One thing I never thought Daniel Negreanu needed was a sidekick! Don’t get me wrong; his pairing with Phil Hellmuth as ESPN analysts during their coverage of the 2016 WSOP’s Final Table was positively brilliant, and the pair’s expertise was only exceeded by their dazzling repartee (along with the unpredictable and engaging play of last year’s champion, Qui Nguyen) .
At the time, “Kid Poker” repeatedly made the point that people (especially if they’re new to the game) need to have fun and be entertained—which includes different personalities, exciting styles of play, amusing table talk– if they’re going to become the next generation of poker fans. Negreanu always enjoyed “trash-chatting” at the poker table, but it has gotten harder to do with so many serious young players hiding under their headphones and refusing to engage.
Still, I’m not sure he could have predicted that the fun would be provided by actor and comedian Kevin Hart, recently signed as a spokesperson by PokerStars. At a press conference ostensibly called by the superstar, Hart, accompanied by PokerStars Team Pro Negreanu, made the announcement that he was partnering with PokerStars “to make poker fun again.” Hart described how deeply in love with the game he is, and cited that he’d played in the PokerStars Championship Bahamas back in January and was in Monte Carlo where he had just played the Super High Roller; in fact, he said he’d been playing poker for at least 10 years.
But, Hart continued at the presser, he could see what the game is missing, saying, “and the game is missing ME.” He went on to say that the game has had Daniel for quite some time, and “Daniel has done his job and brought fun to the game, but what Daniel is missing . . . is the black sidekick!”
Kid Poker did not just play straight man to Hart, often showing his own funny side as they fielded questions from the press, making it very obvious that the two had already developed a close relationship. Most importantly, both are clearly dedicated to the concept of elevating poker so that it’s fun to play and fun to watch. What a boon to poker, and what a party for poker fans.
If you have the time, the full press conference can be found on Pokernews.com, along with the article written by Frank Op de Woerd.