Over the past two decades, Daniel Negreanu has been many things to the poker world, but he has always been controversial. He has never been afraid to speak his mind, even when faced with consequences. To most players and fans, Negreanu is an ambassador. The Canadian is the face of poker to the outside world, showing them what poker is really about and bringing new people in to the game. With KidPoker, a documentary based on his life, PokerStars is hoping to further that image.
The early portion of the film focuses on Kid Poker’s family growing up. His parents moved to Canada from Romania with nothing and proceeded to live the Canadian dream. Daniel and his brother were raised in what appears to be a great household and he was just a teenager when he discovered the game of poker. It is a fantastic look at where the legend came from in terms of poker ability. The stories of buying cars and having stacks of cash in his parent’s house is the dream of many a young poker player. If nothing else, the way KidPoker depicts his early life is enough to make anyone envious.
Where the film truly excels is in showing how he progressed as a person. This isn’t a film about playing poker, it is about a poker player becoming the best version of himself. From the arrogant, over confident player to a man who wants to find out what life means to him, it is an incredibly moving journey. In all of us, there is a voice in our heads wondering if we are doing the best we can to live life in a good way. Daniel made a transition in to someone that has captivated the poker world, while trying to do no wrong.
The opinion of other people has changed some, and that is the main criticism that some have had of the film. With the recent PokerStars changes, Negreanu has been at the front line, defending the decisions and encouraging players to stay with the company. That has led to a lot of anger from the community who sees the movie as a “fluff piece” showing what a PokerStars pro is capable of. In the opinion of the writer, however, it is simply a story about a journey of self discovery.
The moral of the story, for Negreanu, is that you should always be the best person you can be, regardless of what else happens in your life. Living is about making choices, so why not make the best ones possible? While many would disagree with some of those decisions, there is no denying the fact that he is the face of poker and nothing illustrates it better than KidPoker.
KidPoker is now available on Netflix in the United States. No word yet on when and where it will be available elsewhere.
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