The Rise of Poker Celebrities

Poker Celebrities

What keeps us tuning into poker related programs day after day? We have all come to know and love (and love to hate) a number of different poker players. These celebrities have made names for themselves in poker communities all over the world. Cinderella stories like Greg "Fossilman" Raymer (2004 WSOP champion) and Chris Moneymaker (2003 WSOP champion) give the small-time, non-pro player hopes of winning the WSOP.

Celebrities on the World Poker Tour

As I tune into the World Poker Tour, I see Gus Hansen pushing all-in again. What's new? Gus Hansen has come to be one of my favorite bullies of poker, betting every time the wind catches him right. Gus has a great strategy - players like him are some of the hardest to play NL poker against. Does he have the nuts? Does he have nothing? These are questions you may find yourself asking repeatedly when playing such an aggressive player.

I have come to love watching Phil Hellmuth. That poor guy is the king of bad beats! When I first started watching poker on TV and following the careers of different players, my nickname for Phil Hellmuth was "the whiner". After watching him play for years now I am almost ashamed to have called him that. I have seen him take bad beat after bad beat, which is almost unreal. I have never seen any other player take as many bad beats as I have seen hit poor Phil! He has seemed to have learned to take it more gracefully in recent tournaments I have watched him in. In the Tournament of Champions after Annie Duke outplayed most of the men at the table, including her brother Howard Lederer. Phil and Annie ended up DUKING (no pun intended :o )~) it out for first. Phil escaped the bad beat curse, however Annie outplayed him to take the win and the million dollars.

Qualifying for the World Series of Poker

I am still amazed by our last 2 WSOP winners, both Chris Moneymaker and Greg "Fossilman" Raymer qualified for the World Series of Poker on Poker Stars through satellite tournaments. And the 2004 WSOP 2nd place finisher also qualified at PokerStars. Chris and Greg can be caught playing at Pokerstars frequently. Chris Moneymaker aka "MONEY800" can be found easily playing different stakes of NL Hold em ring games. I have recently noticed Greg Raymer aka "Fossilman" frequenting at the Stud High/Low $30/$60 tables there. I took my crack at Moneymaker late one night in $1/$2 NL Hold'em. He tried to bluff me with ace high and I won an $800.00 pot from him by calling with my pocket kings.

Living in Las Vegas I have come to meet a lot of dealers, and I always ask them about poker celebrities they have dealt to. The first few times dealers told me about how tight most of the celebrities are, it shocked me. From what many different professional dealers have told me, most of the pros don't tip when they win a pot! This is amazing to me that someone who is a professional in the field of poker does not tip the dealer - to me it is common courtesy. Dealers depend on their tips as part of their income.

The 2005 WSOP is looking to be the biggest one yet. Breaking tradition, the start of the WSOP will be held at Harrah's Rio, and the last 2 days are planned to be held at its downtown home The Horseshoe. Recognizable faces will pour into Las Vegas along with countless new ones to try to win what might be the biggest payouts ever, and to make a name for themselves. I am hoping this year to see some women reach the final table, perhaps Annie Duke, Jennifer Harmon, Barbara Enright, or any female player for that matter.

Facing Celebrities in Poker Tournaments

I had the pleasure of playing in a tournament with Barbara Enright. It was Stud high only. We were at the final table when I get a full house, first 5 cards 6s over 5's. Barbara had aces showing, checked to me and to another lady in the pot whose position was after me - I check in an attempt to trap Barbara if she has two pair. The lady after me and Barb bet. This was unexpected because she was showing nothing scary. Barb calls, I call. Next card is dealt. Barb checks to me, I bet, and the lady after me raises. Barb, being the good player that she is, smelled trouble and folded. End result of the hand: the lady raising was raising QQ55 and rivered her last Q to beat me. I went out of the tournament in 5th place, no pay. Barbara won the Stud tournament and also got 2nd place in another event, NL hold'em, the next day. That is why these people are professionals - they always rise to the top.

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