Poker has seen staggering growth over the last ten years, a fact clearly demonstrated by the massive increase in prize money paid out at poker’s biggest tournaments. In 1990 Mansour Matloubi won $835,000 for taking first place in the World Series of Poker, compared to the $8,000,000 paid out to 2007 World Series of Poker main event winner Jerry Yang.
The massive increase in prize money available at the World Series of Poker in recent years has been paralleled by a surge in public interest in professional poker tournaments. The year’s biggest poker tournaments draw some of the biggest television audiences for professional sports, with many cable and satellite broadcast companies offering dedicated poker channels to subscribers.
This massive growth in the popularity and media profile of poker, has given birth to the poker celebrity. While the top poker players of the 1980s and early 1990s were virtually anonymous, today even non-poker players have heard of successful contemporary players such as Men Nguyen and Eric Seidel.
The main route to Poker Celebrity status is a win at the World Series of Poker. Watched by millions of viewers worldwide, this tournament is the unofficial world poker championship, and transforms winners of the main tournament into instant millionaires.
Chris Moneymaker is an excellent example of a poker celebrity whose reputation was built on his victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker.
Many of the most popular Poker Celebrities earn their celebrity status for their behaviour at the poker table. Whether loved or hated by the poker viewing public, players like Phil Helmuth, Scotty Nguyen and Mike Matusow are as famous for their table banter and poker playing antics as for the quality of their game.
Other poker celebrities are revered for bringing a fresh, analytical approach to the game. Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, arguably poker’s biggest celebrity, is a computer scientist who applies both game theory and computer modelling algorithms to his game. Other players such as Men ‘the master’ Nguyen are famous for studying their adversaries in advance and attaining maximum psychological preparedness for poker’s biggest tournaments.
Finally some players earn poker celebrity status just by being weird. Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer plays in big tournaments wearing a pair of holographic reptilian goggles and with a fossil card holder close at hand. Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, a former petty criminal brings an elements of sleaze to his expertise, and is an intimidating presence at any table with his gold knuckleduster rings.
All these top poker celebrities and many more are profiled right here on Poker Celebrities. With profiles covering career winnings, playing style and career highlights, Poker Celebrities is dedicated to helping you to become better acquainted with you favourite poker celebrities.