The occupation of professional gambler has evolved immensely from the days of a dusty saloon game which not only ended with a winner, but usually with a couple of stabbings and shootings, maybe even a mid-day show-down. Of course my reference material for the aforementioned scene is exclusively based on fictional depictions of the Wild West as seen through the eyes of an Italian director. Today it has become a viable profession and some of the most famous representatives of the game actually make millions and millions of dollars putting on a poker face. Pa pa pa poker face. Sorry couldn’t help myself, damn Gaga has ruined me for life. Here are a few amazing facts about these famous, pa pa pa poker faces(see I told you she ruined me).
Antonio Esfandiari was almost Amir the Magician
Antonio Esfandiari is one of the most famous poker players in the world and I’m also going to assume one of the most successful ones as his tournament wins clock in at an admirable 22.9 mil. He was born in Tehran, Iran, but his family soon moved to San Jose, California. Here my research came to an impasse because one source said that Antonio changed his name due to bullying at school and another said that he changed it because he thought ‘Amir the Magician’ wasn’t catchy enough. Conclusion: you choose the interpretation you like the most. I personally would have gone with ‘Amir the Fakir’ which is derogatory for me, but would have been fine for Amir to use. Not only is Amir the Fakir known for his reckless hands (as in card hands not actual hands because that would put a hell of a hamper on his magic career), but he’s also known for his elaborate chip-flipping and card tricks while he’s playing. See corny 80s looking video below for an example.
Sam Trickett pro footballer turned pro poker player
What could be a more intuitive career choice than going from chasing a ball for 90 minutes to sitting on your butt for hours on end? That is exactly why Sam Trickett started playing poker; actually he blew out his knee and was forced to retire. Ah, [raise eyebrow] the plot thickens. Not really, that’s it. He was a pro-baller with an injury and he chose to play poker as a living, winning to this day 19 million dollars in prize money. Ah, [raise eyebrow] the plot thickens (I’m sorry I can’t stop doing it). In one of the tournaments named the Big One for One Drop, which had a 1 million dollar buy-in (you had to pay 1 million dollars to be able to play) he pa pa pa poker-faced Amir the Fakir, but unfortunately came in second losing the 18.3 million dollar first prize. Weeping (I assume) he walked away defeated and with a sparse 10 million dollars. Later that day after celebrating his non-victory he was attacked and beaten by 6 guys in a parking lot. Trickett claimed the attack was unprovoked, but was it really? Most people that come in second place don’t get jack, and you a smug British ex-pro-athlete walk away with 10 million dollars and a super-hot girlfriend! [Clears throat] I mean that’s what I imagine those Neanderthals said before they attacked him. At the time he was in a 10 year old relationship with the stunning and buxom Natasha Sandu, which works for PokerTube as an interviewer and host. The only reason I mentioned this is because she works for PokerTube, get it? Poke ‘er tube…ah? ah? I know I’m a horrible human being.
Phil Ivey the Tiger Woods of Poker
Really? This poor man’s nickname is related to another African American in a predominantly white competition? Come on, that’s just straight up racist. Gambling is for everyone. Well Ivey cut his teeth playing poker with his telemarketer co-workers in New Jersey, but soon went on to claim three separate World Series Poker bracelets. You guys have to see these bracelets too, as if competitive gambling wasn’t associated closely enough with the mafia miss-happenings of young Las Vegas, this bracelet looks like it would feel at home on the hairy wrist of any 250 pound, velour tracksuit wearing teamster. Speaking of illegal activities, Phil has had a little bit of legal trouble with a couple of casinos for a practice called edge sorting, where the player has the dealer turn low cards circularly and then exploits slight differences in the manufacturing to distinguish these cards. Most gamblers convince the dealer to do this under the premise of a superstition or for luck. He lost the case, but started a suing orgy as the casino he was suing then turned around and sued the card manufacturing company, but they sued no one. So I guess it was a pretty boring orgy.
This guy, this guy here, he started his career in tournament backgammon, then moved on to playing the stock market and finally started playing poker professionally. That transition though. Really there isn’t much more information other than he won eight…wait what EIGHT? Poker World Series Tournaments! Yeah, I know! I’m so enthusiastic about that fact at this moment that it’s barely keeping me awake.
I think it’s the dude on the left, but since his online persona is thinner than a playing card made of toilet paper I can’t be 100% sure. The only thing the internet knows about this guy is that he won a 6.4 million dollar prize in Macau. I’ll see how I can develop this into a full entry to this list. Alright I have no idea what else to add, I mean I found out he’s Chinese, but honestly it’s circumstantial and I haven’t been able to cross-reference it. So yeah.
Daniel Negreau best poker player of the decade
Last but not least (and thankfully with a Wikipedia page, twitter account and biography unlike no-digital-presence-Choi up there) Daniel Negreau has made up to 29.75 million dollars in prizes during his career. He’s also Canadian so you can assume that he’s super nice too. During his elementary years he was known for his ‘poor behavior and manners’….right, so he’s the only impolite Canadian in the world. He must’ve not been a very bright child either because he says at the age of four he told his mom he’d make a house out of popsicle sticks and move to California. With the wealth allotted by his Popsicle stick real estate venture he turned in a 15 year old high school dropout, pool hall hustler, gambler and general societal deviant. Hey, social deviance sometimes pays off.
Do you know of other famous poker players? Let me know in the comment section below.