High School Home Game Gets Surprise Visit From Poker Star Daniel Negreanu

Playing poker at home is an enjoyable pastime among friends. Of course, most of us play for low stakes, potentially don’t abide by all the rules and generally have fun. So, what happens when a top poker player walks in on your game in order to join up? Not going to happen you say? Well, that’s exactly what happened to a group of high schoolers from Las Vegas on 6th August 2023.

Unexpectedly, Daniel Negreanu, a six-time WSOP winner, arrived at this home game to join in the poker fun. Needless to say, while some of us might be a bit hesitant to allow the big boys to arrive in the game, these kids were absolutely delighted with the event.

Of course, it wasn’t actually a total surprise to the kids either. In fact, Negreanu had actually been invited to the game by one member of the group. He had braved it and invited Negreanu to join. More impressive is the fact that this wasn’t done online. No, the young kid went up to Negreanu in person while he was out walking his dogs.

Negreanu, Apollo, and Rocky (the two pooches), were approached by the group member who was dressed nattily in a suit, Negreanu recalls. According to the poker star, the teenager simply invited him over for a game that was taking place in an hour’s time. Part of the reason for this was that it was going to be the high schoolers’ last poker game together before they all headed off to college. And they wanted to do something that would be memorable for all of them. The student rounded off the invite by stating that he was aware it was a bit much to ask, but it would mean a lot if he simply popped in to say ‘hey’. The story was retold via Negreanu’s Twitter, announcing the event and situation to the world.

As part of the tweet, Negreanu, a Toronto-born star, who has a whopping 546K followers on Twitter (now X), asked everyone whether or not he should go to the event. Unsurprisingly, the response was a resounding yes with 89.6% of his followers answering in the affirmative.

Arrival and gifts

Once the decision had been made, Negreanu made his preparations to descend on the unsuspecting rest of the group. Impressively, he also didn’t turn up empty-handed, literally. As well as bringing himself, he also had a ton of merch from GG Poker as gifts for the group. And he didn’t just stop in to say ‘hey’. No, he even joined in the game and stuck around for some time. The only downside for Negreanu? He did have to accept some rather lower stakes than he was used to. Yes, the poker star joined in the $0.25/$0.50 cash game with a simple $50 buy-in.

The boys in the game were all actually from the most prestigious private school in Nevada — the Meadows. Not only were they dressed to the nines (each in a smart suit), but they also played poker while listening to classical music. Negreanu was impressed and is even seen in a video posted on social media to be exclaiming how cultured the young men were.

During the game, Negreanu learned a little more about his game mates. Each of them was about to embark on a new chapter — heading to college. For Negreanu, some of the subjects they were going to study were a revelation. Negreanu ended his educational career before graduating high school and became a pool hustler. With some of the students heading off to study subjects like Classics and Government, the poker star joked around that he’d never heard of these and didn’t know what they entailed.

But, back in the game, Negreanu wasn’t all lost at sea. In fact, as you might expect, he did turn into the big winner, even in this low-stakes game. Of course, he was a sporting winner and left all the money on the table before leaving. His Twitter followers were told that he had the best night ever, and there’s no reason to doubt his words.

Hanging with the fans

For many celebrities, going to visit fans is not something that they do. But Negreanu came from a lowly background before moving himself up through the ranks, so he’s happy to do the same for others. Impressively, in his time as a poker player, he’s managed to earn more than $50 million, but still takes the time to enjoy those who follow his gaming.

He’s not had it so easy in recent years though. Just last year at the WSOP, his blog detailed a number of issues where he was targeted for harassment and even attempted extortion. He had to deal with a stalker situation, receiving anonymous phone calls from a man who falsely claimed that Negreanu had abandoned a wife and family in Arizona. As such, this man, and the family, wanted $1 million in order to keep quiet about the whole situation. Of course, all of this was false and simply an attempt to get money from Negreanu.

Needless to say, he went straight to the FBI. As the intent was rather serious, his actual wife, Amanda Leatherman wanted him to hire a bodyguard. Given this latest story, it’s obvious that he didn’t follow her advice to do this.

If he had, maybe he wouldn’t have been able to enjoy such a fun night with those high schoolers. But, at the end of the day, it also is down to his open and giving nature. Maybe he’ll pop in to join one of your games if you’re brave enough to ask. After all, he’s had one positive experience and might very well be open to having a few more.

I guess the main question to ask yourself here though, is whether you are ready to lose to the champion, or do you think you’d be able to take him on and beat him at his own game?