Daniel Negreanu plays first live event since COVID began

Jon Pill
Posted on: May 7, 2021 11:44 PDT

Daniel Negreanu is back at the poker tables. The 46-year-old Canadian pro has been avoiding live play like its the plague. Which of course it has been.

Yesterday, two weeks after his second COVID shot, Negreanu posted a photo of a physical tournament chip stack at a real world table.

"First live tournament or poker session since the pandemic," he wrote. "Definitely weird."

The Aria logo on the chips in the picture — and 100k starting stack — probably place the chips stack as one of the 47 starting stacks in the $10,500 Aria High Roller 16. The event kicked off at 2 PM yesterday, local time, in the Aria poker room on the Vegas strip.

It wasn't the most auspicious start for Negreanu's personal second wave. He failed to cash. Still, there are two more of these High Rollers before the series wraps up on May 8, 2021.

Perhaps Negreanu was hoping to catch Hellmuth at the tables. The pair have a bet on for how well Hellmuth can do in the high-roller events. Plus, Negreanu must be enjoying stomping over the grounds of his heads-up rival 's main sponsor. Hellmuth goes nowhere without his Aria branded cap on. One suspects he showers in it.

However, it doesn't look like Hellmuth showed for this one in the end.

A kinda sorta normal

It has been some time since Negreanu played a live table that wasn't being sterilised by the heat of a TV studio's klieg lamps.

Negreanu did fly down to Mexico in order to play the WSOP Online last year. But his offline appearances have been limited to a few highly controlled games on TV sets. He took part in the well received revival of High Stakes Poker, filmed at the Aria last year. Plus, there were the heads-up sessions — two with Hellmuth and one to kick the Polk-Negreanu match off.

Negreanu has been aching to get out and play again . Though, adapting to the new times in which he lives will take some time for all of us. Daniel not excepted.

"It’s gonna take me a while to get used to this plexiglass deal!" Negreanu tweeted.

Several commenters noted the effect plexiglass can have on the game. It muffles table talk and makes tells harder to read. And occasionally, can really mess with the mechanics of the game itself, as when a reflection makes it look like there's an extra player in the hand.

Jonathan Sprung tweeted "Good luck getting used to the shadows and funhouse mirror effects that can make it look like players have cards when they don’t."

Other commenters were just annoyed that anyone was still taking the pandemic seriously. With any luck, the vaccine rollout, mask-wearing, and sensible restrictions will allow reality to catch up with their vision of it.

Featured image source: Twitter