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Poker Players Who Have Never Won the Main Event

Sports, Current Events | By The Top 13 on November 10, 2009

Tonight, ESPN airs the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event, although it was played during two sessions over the past week. The last player standing will collect more than $8.5 million. Of the players at the final table, one name stands out above all others - Phil Ivey. Considered by many to be the greatest poker player in the world, Ivey started the final table in seventh place. Nevertheless, he was the favorite to win his first Main Event championship. Even though Ivey wasn't able to win it all, all eyes were on him until he busted out. So as viewers get a look at Ivey and the rest of the November Nine tonight, we take a look at The Top 13 Poker Players Who Have Never Won the Main Event.

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Phil Ivey

1

Phil Ivey

Considered by just about everyone to be the best all-around poker player in the world today, Ivey has won seven World Series of Poker bracelets. From his baller lifestyle to his hip hop manager, Ivey is poker's biggest superstar. Ivey, who won two other bracelets this year, started the final table far behind the chip leader, Darvin Moon, and he was never able to get any momentum going. Now, he'll have to wait until next year to take another shot at the Main Event. Watch below to see Ivey dominate one of the most extraordinary hands The Top 13 has ever seen.

Daniel Negreanu

2

Daniel Negreanu

Known as "Kid Poker," Negreanu has four World Series of Poker bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, and more than $12.4 million in career tournament winnings to his name. He's also definitely the most interesting poker player to follow on twitter. Negreanu, well known for wearing hockey jerseys at the table, is without question the best in the world at reading his opponent's hand. See the video below for a few amazing examples of that skill.

Andy Bloch

3

Andy Bloch

Bloch is the highest player on The Top 13 who has never even won a World Series of Poker bracelet, let alone the Main Event. But Bloch has made his mark at the World Series, cashing in 23 events, and he has more than $4.2 million of career tournament earnings. But that might be small change compared to what Bloch might have won as a member of the M.I.T. blackjack team made famous by the book Bringing Down the House. Bloch, by the way, has two engineering degrees from M.I.T. and a law degree from Harvard.

Allen Cunningham

4

Allen Cunningham

Of all the players on this list, Cunningham has come the closest most recently to winning the Main Event championship, finishing fourth in 2006. Known as "Clever Piggy," Cunningham, who has won five World Series bracelets, is at least in the conversation for best player in the world. He has over $10 million in career tournament winnings. Even though Cunningham fell short at the final table in 2006, he showed off his skill in hands like the one below against eventual champion Jamie Gold.

John Juanda

5

John Juanda

Juanda is the most calm, unassuming player on The Top 13, rivaled perhaps only by Allen Cunningham. But whatever Juanda, a native of Indonesia, lacks in bravado, he more than makes up for it in skill. He's won four World Series bracelets, including last year's World Series of Poker Europe Main Event, and has more than $9 million in career tournament winnings. Juanda is considered a contemporary both in terms of age and ability of Ivey, Negreanu and Cunningham.

Howard Lederer

6

Howard Lederer

Known as "The Professor" for his analytical style, Lederer's best finish in the Main Event came way back in 1987, when he finished fifth. Lederer, who has more than $5.2 million in career tournament winnings, has won two World Series of Poker bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles. Lederer's also the only player on The Top 13 with a sibling (Annie Duke) who also has won a World Series bracelet. In the video below, the Professor provides an introductory lesson to playing no limit hold 'em.

Barry Greenstein

7

Barry Greenstein

Greenstein earned the nickname the "Robin Hood of Poker" for giving large portions on his tournament winnings to charity. He has won three World Series bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, has cashed in 44 World Series events, and has career tournament winnings of more than $6.9 million. Greenstein, whose best finish at the Main Event was 22nd in 1992, is known for his tight, methodical play, which always gives him a chance to last deep into large tournaments.

Mike Matusow

8

Mike Matusow

One of the most fascinating individuals on The Top 13, Matusow has battled drug addiction and weight problems, and spent time in jail on drug charges. He's also known almost as much for berating his opponents and losing his cool as he is for his ability at the tables. Still, Matusow has three World Series bracelets, two Main Event final table appearances, and more than $6.2 million in career tournament winnings. He's always a threat. Watch below as Matusow outplays perhaps the best of all-time, Phil Hellmuth, and then shows why he's known as the "Mouth."

Gus Hansen

9

Gus Hansen

Hansen, a native of Copenhagen, is viewed as the loosest, most aggressive player on The Top 13. Though he's never finished higher than 61st in the World Series of Poker Main Event and has never won a World Series bracelet, his unpredictable style always makes him a threat. Indeed, the "Great Dane" has three World Poker Tour titles to his credit and more than $7 million in career tournament winnings. Watch below as Hansen demonstrates his unpredictable style by going all-in hand after hand against some of the best players in the world.

Mike Sexton

10

Mike Sexton

On Saturday, Sexton became the only player on The Top 13 to be enshrined in the Poker Hall of Fame, where he'll be forever honored along side legends like Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and Stu Ungar. Sexton is known today as the announcer of the World Poker Tour, but he also is the owner of a World Series bracelet, has made the final table in 20 World Series events, and has collected more than $3.7 million in tournament winnings. Watch below as Sexton absolutely dominates a fellow member of The Top 13.

Humberto Brenes

11

Humberto Brenes

With two World Series bracelets, 55 cashes in World Series events, and more than $5.5 million in career tournament earnings, Brenes is always a threat to win the Main Event. His best finish was in 1988, when he finished fourth in the tournament, but he is probably better known for his run in the 2007 Main Event, when he placed 83rd out of an incredible 6,358 player field. During that tournament, Brenes' charismatic use of a shark card protector became a common site on ESPN broadcasts. Brenes, of Costa Rica, has two brothers who have won World Poker Tour titles.

Antonio Esfandiari

12

Antonio Esfandiari

At 30, Esfandiari is the youngest player on The Top 13. The native of Iran has been playing poker for fewer than ten years, yet he already has won a World Series bracelet and a World Poker Tour title. Esfandiari, who worked as a magician before he began making his living playing poker, had his best Main Event run this year, finishing 24th. He has more than $3.4 million in career tournament winnings. Watch below to see the "Magician" provide instruction on how to do chip tricks.

Men Nguyen

13

Men Nguyen

Nguyen is known as "The Master" for a reason. A self-taught poker player who fled Vietnam by boat in 1978 and eventually received political asylum in the United States, Nguyen has six World Series bracelets and 65 World Series cashes on his resume. With more than $9 million in career tournament winnings, the Master is well-known for teaching the game to many younger players who have gone onto tournament success, including his cousins, David Pham and Minh Nguyen.

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Comments Leave a comment

recycleonly 

Negreanu's easily my favorite, but this is a great list.

7:17 AM   Nov 10, 2009

Driftwood 

Really happy to see Juanda at #5. My favourite player and I thought he may get overlooked for this. You can argue the order, but if you take out Bloch, you have a pretty hard to argue top 4. I wonder if we revisit this issue in a few years whether Oberstad or Demidov will make it on there (if they don't win the main event that is).

8:55 AM   Nov 10, 2009

stillathreat ★★

How is Andy Bloch ahead of the rest of these guys? Because he's smart? He has not acomplished nearly what some of the other players on the list and not on the list have acomplished.

11:13 AM   Nov 10, 2009

KungFuJay ★★

Where is T.J. Cloutier? MF is old school. Plus:

http://totallylookslike.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/tj-cloutier.jpg

11:39 AM   Nov 10, 2009

jasun 

Cloutier is a good call, but is well known for being a better Omaha player than Hold'em (though he has finished 2nd in the main event). I agree that he is a tough one to leave off this list.

As for Andy Bloch, I completely agree hat he is higher than he should be on here. My lis would look similar to this, only move Bloch to about 9th and maybe find a place for someone like Annie Duke or Kenny Tran.

2:36 PM   Nov 10, 2009

KungFuJay ★★

FWIW, Cloutier (aka "Grumpy Cookie") has been runner-up in the Main Event twice.

2:42 PM   Nov 10, 2009

jasun 

my my my cookie face my cook-cookie face

2:44 PM   Nov 10, 2009

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