Team PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu has always been known for being outspoken with his opinions and having no fear about standing up for what he believes is right. Negreanu, who was recently eliminated from play late in Level 2, continued his forthright behavior today by essentially quitting the €10,000 High Roller after a ruling was given to him that he deemed to be staunchly incorrect.
It all began when Negreanu was in the small blind. Negreanu, who had recently been talking with Philipp Gruissem at an adjacent table, had returned to his table, posted his small blind, and stood behind his chair while continuing to talk across the tournament floor. The dealer began to deal the cards and immediately mucked Negreanu's hand. When Negreanu turned his head back to the table and saw this had happened, fireworks began to fly.
"I was right there!" shouted Negreanu. "I was standing right there!"
Negreanu immediately called the floor staff over and passionately explained the situation.
"I was standing right behind my chair talking to Philipp. I was one step behind my chair. I had already posted my small blind!"
As Negreanu's tone grew more and more fervid, players around the room began popping the headphones out of their ears and standing up to see what all of the fuss was about. Eventually, the tournament director ruled that the dealer made the correct call in accordance with the rules set forth by the European Poker Tour (and also adopted by the Tournament Directors Association) and Negreanu's hand would be announced dead.
An absolutely livid Negreanu grabbed his cards and threw them face up in the middle of the table showing while continuing.
"This rule is so bad." he continued. "F*** it. I'm all in blind. Come on, next hand. Let's go. I'm all in blind."
Negreanu picked up his remaining chips in one hand and slammed them down onto the felt in front of him. By now, players had begun circling the table as they watched Negreanu prepare to fall on his sword to demonstrate how poor of a rule this was.
"These f***ing rules are so stupid they make me want to shoot myself in the face!" exclaimed Negreanu.
"That seems to be what you've just done," ribbed Scott Seiver with a grin from the next table over.
The tournament staff attempted to calm Negreanu's emotions.
"Sir," the tournament director began. "The rule states --"
"I've read the rule!" Negreanu cut him off. "I know exactly what it says! Alright, here we go. I'm all in blind. Let's do this." By now the next hand had begun and after action folded around to him, Negreanu placed his stack of what was at least 25,000 into the middle from his button. Timothy Adams, who was seated in the small blind, quietly tossed out calling chips and the big blind folded. Adams rolled over .
Negreanu squeezed out his cards and tabled the . The board ran out and Negreanu was eliminated from play, still sternly and passionately cursing his hatred for the ruling as he left the tournament area. He took to Twitter immediately afterward.
The first card off the deck rule is so poorly enforced it makes me not even want to play! So absurdly anti player and customer service!Follow @RealKidPoker
I put my small blind in and was standing next to my chair. Dealer kills my hand immediately. So I just literally quit the tourney lolFollow @RealKidPoker
I was 100% aware of the rule and did NOT break the rule. It was ruled 100% incorrectly by the TD because the rule is absurdly stupid.Follow @RealKidPoker
This has not been the first time that Negreanu has been outspoken about this rule in particular. This past summer, the TDA held a summit in Las Vegas, Nevada where they added several new rules to their charter. Among them, was the exact rule that this situation pertains to. The rule reads as follows:
"A player must be at his seat when the first card is dealt on the initial deal or he will have a dead hand. A player not then at his seat is dealt in, he may not look at his cards, and the hand is immediately killed after the initial deal. His blinds and antes are posted and if dealt the bring-in card in a stud-type game he will post the bring-in*. A player must be at his seat to call time. “At your seat” means within reach of your chair. This rule is not intended to condone players being out of their seats while involved in a hand. [*Note: In stud, house rules may require additional card(s) be dealt to the killed hand in certain situations.]"
This rule has been met with a fair amount of disdain and contempt from some of the top professionals in the game with Negreanu being the most straightforward with his comments. Negreanu's fellow Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier shared some of his thoughts about the rule in a recent blog on his website. This rule has caused such a stir in the tournament poker world that PokerNews' own Rich Ryan recently caught up with a few professional players to find out exactly what they had to say about it.
Regardless of any current comments, the rule still stands and all players are forced to abide by these rules. That being said, Negreanu has been eliminated from play and Christmas came early for table mate Adams. Despite Negreanu losing his stack and the chance at an EPT title, his dramatic action will certainly be the catalyst to spark even more conversation on the matter and may help toward bringing about the change that he desires.