Icons of Texas Hold’em -Texas Hold’em has exploded onto the online and television entertainment scenes. Every network has a show or two or three and some networks seem to have built their entire programming around Texas Hold’em. With this rapid increase in programming there have also been rapid ascents for many poker players but who are the true stars? Who are the people you might want to stop and watch.Without a doubt the granddaddy of all pokers players is Doyle Brunson. The author of what many believe to be the best poker book ever written, “Super System: How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker”, Mr. Brunson also holds nine gold World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets. Nearing seventy-three and with a variety of ailments that limit his mobility, Doyle is nonetheless still a force on the poker circuit, regularly seen at the final tables of many major tournaments. Doyle Brunson straddles the divide between the old world of scruffy, little seen male dominated poker tables and the new world of poker accessible to almost everyone via the Internet. He is revered in both worlds as the first poker superstar.
Daniel Negreanu is new poker. In his early thirties, this high school dropout and native of Canada is one of the most recognizable faces at any poker tournament. Photogenic and affable, Mr. Negreanu is one of the poster boys for the new generation of Texas Hold’em players. He had his first big tournament Poker Online win in 1997 at the Foxwood World Poker Finals. The next year Daniel followed that win up by taking a bracelet at the WSOP; he remains one of the youngest players to ever achieve bracelet status. Known for his hockey attire and ever present headphones, Daniel Negreanu has taken home almost $8,000,000 in table winnings alone.
The player that lives in the hearts and dreams of all amateur Texas Hold’em players can only be Chris Moneymaker. A good old boy accountant from the Volunteer State of Tennessee, Mr. Moneymaker got into the 2003 WSOP with a $40 buy-in Internet win and came home with 2.5 million dollars and a coveted bracelet. His King high all in bluff against Sam Farha at that 2003 tournament is considered classic hand play. Although not as consistently successful as many of the other young generation stars, Chris Moneymaker now makes his living as a poker professional and won $200,000 for his second place finish on the Shooting Stars leg of the World Poker Tour (WPT). He continues to appear on the WPT and is known for frequently being found online at Pokerstars.com. With an easy going, accessible personality, Mr. Moneymaker is a fan favorite and will probably be so for many years to come as his game continues to grow and improve.Texas Hold’em boasts countless other fascinating personalities. Long haired Chris “Jesus” Ferguson is a computer whiz with advanced college level work in computer science and a talent for swing dance. Annie Duke, a graduate of Columbia University, makes up half of the highly successful brother/sister Texas Hold’em family which is completed by her sibling, Howard Lederer. With lifetime winnings in excess of $6 million, Phil Ivey has established himself as one of the strongest players of the younger set. Bad boy, big mouth Phil Hellmuth and his bad loser reputation can’t be left out of the mix. The list of stars continues to grow just like the popularity of Texas Hold’em.