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WSOP Poker Players to Watch

These are just a handful of the many poker players expected to shine at the 2006 WSOP Tournament, but they are the young poker blood at the top of their league:

Chris Moneymaker – WSOP champion, 2003

At first we thought Moneymaker was some sort of made-up name. Turned out it was his real name after all.

Moneymaker was an accountant before making it big playing poker. He graduated from the Univ. of Tennesee and he earned his seat to the WSOP through a $39 online satellite tourney. Chris said that the movie Rounders inspired him to play poker. That’s a $6 movie that eventually led to $2.5 million in his bank account.

After winning WSOP Chris decided to quit his job and become a full-fledged poker pro. Now he’s one of the endorsers of Poker Stars site, has his own poker DVD and earning millions more with numerous poker merchandise endorsements.

Greg Raymer – WSOP champion, 2004

Before throwing himself into poker stardom, Raymer was a lawyer from Connecticut. His poker experience began in college. “I started in my college fraternity, playing nickel-dime poker. I then didn’t really play again until I was working my first job as a lawyer in Chicago,” he said.

He worked as a blackjack card-counter in the Indian Casinos in Minnesota during grad school and law school to make extra money. Like Moneymaker, Raymer earned his WSOP seat playing at PokerStars.com. He defeated a field of 2576 players taking home $5 million for his first place finish, it was the single largest cash prize for a poker tournament during that time.

Joe Hachem – WSOP champion, 2005

2005 No Limit Texas Holdem Main Event champion Joe Hachem is from Australia. Of Lebanese descent, Hachem lives in Melbourne where he is a husband and father of four. He was a chiropractor by trade until a rare blood disorder in his hands forced him to take time off work in 2001. It was then that he began playing poker as a sport.

When he first decided to become a poker pro he played around Australian casinos but held off entering the WSOP because he wanted to wait until his children were older before he jetted off to Vegas. Hachem overpowered a field of 5619 players in the 2005 WSOP winning first place and taking $7.5 million back to Australia.

Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey finished 2005 with a very strong career record.

He is undoubtedly the most successful poker pro last year. His career earnings as a card player reach over $3.4 million in tournament earnings; 7 final tables; a World Series of Poker bracelet in $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha; a top 25 finish in the WSOP Main Event and a win at the very prestigious 2005 Monte Carlo Millions.

Because of these accomplishments, Ivey was named 2005 Player of the Year by Bluff Magazine, today’s leading poker publication. He is also one of the favorites to win the 2006 WSOP Main Event this year.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu, known to the poker world as Kid Poker, is one of the biggest sensation in Poker. This Toronto native is arguably one of the best players and one of the most successful in poker tournament history.

He was Card Player magazine’s "Player of the Year" in 2004. He also won the Bellagio’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic on the World Poker Tour and pocketed $1,770,000 in prize money. Then he grabbed his third gold bracelet at the 2004 World Series of Poker (Limit Hold’em).

Annie Duke

Annie Duke didn’t simply become famous for being the little sister of poker great, Howard Lederer. Instead she carved her own place by being one of the most competitive female poker opponents around.

In 2004 she proved her poker prowess beating 10 other super poker celebrities, which included her own brother Howard, Hellmuth, and Phil Ivey, to win the $2,000,000 inaugural World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. Duke is very much active in the poker scene and has been involved in many poker related activities. She is a frequent tournament player, a columnist and a poker camp co-owner.

Doyle Brunson

Brunson is a true poker legend. He is regarded as the best poker player in the world by many of his peers. He can be found regularly at the Bellagio in Las Vegas playing high stakes poker games with some of the best players around. He authored the top-selling book Super System, which is considered the bible for poker aficionados especially those just starting out. Brunson was one of the first three top poker players to be inducted at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Walk of Fame.

Chris Ferguson

Aside from being a top player, this 2000 WSOP champion is a mathematician and computer scientist with a photographic memory. His unique look– long hair, dark glasses, black hat — makes him one of the most recognizable faces in the poker universe. He’s played all the best poker stars in the world and has won more money than anyone can count. For this Ferguson has become a living poker legend and a household name in poker.

Phil Gordon

Born in 1970, Phil Gordon was originally from Texas and was a child prodigy who graduated from college at age 20. He worked on artificial intelligence projects for the military but later sold his technology company during the Internet stock bubble for $96 million.

He started playing poker at age 7 for pennies against his great aunt. Gordon is known as one of the nicest guys in the poker world. He helps organize poker events to benefit different charities and has contributed significantly to the popularity of poker.

Phil is an expert poker analyst and co-hosts the Celebrity Poker Showdown. He is a world-class poker player, adventure traveler, sports fan, and accomplished businessman.

Jennifer Harman

World Series of Poker bracelets are designed for men, being dominated by male players for so many years. Jennifer Harman is one of the top female players and she has two of those bracelets.

Top Women Poker Player – Jennifer Harman Harman began playing poker at age 8 with her father. At the age of 21, she began to play professionally starting small at $10-$20 tables and worked her way up to larger games. Add ‘author’ to he list of credits as she writes the chapter on Limit Hold’em in Super System 2.

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth is one of the most successful poker tournament players with nine WSOP titles to his name. His lifetime dream is to be the best poker player of all time, and at the rate he’s going he will probably achieve that dream. Hellmuth’s poker skills are unmatched but he’s had the reputation of being quite a whiner and getting upset whenever he’s beaten. He’s currently the spokesperson for online cardroom, Ultimate Bet, and has written a book called  Play Poker Like the Pros.

Howard Lederer

Most respected poker players: Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey & Eric Seidel

Howard Lederer he spent much of his childhood on the family room floor focused on card games. His family spent much of its time playing all sorts of card games, and one of them was poker. Howard’s competitiveness was honed in his quest to beat his father at the game. To this day, Howard believes his father never intentionally lost a game to him.

He taught younger sister Annie Duke how to play poker who, in no time, became one of the top poker players herself. She even beat him in the WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2004.

Howard was also a professional chess player until he decided to focus on poker instead.

He decided to move to Las Vegas to take his game to the next level. He concentrated on cash events until in 1992 when the WPT held monthly tournaments. Howard is best known as the best Limit Hold’em poker player.

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