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The Best Players And Biggest Winners In The World Poker Tour

Feb 1, 2008
The players with the final table standings are also the players with the most winnings on the WPT. Daniel Negreanu has made the final table seven times and has won the most money from the WPT tournaments. Two other players made the final table seven times and rank high in total winnings. Phil Ivey and Scotty Nguyen have also made the final table as many times as Daniel Negreanu.

John Juanda has been at the final table six times and is in the top ten money winners. Three players have made the final table five times, and of course, they rank well in the money list. The final table players are Gus Hansen, Eric Lundgren, and JC Tran. All three are near the top of the money list. As is easily demonstrated by this list of final table placing, the players that have the skill to advance to the final table are also the ones that score in the money department.

The interesting note about these seven players is that they also seem to place well in other TV tournaments. Luck has some effect on this, but when they are this consistent, there has to be a great amount of skill in knowing when to Holdem and when to Foldem. Any player can get extremely lucky in a tournament like Jamie Gold did in the 2006 WSOP. When the cards rush over you, like they did for him, no one else has a chance to win the tournament. The question is, can he do it again somewhere at another tournament. Playing skill, feel for the game, and luck will determine the level a player can get to in any single tournament. When a player does it time and again, the result has to be looked at as directly linked to their playing skill. Seven times at the final table is a level of play that tells onlookers that these players are something special. They may have luck, but they also definitely have the skill to play the game at a top level. A one-time good finish can happen to any player, but to do it in several separate tournaments is proof of their ability to really play the game of Holdem.

The WPT attracts the top players in the world, and the play is far superior than you would see in a local tournament. The winners of these tournaments are, for the most part, not new to winning tournaments. They have worked very hard to improve their game and raise their level of play, so they can compete with the best in the world. Their play looks effortless, but the underlying skill level is proven by the plays they make during the game.

Do winners of the WPT have a win at the WSOP main event also? The answer is that five different players have accomplished this feat. They are Doyle Brunson, Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortensen, Joe Hachem, and Dan Harrington.

It is interesting that the same names keep repeating in tournaments. Gee, there must be a reason for this to keep happening. Good players are hard to keep out of the top group in tournaments. Often, when they are knocked out of a tournament, it takes four running suited cards and the opponent has the suited Ace. Many tournament winners have survived due to a miracle draw. But the good players do not count on luck to give them the wins. They win because they know how to play well, and they make very few mistakes in their play.

The WPT has grown more competitive every year since it started. Many of the best players in the world make the trip to one or more of the tournaments during a season. This means the level of play is rising on a year-to-year basis. Another factor that is attracting more players is the level of prize money that is available to the winner each week. Taking a shot at winning over a million dollars in a tournament with a smaller player count than the WSOP makes sense to the poker gamblers who play on the WPT tournaments. Also, the winner of each tournament is automatically enrolled in the end of season finale that has a huge payoff. Prize money, winner prestige, and proving that a player is the best are the base reasons that players sit down and play at the WPT tournaments. The weekly WPT on TV is making some of these professionals celebrities that almost rival movie stars. They may not make as much, but they do get the adulation from the fans. This fame is opening the door to some very lucrative endorsements for some of these players. Non-risk income is a very nice addition to people who make their living gambling.

Conclusions

The WPT has grown each year and has had an amazing ride to a huge audience since it started being broadcast. People who do not regularly play poker watch it and are tempted to give poker a try online. This helps account for some of the rapid growth that poker is experiencing on a year-to-year basis. Many of the young stars on TV got their start in their imagination by watching the shows. They dreamed about being at the final table, and then they are there. A dream that seemed impossible and became real happens every year on the WPT. The younger winners on the WPT were able to win a satellite tournament to get their entry to the show game. All this activity has been good for poker as a game and has given it a steady group of new players. The next super stars will come from this group, and as a group, they do bring "game" to the tournaments. Watching Daniel Negreanu live up to his moniker of Kid Poker will generate the Kid Pokers of the future. The next Doyle Brunson may come from this group also, but then again maybe not. After all, there may never be another poker player like Brunson.
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