Top RANKED PLAYERS through Season VII.
Some are the "real " Professionals; who have stood the test of time known as the Poker greats and icons of the professional Poker world.
The internet has brought great changes to the world of International Poker.
More people are given access to the"private world" of the Professional Poker Player. Either by new found skill, or the fluke of Luck. Some of these new players have become big Winners. Poker is changing. More and more Women are making their place in the line-up of Champions.
I hope you will find these brief profiles of some of the "Worlds Best" interesting.
DAVID BENYAMINE is one of France's top poker players.
CHRIS BIGLER of Fislisbach, Switzerland was a businessman until he discovered his true calling poker just six years ago on a trip to Vegas. He's already made it to more than one World Poker Tour final table.
HUMBERTO BRENES has been called the "godfather of the Costa Rican players." Known for his Latin charm and grace, Brenes has an outstanding tournament record including two World Championship titles.
DOYLE BRUNSON, a Texas native who now calls Las Vegas home is a poker Hall of Famer with Eight World Championship titles to his name. One of the elder statesmen of the sport, he intends to keep playing until he's 80 and that's almost ten more years. His book Super/System is known as the bible of tournament play among pros. Doyle played at the WPT Championship final table in Season 1.
JOHNNY CHAN, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, is the winner of back-to-back World Championship titles in 1987 and 1988, and probably the best-known poker player to younger Americans. It was Chan that Matt Damon idolized in the movie "Rounders."
T. J. CLOUTIER of Richardson, Texas, is a former pro football player who literally wrote the book on poker. Make that three books. He has won 51 major tournaments and is the leading all-time money winner at the World Championships. T.J. played his way to two WPT final tables. Cloutier attended the University of California at Berkeley on a football and baseball scholarship and played in the Rose Bowl in 1959. After a stint in the army, he played football for the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts. He'd like to "bar all bad actors at the table."
PAUL DARDEN was the 2001 Seven Card Stud World Champion and played at the Lucky Chances WPT final table in Season 1. Originally from New Haven, CT, Paul was a successful nightclub owner and rap music promoter before discovering he had a true talent playing cards. Like many successful pros, Paul's genius is his ability to read his opponents' cards.
ANNIE DUKE is a Portland-based mom of four who has paid the family bills as a poker pro for the past ten years. She may play barefoot, but never underestimate her. Annie, sister of world champion Howard Lederer, plays at the very top of the game, wagering millions, but saying, "you just can't think of it as the mortgage money." Annie made her WPT debut in WPT Ladies Night.
ANTONIO ESFANDIARI is an accomplished magician. The 24-year old San Franciscan credits TV and the World Poker Tour with his decision to become a professional poker player. The native of Tehran, whose family moved to the Bay Area when he was in third grade, came in 3rd and won $44,000 in a season one WPT event, and now he wears a visor bearing the moniker "Kid 44" whenever he plays. Antonio played his way to a final table in Season 1.
MAUREEN FEDUNIAK of California. She has been playing poker Twelve years, and names poker legend T.J. Cloutier as her mentor. A two-time final table player, Maureen made the final table in every season of WPT.
CHRIS FERGUSON, a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and the 2000 World Champion, calls Pacific Palisades, California home. Instantly recognizable with his trademark long brown hair and cowboy hat, Chris is the son of a professor of game theory at UCLA.
LAYNE FLACK of Las Vegas is the blond, 30-something "party boy" on the tour and is said to have no fear at the table. Nicknamed "back-to-back" Flack because of two consecutive World Championship victories, Layne is feared by opponents because of his unpredictable, aggressive style of play. Layne also won the WPT tournament at Commerce Casino and placed second at Foxwoods in Season 1. Although he went to college to study business management, Layne's after-hours poker games soon became so lucrative, he was too busy to
finish his degree. Raised in Montana, Layne was encouraged to try tournament poker by veteran pro Huck Seed.
ALAN GOEHRING, a former Wall Street analyst, surprised many by edging out several pros to win the 2003 World Poker Tour Championship. He says his work in risk assessment comes in handy at the poker table.
CYCALONA "CLONIE" GOWEN is a Dallas, Texas-based mom who "swims with sharks" whether scuba diving or at the poker table. She placed tenth in a season one WPT tournament and bested five other top female players during the recent WPT "Ladies Night" special tournament.
JULIAN GARDNER hails from Manchester, England. With the magic he works at the table, he might as well be called the "Harry Potter of poker." He turned pro the moment he left high school, and is the youngest millionaire in the sport.
PHIL GORDON, originally from Texas, has recently taken up residence in Las Vegas. A tall, dark haired, millionaire, "child prodigy," Gordon graduated from college at age 20, worked on artificial intelligence projects for the military and cashed out of the dot.com bubble for a cool $ 96 million. Phil came in second at a WPT event, the Ultimate Poker Classic in Aruba.
GUS HANSEN, originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, is a WPT final table fixture, who learned to play poker in Santa Cruz, California. Known for his aggressive style with cards that some might think "unplayable," Gus is known to excel in at least ten different games and was a champion backgammon player before coming to poker. On the WPT, Gus continues to dominate the tables having won two tournaments in Season 1 and made it to another table in Season 2.
JENNIFER HARMAN, "thirty-something," may be diminutive at 5 ft 2 inches, but she's not demure at the poker table. To many, she's not just the best female player on the planet, but one of the best players period. She's a regular at the biggest poker game in the world at Las Vegas' Bellagio. Jennifer was recently featured on WPT's "Ladies Night," the final table of the Ultimate Poker Classic, and she is the only woman who can claim two World Championship titles.
JOHN HENNIGAN, a former pool hustler from Philadelphia, is a top player who's made it to at least one World Poker Tour final table. He's known as one of the coolest guys in the game.
PHIL IVEY is the first black poker superstar in a sport traditionally dominated by white guys. With this young, handsome, quietly elegant player, poker may have found its Tiger Woods. Ivey was the only player to make it to three World Poker Tour final tables in season one. You can spot him in his trademark sports jerseys.
CHIP JETT has become one of the most recognizable personalities in poker, due in part to his tournament success, his appearance on the World Poker Tour, and his distinctive look (slicked back hair and sunglasses) at the poker table. Chip is a Las Vegas pro originally from Scottsdale, Arizona.
CHRISTER JOHANSSON is a professional poker player from Sweden. He started out by playing small draw poker and has since gone on to place in the top ten in many poker tournaments, including a final table on the World Poker Tour. Playing mostly online, Christer considers Texas No Limit Hold 'Em to be his best game.
JOHN JUANDA , thirty-something, is originally from Indonesia, and is admired among pros and amateurs including celebrities, who appreciate his cool demeanor at the table. He won his first World Championship title in 2002, played at a World Poker Tour final table and has won many major tournaments.
MEL JUDAH was born in Calcutta, India and now resides in London. A tournament player who was once a hairdresser, Mel believes that patience and changing gears are the key skills that make a great tournament player. Mel makes his move on the World Poker Tour in Season 2.
CHRIS KARAGULLEYAN is originally from Beirut, Lebanon. He began gambling at the tender age of 10. Chris made a living as a cab driver and baker before settling into his current professionpoker player. Chris became an icon during the Bicycle Casino tournament on the World Poker Tour.
PHIL LAAK is a Bay area player better known to some as the "Unabomber" because he wears a grey hooded sweatshirt (hood up) and sunglasses while playing. Watch him come out from under the hood on the World Poker Tour in Season 2.
TUAN LE was born in Paris, France to parents of Vietnamese heritage.
Tuan began playing poker as much as possible in College & won on a consistent basis. After leaving school for Poker he was noticed by poker professional Barry Greenstein, who became his mentor. His ability to read opponents and his aggressive play won his First WPT title and $1.5 million prize in 2004. Although winning the Tiltle of WPT Champion; and nearly 5 Million in winnings; he still continues to improve his skills.
HOWARD LEDERER is a top line action player. His unique approach to tournament play is described as "methodical, statistical and analytical." Howard comes from a family of notables, including sister Annie Duke who ranks alongside him as a leading poker pro, and sister Katy Lederer, a poet who recently published a memoir of her life in the competitive Lederer household. Known as the "Chessmaster," Howard was a nationally respected chess player before he came to poker. He is now highly visible at World Poker Tour events, having made two final tables and won one in Season 1 and won a World Championship title in 2001.
KATHY LIEBERT grew up in Long Island, New York and has a B.S. degree in business. She briefly worked as an analyst for Dunn and Bradstreet and studied law before finding her true calling, professional poker. Since then, she's become a major player in big-league tournament poker and ranks high on the money list for women. With three World Poker Tour final tables, Kathy has been the most visible woman at the final tables. She's the first woman to win a major tournament and what a whopper it was--$1 million!
ERICK LINDGREN, 26, is a Las Vegas-based pro who can be seen playing in at least two WPT final tables this season. When not playing poker, the Burney, California native can be found indulging his extracurricular passion on the basketball court.-His nicknames include "American Idol" and "E-Dog."
JONATHAN LITTLE was born in Pensacola, Florida. He was studying psychology at the University of West Florida when he began playing poker. He started playing with friends and began studying poker books. Over the course of six months, Little built up a $35,000 bankroll. That's when he decided to leave college behind and play poker for a living. WPT Season VI Player of the Year award.
MICHAEL MIZRACHI family's name is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in poker. He started playing with his Family as a teen. Following his older brother, Robert, he quit College to grind it out at the Tables. Soon "The Grinder" began to prove he was a top-tier player.
In 2006, CardPlayer Magazine named him Player of the Year. Michael Mizrachi has earned more than $5.8 million dollars as a professional poker player,
JUAN CARLOS MORTENSEN was born in Ecuador, moved to Spain when 15-years old. After schooling held numerous jobs. One night, he joined a group playing Texas no-limit hold'em. Though he lost the first game, but soon become a regular and won on a continual basis. He finally quit bartending and began playing poker full-time in clubs & game rooms in Spain. His aggressive and risky style of play earned him a reputation that made it difficult to find opponents willing to engage in action with "El Matador." His winnings now top 5 Million.
DANIEL NEGREANU is a young Canadian who moved to Las Vegas to play poker full-time. In 1998, at 23, he became the youngest World Championship event winner in history. Negreanu is a consistwent top Money Winner & considered one of the most eloquent spokespersons for the sport.
EVELYN NG, 27, is a former blackjack/poker dealer who has transitioned to the other side of the table, now playing five days as week as a professional. "Evy" hails from Toronto, Canada and hopes one day to chronicle her gambling experience in a book or a movie. Evelyn made her debut on the World Poker Tour during "WPT Ladies' Night."
MEN "THE MASTER" NGUYEN escaped by boat from Vietnam, living in a refugee camp before arriving in Los Angeles in 1978 not knowing a word of English. He discovered poker on a trip with friends to Vegas, and the rest is history. He's made final tables hundreds of times, including the World Poker Tour, and been in the winner's circle more than 80 times. Nguyen is a Buddhist who donates part of his winnings to build orphanages in Vietnam.
SCOTTY NGUYEN also escaped Vietnam by boat. He's the consummate cool guy at the tables, and he's been at more than one final table in the World Poker Tour. His is often spotted with his glittering gold jewelry.
PAUL PHILLIPS is another dot.com multimillionaire who is making waves in the poker world. He can be seen at no fewer than two final tables in WPT's second season. Known for his sartorial splendor and a self-proclaimed "bluffer," Paul says: "You are never done getting better at this game."
DAVID "CHIP" REESE, arrived in Las Vegas in 1974 with $400 in his pocket and started at the $10 limit tables. He quickly rose to become one of the game's best all-around high-stakes players. The Ohio-born gambler is a graduate of Dartmouth college. At age 40, he became the youngest Hall-of-Famer ever.
RON ROSE is an accomplished tournament player and successful businessman who once held a seat on the American Stock Exchange. The retired executive calls the Northwest home, though he and the WPT's own Mike Sexton, have a common link--they both went to the same high school in Dayton, Ohio. Ron, the father of three, is also a Bridge Master. With two World Poker Tour final tables in Season 1, Ron has the confidence to continue his winning streak.
HUCK SEED became World Champion in 1996 when he was 27 years old and again in 2000. Huck is a tall, very quiet, and some say he gives new meaning to the term "seed money."
JC (Justin Cuong Van) TRAN was Born in Hong Kong, to Vietnamese parents the youngest of their eight children. The family moved to Northern California when he was two-years old. In a casino for the first time when J.C. turned 21, and he quickly picked up poker; doing well enough in cash games to consider it a source of income. He soon became a feared player at the table with eight cashes in one year, & Season 5's Player of the Year.
DAVID "DEVILFISH" ULLIOTT hails from England. This professional poker player, also a jeweler, got his nickname, "Devilfish" while playing Chinese poker with a group of Asian men. A devilfish, he was told, is poisonous if not prepared correctly. This aggressive player holds numerous titles in the United States and Europe. His flashy gold rings made him hard to miss at the World Poker Tour final table in Season 1.