Poker's Mount Rushmore
I was listening to the Chris Moneymaker interview on the Bernard Lee Poker Show recently, and he was posed an interesting question by Bernard. Who are the big 4 of poker?
That got me to thinking about who my big 4 would be. Of course, the criteria can vary as poker has evolved and will continue to evolve over time, so this list will be very fluid. But, for now, I will base it on what I know about poker history.
In no particular order:
Doyle Brunson - You can give a BIG assist here to Amarillo Slim, who won the 1972 WSOP
Main Event. He was the one who went on the Johnny Carson Show and was the big celebrity of the 1970's. However, Slim wasn't able to parlay that into the latter years of his career. But as for Doyle, he enjoyed tremendous success at the WSOP, with 10 bracelets to his credit, and writing Super System 1 and 2, which to me, puts him ahead of Slim. He is widely respected today as the Godfather of Poker, though the younger generation likely doesn't hold him in the same standard as those a little bit older.
Chris Moneymaker - The perfect name for the perfect time in poker. With the advent of hole card cams, and the growth of online poker, and combine that with his name, he was the surprise winner of the 2003 WSOP Main Event. He continues to promote the game and conducts himself very well, and is still the same regular guy that you can sit down with and have a drink with and talk about anything. The rest, as they say, is history.
Daniel Negreanu - One of the more outspoken people in poker. He's not one to shy away from expressing his opinion about whatever he's being asked, and does not care whether you agree with him or not. He's a likable presence at the poker tables, and with plenty of WSOP moments over the years, continues to build an impressive career resume, and, with a Hall of Fame induction to his credit, doesn't have much left to accomplish, though a Main Event title would be at the very top of his list.
(Personal note) - I met him last year at the Daniel Summer Party in Toronto, and he's a good guy. He took the time to talk with me, and as we're both from Toronto, and the same age, got to talk about that a little bit.
Linda Johnson - The first woman of poker. She has been a prominent presence in the poker community for a long time. As a player, ambassador, and major presence on the World Poker Tour, she works tirelessly trying to encourage women to play the game. While progress has been slow on that front, it still is progress nonetheless, and more women are posting excellent results, and some major wins. So while the numbers aren't there, one could argue that there are more high-end female players now than ever before, and in time, we could see one of them at a WSOP Main Event Final Table, or winning a major WPT/EPT/Aussie Millions title. She is a member of the Poker Hall of Fame as well (very deservedly).