, I’m trying to remember. I think it was in the fall. Yeah, it was in Nova Scotia. We filmed it in the fall of 2012.

What was your relationship with either Gerry Dee or his show before you had the chance to film an episode?

I met Gerry Dee actually a year ago at a hockey game — a Leafs’ game. We were hanging out with some of the guys, and I met him there. He seemed like a cool guy, and he mentioned that it’d be great if I could do a cameo on one of his shows sometime. Then he reached out throughout the year and came up with a script. I looked at it and thought it was pretty funny, so I said, “Sure, let’s do it.”

Is it a cameo or are you prominently featured in the episode?

I’ve done cameos before, and this is by far my most extensive roll. I actually get to do some acting. The whole episode revolves around me, a 30-minute episode. It revolves around me in a different light, me sort of like a struggling degen. I’m playing myself, but a much more self-deprecated version of myself.

Did the people you work with know poker? What was it like being on set?

Yeah, definitely a lot of people knew poker. I didn’t really enjoy being around a set, you know I’ve had the opportunity to be around a set both through poker shows and cameos that I’ve done, but it was really great to be a part of it in a bigger way that was meaningful. The way that they shoot is kind of like Curb Your Enthusiasm where there’s a script but they kind of ad lib a decent amount. Gerry is really funny. As you know a finalist on Last Comic Standing, and the ad-libbing parts are the ones that ended up being the funniest.

Gerry Dee interviewing Boris Becker at the 2013 PCA.
Gerry Dee interviewing Boris Becker at the 2013 PCA.

Speaking of television, you’ve been on Millionaire Matchmaker recently. Do you have anything else in the pipeline as far as TV is concerned?

Nothing that I know of right now, but I’m very interested in doing more. I’ve always had a passion for acting and doing that sort of thing. Through poker, I’ve had more opportunities to do that.

There have been a lot of rumors about you doing Survivor. Is this something that you would like to do?

Yes. I’m highly considering doing that. First thing I need to do — and I’ve already checked into it — is I actually have to get my U.S. citizenship. I’m a green-card holder right now, so my next step is to actually get a citizenship. I do have a really good coach in mind, a friend of mine named “Boston” Rob [Mariano]. I feel like I have all the right tools to succeed. I have a plan I just don’t see how I could lose unless something really bad happens. If I make it to the final three, I’m a shoe-in.

Care to share that plan?

I’m going to have to keep that a secret. Here’s the thing, I will tell you this. I think that there would be people who obviously recognize me, so they’re going to know I have money. That’s going to play into how I proceed.

"Boston" Rob Mariano on Survivor. Could Negreanu be next?
"Boston" Rob Mariano on Survivor. Could Negreanu be next?

This Sunday you have Team PokerStars versus Full Tilt Poker’s The Professionals at the EPT London. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?

One of my New Year's resolutions was to create some positive headlines for poker in light of what happened on Black Friday. Coming off the success of St. Judes* and what we were able to do for seven days, I saw Gus [Hansen] had needled me online a little bit and I needled him back. We started this little thing up for fun, and I just thought that in the past this is something I would have really liked to do, sort of have a TV show or something related to Stars vs. Tilt, but that was never really possible because they were adversaries, but with the change of that landscape now we can do some fun stuff like that. I thought it’d be really cool, and I thought fans would really enjoy watching a match like this go down. We kind of just threw this together and it looks like there’s going to be some good interaction.

*Negreanu helped raise $277,000 for the charity in just seven days.

You had a whole stable of pros to choose from. Why did you go with Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Isaac Haxton?

Well, you know I did go to Twitter and stuff, asked a lot of people for their feedback to see what they would say, but ultimately I went to the five key members. I went to Vanessa Selbst, Eugene Katchalov, Jason Mercier, and of course ElkY and Isaac Haxton, and kind of asked them if you weren’t going to pick yourself, who would you pick? Unanimously, Isaac Haxton was the one choice that they all agreed on, and secondarily it was close between a few others, but ElkY was ultimately the one they thought was the second-best choice. I really like Gus’ matchups.

What are your plans between now and the World Series of Poker?

I have taken a break since the Bahamas. I haven’t played a tournament, but now I am ready to go. I am playing Bay 101, then I’ll be flying to London to play EPT London, and then I’m going to do the Premiere League, WSOP APAC, EPT Berlin and then EPT Monte Carlo. The list goes on and on. I’m going to be on the road quite awhile in the next few months.

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