Poker pro Daniel Negreanu has captured the 2004 Player of the Year title sponsored by Card Player magazine. Negreanu took the honors in the wake of a thrilling final shoot-out at Bellagio’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic in December.
Negreanu, one of professional poker’s most respected players, surged past last-minute point leaders David ”˜The Dragon’ Pham and John Juanda to take both the Bellagio event and the Player of the Year crown, which was announced in January. Negreanu accumulated more than $4 million in 2004 poker winnings.
Negreanu had been leading in the Player of the Year rankings for most of 2004, but had fallen behind going into the Five Diamond Classic. Facing formidable odds against a 376-player field, the 30-year-old Canadian battled his way to the final table of the No-Limit Hold’em championship. At the final table he went toe-to-toe against Humberto Brenes, Vinny Landrum, Nam Le, Steve Rassi, and Jennifer Harman Traniello to win first place at the event, scoring overall winnings of $1.8 million.
Negreanu’s 2004 finale at the Bellagio Classic not only earned him Player of the Year honors, but also made him the all-time top money winner on the World Poker Tour. As a fixture on the championship circuit for the past eight years, he has won more tournaments than any other player while amassing record cumulative winnings.
He has also become one of the game’s most visible and articulate spokespeople as the author of over 90 articles, and has a cameo appearance in the movie, "High Roller," which chronicles the life and times of Stu Ungar (the movie will be released in March).
Along with the Player of the Year title, Negreanu will receive an award bracelet from Card Player magazine as well as a $10,000 buy-in to any upcoming 2005 event. In the race for 2005 Player of the Year, Negreanu is off to a good start — he took third place in the Jack Binion World Poker Open championship, held last Thursday in Tunica, Mississippi.
"Daniel is a good friend, a legendary competitor, a great ambassador for the game of poker, and well deserving of our 2004 Player of the Year title," said Barry Shulman , publisher of Card Player magazine. "He helped make 2004 a great year for poker overall, and helped pave the way for important new developments in 2005."
More than 500 players were ranked to create the list of the top 50 finishers, above.