Poker Twitter is the gift that keeps on giving … if you like drama.
While play at the $100,000 buy-in Poker Masters finale may have been strong, poker die-hards glued to the PokerGO app might have missed out on the real excitement taking place on Twitter, as Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu got into a heated dispute about the quality of young players shortly after both of them had busted out of the final event.
The Poker Brat was especially bratty last night after busting out in 13th place ($0). Perhaps taking a note from Muhammad Ali, he proclaimed to be the greatest of all-time after Daniel Negreanu (11th place for $0) suggested he can’t really compete with young players in the game today, but is learning.
The exchange was too long to share it all, but here are some highlights for a flavor of the conversation that went back and forth for hours, and sparked hundreds upon hundreds of responses from the poker community.
@RealKidPoker: Playing against the worlds best #PokerMasters I have a lot to learn, but I’m a quick learner. Watching @RunGo0seRun is a lesson in itself.
(Eventual Purple Jacket winner Steffen Sontheimer, who tweets as “the goose.”)
Negreanu, the all-time tournament winnings leader, and Hellmuth, holding a record 14 WSOP bracelets, are undeniably two of the best tournament poker players in history. But unlike Hellmuth, Negreanu is willing to admit his game, at present, isn’t up to par with the young players such as Fedor Holz and Sontheimer.
@RealKidPoker: I’m not embarrassed to say I don’t think I’m as good as these guys. They are unreal. In order to improve you have to humble yourself & learn
The humility apparently rubbed Hellmuth the wrong eay, eliciting a response that would spark the off-table heads-up battle between the two.
@Phil_Hellmuth: I am always the #1 seed in no limit Hold’em tourneys DNegs, best ROI in history kid. And yes, I agree: one of us is delusional
@Phil_Hellmuth: And one other thing @realkidpoker, you told me in 2009 (and 2011) that the kids were better than you & me at NLHold’em: you were 100% wrong
@RealKidPoker: I don’t think you are being realistic Phil but I’m not surprised. Your disrespect for this generation only hurts your own growth
Hellmuth later tried to differentiate himself from that younger generation further.
@Phil_Hellmuth: Fedor may become the greatest someday, but he won’t get there winning 20-40 player high rollers. He needs wins in: #WSOP #EPT and #WPT
Making The List
Before long it devolved into Hellmuth requesting a list of players Negreanu thought were better than Hellmuth at no-limit-hold’em.
@Phil_Hellmuth: Give us the list of these players that will “Crush me badly” in No Limit Hold’em tournaments, don’t be a coward Daniel
The taunting led Negreanu to spend six minutes compiling a list of 40 players that he claims are better at no-limit hold’em than Hellmuth. The Poker Brat, refusing to concede, said he is a “huge favorite” over those players but refused to accept any wagers Kid Poker had to offer.
Soon other players on Poker Twitter started trying to get in on some crossbooking action, and Negreanu began mocking Hellmuth’s distaste for prop bets. Eventually Hellmuth implied he had ulterior motives for the exchange.
@Phil_Hellmuth: No, my Ego is too big and I needed you to doubt me publicly, and tell the world I’m NOT in the top 100 in NLHold’em. That list motivates me!
As the poker legends went back and forth on for more than two hours. Other players, including Scott Seiver and Doug Polk, chimed in to share their two cents on the dispute, more seeming to agree with Negreanu. Doyle Brunson was among the camp defending Hellmuth.
If you want to indulge further in the drama these two laid out 140 characters at a time, be sure to check what @realkidpoker and @phil_hellmuth were tweeting all Tuesday and into Wednesday.