Straight Names

[SS] “You always hear poker players refer to Broadway and the Wheel1…”, Stan the Stat ventured. “How come none of the other straights have good nicknames?”

[LL] “That’s a good question. And I’ll bet you have some suggestions”, Leroy the Lion remarked.

[RR] “It’s Stan, so he has a complete list, I’m sure”, Roderick the Rock concurred.

[SS] “You know me pretty well, but I actually have two nicknames for each of them. Consider this my holiday gift to you and the rest of the poker world.”

Straight Nicknames

Straight Nickname 1 Nickname 2
AKQJT Royal Straight [includes the Ace, Ten, and three royal cards] Johnny Moss Straight [The Ace-Ten is already nicknamed for him]2
KQJT9 Fido Straight [K9 = “canine”] Sawmill Straight [Cowboy Wolford’s nickname for the King-Nine]
QJT98 Amazon Straight [because the Queen is high] Kuwait Straight [Q8 = “Kuwait”]
JT987 Houdini Straight [for the straightjacket he was famous for escaping] Straight Whiskey [Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 whiskey]
T9876 Countdown Straight [10, 9, 8,…] Ambassador Straight [Six-Ten sounds like last name of The Ambassador of Poker, Mike Sexton]
98765 Dolly Parton Straight [“9 to 5” movie and song] I-95 Straight [the major highway on the U.S.’s East Coast]
87654 Orwell Straight [“1984” novel] Polonium Straight [for the 84th element, discovered in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie]
76543 Hachem Straight [the winning hand he flopped to win the 2005 WSOP Main Event]3 Prime Straight [76,543 is a prime number and, even more specially, a twin prime with 76,541]
65432 Virginia Beach Straight [Virginia’s most populous city’s zip code is 23456] Alphabet Straight [26 letters]
5432A High Five Straight [The Five is the high card, not the Ace] Cribbage Straight [cards sum to 15]


  1. Broadway is the Ace through Ten straight, while the Wheel is the Five through Ace straight.
  2. See the list of Texas Hold ‘Em Starting Hand Nicknames.
  3. Straights have won the World Series of Poker Main Event nine times, so these would all be good nicknames:
    • King-High Straight: Carlos Mortensen (2001)
    • Queen-High Straight: Johnny Chan (1988)
    • 9-High Straight: Jerry Yang (2007)
    • 8-High Straight: Hamid Dastmalchi (1992)
    • 7-High Straight: Hal Fowler (1979) and Joe Hachem (2005)
    • 5-High Straight: Stu Ungar (1980 & 1997; perhaps the most deserved nickname, since he did it twice then died at his lowest) and Peter Eastgate (2008)

{ The Hold ‘Em at Home blog is brought to you by THETA Poker Pro, the strongest, fastest, and most configurable Texas Hold ‘Em game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. }


Hendon’s Heroes – Winningest Players by Country

[SS] “Naturally, I also wondered what the winningest countries were,” Stan the Stat continued, “besides the U.S., of course.”

[RR] “Canada”, Roderick the Rock claimed. “Especially after the Black Friday migration from the U.S.”

[SS] “We’re talking about live poker, not online, but yes, Canada is high on the list.”

[LL] “Russia and the U.K.” Leroy the Lion added.

[SS] “Hendon splits the U.K. into England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, but England is still second, safely ahead of Canada.”

[RR] “I’d say the other biggest countries, but I don’t think either China or India has a lot of poker players.”

[SS] “Currently true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes over the next couple decades.”

[LL] “Absolutely. The world is getting more connected every day. You’ll be able to play online poker from the middle of the Gobi Desert soon if you can’t already.”

[SS] “I might have gotten carried away a little, but here are six views of the poker millionaire data: millionaires per country, population per millionaire and the same for $5 million and $10 million cutoffs.”1

Poker Tournament Millionaires by Country

Rank Millionaires Country
1 815 United States
2 101 England
3 70 Canada
4 52 France
4 52 Germany
6 43 Russia
7 31 Australia
8 28 Sweden
9 23 Italy
10 20 Denmark
11 16 Finland
12 15 Netherlands
13 12 Ireland
13 12 Norway
15 11 Austria
15 11 Spain
17 10 Lebanon
17 10 Ukraine
19 7 Argentina
19 7 China
19 7 Greece
19 7 Hungary
19 7 Israel
19 7 Poland
19 7 Switzerland
26 5 Belgium
26 5 Wales
28 4 Bulgaria
28 4 Costa Rica
28 4 Czech Republic
28 4 Iran
28 4 Portugal
28 4 Romania
34 3 Lithuania
34 3 Malaysia
34 3 Mexico
37 2 Colombia
37 2 India
37 2 Japan
37 2 New Zealand
37 2 Scotland
37 2 Serbia
37 2 South Africa
37 2 South Korea
37 2 Venezuela
46 1 Brazil
46 1 Croatia
46 1 Cyprus
46 1 Indonesia
46 1 Latvia
46 1 Pakistan
46 1 Panama
46 1 Philippines
46 1 Singapore
46 1 Slovakia
46 1 Slovenia
46 1 Uruguay

Poker Tournament Millionaires by Density2

Rank People per Millionaire Country
1 287,276 Denmark
2 343,893 Finland
3 355,974 Sweden
4 396,498 Ireland
5 398,974 United States
6 437,681 Norway
7 519,911 Canada
8 542,439 England
9 598,800 Lebanon
10 613,000 Wales
11 783,890 Australia
12 797,084 Austria
13 847,000 Cyprus
14 951,167 Lithuania
15 1,138,073 Netherlands
16 1,198,853 Switzerland
17 1,222,595 Costa Rica
18 1,232,089 Israel
19 1,285,423 France
20 1,404,355 Hungary
21 1,551,145 Greece
22 1,580,302 Germany
23 1,788,446 Bulgaria
24 1,955,700 Latvia
25 2,064,241 Slovenia
26 2,268,567 Belgium
27 2,370,820 New Zealand
28 2,585,333 Portugal
29 2,634,289 Italy
30 2,641,217 Czech Republic
31 2,686,500 Scotland
32 3,412,265 Russia
33 3,480,222 Uruguay
34 3,538,186 Serbia
35 3,814,672 Panama
36 4,190,669 Croatia
37 4,255,636 Spain
38 4,263,510 Ukraine
39 4,940,000 Romania
40 5,426,252 Slovakia
41 5,489,544 Poland
42 5,607,300 Singapore
43 6,264,286 Argentina
44 10,624,833 Malaysia
45 15,514,350 Venezuela
46 19,941,225 Iran
47 24,486,300 Colombia
48 25,400,703 South Korea
49 27,954,000 South Africa
50 40,757,667 Mexico
51 63,475,000 Japan
52 103,476,000 Philippines
53 195,110,000 Pakistan
54 197,208,571 China
55 206,839,000 Brazil
56 260,581,000 Indonesia
57 654,670,000 India

Poker Tournament $5 Millionaires by Country

Rank $5 Millionaires Country
1 104 United States
2 11 Germany
3 8 Canada
4 5 England
4 5 France
4 5 Russia
7 3 Australia
8 2 Sweden
8 2 Denmark
8 2 Finland
8 2 Spain
8 2 Ukraine
8 2 China
14 1 Italy
14 1 Norway
14 1 Lebanon
14 1 Israel
14 1 Belgium
14 1 Costa Rica
14 1 Czech Republic
14 1 Malaysia
14 1 Indonesia

Poker Tournament $5 Millionaires by Density2

Rank People per $5 Millionaire Country
1 2,751,142 Finland
2 2,872,763 Denmark
3 3,126,577 United States
4 4,549,225 Canada
5 4,890,379 Costa Rica
6 4,983,637 Sweden
7 5,252,166 Norway
8 5,988,000 Lebanon
9 7,470,518 Germany
10 8,100,200 Australia
11 8,624,620 Israel
12 10,564,866 Czech Republic
13 10,957,260 England
14 11,342,835 Belgium
15 13,368,400 France
16 21,317,549 Ukraine
17 23,406,000 Spain
18 29,345,481 Russia
19 31,874,500 Malaysia
20 60,588,658 Italy
21 260,581,000 Indonesia
22 690,230,000 China

Poker Tournament $10 Millionaires by Country

Rank $10 Millionaires Country
1 30 United States
2 4 Germany
2 4 Canada
4 2 Denmark
5 1 England
5 1 France
5 1 Russia
5 1 Australia
5 1 Sweden
5 1 Spain
5 1 China
5 1 Indonesia

Poker Tournament $10 Millionaires by Density2

Rank People per $10 Millionaire Country
1 2,872,763 Denmark
2 9,098,450 Canada
3 9,967,274 Sweden
4 10,838,800 United States
5 20,543,925 Germany
6 24,300,600 Australia
7 46,812,000 Spain
8 54,786,300 England
9 66,842,000 France
10 146,727,405 Russia
11 260,581,000 Indonesia
12 1,380,460,000 China

[LL] “Wow, Scandanavia for the win.”

[SS] “And Canada… the countries with the highest average latitude and, I assume, the coldest weather.

Lastly, here are the leading earners in each country.”

Winningest Live Tournament Player by Country

Country Top Player Winnings
Afghanistan Sherkhan Farnood $627,647
Albania Muhamet Perati $443,785
Algeria Omar Lakhdari $767,150
Angola Loutfi Charmonkly $49,273
Argentina Ivan Luca $4,053,047
Armenia Aram Sargsyan $235,752
Aruba Victor Ng $16,130
Australia Joe Hachem $12,168,048
Austria Thomas Muehloecker $2,916,064
Bahamas Michael Garraway $85,831
Belgium Davidi Kitai $7,665,844
Bosnia & Herzegovina Alen Bilic $619,471
Brazil Alexandre Gomes $3,442,586
Bulgaria Dimitar Danchev $4,173,662
Canada Daniel Negreanu $32,619,169
China Elton Tsang $12,752,988
Colombia Farid Jattin $2,151,393
Costa Rica Humberto Brenes $6,131,270
Croatia Dragan Galic $1,343,798
Cyprus Charalambos Xanthos $1,140,494
Czech Republic Martin Staszko $6,167,340
Denmark Peter Eastgate $11,131,450
Ecuador Jessica Bedoya $90,088
Egypt Ahmed Abd El Fatah $338,307
England Sam Trickett $20,581,462
Estonia Madis Muur $759,756
Finland Juha Helppi $6,931,063
France Bertrand Grospellier $10,999,795
French Polynesia Souny Frederic $8,768
Georgia Revaz Gudzhabidze $188,752
Germany Fedor Holz $20,321,186
Greece Sotirios Koutoupas $2,048,944
Hungary Andras Koroknai $3,604,640
Iceland Runar Runarsson $337,300
India Vivek Rajkumar $4,427,667
Indonesia John Juanda $18,814,862
Iran Amir Vahedi $3,276,428
Iraq Mohamed Namir $111,522
Ireland Andy Black $4,676,143
Isle of Man Baard Dahl $150,225
Israel Amir Lehavot $5,677,933
Italy Mustapha Kanit $7,760,605
Jamaica Alexander Haber $183,735
Japan Masaaki Kagawa $1,522,450
Jersey George Clyde-Smith $181,422
Jordan Fuad Serhan $592,291
Kuwait Salah Alsayegh $81,863
Latvia Mihails Morozovs $1,656,573
Lebanon Kassem Deeb $8,578,258
Lithuania Antanas Guoga $4,826,338
Luxembourg Jimmy De Barros Livramento $140,863
Malaysia Richard Yong $5,973,913
Malta Alan James Brincat $134,225
Mexico Juan Carlos Alvarado $3,178,127
Monaco Ivan Barbuto $174,189
Morocco William Kakon $887,968
Netherlands Marcel Luske $4,417,615
Netherlands Antilles Steven Massa $45,023
New Zealand David Yan $3,399,270
Nigeria Emmanuel Arokodare $24,048
Northern Ireland Conor Tate $774,495
Norway Felix Vincent Stephensen $5,700,681
Pakistan Aurangzeb Sheikh $421,356
Panama Bolivar Palacios $1,041,774
Philippines Noli Francisco $1,348,630
Poland Dzmitry Urbanovich $4,963,835
Portugal Joao Barbosa $1,792,572
Puerto Rico Karlo Lopez $741,637
Romania Mihai Manole $2,169,720
Russia Igor Kurganov $12,042,541
Scotland David Vamplew $3,853,588
Serbia Andjelko Andrejevic $3,409,869
Singapore Diwei Huang $1,102,378
Slovakia Jan Bendik $3,220,669
Slovenia Casey Kastle $1,858,113
South Africa Raymond Rahme $3,546,347
South Korea Sunny Jung $1,306,308
Spain Carlos Mortensen $11,974,739
Sweden Martin Jacobson $15,211,709
Switzerland Claudio Rinaldi $1,693,288
Thailand Pakinai Lisawad $952,067
Turkey Onur Unsal $827,733
Turks and Caicos Islands Rhynie Campbell $638,769
Ukraine Eugene Katchalov $8,893,438
United Arab Emirates Shams Ahmad $168,139
United States Erik Seidel $30,963,853
Uruguay Fabrizio Javier Gonzalez Cataldi $1,224,690
Vanuatu Hoel Douaglin $17,665
Venezuela Ivan Freitez-Rosales $2,647,663
Vietnam Linh Tran $775,051
Wales Roberto Romanello $3,357,367

[SS] “Interesting to note the most populous countries without a poker millionaire:

  1. Nigeria: #7 with 186,987,000 people
  2. Bangladesh: #8, 161,626,000
  3. Ethiopia: #13, 101,853,000
  4. Vietnam: #14, 95,261,000 (despite more than a few very successful Vietnamese-Americans)
  5. Egypt: #15, 92,131,700

Bangladesh and Ethiopia don’t even have any players in the Hendon database, while Emmanuel Arokodare is the solitary Nigerian.”

[LL] “We should encourage Arokodare to teach his countrymen how to play poker. Maybe that would cut down on all those scam emails.”


  1. Most of these are countries, anyway. The Hendon Mob database includes French Polynesia, Netherlands Antilles, and Turks and Caicos Islands for a total of 91 ‘countries’.

    Note: all tables are sortable by tapping the column headers (second tap to reverse the order).

  2. Population data retrieved from Wikipedia on December 19, 2016.


Hendon’s Heroes – Winningest U.S. Players by State

[SS] “I was just perusing Hendon Mob’s list of the top U.S. players”, Stan the Stat began, “and that got me wondering how many players have won a million dollars in their careers in tournaments.”

[RR] “I feel like a few more are minted every year just at the World Series of Poker”, Roderick the Rock contributed.

[LL] “Yeah, I also think the number is pretty high,” Leroy the Lion opined, “but since that doesn’t count entry fees, traveling expenses, and whatnot, that doesn’t even mean these players are making any money.”

[SS] “So, how many would you guess?”

[LL] “Over a thousand.”

[RR] “A few thousand. You don’t even need to be a poker pro to make the list.”

[SS] “Well, I hope the real number doesn’t depress you then. It’s just 800.1

Which U.S. states do you think have the most players on the list?”

[LL] “The top two states are probably Nevada and California, but I don’t know in what order”, Leroy the Lion guessed. “New York has to be up there too.”

[RR] “The most populous states”, Roderick the Rock suggested, “have a bit of an advantage, so I’d also expect Texas, Florida, and Illinois (and maybe Pennsylvania and Ohio) in the top ten.”

[LL] “Oh, and New Jersey because of Atlantic City.”

[SS] “That’s all pretty much on the money:

Poker Tournament Millionaires by State

Rank Millionaires State
1 162 California
2 131 Nevada
3 86 New York
4 64 Florida
5 46 Texas
6 40 New Jersey
7 30 Pennsylvania
8 25 Illinois
9 19 Massachusetts
10 14 Ohio
11 14 Washington
12 13 Arizona
13 12 Colorado
14 12 Michigan
15 11 Minnesota
16 11 North Carolina
17 10 Georgia
18 10 Maryland
19 9 Connecticut
20 8 Missouri
21 8 Tennessee
22 7 Wisconsin
23 6 Kansas
24 5 Oklahoma
25 4 Iowa
26 4 Oregon
27 4 Virginia
28 3 Louisiana
29 3 Mississippi
30 3 Nebraska
28 3 West Virginia
39 2 Alabama
37 2 Arkansas
34 2 Hawaii
35 2 Idaho
40 2 Indiana
38 2 Kentucky
33 2 Maine
36 2 New Mexico
32 2 North Dakota
41 1 Alaska
42 1 Delaware
43 1 Montana
44 1 Rhode Island
45 1 Utah
46 0 New Hampshire
47 0 South Carolina
48 0 South Dakota
49 0 Vermont
50 0 Wyoming

No real surprise to see California at the top.”

[LL] “But almost one-eighth of the U.S. lives in California. They’re at the top of a lot of lists.”

[SS] “So true. It’s more interesting if you look at the density of poker millionaires.”

[RR] “Show me the money!”

Poker Tournament Millionaires by Density2

Rank People per Millionaire State
1 22,067.5 Nevada
2 223,950.3 New Jersey
3 230,183.6 New York
4 241,634.7 California
5 316,738.6 Florida
6 357,601.2 Massachusetts
7 378,463.5 North Dakota
8 398,987.3 Connecticut
9 426,750.1 Pennsylvania
10 454,714.5 Colorado
11 485,273.5 Kansas
12 499,054.0 Minnesota
13 512,167.9 Washington
14 514,399.8 Illinois
15 525,235.8 Arizona
16 597,154.7 Texas
17 600,640.1 Maryland
18 614,709.3 West Virginia
19 632,063.3 Nebraska
20 664,664.0 Maine
21 715,801.5 Hawaii
22 738,432.0 Alaska
23 760,459.0 Missouri
24 780,974.8 Iowa
25 782,267.6 Oklahoma
26 824,476.7 Wisconsin
27 825,037.4 Tennessee
28 826,881.3 Michigan
29 827,465.0 Idaho
30 829,530.2 Ohio
31 912,982.0 North Carolina
32 945,934.0 Delaware
33 997,444.3 Mississippi
34 1,007,244.3 Oregon
35 1,021,486.0 Georgia
36 1,032,949.0 Montana
37 1,042,554.5 New Mexico
38 1,056,298.0 Rhode Island
39 1,489,102.0 Arkansas
40 1,556,908.0 Louisiana
41 2,095,748.3 Virginia
42 2,212,546.0 Kentucky
43 2,429,489.5 Alabama
44 2,995,919.0 Utah
45 3,309,840.0 Indiana

The list changes a bit, with Nevada number one by an incredible if unsurprising margin.”

[LL] “Sure. Las Vegas. But that’s quite a jump for North Dakota. Just needed one millionaire to get into the Top Ten?”

[SS] “Two, actually. Tom McCormick and Mitch Schock. That’s the same number that leaves Indiana, which is 16th in population, at the bottom here only ahead of the five states with no poker millionaires.

Which leads to my third and last list today:

Winningest Live Tournament Player by State

State Top Player Winnings
Alabama Shannon Shorr $6,102,046
Alaska Perry Green $1,120,247
Arizona Jacob Balsiger $4,772,877
Arkansas Michael Sanders $1,153,248
California Antonio Esfandiari $27,321,224
Colorado Steve O’Dwyer $15,801,849
Connecticut Paul Darden $2,225,991
Delaware Abraham Korotki $1,377,683
Florida Jason Mercier $17,410,497
Georgia Josh Arieh $6,840,713
Hawaii Michael Chow $1,286,348
Idaho Kevin MacPhee $5,473,546
Illinois Connor Drinan $10,162,523
Indiana Mike Sexton $6,212,008
Iowa William Reynolds $1,862,051
Kansas Kirk Morrison $3,127,260
Kentucky William Kopp $1,204,034
Louisiana Kevin Eyster $4,113,218
Maine Matt Woodward $2,311,059
Maryland Anthony Gregg $11,807,533
Massachusetts Daniel Colman $26,039,557
Michigan Joe Cada $10,460,840
Minnesota Lyle Berman $2,674,432
Mississippi Tom Franklin $3,216,893
Missouri Blair Hinkle $3,968,999
Montana David Sands $8,197,858
Nebraska Daniel Sindelar $2,026,461
Nevada Justin Bonomo $12,502,242
New Hampshire Michael Drummond $697,929
New Jersey Phil Ivey $23,856,035
New Mexico Joseph Serock $3,280,037
New York Erik Seidel $30,963,854
North Carolina Greg Raymer $7,656,864
North Dakota Tom McCormick $1,884,092
Ohio David Peters $14,134,910
Oklahoma Calvin Shane Anderson $1,805,834
Oregon Annie Duke $4,270,548
Pennsylvania Joseph McKeehen $12,904,303
Rhode Island Anna Wroblewski $1,028,208
South Carolina John Sitton III $720,394
South Dakota William Eichel $612,471
Tennessee Kathy Liebert $6,075,137
Texas T.J. Cloutier $10,315,389
Utah Devin Porter $1,023,696
Vermont Steve Landfish $822,777
Virginia Ryan D’Angelo $2,743,510
Washington Scott Clements $7,200,967
West Virginia Jason Koon $5,746,234
Wisconsin Phil Hellmuth Jr. $20,977,293
Wyoming Michael Harris $363,905

Three women lead their states. We all know Annie Duke (Oregon) and Kathy Liebert (Tennessee), but I had to look up Anna Wroblewski. Hendon categorizes her as a Rhode Islander, but it looks like she lives in Las Vegas now. I won’t quibble with how they determine which state each player belongs to though as it’s an enormous job.”3


  1. Data last updated on December 14, 2016.
  2. July 1, 2015 U.S. state population estimates used for calculations.
  3. New York also has the highest second-best player, Scott Seiver ($21,709,246), then California takes over from third to tenth except for eighth (Jamie Gold, J.C. Tran, Joseph Cheong, Nevada’s Johnny Chan, Men Nguyen, and David Pham). Many of these spots are quite close and could change even before the ink is dry on this post.

    California’s top 488 players, Nevada’s top 277 players, and New York’s top 214 players could all move to Wyoming and become the Cowboy State’s top winner.

Related Links:


Global Poker League Awards and Factoids

[SS] “The GPL didn’t give out any awards, so I thought I’d help them out”, Stan the Stat announced.

[LL] “Do your awards come with a trophy or cash?” Leroy the Lion jested.

[RR] “You can’t put a price on eternal fame”, Roderick the Rock contributed.

[SS] “The winners shall cherish these prestigious honors for the rest of their lives.

Best Six-Max Player

  • Runners-Up: Anton Wigg (San Francisco Rush) and Tyler Kenney (New York Rounders). Both scored 32 points in eight matches for a 4.0 average. Fedor Holz (L.A. Sunset) matched them in points but played one more time.
  • Winner: Liv Boeree (London Royals). The team captain racked up 35 points in eight matches for a 4.4 average (almost a 2nd place average!).

Best Heads-Up Player

  • Runner-Up: Jason Lavallee (Montreal Nationals). The wild card scored 36 points in five matches for a stellar 7.2 average (almost two and a half wins out of every three-game match!).1
  • Winner: Randy Lew (Hong Kong Stars). His 69 points led the league by a full 18 points over Olivier Busquet.

Best Two-Way Player

  • Runner-Up: Olivier Busquet (L.A. Sunset): The second round pick scored 51 Heads-Up points and 14 Six-Max points for an average of 5.0 points, the highest of any player who played at least ten matches.
  • Winner: Anatoly Filatov (Moscow Wolverines). The team captain was the only player to finish in the top ten in both Six-Max and Heads-Up points.

Best Draft Pick

  • Runner-Up: Mike Leah (Paris Aviators): The fourth round pick (#38) tied for eighth in regular season points.
  • Winner: Anton Wigg (San Francisco Rush): The fourth to last pick in the draft finished sixth in points.

Best Wild Card Pick2

  • Runner-Up: Anatoly Filatov (Moscow Wolverines). The unranked Russian finished third in total points.
  • Winner: Randy Lew (Hong Kong Stars). The American led the GPL in regular season points.

Regular Season MVP

  • Runner-Up: Randy Lew (Hong Kong Stars). Nanonoko played in a league-high fifteen matches, winning a record nine times.3
  • Winner: Olivier Busquet (L.A. Sunset). The Cornell graduate scored the second most points and won the second most matches behind Lew but scooped up a much higher percentage of the available points. Anatoly Filatov and Anton Wigg were also deserving but Busquet had the best combination of quantity and quality.

Playoff MVP

  • Runner-Up: Brian Rast (Berlin Bears). The Stanford dropout was a perfect 5-0 in their Eurasia Semifinals and Finals upsets, and finished with six wins in nine matches, which was the most wins and the second most matches.4
  • Winner: Pascal LeFrancois (Montreal Nationals). The Canadian won five out of six matches, the highest winning percentage of any player who played at least three times,5 taking three out of four in the finals, including the decider.”

[RR] “Sounds like most of the picks were fairly clear except Regular Season MVP.”

[LL] “Only the most important award, right?”

[SS] “Controversy generates ratings.”

[LL] “Wait, is this being videocast?”

[SS] “Maybe next year…

I also have some regular season factoids that I split into Six-Max and Heads-Up. Starting with the Six-Max events:

  • Three players won back-to-back six-player matches: Anton Wigg, Brian Rast, and Liv Boeree. Boeree also won three out of four.
  • Anton Filatov and Felipe Ramos (Sao Paulo Mets) both finished first or second in four straight matches, while Fedor Holz finished in the top three in seven straight matches.
  • Chance Kornuth (L.A. Sunset) was the only player to bust out of a match on the first hand (Match 44). Kevin MacPhee (Hand 5 of Match 13), Max Pescatori (Hand 5 of Match 127), and Jonathan Little (Hand 6 of Match 74) also did not survive the first orbit.
  • Raiden Kan (Hong Kong Stars) won the longest match, the second of the season, outlasting Walter Treccarichi (Rome Emperors) in 147 hands. After 92 hands, six more than the average match, four players still had chips. Tyler Kenney (New York Rounders) won the second longest match (Match 24) in 137 hands.
  • Fedor Holz (L.A. Sunset) won the shortest match (Match 73) in 56 hands, two hands shorter than Joao Pires Simao (Sao Paulo Mets) needed for Match 139.

And for the regular season Heads-Up matches:

  • 124 Heads-Up matches were played, while two scheduled three-game matches were forfeited (the Montreal Nationals were awarded one match from the London Royals 6-0 and gave up one match to the San Francisco Rush 6-0).
  • Six heads-up games were decided on the first hand:
    Match Game Winner Loser Notes
    26 1 George Danzer (Paris Aviators) Igor Kurganov (London Royals) Danzer went on to sweep the match.
    96 2 Brian Rast (Berlin Bears) Kevin MacPhee (New York Rounders) MacPhee struck back by winning the third game in nine hands.
    103 3 Fabrice Soulier (Paris Aviators) Joao Bauer (Sao Paulo Mets) The win decided the match.
    152 3 Timothy Adams (Rome Emperors) George Danzer (Paris Aviators) Adams swept the match.
    163 2 Jonathan Jaffe (San Francisco Rush) Tom Marchese (New York Rounders) The entire match took a record-low 32 hands, over four hands less than the average game. Jason Wheeler (New York Rounders) beat Jake Cody (Las Vegas Moneymakers) 2-1 in 45 hands in Match 68.
    174 3 Kevin MacPhee (New York Rounders) Maria Ho (L.A. Sunset) In the last, meaningless game of the regular season, Ho and MacPhee shoved all-in blind preflop.

    Three games lasted only two hands, two games went three hands and two games went four hands.

  • Match 101 was the longest, as Scott Ball (Las Vegas Moneymakers) beat Dominik Nitsche (Berlin Bears) 2-1 in 210 hands (77, 65, and 68).
  • Game 3 of Match 81 was the longest, as Aaron Paul (L.A. Sunset) beat Fabrice Soulier (Paris Aviators) in 109 hands, a fraction of a hand under the average for a three-game match. The second longest game was the fourth of the season, with Daniel Cates (Berlin Bears) needing 96 hands to defeat Bertrand Grospellier (Paris Aviators).
  • One player won the first two games 66 times in 124 matches. The loser avoided getting shutout 54.5% of the time (36-30). Overall, the player who lost the second game won the third 54.8% of the time (68-56).
  • Jason Lavallee (Montreal Nationals) won his last ten heads-up games, including the decider in Match 40 against Scott Ball (Las Vegas Moneymakers) and sweeps in matches 59 (Darren Elias, Sao Paulo Mets), 79 (Anthony Zinno, Las Vegas Moneymakers), and 134 (Jason Mercier, New York Rounders). Randy Lew (Hong Kong Stars) won nine straight games over four matches during a record nine-match winning streak to end the season.6 Olivier Busquet won his last seven matches.”


  1. Fedor Holz won 88.9% of his Heads-Up games, but he only played three matches.
  2. Even though twice as many players were drafted than selected as wild cards, twelve of the 25 players who participated in the playoffs were wild cards (half of whom were the team captains). But the drafted players did better, going 32 and 27 (54.2%), while the wild cards went 17 and 22 (43.6%).
  3. Appropriately, the master of multitabling also played the most hands, 1,849, more than 400 more than Olivier Busquet.
  4. Mike McDonald of the Montreal Nationals played a playoff-high ten games, winning four.
  5. Phil Galfond went 2-0, but the San Francisco Rush lost in the Americas Semifinals.
  6. On the flip side, Lew had begun the year by losing his first six matches, including a stretch of 13 straight games (4 shutouts). Bertrand Grospellier (Paris Aviators) and Dominik Nitsche (Berlin Bears) both lost seven straight games and four straight matches. Timothy Adams (Rome Emperors) lost six straight matches (all 3-6). Igor Kurganov (London Royals) lost his first five matches but bounced back to win his last three.

Global Poker League Playoffs

[RR] “Did you guys watch the GPL playoffs?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[LL] “Yes, I watched after they were posted on YouTube, which was pretty quickly”,1 Leroy the Lion answered. “I found that combining fast playback with jumping ahead with the right arrow key (5 seconds) and the ‘L’ key (10 seconds) was almost as fast as watching a YouTube recording.”2

[RR] “I had the Twitch stream on in the background most of the time, so I could switch to the video whenever the announcers sounded excited.”

[SS] “I also watched on YouTube, because I wanted to be able to pause and rewind”, Stan the Stat said. “Probably took me a lot longer to watch than Leroy but still much less than Rod.”

[FF] “So, what happened?” Figaro the Fish asked.

[SS] “How much time do you have?”

[FF] “Can you give me a five-minute summary?”

[SS] “Okay. As you know, eight teams made the playoffs. For a ‘home field’ advantage, the higher seeds were given more chips to start each game, so when the 1-seeds played the 4-seeds it was 130,000 to 100,000, and when the 2-seeds played the 3-seeds it was 120,000 to 110,000.”3

[LL] “Best of seven matches.”

[SS] “Unlike every major sporting event, each conference played down to a winner in one day instead of having both semifinals one day and both finals the next. This was a very practical, logistical decision, as it meant less travel and evened out the number of matches played on each day.”

[LL] “Day One would have been brutally long otherwise.”

[SS] “In the Americas division, the regular season champ Nationals fell behind the San Francisco Rush 2-0 and 3-2 but came back to take the match. Phil Galfond went 2-0 for the Rush, while Mike McDonald won two games

  • 4.
  • for the Nationals.

    The 2-seed L.A. Sunset also went the full seven against the Sao Paulo Mets, with Olivier Busquet making up for his opening game loss with two wins, including the clincher over Thiago Nishijima, who also had two wins.

    In the conference finals, the favorite won again, with Marc-Andre Ladoucer winning both games 5 and 6 to put the Nationals in the GPL Finals.”

    [SS] “In the Eurasia division, The top-seeded Moscow Wolverines crushed the London Royals in five games, with Igor Yaroshevsky winning twice.

    The 3-seed Berlin Bears provided the first upset of the playoffs, taking out the 2-seed Hong Kong Stars in six, with Brian Rast winning twice and Bill Perkins taking down the clincher.

    In the Eurasia finals, the Bears pulled off another upset, as Brian Rast won games 1, 4, and 7, like a stud Major League Baseball pitcher in the World Series. Anatoly Filatov won two games for the Wolverines, but fell shot in the decider.”

    In the GPL finals, the Bears won the first match, but played from behind most of the rest of the best-of-11 match. The Nationals Pascal LeFrancois won three of his four games (5-1 in the playoffs), including the decider, while Sorel Mizzi won three of four (5-3 in the playoffs) for the Bears. Mike McDonald and Brian Rast both went 1-3.”

    [FF] “So what did they win?”

    [SS] “$100,000 for the team, a trophy, and eternal fame.”

    [RR] “The fame might be worth the most to them, since $17,000 each, or however much the split was, is pocket change for these pros. But a well-deserved title for Montreal, as they were also the best team in the regular season.”

    [LL] “That was more heads-up poker than I’ve watched in my lifetime, total. But I definitely enjoyed it, and I think I learned a few things.”

    [RR] “Like poker can work well as a team sport!”


    1. Unfortunately, a couple of the videos were cut off, including the end of the fifth game (Lew/Mizzi) in the second Eurasia Semis and the first three and a half games and the end of the eighth game of the GPL Finals. Hopefully those will be fixed soon. {December 2, 2016 Update: The video of the GPL Finals now has all but the end of the eighth game.}
    2. The corresponding keys are left arrow to go back 5 seconds and ‘J’ to go back 10 (the up and down arrows also work, which seems redundant but are probably better for some people). You can remember the letters as ‘L’ for “leap ahead” and ‘J’ for “jump back”. ‘K’ pauses or plays the video, just like the space bar does.
    3. The exception to this was the Montreal Nationals, the winner of the GPL Americas, because one of their players was late. They ended up playing two games with no chip advantage against the San Francisco Rush, which the teams split.
    4. McDonald ended up playing four games, which included subbing in for the late Pascal LeFrancois.