The best poker player on the planet is....?

Well, there are a few candidates from the professional ranks;

Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson, perhaps? He's probably the best judge of any given situation. He always tries to make "the right poker decision," i.e. call, raise or fold. And based on his cards, his chip stack, the community cards in the middle of the table, and his analysis of opponents' betting patterns, he usually gets it right.

Doyle Brunson? He's almost 80 years old now, and played a large part in putting poker on the map. A true legend of the game, he famously won the World Series of Poker Main Event twice with his trademark hand, 10-2. Sometimes seems to play for fun these days, invests chips in too many hands that he really shouldn't be playing.

Phil Ivey, maybe? Tournaments apart, I heard he'd grossed more money from cash games than any player in history. But I also heard he's been bankrupt twice - perhaps he's living proof that if you play predominantly cash poker, bad luck will always catch up with you in the end.

Steve Stone? Definitely not, although I do enjoy tournament play, and managed to win a gold chip in 2010 for finishing top of the LPPL Central England League. You'll find a link for LPPL on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

Phil 'Unabomber' Laak? Quickly exploded onto the poker scene. Who would have thought a gimmick based on Timothy McVeigh could prove so popular? Wild player, but brilliant. Fun to watch, particularly when playing against his mate Antonio Esfandiari. Plays all sorts of hands, and mostly, even the pros can't work out when he's bluffing. The best chip management player around - behind his bluster, he's calculating risk, based on his chip stack.

How about Phil Hellmuth? 11 wins in World Series of Poker tournaments is tough to argue against. The 'Poker Brat' gets really up tight now and again, and is famous for his outrageous outbursts. Trouble is, he goes 'on tilt' all too often afterwards, trying to bluff unbluffable situations. Underneath it all, I think he's a really nice guy, and he's done an awful lot to promote poker, including some wonderful charity work.

Or maybe Gus Hansen? My goodness, his play is so wild, he sometimes makes Phil Laak look sensible. But he's almost impossible to read, and much of the time, he leaves even the pros wondering what he's doing, or going to do next. A fantastic poker player.

So who is the best poker player on the planet? For me, it's;

Antonio Esfandiari. So cool, and laid back, nothing phases him. Loves to play the game for what it is, not just for money. Very shrewd, the best reader of an opponent's behaviour around. On an episode of Poker After Dark (NBC), he made the best read of an opponent's hand I've ever seen. Antonio had A-Q, and not a mountain of chips. His opponent declared 'All-In' before any community cards were shown, which was an expensive call for Antonio. After two minutes of study, Antonio said "'ve got Ace King," and folded his hand. The opponent took the pot, shook his head, and turned over.. A-K. Maybe Antonio secretly thought his opponent had a low pair - but what a great read.

Now this blog post has been about candidates for the best poker player on the planet. On that basis, maybe the best player of all-time was;

Stu Ungar, who sadly left this planet in 1998. He won three World Series of Poker Main Event titles, and I heard he won almost 30% of all the games he ever played in.

I think that winning any Texas Hold'em poker tournament involves about 35% skill, and 65% luck. It's how the pros use the 35% that sets them apart from the rest, and it's the 65% that explains Phil Ivey's double demise - if you play cash poker for long enough, the last card over will always get you in the end. But Stu Ungar played in many big tournaments, so to win three out of every ten games played was quite remarkable....

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"Now that's what I'm talking about." ANTONIO ESFANDIARI.


  1. BUT , what i have heard guys that US legislation have banned online payment to games, Is that true in a sense ?

    Well , i actually used to play poker games online here

  2. Antonio had A-Q, and not a mountain of chips. pokedex His opponent declared 'All-In' before any community cards were shown, which was an expensive call for Antonio. After two minutes of study,