You saw Santa’s poker naughty list earlier today, but now it’s time to reveal the poker players who deserve the greatest Christmas ever for the good deeds they did the past year.
There’s often a lot of negativity surrounding the poker world. From alleged cheating scandals to players failing to pay off debts, we sometimes forget about all the good things that many have done to make our community a better place. So, in the spirit of Christmas, we’re showcasing the individuals who deserve recognition.
The Best Poker Players are Those Who Win Off the Felt
Being able to read your opponent and win a ton of money is all fine and dandy, but the poker players who display exceptional character away from the table are the ones we should all focus most of our attention on. No offense to Russ Hamilton, Ray Bitar, Mike Postle, and anyone else whose character, or lack thereof, has been detrimental to our game.
The poker players who made Santa’s Nice list in 2019 deserve a round of applause and, maybe, a new PS4 under their Christmas trees. They have all shown us how to win on the felt and, more importantly, in the game of life. These individuals are humble, generous, and you certainly won’t ever have to worry about them cheating a low-stakes, live-streamed game.
You can pencil Dan Smith in on this list every year. He’s one of the most generous poker players in the world. The high-stakes pro is as committed to philanthropy as he is poker.
For the past six years, Smith has organized a charity drive and has helped fund dozens of non-profits he supports. This year, his Double Up Drive charity organization is matching up to $1.5 million in donations. The money will be shipped to causes he believes in, including Helen Keller International, The Good Food Institute, and the Centre for Effective Altruism.
Last year’s fundraising efforts brought in $5.4 million to charities Smith and his peers carefully selected. Stephen Chidwick, another generous high roller, is among the group of poker players who are helping Smith raise money and awareness for various causes. For his continued good deeds, we give Dan for Christmas the power to finally win his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 2020.
Winning WSOP Player of the Year is quite an accomplishment, but Robert Campbell won it under strange circumstances, and he handled the situation with pure class.
Immediately after the WSOP Europe series concluded in November, Daniel Negreanu was named POTY. A week later, following an audit, the WSOP realized Negreanu had been accidentally awarded points for a tournament he didn’t cash in. Campbell was then named the real winner.
That caused the conspiracy theorists to accuse Negreanu of cheating, a claim they didn’t back up with any tangible proof. Shaun Deeb, who finished third and said he felt cheated, was among those firing such harsh allegations against one of poker’s top ambassadors.
But Campbell took the high road. He refused to make baseless allegations that could harm the reputation of a respected poker player, and for that, we’re giving him good fortune to win a third bracelet in 2020.
Veronica Brill (Hat Tip, Joey Ingram)
When Veronica Brill, a Northern California grinder, accused fellow player Mike Postle of cheating on the Stones Live streams, she knew she would face some backlash. She anticipated many would call her a liar and bash her on social media, but she wasn’t fazed by it.
Brill came forward with allegations that Postle used some sort of technology to view his opponent’s hole cards during live-streamed cash games for more than a year. Her courage spearheaded the poker community, led by Joey Ingram, to investigate the accused cheater.
After viewing hours of footage on Ingram’s YouTube channel, most were convinced Postle had been cheating. Had Brill remained silent, Postle would have gotten away with it for lord knows how long. For her courage, Santa will reward her with a major poker tournament title next year.
When John Cynn won the 2018 WSOP Main Event, the poker community didn’t know much about him. Was he a good dude? Would he become a great ambassador? We found out the answer was “yes” to both of those questions.
“Magic” John Cynn became one of the best ambassadors of any past world champion. He didn’t disappear from the game like some past champs (ahem, Pius Heinz), nor did he refuse to be an ambassador (Joe McKeehen). Instead, he took on the role with great pride and proved throughout the year to be a class act.
Prior to the start of the 2019 Main Event, he announced “shuffle up and deal,” and then proceeded to sign autographs and take selfies with hundreds of fans. He charmed the crowd with his genuine smile, and made sure every poker fan in the crowd had an opportunity to take a picture with him. Santa would like to gift wrap a 2020 Main Event title for the former champ.
Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen, and Every Poker Vlogger
Vloggers have become some of the most valuable members of the poker community. And for that, we give mad props to those who aren’t afraid to put themselves in front of a camera to showcase the great game of poker to the YouTube world.
Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen are the two most popular vloggers, each having well over 100,000 YouTube subscribers. But there are many others out there, such as Tim “TheTrooper97” Watts, Marle Cordeiro, Jaman Burton, and others who create interesting vlogs.
These vloggers don’t typically play tournaments, so Santa won’t gift wrap them a bracelet. Instead, he’s going to put their dream camera under the Christmas tree.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all the poker players on this list, and also to our CardsChat community. We know you all made Santa’s nice list.