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Pierre Neuville Joins 2015 November Nine 4th in Chips but 1st by Seniority, Experience and Winnings

He’s got almost 3 decades in the games industry, a passion for competitive tennis and golf, and a successful poker career: games of all kinds are a recurrent theme throughout Pierre Neuville’s life, which reads like a novel and is likely  to end up on the big screen one day. For now he  will have to content himself with the biggest stage in poker - the 2015 November Nine!

Pierre Neuville: 'Poker makes me younger every year!'

Poker beginnings and business career

Born in 1943, Pierre Neuville comes from the region of Charleroi in Belgium. He started playing poker in 1957 and indulged his passion for the game throughout his six years at Universite libre de Bruxelles (1963-1969), when he would play tirelessly for up to 20 hours a day!

In 1969 Neuville created a board game named after the famous cyclist Eddy Merckx and started a toy company. It would become very successful in the 1970s and was eventually bought by Hasbro, one of the world's largest toy makers. Pierre Neuville worked for Hasbro for about 10 years after 1982, during which time his official position and responsibilities as Vice President meant he could not even set foot in a casino.

1993 marked  a new beginning - Neuville started a new business as personal consultant to Belgian table-tennis player Jean-Michel Saive. Sharing a passion for golf, they played regularly and it was through golf that Neuville met and became friends with two of his other star clients and friends: Gary Player (considered one of the best golfers of all time),  and Kevin Costner. We will probably have to wait for Neuville’s memoirs to find out exactly what his work involved but it sounds intriguing :) Player has been reported as saying, ‘Pierre has become a friend and has gotten me out of situations of which I dared not speak even to my lawyers, I owe him immensely’.

 

Retirement and professional poker

When he was 45, Pierre decided to pursue an old dream and to try and become a seniors tennis champion. He came fourth in the Belgian Championship but damaged his hip badly while training. This later caused a fracture (during a golf tournament!) and a series of unsuccessful operations that ultimately led to his transition to professional poker in 2008:

During that time I told my wife: If I survive this, I stop everything I do and I'm going to play poker. She thought I was crazy. We were married for twenty years and she had never seen me playing cards.

Neuville’s first recorded live cash was from the Belgian Poker Championship in 2007, and his first international tournament was the Main Event in the European Poker Tour PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January 2008. He finished 18th for $48,000 and that started his professional poker career - 'it started my bankroll, and my bankroll’s never disappeared since then'.

 

World Record

After that cash in the PCA, armed with patience, determination and a pile of notes, Neuville attacked the online satellites and went on to set a record considered unbeatable by most: he qualified online for 23 consecutive EPT Main Events. In 2012 this remarkable feat earned him the Online Qualifier of the Year Award from the European Poker Tour, as well as a new nickname on PokerStars (where he is the Team Pro doyen) - ‘The Serial PokerStars Qualifier’.

Photo © PokerStars/Neil Stoddart

If you are curious how he achieved it, read Neuville’s exclusive series of articles for PokerListings about his strategy and ‘secrets’ (spoiler: ‘there is no secret!’).

 

Serial Qualifier and Serial Runner-Up

In the past 7 years on the live circuit, Neuville has accumulated the impressive $2,188,459 in tournament winnings, yet a major title remains elusive.

Before the 2015 WSOP and his now guaranteed minimum 9th place prize of $1,001,020, Neuville’s top three six-figure cashes were all earned from runner-up finishes: two in EPT Main Events from Vilamoura (2009) and Copenhagen (2012), and one in last year’s 45th Annual World Series of Poker, when he finished second in the $5,000 buy-in Event 24 for $385,041.

He has another two 2nd places in EPT events - from UKIPT London 2014 and from EPT Barcelona in 2011.

And to top it all, Neuville ranks second in the Belgium all-time ranking by live tournament earnings. 

 

The best is still to come!

In March 2015, Pierre Neuville received the Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poker at the European Poker Awards. In his prophetic acceptance speech Neuville joked about having unfinished business as he never seems to win and is always runner-up.

‘I’m sorry to tell you but it’s not achieved yet. The best is still to come!’

 

And surely the best is now a fact, whatever happens in November. Neuville has achieved every poker player’s dream as one of the finalists in the WSOP Main Event.

He is guaranteed his biggest career cash even if he goes out 9th, and should he add another runner-up finish to his resume, the prize money ($4,469,171 for 2nd place) would be enough for him to overtake Davidi Kitai and top the Belgium all-time earnings ranking!

Pierre Neuville may come to the final table fourth in chips, but leads by seniority and popularity, as well as by live tournament experience and winnings! We wish him the best of luck!

Sources and links:

http://www.rankinghero.com/en/players/17443/Pierre.Neuville/stats.html

Pierre Neuville - Stats - Ranking Herowww.rankinghero.com

http://www.pokerstars.be/fr/blog/team_pokerstars/2013/pierre-neuville-limprobable-parcours-du-140968.shtml


Pierre Neuville Lives Post-Retirement Poker Dreams to the FullestPoker News: Pierre Neuville was unable to play poker for decades because of his role at Hasbro Europe, but upon his retirement in 2008 he started a poker career that's beenwww.bluff.com

http://www.pokerlistings.com/featured-authors/pierre-neuville

Het beste van PokerNews Magazine: Pierre Neuville - Eindelijk pokerPierre Neuville dacht dertig jaar lang aan poker. Maar gedurende deze dertig jaar kon hij niet spelen, vanwege zijn baan bij een van de grootste spelletjesproducenten ter wereld, Hasbro. Al die tijd lopen nadenken over poker blijkt te lonen, want...nl.pokernews.com

EPT Deauville: Pierre Neuville's Eternal YouthPierre Neuville is among the older players in the field, but he's clearly also among the toughest. At the age of 71 Neuville's coming of his best year in tou...www.youtube.com

#RKHbio #NovemberNine  

Published by @Annie RKH July 16, 2015

 and in November 

GL !

Gillian Epp Bio and Poker Profile

Published by @Annie RKH, March 26th:

 

“Playing against the best players raises your own level of play. I learn the most when I am put in challenging situations, the way I am against really good players.”

Born on October 1, 1984, @Gillian Epp grew up in a small town in the Canadian Rockies. In high school,   she was the only girl in a competitive soccer league. No wonder she later chose a career in another competitive and traditionally male-dominated field!

After high school, Gillian tried and quickly lost interest in pursuing university studies so she went to India and studied yoga instead. At the age of 19, Gillian came back to Canada with a new passion - she had discovered poker!

Gillian took a job as a dealer in a local casino, all while practicing online and reading up on the fundamentals of poker.

Dealing can be very tedious if the players aren't entertaining you. But that down time is a great opportunity to learn and study hands and players. If I wasn’t chatting with the players then I was defiantly analyzing what was happening in the game. (TitanPoker)

After a while she realized she could make more money playing than dealing and took to live cash games. She has since established herself as a professional high-stakes cash game player and occasionally plays tournaments as well.

I don’t play many tournaments because I don’t like the long hours, big swings and heart break that comes with tournament poker. But even cash players dream of winning the WSOP Main Event! (PokerPinUps)

Photos: http://www.gillianepp.com

Gillian Epp was part of the IveyPoker Team (Phil Ivey's free training platform closed in late 2014 but Ivey League is up and running) and was the live host for the 2014 Canadian Poker Tour @Grey Eagle Casino

Every summer she spends at least a month in Las Vegas where she is one of the pros casting their nets at the cash game tables in the fish-swarming WSOP season :)

Some of my favorite hands have been against celebrities, because they make me laugh and remember that poker is a game and games are fun. (WomanOfPoker)

That is exactly how we feel here on RankingHero.com and we are happy to have Gillian Epp among us!

 

Follow her profile for updates and check out the interviews below:

 

Woman of Poker Interview with Pro Player Gillian EppPokerPinups interviews professional woman of poker Gillian Epp to hear about her experiences, her new role as part of the IveyPoker team and her WSOP plans.www.pokerpinups.com

20 Questions with Canadian Female Poker Player Gillian Epp, TitanPoker Interview:

 #RKHbio 

2014 Poker Hall of Famer Jack McClelland Bio and Poker Profile

"Poker players are intense. Poker's not life or death to them; it's much more important than that."

@Jack McClelland  was born in 1952 in McConnelsville, Ohio and moved to Las Vegas in 1976 as the drier Nevada climate was recommended for his mother’s health.

His grandmother taught him poker when he was 6 and he has loved the game ever since, but Jack found his true calling on the other side of the poker tables. As a teenager, he was already organizing poker tournaments for the neighborhood kids.

My grandmother taught me how to play, starting with two-cent ante, nickel-limit seven-card stud. I was kept broke until I was ten years old because I couldn’t throw a hand away (laughs). But I learned a lot about math playing poker. (Cardplayer interview, 2013) 

At the time of the family move to Nevada, Jack was a semi-professional bowler. In Las Vegas he got a job at Sahara Casino and was soon working as a dealer, moving up to shift manager within 18 months.

"I did everything. Set-ups, emptying ashtrays, learning to deal... A year later, I was shift manager." (PokerNews)

The casino closed in 1980 and for a while McClelland was active as a player on the live circuit, collecting first-hand experience, observations and (mostly) complaints about the way tournaments were run at the time. His late wife @Alma McClelland (herself a poker player and winner of the 1989 WSOP Ladies Event) at one point exclaimed, “If you’re such a genius, why don’t you run them yourself!”.

And that’s what he ended up doing! He started running shifts at WSOP, rapidly working his way up and running tournaments in the WSOP for 15 years. McClelland is also largely credited for bringing tournament poker to the @Commerce Casino and has directed tournaments all over the world, including Isle of Man, Austria, Cyprus, and Russia.

Because of his late wife Alma’s illness he had withdrawn from the poker scene for some years and had to start all over again in the new millenium. Both in poker and in his personal life, with a second marriage. Jack has often said it was his Polish wife Elizabeth’s passion for travel that got him back on the live circuit as a tournament director.

In 2002 he started as TD at the @Bellagio and it was to remain his home base right up to his retirement in 2013, for health reasons.

 

Jack McClelland was involved in the creation of the @World Poker Tour in 2002, with the then innovative idea of televised tournaments with hole cards. He has been a major figure in the poker industry ever since and through the years of the poker boom, the recession, and the slow recovery since Black Friday 2011.

I’m pretty proud that over 37 years in gaming I’ve never had a gaming violation or employee complaints. If I’ve improved the game of poker any at all over the years by rules or things I’ve done, then I feel like I’ve had a successful career.

In 2014 the poker community wholeheartedly welcomed McClelland's induction into the Poker Hall of Fame alongside @Daniel Negreanu

Jack McClelland, 63, has seen poker from all sides and from its highest high to its lowest low. A one-time semi-professional bowler who moved out to Las Vegas to help his ailing mother, McClelland ended up with one of the most storied poker operations careers spanning five decades. McClelland has worked with three existing Poker Hall of Famers, Eric Drache, Jack Binion and Bobby Baldwin and was involved at the Bellagio when Mike Sexton and the WPT brought their first tournament there. From tournament directing the WSOP in the 80’s to running the Bellagio poker room from 2002 to 2013, McClelland has been part of a lot of poker history, and has done so from the operator side, starting as an $18 a day dealer and working his way up to running the biggest events and biggest rooms in Las Vegas. McClelland also played a little poker, but only for a brief stint full time. He has worked poker events in Aruba, Cyprus, London, Vienna and Russia. McClelland retired at the end of last year.

(POKER HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES CLASS OF 2014, WSOP.com)

“Being inducted into the Class of 2014 Poker Hall of Fame is a very exciting prospect and I am sure it will be a very humbling experience. I thank everyone involved in this process and to the WSOP, WPT and all of the great people I have met and the wonderful people I have worked with throughout the years. Thank you for bestowing this honor upon me. I am very grateful.”


As Ty Stewart put it when congratulating the 47th and 48th HOF inductees, Negreanu and McClelland, “both have devoted their full hearts to the game”.

Jack McClelland is in need of a heart transplant and in his own words (from a moving letter to his friend Nolan Dala), has ‘taken a gamble on his life’, declining a heart battery while waiting for a transplant.

Gambling has been my life. Hopefully I made the right decision this time.

We hope so too and look forward to seeing Jack compete again and enjoy many good runs without the burden of actually running the games :)

For a complete listing of Jack McClelland's tournament poker results:

Jack McClelland - Poker index and results of Jack McClellandDiscover and follow Jack McClelland on the poker social network: United States and international ranking, results, tournaments, blog, pictures and endorsements. www.rankinghero.com

Jack McClelland - A Man With Heart - Nolan Dalla    There’s bitter irony to the news Jack McClelland needs a heart transplant. As poker’s grand inquisitor for the past 30 years, Jack has been the very heart of the game for as long as I can remember. I first met Jack when he served as Tournament Director for the World Series of Poker during the 1980s.  Teamed with his longtime confidant Jim Albrecht, together they were the most respected 1-2 duo in the game.  Like pocket kings. Things were much different when they started …www.nolandalla.com

#RKHbio 

Stay tuned for @Nicolas Levi's interview with our #WeeklyHero Jack McClelland! 

Samantha Abernathy Bio and Poker Profile

She’s got the looks of a Royal Flush Girl and the poker tournament record of a world champion. The 23-year-old graphic designer & photographer made her official debut in poker rankings last year and finished 2014 on the very top, scoring more in-the-money finishes, final tables, and 1st places than any other woman on the planet! In February 2015 @Samantha Abernathy won her biggest cash to date and almost doubled her career earnings.

About Samantha

@Samantha Abernathy was born on May 11, 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia.

She studied Design at Savannah College of Art and Design.

She later lived in Chicago where she worked as a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and illustrator.

In 2014, Samantha moved to Las Vegas.

Discover her portfolio here (note the poker-chip inspired kitchen measurements infographic :)

 

Poker

Samantha Abernathy’s first cash on record is dated January 3, 2014, when she finished 129th and won $1,600 in a $160 buy-in tournament at the @Bicycle Casino.

Less than 3 months later, she scored her first 1st place for $690.

 

By then Samantha was playing regularly at @Caesars Palace and had an amazing series of 6 consecutive wins in April alone.

 

The 'belissima & bravissima' Samantha drew the attention of Italian media as the protege of @Flaminio Malaguti, Vegas based Italian businessman and poker player, and a world poker record holder himself.

 

"This year I'd like to begin my focus with the daily DeepStacks just as Flaminio did last year when he won the DeepStack player of the year and the seat to the main event. I saw the interview you did with him after the trophy ceremony on youtube and it inspired me to strive for the same achievement," (Gioconews interview, May 27 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha with her poker mentor, after they finished first and second in a @Caesars Palace event. 

 


On June 1, 2014 Samantha Abernathy played her first ever WSOP bracelet event. And though she did not score, this summer she added 6 ITM finishes in the @Rio WSOP Deepstacks to her resume.

By the end of 2014, Samantha Abernathy had $36,220 in total earnings from 39 ITM finishes, of which 28 final tables and 14 first places!

She thus finished the year as the top player in the United States 2014 ranking by 1st places

Samantha also topped the worldwide women's rankings for 2014 by ITM, by final tables, and 1st places!

2015 promises even greater things. With her $25,000 cash as the runner-up in Event 35, Deepstack Extravaganza @The Venetian Las Vegas, Samantha Abernathy is moving up to the major league of poker and we wish her lots of continued success! 

Player profile&stats: http://www.rankinghero.com/samantha.abernathy

Samantha Abernathy - Poker index and results of Samantha AbernathyDiscover and follow Samantha Abernathy on the poker social network: United States and international ranking, results, tournaments, blog, pictures and endorsements. www.rankinghero.com

Photos: https://instagram.com/samabernathyy/?modal=true

 

Samantha Abernathy (@samabernathyy) • Instagram photos and videosSee Instagram photos and videos from Samantha Abernathy (@samabernathyy)instagram.com

Introducing Samantha Abernathy - U.S. Number One by 1st Place&Final Table Finishes - Ranking Hero@Samantha Abernathy is a 23-year-old American freelance designer and poker player of amazing beauty, with an even more amazing tournament record in 2014. Her earliest recorded ITM finish is from January of the current year and since then she has won 10 tournaments, made 19 final tables, and collected a total of 29 cashes!!! As a result, Samantha now tops the U.S. 2014 ranking by final tables AND by 1st place finishes! With her fantastic looks, we feel pretty sure she will soon take by storm another type of ranking as well - the hottest player lists that all poker media and fans love so much ;)www.rankinghero.com

Meet the Man with Most Poker Tournament Wins in the World - Flaminio Malaguti - Ranking HeroIf you are in Vegas this summer, chances are you might meet him at the @Rio Deepstacks or @Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Phamous Poker Series, where he is a regular. @Flaminio Malaguti is an Italian who has been living in Vegas for many years. You may not be impressed by his $344,170 in live earnings, but he has won more tournaments than anyone on record, with uninterrupted series of as many as 26 consecutive wins in 2014 and a total of 97 first place finishes!www.rankinghero.com

#RKHbio 

She has talent, for sure. Nice to see a woman perform like this. 

'I Am Blessed, Plain and Simple' Antonio Esfandiari Bio & Poker Profile

Two WPT titles, three WSOP bracelets, and the biggest live tournament cash in poker history - our #WeeklyHero @Antonio Esfandiari certainly has a lot of blessings to count! Yet this public statement from February 2015 was not poker related. It was inspired by fatherhood - by a man's great love and admiration for his father and the birth of his own son:

On January 7th at 8:01 am, I became a father of a beautiful son. It was a moment that truly cannot be explained, only experienced. I am shocked and transformed, and my life has changed forever.

I have to admit that my life has been quite a ride. I took the road less travelled from a repressed life in Iran to America, and wrote my own unique version of the ‘American Dream’. I found my incredible wife and soulmate, and now feel like I have truly arrived as I experience a life with my beautiful, healthy and handsome son.

I am blessed, plain and simple.

Photo: http://www.bluff.com/news/wsop-photo-blog-ladies-with-bling-kung-fu-kicks-and-stacks-of-cash-32576/

The early years

Amir Esfandiari was born on December 8, 1978 in Iran and lived in Tehran until 1988.

I remember we were at war with Iraq and there would be bombs going off and we’d have to go and hide out in the basements of the apartment that we used to live in.

When he was about 10, the family moved to America. Soon after their arrival in San Jose, CA, his parents divorced and his mother went back to Iran. Antonio and his younger brother were raised by their father and grandparents.

We were very lucky and my father gave up his entire life and everything in Iran to bring us to America and give his kids a better life.

 

 

Wow...my brother @uberpasha and me... Many moons ago... Just being. I love you so much Baraddaaaar !!! http://instagram.com/magicantonio/ Antonio's brother. Pasha 'Paul' Esfandiary is a poker player too: http://www.rankinghero.com/pasha.esfandiari

By the time he was 18 and before he had finished high-school, Antonio had left home and was supporting himself by working as a waiter. He graduated in 1997 and tried studying business at college but 'couldn’t get into it'.

I was a straight-A student up until my last semester of high school, my senior year, when I started getting into bad things and partying. I ran away from home the night before I turned 17. I came home and my father and I had a fight, so I packed my stuff and I left. ..when I was about 18 I got my own apartment. My whole senior year I had my own apartment. I paid for it by working as a waiter. I always made good bucks as a waiter. I got tons of tips. As soon as I got my own apartment my place was party-central. I had the party house. Every Friday night was a huge blowout and my grades dropped as my partying increased.

Magic

It was in that same senior year of crazy partying and waiting tables that Antonio discovered magic.

One night I was sitting in the restaurant where I worked, Left at Albuquerque, and I saw this bartender do a magic trick. He did about three and I was baffled. So I went straight to a magic store that had just opened up in town. I talked to the guy who ran it and explained the trick the barman had done. He said to me, “You can do exactly what he did,” and I thought, “No way!” I bought this trick and some others and just started performing them for people. The reaction I got was great and I was instantly hooked. People were suddenly interested in what I was doing, so I had to learn more. For about two years I practiced for about 12 hours a day.

He was still working as a waiter, performing tricks for his customers and soon started getting magic gigs at corporate parties, which paid $300-400 an hour. By the time he was 20, he had changed his name to Antonio and had become a professional magician.  

Poker beginnings

Antonio Esfandiari was first introduced to poker by a roommate who took him to his first live tournament when he was 19 (and had to lie about his age to play).

I actually won my first tournament. Scott said, “If you’re really going to start playing, you should read a book and really learn how to play;” so, he gave me Lee Jones’, Winning Low Limit Hold ’Em. I read it and just started doing what it told me to and that’s when I started playing poker.

At the age of 22 he was making enough from poker to quit magic and waiting tables and to start crushing them full time.

World Poker Tour 

Esfandiari's first recorded cash in a live tournament was from Event 11 in the 2002 WPT LAPC at the @Commerce Casino (which would prove a lucky venue for him). It was in that year that he became one of the most-talked about newcomers in live poker with his impressive performance in the @World Poker Tour Gold Rush Tournament and the famous confrontation with @Phil Hellmuth whom he busted in 4th place. Antonio made his first final table in a major live event and finished 3rd for $44,000.

Some called him Kid44 after that cash, but only two years later had to change it to Kid 1.4 MILLION when The Magician won his first WPT champion title in 2004 WPT LAPC. (A feat he repeated in 2010, when he won the Five Diamond World Poker Classic and his second WPT title).

At the time I won, I was the youngest player ever to win a WPT event. I won $1.4 million. I spent some of the winnings on a Dodge Viper and some on an Armani suit.

'The beginning of a beautiful friendship'

They have been roommates, best friends and partners in numerous poker projects in the past decade, the latest one being Underground Poker (a proposed reality TV series about private high-stakes games). Antonio Esfandiari and @Phil Laak's friendship from their early wild years, through downswings, and into maturity is a true source of inspiration!  (And if you ever run out of prop bet ideas, check out their 'I Bet You' show for some fun&crazy challenges.)

When I was just getting into high-stakes poker I had the fortune to meet Phil Laak. Later on we ended up moving in together in San Francisco. I met Phil at the WSOP while I was doing magic for the people at my table. I noticed Phil wasn’t looking at the magic, but at my hands; trying to figure it out. I hate it when people do that. So I went to another table and Phil moved with me and started looking at my hands again. So we started chatting and hanging out. I went to New York to visit him and we partied and every now and then I would call him to tell him about the games in the Bay Area. So he came out to visit and, by the time he left, we had pre-paid for an apartment for six months.

The WSOP

With 3 bracelets and 30 ITM finishes worth a total of $21,102,136, Antonio Esfandiari tops the all-time WSOP earnings ranking and has scored the biggest single cash in live tournament poker history - $18,346,673!

The Bracelets:

2004, 35th WSOP, Event 21

2012, 43rd WSOP, Big One for One Drop

2012, WSOPE, Event 2

 

Ultimate Poker

In 2013 Ultimate Poker signed Antonio Esfandiari as its brand ambassador on the occasion of its online Nevada launch.

"We're thrilled to have Antonio Esfandiari represent our company," said Ultimate Poker chairman Tom Breitling. "Antonio is the ultimate champion and modern poker player. He brings the gaming lifestyle to the online arena with his work-hard, play-hard attitude." (PokerNews)

 

 

And to conclude, here's a piece of inspirational advice from a 2012 reddit AMA by Esfandiari:

Focus on your health first, workout EVERY day, eat healthy!!! And write down your goals and what steps you need to get to where you want to be and JUST DO IT. You can do anything you want...as long as you have a clear vision of what it is that you want.

Don't miss the interview by @Nicolas Levi:

"I play poker to live, I don't live to play poker" Antonio Esfandiari Interview - Ranking HeroHas the game become too elitist and off-putting to regular fans and amateurs? Is the industry in for a major change? Nicolas Levi continues the Rankinghero interview series about the poker industry with two-time @World Poker Tour champion and winner of 3 @WSOP bracelets, our #WeeklyHero @Antonio Esfandiari! www.rankinghero.com

 

Check out Esfandiari's stats page on RankingHero for a full listing of his live poker results, including the latest cash at @ARIA Resort & Casino. Follow his profile and give him disctinctions:

Antonio Esfandiari - Poker index and results of Antonio EsfandiariDiscover and follow Antonio Esfandiari on the poker social network: United States and international ranking, results, tournaments, blog, pictures and endorsements. www.rankinghero.com


Antonio Esfandiari (@magicantonio) • Instagram photos and videosThe official Instagram of professional poker player Antonio Esfandiariinstagram.com

Antonio Esfandiari on Fatherhood Little munchkin time...www.bluffeurope.com

The Rise Of A Poker MillionaireDespite amassing millions of dollars in Poker, Antonio Esfandiari has not lost track on his roots. The Iranian reminisces on his move to America and early days.www.bluff.com

Antonio also has an IMDb profile and you may have seen him and best buddy Phil Laak in Deal (2008) with Burt Reynolds:

Poker Outside the Casinos | Underground PokerCatch UNDERGROUND POKER Wed Sep 10 10/9c on Discovery. | http://www.discovery.comwww.youtube.com

I Bet You Season 1 - Episode 4: TattooGet $1000 FREE and start playing: http://tiny.cc/lkbybx I Bet You I Bet You is a show about the lives of best friends and professional poker players Phil "Th...www.youtube.com

 #RKHbio 

excellent, very informative !

2004 WSOP Champion Greg Raymer Bio & Poker Profile

@Greg Raymer: 'People think poker is a game of cards but it’s really a game of people.'

 

The early years

Born in Minot, North Dakota, Greg Raymer moved to Florida with his famly when he was 10 and then lived in St. Louis, Missouri, where he finished high school and earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry. In 1989 he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Master’s degree in biochemistry and then enrolled in the University of Minnessota Law School, graduating in 1992. He practiced as a patent attorney until his historic WSOP victory in 2004, working for bio-tech and pharmaceutical companies.

Poker beginnings

Greg Raymer came to poker from blackjack. Throughout his years as a student (until the age of 28) he was a professional blackjack player and card counter and had only played a little poker at his fraternity house in college.
A few years later, when he got a job in Chicago, he was looking for blackjack games but couldn’t find any. Instead, he found poker. Once Raymer discovered this new passion, he went about it in the systematic and rational way that befits his legal mind - reading and studying the poker books he could find (most notably, The Theory of Poker, by David Sklansky, which he has called ‘by far the best poker book out there’).

 

ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES

For years Raymer grinded small cash games having made a ’deal’ with his wife that he would have a $1,000 bankroll and would quit forever if he ever lost it. It never came to that.

Instead, by 1998 he had started filing his taxes as part-time poker professional: ‘It certainly wasn’t my primary source of income between ’98 and 2004, but it was a nice bit of extra income.’
In 1999 his work took him to Connecticut and in the following years Raymer became a regular at the @Foxwoods Resort Casino poker tables.

The World Series of Poker

Raymer played his first World Series in 2001, when he entered 4 tournaments and cashed in a $1,500 PLO event.

2002 didn’t go so well and after losing $30,000, Raymer had to find backers in order to continue playing without touching the ‘family income’. He sold $500 shares to about 20 people and a couple of years later they must have been very pleased with their investment, when each share was worth $36,000 :)

In the spring of 2004 Raymer won a $160 PokerStars online satellite and was off for his third attempt at the Main Event. It certainly proved the saying ‘third time lucky’. The field that year was 2,576, building an enormous prize pool and first place prize of $5,000,000. Watch the final hand against @David Williams wih Greg Raymer's own commentary:

 

The very next year Greg Raymer amazed the poker world with another great performance and deep run in the 2005 WSOP Main Event, finishing 25th from a field of over 5,619.

Fossilman

The nickname derives from the fossil Greg Raymer uses as a card protector. In fact, in his early poker years, he would sell fossils to other players as a way of adding to his poker bankroll :) The fossil card protector goes well with his other famous trademark - the lizard eye hologram glasses.

I bought my original lizard-eye 3-D hologram sunglasses at the gift shop connected to the Tower of Terror ride at Disney MGM Studios in Disneyworld, Orlando, FL. I was there on a family vacation prior to my first attempt at the WSOP main event in 2002. I thought it would be a funny joke to put them on in the middle of an important hand. However, when I first did so, instead of making everybody laugh, the glasses freaked out my opponent in the hand, and caused him to fold. Since then, I’ve found that some of my opponents are very uncomfortable playing against me because of the glasses, and therefore I’ve continued to wear them during major tournaments.

ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES

Today, I don’t wear those glasses anymore, for a few reasons. First, they are essentially just dark sunglasses with the hologram sticker on the outside. As dark sunglasses, they are too much of a hindrance to my vision unless I am in a VERY well lit space, such as a televised table.


Professional Poker Player

Raymer has always stuck to his own top advice to poker beginners: ‘Never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose’, and never considered risking his family’s financial security by leaving his job and playing full-time until 2004. Even then, it was the PokerStars sponsorship deal (2004-2011), rather than the cash prize, that decided him to make the move to full-time professional.

For years now Greg Raymer has been one of the most active ambassadors of the game, a committed advocate of U.S. online poker regulation, and Poker Players Alliance activist.
He has been operating his own training site since 2011, teaching seminars in various locations across the U.S. and offering private tutoring - www.fossilmanpokertraining.com


FossilMan Poker Trainingwww.fossilmanpokertraining.com

You can also follow Greg on ShareMyPair, where he regularly posts and discusses noteworthy hands: http://www.sharemypair.com/userweb/smpuserdetails/user_id/3079


ShareMyPair - Live Poker Game Hand Recorder and Replayer App for iPhone and AndroidQuickly and easily create your own personalized animated poker videos of hands you’ve played with our iOS and Android apps. Then instantly share them with your friends and followers using twitter, facebook, email, and text messaging.www.sharemypair.com


‘Just a result by itself doesn’t prove anything. Only a whole lot of results do.’

And ‘a whole lot’ is what you will find on his player profile page on RankingHero, boasting $7,459,055 in live earnings since 1998. Check out the complete listing of his tournament results, including the amazing FOUR @Heartland Poker Tour victories in 2012, making him the number one player on the all-time HPT leaderboard

Top 10 Stories of 2012: #7, Greg Raymer Wins Four Heartland Poker Tour Titles 
.

'If poker teaches you anything, it’s how to leave the bad stuff behind.'

Read the UK PokerNews interview where Greg discusses his career in poker and talks about his arrest in 2013 (on charges that were later dismissed): http://www.pokernews.com/news/2014/05/raymer-the-fossilman-excavates-past-and-looks-to-future-18239.htm

Greg Raymer: The Fossilman Excavates His Past and Looks to the FutureTen years after his win, 2004 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Raymer opens up about all the ups and downs of the past 10 years, and what he looks forward to in the future.www.pokernews.com

Watch Greg Raymer tell the funny story of his attempted mugging at 19'31:

 

Find out more about Greg, buy an autographed photo or fossil, and ask him your questions on his official website: http://www.fossilmanpoker.com


Homewww.fossilmanpoker.com


 

Don't miss the interview with our #WeeklyHero Greg Raymer by @Nicolas Levi!

#RKHbio 

Excellent article on that Poker legend, thanks Annie ! 

Nice choice of quotes, pictures and quotes ;)

Btw nice info about his holographic glasses ;)

Holographic glasses?

'The Ambassador of Poker' Mike Sexton Bio and Poker Profile

"A true gentleman who has constantly enhanced the game of poker both with his play at the tables and his promotion of the game off of it" - this is how PartyPoker spokesman and WPT host @Mike Sexton was presented in the announcement of his 2009 induction into the Poker Hall of Fame and five years later, it's more true than ever! 

Photo: Hochgepokert.com

Early years

Michael Richard Sexton was born on September 22, 1947 in Shelby, Indiana and grew up in Dayton, Ohio.

He started in gymnastics at the age of 10, together with his older brother Tom, and his excellence in the sport later earned him a four-year scholarship at Ohio State University, where he completed a degree in public recreation (after stwitching from business).

In 1970, Mike Sexton joined the U.S. army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed in North Carolina. For a few years after his military service, he worked as a sales rep before deciding he could make his living playing poker full-time.

Poker beginnings

Mike started playing poker when he was 13 years old, played a lot throughout his college years.

He had been supporting himself entirely by grinding cash games in North Carolina for 7 years when he played his first World Series of Poker in 1984. Sexton cashed in two events, decided that Las Vegas was the place for him and made it his home in January 1985.

 

The WSOP

He hasn't missed a WSOP in 26 years and has actually cashed in every single World Series since 1988, including a bracelet win in 1989 in a $1,500 7 card stud event! His current score is 61 paid places and $3,475,428 (Including the $1 million win in the 2006 Tournament of Champions), which puts him  in 13th position in the all-time worldwide ranking by WSOP ITM.

 

WPT Flashbacks: Mike Sexton

The WPT and PartyPoker

Mike Sexton has been part of the World Poker Tour ever since its inception. Since 2002, as WPT host and PartyPoker spokesman, he has firmly established himself as one of the best-recognized voices and faces of poker, a model ambassador and a dedicated champion of the game. 

 

On June 27, 2006, he won the third annual invitational World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions event where he topped an exclusive field of 27 in final heads-up play for the $1 million prize with @Daniel Negreanu:

The next high point in his live poker career was the historic $1 million buy-in 2012 Big One for One Drop, when Mike Sexton finished 9th and scored his biggest cash to date: $1,109,333!


Giving back

After taking down the 2006 Tournament of Champions, Sexton decided to donate half of his post-tax winnings to charities and pledged to do the same in the future. In 2008, together with @Linda Johnson @Jan Fisher and Lisa Tenner, Mike Sexton founded Poker Gives.

Poker Gives was founded with the mission to create and support opportunities for poker players to actually make a diference and "act as a charitable vehicle to collect and redistribute donations from card rooms, fundraisers, poker players and special events". 

Poker Hall of Fame

In 2009 the prestigious institution of the Poker Hall of Fame welcomed its 38th member - "a true gentleman who has constantly enhanced the game of poker both with his play at the tables and his promotion of the game off of it". Sexton was the only inductee in 2009. Nominees included Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Tom McEvoy, Scotty Nguyen and Dan Harrington.

 "To you other eight guys that were on the ballot, a piece of my induction goes out to you because you were all a big part of me making it here" (Emotional Sexton officially inducted into Poker Hall of Fame, Gary Trask)

 "Being a Hall of Famer allows me to stay among the greatest players in the game for the rest of my life, But even when I'm gone, Ty will be able to enjoy it. That makes me very proud", Sexton said in his acceptance speech, referring to the 'love of his life' - his wife Karen and their young son, Ty. 

Check out Mike Sexton's player stats page for a full listing of his live tournament results since 1981 - as of January 2015, an impressive 215 ITM totalling $5,681,696!

RankingHero: Mike Sexton Profile Page

Mike Sexton talks to @Nicolas Levi about the present and future of the poker industry: Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton Interview: 'Poker is not going anywhere, it will continue to grow!'   

YouTube: Mike Sexton Video Playlist

WSOP.com: MIKE SEXTON JOINS POKER HALL OF FAME

PartyPoker: Mike Sexton Blog

#RKHbio #WeeklyHero 

"doing a double twister on the trampoline"..... :))) gymnastics, poker, charity....Bravo Mike Sexton ! And thank you ! :)

nice interview enjoyed it 

 

2014 November Niner Jorryt van Hoof Bio and Poker Profile

The man who is the current sports betting 3-to-1 favorite to win the WSOP 2014 Main Event is not a live tournament player but a PLO online cash-game specialist. @Jorryt Van Hoof describes himself as ‘poker pro, entrepreneur, and quantified-self enthusiast’. In addition to the Dutch poker community, his rail is likely to include Magic:The Gathering aficionados since this game was his first passion in his teens! His brand-new visiting card now also includes the title of Ambassador for the Dutch @Master Classics of Poker.

Two years ago I started playing Pot Limit Omaha. The process of learning a new game really sparked a new motivation in me and I think this has helped me improve my overall game and make this year’s WSOP final table.” (nutblocker.com)

Jorryt was born on November 15, 1982. His hometown Eindhoven was named most intelligent community’ in 2011 and is the biggest city in the Netherlands province of North Brabant.

He started playing Magic:The Gathering in his early teens and by the age of 16 was in business as co-owner of a MtG cards and boardgame shop. It started as an online business and later expanded with a physical store which had a room where customers could play cards and boardgames.

Throughout his poker pro years, Jorryt never lost his entrepreneurial spirit. Even now he owns two small businesses - a poker site (where he also posts PLO coaching videos), Nederpoker.com, and another one called Trainers.nu, intended for people looking for a personal trainer. Van Hoof has also developed a new passion - Quantified Self, which basically consists in gaining self-knowledge and improving one’s performance and well-being through the use of self-tracking tools.

Jorryt's way up to the most prestigious final table in poker started back in 2003. Some of the regular MtG customers in his shop invited him to join a game of poker.  Jorryt got lucky and was hooked for good. He started playing 50 euro tournaments in a local casino and soon decided to take up poker full-time.

He made a name for himself online as the player who ‘cleaned out’ Justin Bonomo, which is how his famous screenname TheCleaner11 was born. In the past two years, Jorryt van Hoof has mainly been playing PLO cash games online. His poker career and business projects took him to Dublin for about a year and then to Malta where he lived until his recent move back to the Netherlands.


His first recorded tournament cash is from the @Aviation Club de France and the 2005 Paris Open of Poker - a 4th place in a NLHE tournament that paid $5,962

His biggest cash before 2014 dates back to the 2006 Master Classic of Poker when he finished 7th for $67,790  after being the chip leader for 3 days.

Jorryt van Hoof has scored three ITM finishes in 2007 and 2008 WSOP events, most notably, a deep run in a $1,500 NLHE event where he finished 67th out of 3151 entrants.

As he shared in this interview, it was in 2007 that he first tried PLO, which was later to become his specialty. In fact, he has played little else in the past two years. His decision to go to Vegas for the WSOP in 2014 was a last-minute one and he only arrived the day before the Main Event. Jorryt even missed the first level on Day 1:

I actually missed the first level of Day 1 because I thought I had a day off. After doing my morning routine: yoga, meditation and a healthy breakfast, I was about to head to the swimming pool for a relaxing day but then I read in a poker magazine that I was supposed to be playing.
A few years ago this mistake would have tilted me, but I was able to stay calm and relaxed about it. In fact, I was pretty happy about it because I was able to play in a relaxed mode thanks to my morning routine. (nutblocker.com)

The 'relaxed mode' seemed to work well all the way to Day 7 as Jorryt van Hoof finished as the chip leader. When sports betting companies released the odds to win, he unsurprisingly proved to be a 3-to-1 favorite.

As several other November Niners, Van Hoof made an appearance at the first EPT 11 stop in Barcelona and in October 2014, made it to Number 19 in the EPT 11 London leaderboard. The Dutch November Niner attained two final tablesin London: in Event 43 where he finished 3rd for $43,217 and the 10K High Roller, where he got to 8th place and $79,364.


It was recently announced that Van Hoof has signed on as an ambassador of the @Master Classics of Poker - the most reputed Dutch poker tournament. The dates have now been pushed back to November 21-29 to accommodate the WSOP final table and the event will take place at the @Holland Casino Amsterdam. 

Jorryt van Hoof will be celebrating his 32nd birthday on November 15. It is sure to be the party of a lifetime if he wins the Main Event, November 10-11 :)

 

Sources and links:

http://www.rankinghero.com/jorryt.van.hoof

http://www.nederpoker.com/

Nutblocker.com: An Interview with Jorryt van Hoof: How PLO Helped my WSOP Dreams (Part 1)

Gambling911: WSOP Finalist Jorryt Van Hoof Is Phil Hellmuth’s Type Of Guy

PokerNews: 2014 WSOP November Nine: Chip Leader Jorryt van Hoof Looks To Clean Up

PokerListings: Jorryt van Hoof: 2014 WSOP Main Event November Nine Bio

#RKHbio #NovemberNine #WSOP2014 

2014 November Niner Will Tonking Bio and Poker Profile

The Garden State November Niner has been playing online poker and live cash games for a long time, yet this is @William Tonking's first major breakthrough on the live tournament scene. And what an appearance he's made - out of anonymity and $93,000 in live winnings and onto the biggest final table in poker with a guaranteed minimum prize of $730,000!

Tonking: "Seeing how genuinely happy the people closest to me have been for me has been one of the most humbling parts of this entire experience."

 

William Tonking has been living and playing in New Jersey for most of his 27-year life. He was born in Flemington, NJ. This is where he grew up with his parents and two siblings, where he went to high school and developed a passion for pro sports and poker.

Will Tonking attended the Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington and in 2010 graduated in Economics from the University of South Carolina. As evidenced from one of his online screennames - “amazin_mets”, Will is a die-hard fan of the New York Mets. He loves pro sports and aside from game watching and the occasional sports betting, keeps in shape by playing pick-up basketball and weight lifting. 

I'm a huge pro sports fan and die-hard New York Mets fan. I'm a University of South Carolina alum and I still go back for football games.

Will Tonking took up poker in 2005, at the end of high school, and played only online throughout college. His very first live tournament score is from an event at @The Venetian Las Vegas in 2008, and his biggest cash prior to 2014 WSOP Main Event was $28,000.  After 2011 and Black Friday, Tonking took his action to the poker tables in Atlantic City, and occasionally Las Vegas, playing cash games and up to a dozen tournaments a year.

“I was never much of a tournament player. This is only the third one that I’ve played this year. I’m more of a cash game player,” Tonking explained. “I play online on the New Jersey sites . I play live some. I play in a $10/$25 game at Sam’s in Bethlehem, some at Borgata, and I play some of the Borgata Open Series and the WSOP, but other than that I’ve never been much of a tournament player. That’s why there’s not much out there on me.” (PokerNews)

Photos from Borgata Open events, where Tonking scored four cashes between 2010 and 2013, incl. two 7th places and one fifth-place finish:

As for his previous World Series of Poker record, it includes one ITM finish in the Mixed Max in WSOP 2014, and two cashes in 2010:

In the 2014 Main Event, he progressed without drawing much attention until Day 7 and this crucial hand in which he risked his tournament life on the final table bubble:

Hand #6: Martin Jacobson limped from under the gun and it folded around to William Tonking who completed from the small blind. Sindelar checked from the big blind and the trio took a flop of {7-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{10-Clubs}. Tonking checked, Sindelar fired 500,000, and Jacobson came over the top with a raise to 1.75 million. Tonking announced a check-raise all in for 4.675 million. Sindelar folded and Jacobson called.

Jacobson: {A-Clubs}{J-Clubs} 
Tonking: {J-Hearts}{9-Clubs}

Tonking led with a flopped straight but Jacobson was drawing live with four to a club flush and a nine for a chop. The {5-Diamonds} fell on the turn, keeping Tonking ahead with his straight. The {7-Diamonds} drilled the river, allowing Tonking's straight to hold and scoring him the double up to 11.25 million in chips.

 PokerNews Live Updates, Level 34, Day 7

The whole time during it, I was trying to think about not being in this moment and playing poker. I kept on making myself refer back to the scene in 'Hoosiers' when Gene Hackman took them into the big stadium, the small-town team, put the tape measure up to the rim and down to the floor and said, 'Still 10 feet, gentlemen,’ Tonking told ESPN’s Andrew Feldman after making the final nine.

William Tonking will come to the final table with the seventh chip stack - 15,050,000 - and says he has a 'puncher's chance' at winning:

I think I have a puncher's chance. I'm confident in my game and I think everyone that's left has a legitimate chance to win. It's poker, anything can happen.

I was fine before this happened, and I’ll be fine after. My expectations - to play well and live with whatever the results may be.

 

Sources and links:

http://www.rankinghero.com/william.tonking

ESPN podcast: http://bit.ly/1rH5XfF Tonking: "Podcast I did today for ESPN that is probably the closest thing out there to an accurate depiction of what I do/ have done."

http://www.pokernews.com/poker-players/william-tonking/

Gambling911.com: November Niner William Tonking Gives Self ‘Punchers Chance’ To Win WSOP Title

 ESPN: Meet the 2014 November Nine

#RKHbio #NovemberNine #WSOP2014 

Chris Moorman Bio and Poker Profile

The first man in history to pass the $10 million bar in online poker winnings has been hugely successful in live tournament poker, as well. @Chris Moorman is UK Number 5 by all-time live earnings, with $4,029,003! 

Moorman: “Poker is a tough game. If you’re not naturally competitive, you’re never gonna make it.”

And competitive he certainly is. Born in Basildon, UK, on July 12th, 1985, Chris Moorman’s competitive career began in bridge when he was only 11 years old, went through pool, (he became the captain of his team at the University of Essex and won the National University Championship), and ended up in poker. In passing, Chris earned a degree in Economics from Essex University.

"When I started the game, I never thought about actually playing for a living. I just enjoyed playing and things went from there. It’s still all a bit surreal to be honest. To be able to buy a house at 22, and have a secure looking future ahead of you is a great achievement. I know that I can’t rest on my laurels though."

He didn't rest on those laurels but kept collecting more accolades, as evident from his PocketFives visiting card and the FOUR consecutive 'Best Online Player' titles (2010-2013) that he won in The British Poker Awards presented by @Bluff Europe

While his online career seems to have been fast and furious from the start, it took a few years before Moorman had his major live tournament breakthrough. It was in 2011 that he took the live scene by storm with 5 cashes in the 42nd World Series of Poker (most notably a 2nd place in the Six-handed NLHE Championship) immediately followed up by a runner-up finish in the 2011 WSOPE Championship in Cannes.

 

The next year Chris Moorman again scored a runner-up finish and a six-figure cash - in EPT8 Berlin 10K High Roller. Then followed two rather uneventful years. This is what Moorman shared in a blog dated August 27, 2014:

Personally I had to come through my toughest time in poker within the last year. Prior to the WSOP in 2013 I was forced to get out of backing because I had over extended myself, and made a lot of bad decisions along the way. My poker bankroll had taken a big hit and I had to drop down in stakes and concentrate predominantly on online poker until I was in a better situation. I decided once I did get in a better place I would allow myself the luxury of traveling the live circuit once again.

What everyone knew was only a matter of time finally happened in March 2014 - Chris Moorman topped a field of 534 players in the LA Poker Classic Main Event, winning his first major title and $1,015,460.

As early as 2007, Moorman shared the following 'golden rules for playing in MTTs':

 Never be scared to put all your chips in.

Try to really concentrate on the Final Table - play to win, not just to cash.

In the early stages just play hands which have potential (so I prefer to play suited connectors on the button to Ace-rag).

You must be hyper-aggressive once you reach the top 50 - you must play as if you're hell-bent on getting into the Top 3 places, which is where all the money is.

Seven years later, a lesson he has learned through experience  dictates one more 'golden rule':

Positivity is essential to being a successful poker player in the long term. ...Creating your own happiness outside of poker will ultimately have a huge effect on your mentality whilst playing.

Following his own advice about building one's happiness outside of poker, in March 2014 Moorman proposed to his long-time girlfriend Lindsey and they are now engaged to be married.

The poker community now impatiently awaits the release of Moorman's Book of Poker: Improve your poker game with Moorman1, the most successful online poker tournament player in history

Sources:

http://www.rankinghero.com/chris.moorman

Photos from http://www.chrismoorman.com/

ChrisMoorman.com: The Power of Thinking Positively in Poker

BluffEurope: Moorman’s ‘Biggest Bluff’, Hirezi Leads WPT Jacksonville

RKH: Chris Moorman Nominated in Three BluffEurope British Poker Awards Categories

 #RKHbio