Daniel Negreanu’s coach revealed, will take on ‘Limitless’

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on March 11, 2021 2:29 am EST

Daniel Negreanu didn’t reveal his coach during his match against Doug Polk, but that individual was recently announced.

MJ Gonzales, who is mostly an unknown in poker, joined Brent Hanks and Jeff Platt on PokerGO’s “No Gamble No Future” podcast to reveal to the poker world that he was part of the team that trained Negreanu to play heads-up poker. He also made another big announcement on the podcast.

Gonzales said he will soon face Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski in a $3 million live poker heads-up challenge, which will air on PokerGO. The exact date of the match and the specific format hasn’t been announced, as the players are working that part out.

“Limitless” is currently locked in a separate heads-up battle, this one online, against Fedor Holz. His match against Gonzales likely won’t start until that concludes.

In a fired-up interview on “No Gamble No Future,” Gonzales didn’t hold back. He shared details about Negreanu’s progress as a heads-up player, along with Bill Perkins, who is set to soon face Landon Tice in a separate heads-up match.

He gave a brutally honest assessment of Perkins’ game.

“So the way I talk about Perkins is this, Bill Perkins is going to do Bill Perkins things,” Gonzales said. “He is, by far, not even close, love you Perk, the stone-cold worst student I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I ask him, I’m not kidding, I ask him monthly, ‘how the f**k did you become so rich?”

“When Bill came to us, I honestly don’t know if there was a worse player in the history of poker,” he continued. “I’m not sure that there is. The things he did pick up (from our coaching), and wanted to retain and execute, he did it so well.”

Praise for Negreanu

Gonzales also addressed Daniel Negreanu, whom he coached against Doug Polk. He first said that Negreanu was inexperienced and clueless when he first began tutoring him on heads-up no-limit hold’em. But he was impressed with how far “DNegs” advanced and how quickly he retained and implemented the concepts he was teaching.

“We have no regrets about how we approached and how we executed the strategies,” he said of his team’s preparation for the match against Polk. “When we first started with (Negreanu) it was raw, and I mean incredibly raw. And I will say, he impressed the s**t out of us, in every way a human can impress somebody in regards to evolving and learning, and kind of setting aside his own biases. He did something that will forever be impressive to me.”

Negreanu ended up losing $1.2 million over 25,000 hands against Polk at $200/$400 stakes. While that might seem like a brutal beating, the end result doesn’t tell the full story.

Polk has long been considered one of the top heads-up no-limit hold’em players in the world. Negreanu, on the other hand, is a tournament specialist. So, his chances of being competitive in the heads-up arena were slim. But he hung in there against one of the best for a fairly large sample size, and likely much of that reason was due to the coaching of Gonzales, who will soon face “Limitless” in a heads-up challenge and ultimately, he said on “No Gamble No Future,” would like to eventually face Phil Ivey.

Featured image source: Flickr