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What Was the Daniel Negreanu $10 Challenge?

Daniel Negreanu is the type of poker professional who loves a tough challenge. Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu will face just about anyone, whether it is online, or at a pool table. And that is probably why he has developed the skills that have placed him among the best players in the world. In January 2009, KidPoker decided to take on a new personal challenge. Here is a brief explanation of what the Daniel Negreanu $10 challenge was. We will also be looking at the rules of the challenge and how it has worked out.

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What Was the Daniel Negreanu $10 Challenge?

Daniel Negreanu got inspired by Chris Ferguson’s $0 to $10,000 challenge. So he set up an online bankroll challenge and attempted to begin with a $10 bankroll at $0.01 / $0.02 stake level then run straight up till he hits $100,000.

Daniel’s initial intention was to be able to play $100 – $200 NL after hitting his target of $100,000 bankroll. During the challenge, he would use a different bankroll to play other things. The original self imposed challenge was supposed to be accomplished within three years.

Amazingly, this Team PokerStars Pro who had already made millions from his previous poker winnings wanted to go back to the ring games NL at PokerStars. He said he took on the challenge because he wanted to have a better understanding of lower limit games and to discover the best approach to beat them. Negreanu publicly announced the rules of the challenge on and updated them a couple of times. Here is a summary of the main rules.

The Rules of the $10 Challenge

1. He will not move up in limits till he has at least 500 big blinds for the next limit.

2. When it is possible, his buy-in to a poker session will permit him to have 5 buy-ins at that particular limit. For instance, if he had $5 left, his buy in for that game will be exactly $1. He will continue doing that till he dips below the minimum buy-in.

3. He will play only NL hold’em cash games. As much as possible, he will be playing full ring games.

4. When he doubles his bankroll in one session, he will quit on his blind in the next orbit to enable him minimize the risk of having a very high percentage of his bankroll in one hand.

5. Once he reaches the $5-$10 limit, Daniel could decide to raise the required number of big blinds for rising up in the limits. Although 500 big blinds are relatively large for micro games, it can be considerably small for games with higher limits and more formidable opponents. Therefore, he will use his discretion to decide what to do.

6. He may reduce the buy-in amount for higher limit games. The amount will be lowered from 1/5th of his bankroll per session down to 1/10th per session. But the time to do this will be at his discretion.

7. When the amount required to hit the target is lower than 1/5th of his bankroll buy-in, his buy-in would be the exact amount required to hit his target. For instance, if 1/5th of his bankroll is $5.00 but he only needs $2.00 to reach his goal, the buy-in for the subsequent session will be $2.00.

How It Worked Out

Negreanu sat down every day at 11pm to play for his 10 to 100,000 dollars challenge. In less than one month the Canadian Pro had made sufficient money at $0.01 / $0.02 stakes level to rise above the limits and he moved to the $0.02/$0.05. This is a brief summary of how he accomplished this goal.

* Number of hands played – 786

* Total money won – $15.26

* Amount won per hand – $0.019

* Number of bets won – 97%

* Win loss record per session – 13 to 4 (Approx. 76%).

After about one year in February, 2010, Daniel Negreanu posted an update on his blog at He actually lost about a third of his bankroll after he had made steady progress. According to that update, he moved from the initial stakes level to $0.02 / $0.05 with $25.26, then to $50.86 at the $0.05 / $0.10 level. Thereafter, he moved to $126.58 at $0.10 / $0.25. He even hit $250 at a particular point while playing at $0.25 / $0.50. However his bankroll went down to $177.78 at this level and then he lost $50 buy-in in one night and when down to $127.78.

After a while, Daniel abandoned his challenge and he did not play the micro-limit games often. Apparently, there were other games with millions of dollars to be won. So at the end of 3 years he had not accomplished his challenge. However, he revived his interest in his challenge when he heard of the resurrection of Full Tilt Poker. He also removed the time limit on the challenge and extended the deadline indefinitely.


Daniel Negreanu is still not very active in the pursuit of his challenge for obvious reasons. But he must have learned several lessons to help him perform better when millions of dollars are at stake.

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