Who Are the Best Poker Players in the World, Actually

beanstalk

beanstalk

Enthusiast
The revelation: poker site marketing dramatically skews our perception as to what a pro poker player actually looks like.

The question: Who are the best players in the world, really?

The Full Tilt Scandal has made public some truths about who attains fame in poker (and to a large extent who is considered "the best"). Over half of the pros I grew up admiring probably weren't very good at poker (relative to the best online players of 2012). Loans from FTP kept them in high stakes online games even if they were net losers. High stakes televised cash game attendees were in many cases fully sponsored by poker sites. What's stunning in FTP's case is that this marketing bravado was financed with player money. We all aspired to be Phil Ivey, but in the most literal sense we we're shipping money to FTP to support the Ivey myth. Ivey is good, but is he real? No. His level of wealth and fame is impossible for a non-owner of a poker site to attain. If sites were to put forth actual pros (non-sponsored) as role models, I'm not sure new players would buy-in to the dream.

So who are the true best-in-the-world players?:ridinghor
 
Vollycat

Vollycat

Rock Star
I think your question is skewed. If you ask most pros who the best is, Phil Ivey's name is still near the top, if not the top. Having 8 wsop bracelets is pretty good proof too, but he is still considered one of the best cash game players out there. Yet:

Online and live games are different beasts. Yes, they are close cousins, siblings probably in fact, but they are different. The best online player is most likely not the best live one (especially post UIGEA).

I cannot stand Phil Hellmuth, but 11 bracelets again proves a pretty good point that he is one of the best. Bring up the UB scandal if you like as well, but that does not mean he isn't one of the best...tournament players. A WHOLE different beast.

Then lets talk about Omaha, Stud, Heads up, Hold 'em, Razz....the list goes on. What kind of poker are you talking about? The FTP fiasco opened up a lot of behind the scenes problems with one particular company, but I think it may be a stretch to judge playing ability from that. Poor business ability yes, poker ability, not so much.
 
Arjonius

Arjonius

Legend
It's a question that defies answering in a universally acceptable way because it's highly subject to individual interpretations of how to define "best".
 
Ducky7

Ducky7

Cardschat Elite
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I cannot stand Phil Hellmuth, but 11 bracelets again proves a pretty good point that he is one of the best. Bring up the UB scandal if you like as well, but that does not mean he isn't one of the best...tournament players. A WHOLE different beast.

He has 12 bracelets now
 
wagon596

wagon596

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Just my thoughts, when it comes to NL Hold'em I'd have to go with Phil Hellmuth. Don't care for the guy, but results don't lie. Overall I guess Ivey,, don't care for him either.
 
MadMaddie

MadMaddie

Rock Star
We all aspired to be Phil Ivey, but in the most literal sense we we're shipping money to FTP to support the Ivey myth. Ivey is good, but is he real? No. His level of wealth and fame is impossible for a non-owner of a poker site to attain.
Phil Ivey also did very well online in highstakes cash games.
Phil ivey. The pros are scared of him.
I have read articles and have listened to interviews where other poker pros have said that Phil Ivey is the best there is. I would tend to put more stock in their judgement than my own beause I have no clue hee hee hee.
 
A

always2away

Rock Star
Awards
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Johnny Chan has a bunch of bracelets, without playing every tournament available to get there. Two WSOP Main Event bracelets won in back to back years, and he was heads-up for a threepeat the next year when he was out-drawn, not-outplayed by Phil Helmuth.

Johnny Chan is a consistent cash-table winning pro.

Watch his play, and you will be impressed with consistent good decision making. Doesn't lose his cool. Usually goes deep.
 
seqas

seqas

Rock Star
Daniel Negreanu is def one of them imo. it can be debated who is the bests. everyone got their fav and believe
 
JCgrind

JCgrind

Legend
Dusty Schmidt aka leatherass9 is such a sicko grinder and so many people don't even know who he is. If you've never heard of him google his online cash graph and I'm pretty sure well all agree that he's a ****ing baller.

Made millions, doesn't play tourneys, and doesn't play nosebleeds. Never had a losing month in his whole poker career. Mos level headed, intelligent poker pro IMO. Knows his strengths and weaknesses and won't play with Phil Ivey or any of those other huge names because he's not into ego battles, he's into whatever is most +EV. this guy wins by a mile
 
E

Ernster86

Rock Star
I know most of you are too proud to admit it. But Phil Helmuth is definitely up there.
 
hackmeplz

hackmeplz

Sleep Faster
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Dusty Schmidt aka leatherass9 is such a sicko grinder and so many people don't even know who he is. If you've never heard of him google his online cash graph and I'm pretty sure well all agree that he's a ****ing baller.

Made millions, doesn't play tourneys, and doesn't play nosebleeds. Never had a losing month in his whole poker career. Mos level headed, intelligent poker pro IMO. Knows his strengths and weaknesses and won't play with Phil Ivey or any of those other huge names because he's not into ego battles, he's into whatever is most +EV. this guy wins by a mile

He also does a lot of things bordering on unethical with regards to killing the games (not killing as in winning, killing as in chasing the fish away). He is very good at grinding a ton of hands and playing well enough and with enough fish to win and maximize his short-term ev. But in general he is a huge leech on the games.

But comparing him with the best of the world, at least now, is pretty laughable. He's an ok midstakes pro at best. I know I sound pretty negative here but in general I do respect what he's been able to do and how he approaches poker from a personal perspective. It's not the approach I choose to exercise but he definitely deserves respect. Best in the world though? I doubt he's top 500. But even if he were the 6th worst player in the world, as long as you play with the other 5 worse than you you're doing pretty well. It's just frustrating to do a lot to help start games and then as soon as the fish sits he's there on the left, then as soon as the fish sits out he snap sits out too.

But regardless of any of that, you really have to respect his ability to grind ridiculous amounts of hands and still play his A game.
 
JCgrind

JCgrind

Legend
He also does a lot of things bordering on unethical with regards to killing the games (not killing as in winning, killing as in chasing the fish away). He is very good at grinding a ton of hands and playing well enough and with enough fish to win and maximize his short-term ev. But in general he is a huge leech on the games.

But comparing him with the best of the world, at least now, is pretty laughable. He's an ok midstakes pro at best. I know I sound pretty negative here but in general I do respect what he's been able to do and how he approaches poker from a personal perspective. It's not the approach I choose to exercise but he definitely deserves respect. Best in the world though? I doubt he's top 500. But even if he were the 6th worst player in the world, as long as you play with the other 5 worse than you you're doing pretty well. It's just frustrating to do a lot to help start games and then as soon as the fish sits he's there on the left, then as soon as the fish sits out he snap sits out too.

But regardless of any of that, you really have to respect his ability to grind ridiculous amounts of hands and still play his A game.

lol. youre right. tbh, i wouldnt be intimidated playing with him. he doesnt class himself as a top player and therefore why should i? but ye, **** knows how to make money lol
 
darkassassin89

darkassassin89

Legend
The best player is hard to gauge. However, if you look at players history and wins you will be able to choose for yourself.
 
Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams

Poker Pro
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It's not a question that can ever be answered in my opinion because the long run is too long (especially with live play) and the game is always changing. But if I had to make a list based on my opinion, it would be mostly comprised of online players. Dusty Schmidt, already mentioned, would certainly be high on it.
 
darkassassin89

darkassassin89

Legend
It depends on the game also. Keith sexton, one of the few pros that played FTP. Has a sick graph going strait up. And he plays Stud only. The guy is a beast and he doesn't play NHL but still racks in mula, well did
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
We all aspired to be Phil Ivey, but in the most literal sense we we're shipping money to FTP to support the Ivey myth. Ivey is good, but is he real? No. His level of wealth and fame is impossible for a non-owner of a poker site to attain.

I agree to a point with what you're saying about a lot of the former FTP pros. The thing is though, it's difficult to draw any real conclusions one way or the other about each player's relative level of skill.

Did guys like Benyamine and Matusow need to take those big loans because they were bad at poker, or because their money was getting blown on other life-leaks? (I'm guessing life leaks in Benyamine's case, and both in Matusow's :p) Is Erick Lindgren busto because he's bad at poker, or because of stuff outside of poker?

What's pretty clear is that Phil Ivey was acknowledged as one of the best, if not the best, players in the world, by the best players in the world, years before full tilt poker and the ensuing marketing hype even existed.
 
J

jacor

Enthusiast
Phil Helmuth is the most annoying poker player in the world.
Its hard to say who is the best in both cash games and tournaments.
There is several best players in the world and who is the best player at the moment the luck decides. Ivey, Helmuth, Negranu, Esfandiari, Tricket, Deeb, Mercier....
 
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