The list of the most recognizable poker faces could be formed depending on various criteria. However, probably no one would argue that in order to be on the top, first of all one should be well-known to the particular audience.
But what is a poker face? Answers.com gives a clear definition of the term: “deliberately impassive in manner“. Lady Gaga, of course, has her own explanation, but it just doesn‘t fit into the case. Using the regular definition, Onlinepoker10 came up with the Top 10 recognizable poker faces.
However, the question of criteria remained open during the search for the most recognizable faces in poker – how to define which face is more recognizable than the other? If Phil Hellmuth had won the most WSOP bracelets, should he be the most recognized poker face? Or Daniel Negreanu – the leader of the poker's all-time money winners list.
As the research had shown, none of these players lead the list. However, all of the names that have been listed are real poker celebrities, known to millions of people all over the world and not necessarily to those especially interested in poker.
So here it is – the list of the Top 10 most recognizable poker faces.
Phil Ivey is one of the most popular players and is widely considered the best tournament player in the world. He plays online exclusively at Full Tilt Poker. No matter how high or sparse his chip stack may be, Phil Ivey always looks the same: angry. And that makes him difficult to read. It also, however, happens to be one of the most frightening faces in poker, particularly if you're on the other side of a big pot from it. The face belongs to Phil Ivey: deified tournament hero, feared cash-game icon and quite possibly the best all-around poker player on the planet. He's grown from known and respected to famous and feared, and he reaps the rewards of that status, on the table and off.
Phil Ivey has made nine final tables at the World Series of Poker. He's finished first five times. And when asked how many bracelets are possible before he's done? "I want to win 30," he says. Phil Ivey was a part of poker history when he won $500,000 in the first televised live poker tournament, which took place at the Turning Stone Casino in upstate New York. He has also appeared at five TV tables on the World Poker Tour.
When playing, Phil Ivey appears to be totally focused and you can see it in his eyes that he is absorbing all the information at the table so his actions are very calculated. Phil Ivey regularly the favorite when it comes to the odds in Las Vegas for the pick to win the World Series of Main Event.
Aside from poker, Ivey likes videos games and basketball. Also, Phil spends some of his time away from the poker table at the golf course near his house in Las Vegas. He likes traveling with his wife and going to the movies. His MySpace profile says he likes the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers; when pressed in an interview he says his favorite team is the one he's got money on. He likes prop bets, shooting dice, playing golf, but mostly he just likes to play poker.
Peter Eastgate is a professional poker player from Denmark, best known as the winner of the Main Event at the 2008 World Series of Poker. At the time, he became the youngest player ever to win the event. He is a regular on both PokerStars and Ladbroke poker. His preferred game is short-handed games as well as heads-up games where he normally plays as high as $200-$400.
Eastgate almost came as a breath of fresh air to the “poker purists.” Even though he wasn’t a hugely popular name in the world of poker, he was a pro. There had been talks that it would be difficult for a true pro to ever win the Main Event since it has grown to the size it has, but Eastgate put an end to that talk, and at the same way gave hope to those well known pros that they too have the hope of cashing in on poker’s biggest prize.
One of the most impressive parts of 2008 WSOP Main Event champion Peter Eastgate's game is his poker face. It never changes. In fact, when he won the Main Event, it looked like it required some serious effort to break out of his poker face and into celebration mode. That consistency helped him become a champion, and earned him the second spot on this list.
Peter is clearly a man wise beyond his years when it comes to money management. He says that he won't be splashing out on expensive things or living a crazy life now that he's a multi-millionaire - he'll be investing the money instead. With what looks like a long and healthy career in poker ahead of him, they'll no doubt be even more money for investment on its way in the future.
Eastgate recently started charity work for children after a conversation with one of his brothers while eating at a restaurant off the Las Vegas strip, in a quieter part of town. A man came up and asked him for his autograph, and Eastgate realized he could use his popularity to do something to help people.
Johnny ChanFor the last twenty years, Johnny Chan has been one of the most feared men at the poker table. Despite being a feared player, he is well respected among his peers and known as a very likeable guy. He can also be found sitting in tournaments with an orange near his chips... his lucky orange, which he used as an odor freshener before the majority of poker rooms in casinos went smoke free. Other superstitious players took note of his lucky charm and brought a variety of fruits to the poker table in order to improve their down trodden fortunes.
Johnny Chan got his nickname “The Orient Express” when he was a relative newcomer to the poker tournament scene. Chan had come to Las Vegas to become a professional poker player in 1978 and earned his famous nickname in 1982.
Chan attributes some of his early success to the fact that many players had not previously played against Asian players. Like many young players, he had his ups and downs and took on plenty of different day jobs to survive all the bad beats and mistakes he made at the poker table. He eventually got a grasp on his game and became a more controlled and disciplined player. At the tables, he is fearless and aggressive.
In 2002, Johnny Chan was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, becoming the first Asian-American to achieve that distinction as one of the greatest players of all time.
Johnny Chan has won 10 WSOP bracelets and you don't become that dominant of a player by having an easy-to-read poker face. Chan is still considered to be one of the most well-rounded poker players in the game; his tournament wins are not only in Texas Hold'em events, but also in Omaha and Draw poker.
Since winning back-to-back World Series of Poker (WSOP) championships in 1987 and 1988, Johnny Chan has been one of poker's most iconic figures. Johnny became a cult figure after the release of the poker film Rounders (1998), in which he made a cameo and appeared in footage from his 1988 win in the WSOP Main Event over Erik Seidel.
Phil HellmuthHe is a number one for total WSOP bracelets and for being the biggest poker brat. Phil often draws criticism for the way he berates players who beat him out of pots. One of his strengths is being able to read players very well. His reputation and physical presence (he's almost six and a half feet tall) can also be an intimidating factor. If Phil has any weaknesses, it's his overflowing self-confidence and his willingness to get into arguments with other players at the table.
He is a dedicated family man who often remarks that the athletes, movie stars and other poker players he admires most are the ones who can balance family and work.
Hellmuth is often compared to tennis star John McEnroe because of his antics, and the cameras are always on him at televised tournaments because you never know when the Poker Brat's next tirade is coming. The Brat claims his temper tantrums only last a few minutes and in interviews following his public rants he is often calm and rational. He says it drives him crazy when opponents make mistakes only to be saved by the luck of the cards, and he can't control himself. While many find it entertaining and good for poker ratings, Hellmuth claims none of it is intentional.
Phil is perhaps best known for his caustic table image, needling his opponents and frequently acting out in the event of a bad-beat. He travels the tournament circuit for larger buy-in events, is a spokesman for online cardroom Ultimate Bet, and has a book out called, "Play Poker Like the Pros". When people see poker, people see Phil.
Phil Hellmuth has also been quoted as saying: "If luck weren't involved, I guess I'd win every one"
"I've revolutionized the way to play Texas hold 'em." Many pros and amateurs believe his attitude is disrespectful, nobody can question his poker skills.
He is one of the best poker players in the world - just ask him. Hellmuth has said he wants to be known as the greatest poker player of all time. In his own mind, he's already almost there.
Chris "Jesus" FergusonChris "Jesus" Ferguson is one of the most recognizable professional poker players in the world. He's the guy with the long black hair, sunglasses, and a wide rimmed black cowboy hat. Obviously, the origin of his nickname is due to his resemblance to Jesus. Although his nickname is "Jesus", taken from the central figure of the Christian religion, Ferguson is an atheist. When he plays, he often sits motionless during a hand so his opponents cannot get a read on his hand. His popularity soared on television during ESPN broadcasts of the World Series of Poker when he was shown throwing poker cards across a room at blazing speeds which cut through different fruit including bananas, carrots, and melons.
The combination of the desire to make it to the final table and his mathematical skills is what makes him the great player that he is today. He has earned himself five World Series of Poker titles, two of them in 2003. His titles are 2000 Seven Card Stud, 2001 Omaha High-Low, 2003 Mixed Games, 2003 Omaha High-Low, and the main event in 2000.
Chris Ferguson uses a very mathematical approach to the game which is founded in his college studies and his father's teachings of game theory. He has taken this theory and has used it alongside computer simulations to determine the best mathematical decision whenever a decision comes up in a poker tournament.
Chris Ferguson is one of the best all-around players on the tournament circuit today. In 2004, he had the most cashes for any player in a single year at the WSOP which proved his ability to play well in almost every game. With 36 career money finishes and 20 final tables at various WSOP events, Chris has won over $2.8 million in prize money as of 2004.
One of Chris Ferguson's other hobbies is swing dancing. He used to be president of a swing dancing club at UCLA. He also is analyzes stocks and day trades on the side. He frequently guest lectures at UCLA for discussions on game theory. You can also play against him at his online poker site Full Tilt.
Gustav HansenGustav Hansen is a professional Danish poker player who lives in Monaco. He has been a competitor for many years. Before he played poker, he was a ranked backgammon player. He was also a champion youth tennis player. He actually tried to make a living off of being a professional backgammon player, but found there wasn't enough money in it. He eventually turned to poker. He is known for his very unique style of play, which is viewed as being very loose and very aggressive.
Gus takes a lot of chances other players are afraid to take, which makes him fun to watch. Not every player can play this style successfully though. When Gus makes a wild bet, he has a plan. He is exploring the other player’s hands. Occasionally this style of play will go very wrong, but Gus’ success proves it can be profitable if played with skill and guts.
He is known for being an extreme risk-taker, playing an unbelievably loose game at the No Limit Texas Hold’em tables. He will not hesitate to bluff at huge pots (often winning) with nothing in his hand and will play almost any cards he is dealt. He is also known to be a tremendous reader of his opponents. His apparent reckless style has served him well and he is very well respected on the professional circuit by his peers.
Despite his ongoing success, Hansen has struggled with money problems, reportedly because of losses during live cash games. Hansen is a regular in the The Big Game normally held in "Bobby’s Room" at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas.
He is often wild and always unpredictable, but where most other players lose with this style of play, Gus excels.Gus also plays casually online and has an endorsement deal with Full Tilt Poker, where he competes at Pot-Limit Omaha or Omaha Eight-or-Better and, intermittently, low-stakes Limit Hold'em and Razz.
Outside of poker, Hansen still fuels his competitive drive with sports such as golf and soccer, and works out at the gym. His athletic physique may have helped Hansen get a nod from People magazine in 2004, as it named the poker pro one of the 50 sexiest men alive.
Daniel NegreanuDaniel Negreanu's poker face has a lot to do with his demeanor. The Canadian nicknamed “Kid Poker” for his youthful appearance and childlike enthusiasm is every bit a part of today’s poker boom as any of the big poker celebrities. Daniel enjoys thinking out loud and can get very animated, especially if he has to make a big call. The four-time WSOP bracelet winner is often wearing a smile while at the table.
In the space of just ten years, Daniel has achieved possibly the greatest live tournament results record ever seen. In 1998 at just 23, he became the youngest ever player at the time to win a World Series bracelet, after taking down the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event.
Daniel's poker style is based on playing quite a few hands similar to Danish Superstar Gus Hansen. However, Daniel's ability to read opponents makes him one of the best in the game and allows him to dominate the table even when he is playing weaker hands. Negreanu explained that this skill comes from his keen observation of his opponents, what hands his opponents play, and how capable they are of playing those hands. He watches carefully even when not involved in the hand so he will be able to get a good read on his opponents later when he is involved in a hand with them.
He has his own poker blog that any player can enjoy, his own poker video game, and his own poker website, FullContactPoker.com. Daniel is also a fearless cash game player, appearing regularly at Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, where the highest stakes cash games in the world take place, and appearing on all three seasons of High Stakes Poker on GSN, even getting up from the table to do some commentary for a brief time. You can also see Daniel outmaneuvering the world’s toughest opposition on televised poker shows like Poker After Dark, Poker at the Plaza and the Ultimate Poker Challenge.
When he has spare time, he enjoys relaxing at home; shooting pool and playing video games with friends. He’s also an avid golfer and can often be found playing for high stakes with other top poker players.
Greg RaymerGreg Raymer is one of the most colorful and successful professional poker players in the United States. He still has plenty of redeeming qualities, not the least of which is a World Series of Poker Championship title, a lucrative sponsorship with PokerStars.com, graduate degrees in biochemistry and law and a white-picket-fence family life in North Carolina.
He has become one of the most recognizable poker figures in the world following his spectacular 2004 World Series of Poker main event win. Greg Raymer has become known for his distinctive presence donning opaque holographic sunglasses. Raymer's nickname "Fossilman" come from his passion of collecting fossils and his use of a small fossil as a card protector while he plays poker. Like most professional poker players Greg Raymer is a real character and has a personality all his own.
Greg won the 2004 $10,000 WSOP No-Limit Texas Hold'em Poker Main Event, pocketing the amazing $5 million first prize for his victory, defeating David Williams who had to content himself with the $3.5 million runner up prize.
No one will blame Raymer for giving up his law career and he is now a full time poker professional, or part time we should say as he likes to enjoy time with his family and does not participate in many international high stake poker tournaments.
The well-mannered patent attorney did not come out of nowhere like a lot of players originally thought. Greg Raymer has an astute poker mind. If you read any of his posts on various poker message boards (rec.gambling.poker or Two Plus Two forums), you could easily tell that he was thinking about poker on a different level. He is also an excellent online player.
While not playing at major land-based tournaments, Fossilman boned up on his game playing a ton of online games at PokerStars.net, most notably shorthanded and heads-up games. Greg Raymer is a very unpretentious and friendly character who appears on occasion on the TV.
In his spare time Raymer golfs at the local course, antique hunts with his wife and enjoys music, comedy and public speaking. He spends a lot of his free time on the golf course but also enjoys tennis and bowling on his Wii game system.
Vanessa RoussoVanessa Ashley Rousso is a dual French American citizenship law student at the University of Miami and a pro poker player. She is also known by her Pokerstars online screen name „Lady Maverick“ and is part of PokerStars Team. On March 6, 2009 there was reported that Rousso had been signed to promote internet domain names by GoDaddy, who was a sponsor of the 2009 National Heads-Up Championship.
She can always be recognized at the tables by her oversized sunglasses, cap and Bose headphones. But Vanessa isn’t just another pretty face; she’s finished in the money in over 14 major tournaments and shows no sign of slowing down.
Vanessa began playing backgammon and chess, but was drawn more to poker because of the human element of the game. She started playing online while at the same time building her resume in preparation for applying to law school.
Rousso has been in the money since 2005 and has amassed career earnings in excess of $2.1 million, landing her among the top five women on the all-time money winners list in pro poker history. The long journey that Rousso made to get where she is today was definitely worth the blood, sweat and tears that it took to reach the top and break barriers in the poker world that may have all but seemed unreachable.
As a member of Team PokerStars, Vanessa Rousso took part in the World Championship of Online Poker Main Event in 2007. While she originally finished in third place, a disqualification of the tournament winner vaulted her into runner-up status with a prize of $700,782.
In addition, Rousso appeared on the poker reality show Wild Card Poker, as well as contributing strategy articles to numerous publications and making appearances on a number of television shows, including, strangely, Geraldo.
When Vanessa isn’t playing, she somehow manages to find time for many hobbies. Describing herself as something of an adrenaline junkie, she regularly goes skydiving and bungee jumping. Vanessa has also contributed strategy articles to several poker magazines. When she is stationary, she can be found playing chess or backgammon, reading Dan Brown novels and freestyle rapping. She divides her time between Las Vegas, Florida, and wherever the poker world takes her.
Doyle BrunsonHe is the most famous poker player in the world and for the last six decades, Doyle Brunson has been one of the toughest men to beat at the poker table. He is a two-time World Series of Poker champion and a true legend. He wrote the most sought after poker book, Super System. He once won a $1 million bet by losing 100 pounds. He also faked a heart attack to thwart two men who tried to rob his home.
There is only one word to describe Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson: legend. Brunson's nickname, "Texas Dolly," came from a mistake by Jimmy Snyder. Snyder was supposed to announce Brunson as "Texas Doyle," but incorrectly pronounced the first name as Dolly. It stuck and many of Brunson's fellow top pros now simply refer to Brunson as "Dolly."
Doyle has been playing for many years and is one of the most accomplished players in the game. Doyle has won ten bracelets from the World Series of Poker and remains successful at the highest cash games.
In the 1980s, Brunson became just as well known for his antics out on the golf course, as at the poker table. He played golf for astronomical sums of money.
New players can find all sorts of information on poker, but most people consider Doyle's book Super System the Bible of poker. There are sections on a variety of games written by the top players of that time.
Texas Dolly has been bluffing hands and stealing pots for decades. Like Chan, he has 10 WSOP and has won the Main Event twice. And, like Johnny Chan, he continues to play at a high level well into old age. Brunson, wearing his trademark cowboy hat, rarely expresses emotion on his face, making him a very tough player to read.
Brunson is as busy as ever and, by his account, still winning more than he loses. He is to poker what Babe Ruth was to baseball - a larger-than-life giant of a man who not only helped to revolutionize and popularize the game he loved, but set the standard for achievement and excellence by which all other players are measured.