Canadian poker pro Daniel Negreanu is running the table on one of his most successful years playing poker this season. But Negreanu is also painting himself as a controversial figure due to his passionate opposition to the “first card off the deck rule” in poker tournaments.
The first card off the deck rule was implemented by the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), the official association representing managers of the world’s largest poker tournaments, casinos, and online gambling domains alike.
The first card off the deck rule, known as TDA #29, was passed earlier this year and requires players to be at or near their seats when the first card of a hand is dealt. If a player is not within close proximity to his or her seat, the hand is declared dead and all posted blinds are forfeited to the dealer.
During the EPT High Roller tournament in Barcelona earlier this month, Negreanu was subjected to the rule in a very controversial experience. As the small blind in that particular round, Negreanu anted up while standing behind his chair talking to a fellow tournament participant, though he was facing away from the table as the cards were dealt.
The dealer then declared the hand dead, took away the cards as well as the blinds, and left Negreanu outraged. On the following hand, he went all in without even looking at his cards as a form of protest, and was subsequently eliminated when his cards failed to catch anything on the flop, the turn, or the river.
The Canadian immediately went to Twitter to express his hostility with the TDA and its first card off the deck rule. After a series of angry tweets, Negreanu stated his intention to post a second €10,000 ($13,700) buy-in and reenter the tournament to “make a deep run.”
Negreanu backed up his tough words with a successful second run, and finished the EPT Barcelona as the runner-up to victor Thomas Muhlocker. As a result of his second place finish, Negreanu won €263,800 ($362,000) and jumped back to the top position on the Player of the Year leaderboard, a goal the Canadian set out for himself at the beginning of the poker season.
Despite his second place finish in Barcelona, Negreanu refused to let go of his animosity towards TDA #29. On his official Twitter account, he suggested other successful players agree with his opposition to the rule.
“Reading some very powerful arguments against the First card off the deck rule from well respected players/media. Will lay them out in a video.”