Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top Ten Poker Players (Part 2)

As promised, my update from last night's $10 Sit and Go ended with me getting broke off by quad Aces. I'm not sure I've ever been beaten by such a large hand so if there's a way to go out, I guess that's it. I suppose I have a long way to go, but I'm up $70 over the last two days, so I've got that going for me.

This sparked quite a debate at Trivia night last night, and I'd like to reiterate, THIS IS MY OPINION. By no means is this the end all, be all list. That list would clearly have Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth. My list, however, doesn't have them because they don't entertain me as much as the other folks. If you disagree- then put people I missed in the comments or even your own list. Don't just tell me how wrong I am and try to take away my man-card because I didn't compile the definitive list of top ten anything.

5. Johnny Chan - One of the most famous poker players before the TV boom, Johnny Chan won back-to-back World Series of Poker championships (1987 and 1988) and also made an appearance in the movie "Rounders." I have not seen him on TV recently playing poker, though he was Jamie Gold's "coach" during Gold's championship run a few years ago. Chan also still carries his signature oranges to the table. Back in the day, smoking was allowed at the poker table, so many people would pierce the skin of an orange and smell the citrus to alleviate the stench of smoke. Anyway, Chan is the man.

4. Jennifer Harmon - To avoid being sexist, and because she's a cold-hearted ice queen at the table, Jennifer Harmon (pictured looking like a cougar combined with the Undertaker) makes onto the list. It's really interesting to see how she'll use her femininity to her advantage at the table. Her husband, Marco Traniello, is also a professional poker player. She also made a cameo in a movie, though it was in the turd of a movie "Lucky You." Seriously, how to you make such a terrible movie, let alone a movie about poker. It's too long and inversely as interesting. Besides that, I admire the way Harmon holds her own against the guys. I'd love to see her become the first woman to win Main Event- though the odds of a pro winning in general these days is slim.

3. Gus Hansen - This guy just plays crazy. Any two cards can and will be played. Hell, any two cards can and will be subject to a raise. His erratic play makes him a tough read (though occasionally this does bite him in the ass.) Last night I was hoping to catch Hansen go heads-up against Tom Dwan on Full Tilt, but they didn't start playing before I went to bed (Dwan bought in with just under $300,000 and the other seat was reserved for Hansen.) As far as TV goes, I swear that everytime I turn on the World Poker Tour, he's at the final table. In fact, he's the only person to have won 3 WPT events.

2. Phil Ivey - This guy gives off that champion vibe. Many people consider him the Tiger Woods of poker, and while I'm not sure anyone is capable of being that good, Ivey is pretty damn close. The one thing that bothers me a little is his bug-eyed glazed over look that he goes into every hand- though I've come to appreciate it as it does hide his tells and probably bothers opponents as well. The most impressive thing about him is that whether he wins a huge pot, or loses a monster, his reaction is the exact same. I think his concentration level is beyond what normal people are capable of.

1. Daniel Negreanu - I can easily see people hating on this number one. I remember when I first got into poker, I hated watching Negreanu. He's arrogant, goofy, Canadian and his freakin' mom packs his lunch. However, over the years I've grown to really like and respect his game. He really knows how to play "big boy poker." I can't even count how many times I've seen him tell another person what they had in their hand if the hand ends without the other person showing their hand. He'll fold and tell them "You had (whatever the person had)." It's pretty impressive. I've read one of his books, and it was conscise yet extremely helpful. He also takes preperation very seriously (where many other poker players don't factor it in.) Overall, Negreanu gets the number one slot because I'm tyically entertained when he's on TV, I think he's truly the most (or one of the most) skilled poker players, and he seems like an alright guy.

So who did I miss? G$ had an excellent suggestion of Phil "the Truth" Darden, which would've been good had I remembered that guy existed. Clarkster, any good suggestions? I left off Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth (because he's easily the most annoying poker player), Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, Mike Matusow (also annoying), Sammy Farha, and even the great Ben Affleck. There are a lot of good personalities and skillful players out there, so I don't doubt I could've missed some excellent choices, but I'll stick with these folks.


Clarkster said...

I think you could make a case for Scotty Nguyen Baby. Also I think while he's not the most entertaining Dan Harrington Should have a spot in the top 10.

Tony B. said...

Scotty Nguyen blew up and cussed out a bunch of players while winning bracelet at the WSOP this past year. That was entertaining! That gives him an excellent case. Overall, though I'm just not as big a fan of his.

Harrington is out because of his ugly green Red Sox hat.

GMoney said...

I've got three of them that I like:

John "World" Hennigan because he looks like a penis and has an awesome nickname.

Gavin Smith

Erik Lindgren

GMoney said...

Oh and who was that Dutch guy who wore suits and upside down sunglasses at the WSOP a few years ago? Marcel something maybe? He was entertaining and insane.

Tony B. said...

Erik Lindgren is officially a bad omission. He's great and I should've included him.

Gavin Smith is highly entertaining because of his side bets and alcoholism.

You're thinking of Marcel Luske- that guy was really fun to watch (and totally insane.)