Daniel Negreanu is the first player of the Poker Masters to visit the payout desk after he finished in eighth place in Event #1 early Thursday morning for $102,000. It might not have been the finish he hoped for, but it also means he’s the first player on the leader board for the Poker Masters Purple Jacket™.

Negreanu arrived on Wednesday with a ton of attention due to his 20+ side bets he has on himself – which add up to over $1 million. He also made a statement by wearing a purple sequin track jacket.

“I had one purple jacket in my closet that Nick Schulman really needled me about, so I figured it was the perfect time to break it out,” said Negreanu. “If I ever went to Burning Man I already have an outfit.”

Negreanu was all smiles with the ribbing and commented on his side bets. “Well I think it’s a lot of fun to keep it fresh and fun in poker. To keep it growing throughout the year, stuff like this is super important,” he said.

“The thing is that this has been done for many years – they used to do this back in the day when a guy would bet 80 different people in a tournament, so he’s giving himself a really good price,” Negreanu said. “Now, I don’t feel I’ve ever been able to do that before, especially in Mixed Games, because I’m not going to get much action.”

But at last check, Negreanu had 22 separate names on a list he was betting against. “There’s a lot of confident guys and pros – a lot of players that are going to have +EV over me in individual bets,” he said. “I threw it out there to see if I could get 20-30 responses, so I essentially bet on myself at 22-1 to win the Purple Jacket, plus I have a couple pushes. It seems like a low-risk, high-reward bet that can actually really play into my hands in some ways.”

“I have most people taking themselves but there’s a good amount of people who bet on together players as well,” Negreanu continued. “So, what I did in fairness is make a $50K cap and if someone bid on a player, but that player wanted themselves, I let that player have their own action. For example, if Bill Perkins wanted to bet on Brian Rast and Rast wanted the action himself, he can have it.”

“As for me, it’s definitely going to significantly influence my play,” he said. “So, if I’m short on my first bullet, it’s time to push and try again.”

“This is something people want to put on their calendars,” Negreanu said. “The Poker Masters – truly the best No Limit Hold’em players in the world and you can watch it on PokerGO live. You can watch all the nitty gritty hands, not just the big all ins with aces into kings.”

“As a poker study tool, there’s nothing better than PokerGO. I think fans of the game should really love and enjoy something like this,” he continued. “They have all the archived stuff – the Super High Roller Bowls and I’ve been watching the new Poker After Darks – those are very valuable to watch.”

Though Negreanu has the top spot on the all-time money list, he put in homework for eight days of No Limit Hold’em. “I picked up some things, thinking about the game, watching what my opponents were doing and trying to figure out a strategy that can beat that.”

Negreanu is so focused on winning the Purple Jacket that he joked about taking on more action if he wins. “I might do a Lance Bradley-like bet and wear the thing every single day for a year,” he said.

“There’s a lot of prestige around it, whoever wins it, isn’t’ going to luck their way into it,” Negreanu added. “One of the reasons I love Player of the Year races is that theoretically anyone can win a tournament, but a guy to do better than everyone else over five or ten tournaments – that’s really saying he’s not lucky, but skillful. It’s definitely a prestigious honor that I’d like to be the first ever to win.”

Viewers can follow all of Negreanu’s action on PokerGO with eight consecutive days of live Poker Masters coverage from the ARIA Resort & Casino.