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Watch: Daniel Negreanu Takes Vicious Bad Beat in Classic High Stakes Poker

Poker players generally consider GSN’s High Stakes Poker to be a high point in the history of poker television.

While most shows focused on tournament play (such as the classic WSOP or WPT programs) GSN opted to go a different route and show a cash game where hardened poker pros would risk their own money in a high-stakes showdown.

The result was one of the most genuine (and educational) series of poker programming that aired complete with bad beats, unique personalities and record-breaking pots.

High Stakes Poker ran for seven seasons from 2006 to 2011 and remains a favorite to poker players around the world. For years it was difficult to find the show but over the summer the entire 98-episode run was uploaded to YouTube. Anyone with even a faint interest in poker should check it out when they have a minute.

Today we’re taking a look at a classic hand involving pros Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu.

Negreanu (who fitted his nickname Kid Poker slightly better back then) made a name for himself over the course of the show for his incredible reads and strong play but also got walloped by a legendary number of bad beats. This is where it all began.

The hand itself begins at around the nine-minute mark of the show.

The SetUp

This hand took place in the third episode of the first season of High Stakes Poker but it was really just a continuation of the game that started in episode 1.

Nearly every player who appeared on High Stakes Poker would go on to become a major star in the poker world (outside of a handful of businessmen who took a shot) but this game was particularly stacked with Daniel Negreanu, Todd Brunson, Eli Elezra, Jennifer Harman, Barry Greenstein, Shawn Sheikhan and Lakers owner Jerry Buss (RIP).

The game is No-Limit Hold’em and the blinds are $300/$600 with a $100 ante. The entire first season of High Stakes Poker was filmed at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas.

Negreanu bought in for $1 million to start the session and had been one of the most active players at the table, making moves and chipping up. Meanwhile, Greenstein took some hits early but was heating up and nearly back to his starting stack of $100,000.

The Action

Action folds to Daniel Negreanu, who opens the pot for $3,800 with K-9 of clubs.

Greenstein is on the button (to the immediate left of Negreanu) with Ac-Jh and he makes it $13,800 to play. The blinds get out of the way and Negreanu makes the call.

The flop is a monster for Negreanu as it comes 7-3-2 of clubs. Negreanu has the second-nut flush with his K-9 and is now firmly in the driver’s seat. Negreanu immediately checks in an effort to induce a bet from Greenstein and that’s exactly what happens as Greenstein fires $10,000 into the pot.

Kid Poker sizes up the $31,600 pot before looking at the dealer and says, “I’m gonna make it one million.”

To emphasize his point, Negreanu grabs the two stacks of cash behind his chip stack and chucks them in the middle. Negreanu is being slightly dramatic as he has Greenstein easily covered and the bet really only represents a raise of roughly $80,000.

Commentator Gabe Kaplan says he would be very surprised if Greenstein calls but that’s exactly what happens when Greenstein throws the last of his chips in the middle. The pot blossoms to just over $200,000.

Negreanu is a massive 71 percent favorite to win the hand and Greenstein is dead to a club. The turn is a meaningless seven of hearts, which means Greenstein has just 16 percent equity and there are only six cards in the deck that can save him.

As luck would have it, the river finishes with a fateful jack of clubs to give Greenstein the $203k pot.

“Oh my god,” uttered Todd Brunson.


Daniel Negreanu was very active in the first couple episodes of High Stakes Poker and he continued to set the pace for the third one as well.

This hand plays out in a straightforward manner until Negreanu moves all-in.

Negreanu is most likely hamming it up for the cameras as he dramatically puts his stacks in the middle and emphasizes that he’s all-in for $1 million (technically just $70,000).

Greenstein’s call seems questionable as he’s not really getting the best odds for a naked flush draw. Perhaps he also put Negreanu on a flush draw, in which case he’d have the Canadian absolutely crushed.

Regardless, Greenstein wins a huge pot and doubles his starting stack. Negreanu quiets down somewhat but takes the beat fairly well all things considering.

The rest of the table including Shawn Sheikhan, Eli Elezra and Sammy Farha don’t show a ton of compassion for Negreanu.

“Come on man, cheer up, it’s just one pot that you lost,” said a sarcastic Sheikhan.

Negreanu Recovers Later in the Session

The rest of the episode goes OK for Negreanu and he utilizes the double cash stack shove once more to successfully win a $125,500 pot off Sammy Farha.

The most notable moment of the episode might have been a hand that Sammy Farha mucked at the 25:20 mark.

Negreanu somehow made a correct read that Farha had 9-2 pre-flop. Farha eventually folded and was visibly perturbed by Negreanu’s intuition.

“That’s something scary you just did,” said Farha. “It bothers me playing at the same table as you.”

If only Negreanu knew that the worst was yet to come as he experienced a confounding run of luck over the 10-year history of High Stakes Poker that would lead to far worse situations than the aforementioned Greenstein hand.