In what has been the greatest year of poker in the history of the game, Daniel Negreanu had the greatest year of his life.
Negreanu, from Las Vegas, Nevada, captured the CardPlayer Magazine Player of The Year championship, but in no way did he back into it. After making the final table in the PokerStars Carribean Adventure and the PartyPoker Million III, Daniel stormed through the 2004 World Series of Poker, earning Player of The Year honors at the World Series. He placed in four of the events held at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino and won his third World Series bracelet in the Limit Event. Negreanu was far from done as the final half of 2004 played out.
In June, Daniel picked up his second win of the year at the Championship Poker at the Plaza event in Las Vegas. At this point, he held a sizable lead over such competitors as Hasan Habib and Barry Greenstein. Even by September, Negreanu believed he could take the Player of The Year Award without much resistance.
“At this point, I don’t have to play another Hongkong Prize tournament for the rest of the year and I’ll likely win it,” Negreanu said to this writer at that time. As it proved out, however, he would have to fight to the end to retain the #1 position. Soon after this, Daniel captured his biggest win of the year to date by capturing the Borgota Poker Open at the Borgota in Atlantic City, with the final table including World Series Of Poker runner-up David Williams.
Habib was a constant pursuer as the year progressed, as was Greenstein. John Juanda and David Pham made late season charges, with Juanda drawing the closest to Negreanu as December began. But Daniel put all questions to rest with a crushing victory at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He was never seriously challenged, holding the lead in the tournament at several points. To emphasize the extent of his domination, Negreanu entered the final table with almost six times the chips as his nearest competitors, which included Humberto Brenes and the long-missed Jennifer Harman-Traniello (who missed the entirety of the World Series due to illness). Daniel picked up his biggest payday of the season by taking the trophy and over $1.7 million.
As 2004 comes to a close, we can only sit back in wonder at Hongkong Prize Negreanu’s performance this year. In winning four tournaments and making eleven final tables, he definitely established himself as Player of The Year!