It’s common knowledge that poker pros love to gamble big on the golf course but Daniel Negreanu shared some specifics on golf podcast No Laying Up recently and the numbers were staggering.
Negreanu recounted two specific situations where he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on the course. The first was a combined $580,000 loss to a group of old-school poker players. The second was a stunning $1.2-million loss to good friend Phil Ivey.
Eventually Negreanu made the money back on the golf course but only after hiring a golf coach and doing a large amount of work on his game. It probably didn’t hurt that he has tens of millions in lifetime live tournament earnings from poker to fall back on.
He went on to discuss a variety of golf, gambling and poker topics on No Laying Up.
‘I Didn’t Have a Chance’
Negreanu started playing golf just for fun but it didn’t take long for him to realize the gambling potential of the game.
Unfortunately the six-time WSOP bracelet Sportsbook didn’t utilize a coach when he first started golfing and it contributed to him posting those enormous losses.
The $580,000 loss came against a field of old-school poker pros including Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese and Dewey Tomko. The loss occurred in a single day on the course but the worst was yet to come.
Negreanu’s single biggest loss on the golf course took place at Shadow Creek against Phil Ivey. Apparently, Negreanu’s grip was a mess and he didn’t have the benefit of a coach to help him out.
Ivey did have a coach, however, and it paid dividends. Negreanu lost $1.2 million in a single round.
“I didn’t have a chance,” Negreanu said in the interview. “I couldn’t get the ball in the air.”
The loss didn’t sour Negreanu on Ivey (the pair remain good friends) or golf and he eventually hired a golf coach who turned his game around.
“Phil Ivey was just a killer on the golf course,” Negreanu said. “Just an absolute killer.”
Being Stuck $3 Million
According to Negreanu, he eventually bottomed out with about $3 million in losses on the golf course.
That wasn’t the end of his golfing experience, however. After hiring golf coach Christian Sanchez, Negreanu managed to turn his game around and says he actually made back the entire $3 million and is now in the black when it comes to gambling on the golf course.
Sanchez helped Negreanu navigate the golf gambling world and helped him pick games that he could actually beat.
In one of Sanchez’ first experiences with Negreanu, the pair played a high-stakes golf match for $50,000 a hole. The coach wasn’t used to playing for those kinds of stakes on the golf course and struggled at first but they eventually turned it around. It was the start of a very successful partnership that would eventually see Negreanu earn back the $3 million he’d lost on the golf course.
‘Poker Players Don’t Have Handicaps’
So what’s it like playing golf against poker players who love to gamble on the course?
First off, no one wants to tell you their handicap. Negreanu said in the interview with No Laying Up that everyone will just tell you what they shoot and even that can be unreliable. It’s also common for everyone to say they are a bogey golfer when the reality is a far different situation.
“I played against Mike Sexton, who said he was a bogey golfer, and he shot a 75,” said Negreanu. “How many bogey golfers shoot 75?”
He went on to say it’s very common for poker players to frequently have their “best day ever” on the golf course.
One of those “best day ever” stories occurred in a match Negreanu played with Phil Ivey and fellow poker pro Joe Cassidy.
Ivey was 65 yards out on a particular hole and wanted to bet against Cassidy. Cassidy said he’d give him 200-1 on $1,000 to make the shot. Ivey promptly nailed the shot and picked up an easy $200,000.
Unfortunately there’s not a lot of action among the high-stakes poker community on the golf course these days and the games have essentially died out.