Daniel Negreanu is a vegetarian, without much interest in food. ''I ate two days ago'' is the kind of thing he says. His disdain for food is a reaction to his mother, who is obsessed with food. Mommy, as he calls her, likes to serve people food, then sit down and smile at them as they eat. When Negreanu was growing up in Toronto, Mommy sent him to school with his lunch packed in a brown bag. When he went to McDonald's with friends, she gave him a brown-bag lunch. When he got his first job as a telemarketer (''I lasted a day,'' he says), Mommy packed him a brown-bag lunch. When he got his next job at Subway (''I was a good sandwich maker''), Mommy packed him a brown-bag lunch. These days, when Negreanu goes to work at night at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, Mommy packs him a brown-bag lunch.

Daniel Negreanu (pronounced neh-GRAH-noo) is a small, slightly built man of 30. His job in Las Vegas, where he has bought a house for Mommy, is playing poker for eight hours a night or more, for pots as high as a million dollars, with older men named Eskimo Clark, Jesus Ferguson and Texas Dolly Brunson. Negreanu looks small, boyish, defenseless, with his bottle of water and Mommy's brown-bag lunch at his feet. Often during his poker games, Mommy calls from home. If he's winning, she says: ''Good. That's enough. Come here, I made some cabbage rolls.'' If he's losing, she says: ''Today is not your day. Come home, I'll make you some mamaliga.'' If he's breaking even, she says: ''Nothing is happening. Come home, I made some fresh vinete.''

From Pat Jordan's 2005 New York Times magazine profile, "Card Stud."