The Pinnacle: Negreanu in Twitter Storm; Hellmuth Borgata Win; Lewis Melbourne Magic

The teachers in Los Angeles have been striking for better working conditions; astronauts have been learning that a trip to Mars is likely to increase their risk of cancer – so what’s been going on in the world of the high stakes professional poker player?
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Pinnacle.
We begin our ride on the rainbow of risk with the most famous face in poker: Daniel Negreanu.
What a tough week it’s been for the outspoken hero/anti-hero/villain (delete as you feel fit) as his willingness to share his thoughts with the world came back to bite him in the arse this week.
Three streams of tweets seemed to annoy a large contingent of the poker community.
There were a series of tweets focusing on ‘loaning money’ and taking ‘100% responsibility for your life.’
I’ve loaned money and been stiffed. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t hate those people. I don’t whine about how “unfair” it is, because I know who made the decision to loan the money: me.
No one put a gun to my head.
I’m not at “fault”, but I am responsible.
You are 100% responsible for every decision you make
Sometimes people will lie to you, and YOU will make a bad decision as a result
Sometimes you will make a bad decision under stress.
However it happens, it’s always YOU making the decision. Always. 100%
Negreanu aired his views on what constitutes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ poker player, amending his ‘bad’ tweet after a tsunami of pain rained down on him.
5 things that make you good for a poker game:
– Lose Money
– Act Quickly
– Friendly/Engaging
– Generous/Give Action
– Positive Attitude
If you are 4 of these things but also win money, you are likely to be a pleasant addition to any poker game.
Here are Negreanu’s views on what traits constitutes a ‘bad’ poker player.
– Winner
– Slow
– Quiet (Also miserable)
– Nit (Cheap/Selfish)
– Hater (Complainer/Negative)
If you match all of these categories then you are probably a real treat t have at parties. 2 out for 5 is still bad.”
And he continued.
“This type of player is a cancer to poker. The Nits are like a disease. Some just don’t know any better, they aren’t bad people, but they do way more damage than good by playing poker.”
In response, Unibet Ambassadors, and Chip Race co-hosts, Dave Lappin & Dara O’Kearney both wrote blog posts airing their disappointment, and criticism of Negreanu’s actions, who in turn wrote a blog post apologising for the tweet, but pointing out that he felt some of the accusatory feedback felt too personal, and likely a smear campaign against him.
And then came the old chestnut courtesy of Sam Greenwood.
“How much damage does receiving a salary to promote a site that stole millions of dollars from its players do?”
Shaun Deeb was more personal than most in his vitriol predicting that Negreanu’s marriage to Amanda Leatherman will only last two years.
“I am a flawed human being as we all are to a certain extent, but I am always striving to be a better version of myself, and digesting feedback both positive and negative to look for areas where I can be better,” Negreanu wrote in his apologetic blog post. “I’d love to see a return to “I hate your ideas” rather than “I hate you.” Would do us all some good.”
You can read Dave Lappin’s thoughts right here (, similarly Dara O’Kearney’s view (, Daniel’s reactionary blog post (, and and my opinion on the debacle (
In stark contrast to the abuse Negreanu experienced, a terminally-ill man, Zachary Butler, suffering from the genetic disease Friedreich’s Ataxia, had his wish come true when the Dream Foundation (a non-profit that helps the terminally ill’s dreams come true), organised for him to visit Daniel Negreanu at his home to play poker with him.
To Butler, Negreanu is a star, who makes him laugh.
Negreanu will also be the emcee at the next Charity Series of Poker (CSOP) event scheduled to take place March 2 at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa with proceeds going towards St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Jason Koon Joins Triton Poker, Andrew Robl Interview Airs, Badziakouski Joins partypoker; Leonard Wins Triple Crown

Jason Koon agreed to join Triton Poker in an ambassadorial capacity this week. Koon will promote the Triton Super High Roller Series to his buddies in the west, and will personally attend each tour stop throughout 2019.
The first of these stops are in Jeju, South Korea, and this week the Triton crew announced a schedule that includes six events including for the first time a No-Limit Hold’em Short-Deck Ante-Only Bounty tournament.

And that schedule:

Although unconfirmed, one person you would imagine will be in Jeju, taking his daily pew in the biggest cash games in the world, will be Andrew Robl, and this week we released our interview with the man during his time at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series in Montenegro.
Check it out.

The current Triton SHR Series Main Event champion of the Montenegro and Jeju series is Mikita Badziakouski, and this week, the Belarusian joined partypoker as an ambassador. And finally, partypoker Ambassador, and high stakes star, Patrick Leonard, won an online Triple Crown (he thinks) by taking down the $500 buy-in Blade on the GG Network for $19,663.10, the $1,050 Thursday Thrill on PokerStars for $19,342.01, and the partypoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter for $40,100.15.

Phil Hellmuth Wins a Title; Gets His Hair Done; Plans for Brazil.

Phil Hellmuth was in the news this week for a variety of different reasons. The World Poker Tour (WPT) Raw Deal host took down his first title since winning his 15th World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in the summer.
Hellmuth defeated 64-entrants to win the $37,248 first prize in the $1,590 No-Limit Heads-up side event at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. Hellmuth beat Joseph Cappello in his final heads-up match.
If you ever wondered what was underneath that ARIA cap, now you know.

Finally, Hellmuth set himself a new bucket list goal of winning “at least four WPT’s”, told himself to “man up”, “attend more WPT’s”, and then declared an intention to do that by “ramping up my poker schedule.” Although it may not be a WPT event, Hellmuth is sticking to his word by appearing in South America for the first time as a guest of partypoker in the MILLIONS South America event scheduled for Rio.
Take ten!

Live Tournament News: Kempe and Lewis Pick Up Wins in Melbourne; Elias Likewise in California

Three high stakes live tournaments to get you up to speed on, and we will start in Melbourne at the Aussie Millions. There seems to have been a resurgence in High Stakes Action at the Crown Casino, after a dismal showing last year.
The AUD 25,000 Challenge attracted 151-entrants, and Rainer Kempe agreed on a heads-up deal with Toby Lewis before winning the flip for the title. Lewis would go on to win the deciding flip in the AUD 50,000 Challenge after overcoming 62-entrants, including Manig Loeser in heads-up action to round off a fantastic few days for the man from the UK.
Here are the podium places.
$25k Final Table Results
1. Rainer Kempe – $595,055*
2. Toby Lewis – $566,074*
3. Chino Rheem – $300,067
4. Guillaume Nolet – $221,789
5. Gautam Dhingra – $156,557
6. Luke Marsh – $110,894
7. Jack Salter – $84,802
*Denotes a heads-up deal
50K Final Table Results
1. Toby Lewis – $588,999*
2. Manig Loeser – $556,017*
3. Thomas Muehloecker – $296,856
4. Dominik Nitsche – $233,244
5. Bjorn Li – $169,632
6. Tobias Ziegler – $148,428
7. Michael Zhang – $127,224
*Denotes a heads-up deal
The WPT Gardens Poker Championships also held a $25,000 event, but with people jetting between the Bahamas and Melbourne it didn’t pull in the numbers the organisers hoped. Darren Elias defeated 11-entrants, including Chance Kornuth, heads-up, to win the $192,500 first prize.
Finally, Dan Smith beat the seven-time US Chess Champion, Alex Shabalov, in a PRO Chess League match, showing he has many arrows in that quiver of his.
And that’s this week’s Pinnacle.