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Top 2010 Poker Player Stories – #6 Frank Kassela

December 29th, 2010 No comments
Frank Kassela

Frank Kassela's Two WSOP Bracelet wins, and 3 final tables made him the 2010 WSOP Player of The Year

I’m hesitant to call Frank Kassela’s 2010 a “breakout year” because as it turns out, he’s been playing solid poker since 2003.  A regular at final tables in tournaments around the U.S. for the last 7 years, Kassela had his best professional year yet in 2010 and on the World’s biggest stage.  The Tennessee native has been at the World Series of Poker a number of times in the past, and is no stranger to WSOP final tables. In fact in 2005, he shipped in pocket Aces with 4 players remaining in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event, and got a caller in Johnny Chan with Q-Q.  But Chan spiked the Q, and found a way to use those chips to collect his 10th WSOP Bracelet as Kassela exited the tournament in 4th place.  5 years later, Kassela started the WSOP strong as he finising in 10th place in a $1,500 buy in Limit Hold’em event when his pocket tens failed to hold against Terrence Chan’s Ac-Jc.  But the final table bubble was just a precursor to the best WSOP performance of the year, and an important stepping stone to becoming the 2010 World Series of Poker Player of the Year. Read more…

Top 2010 Poker Player Stories – #7 John Juanda

December 29th, 2010 No comments
John Juanda

John Juanda had a fantastic year, even if most people didn't notice

There are few players in the game of poker that have been as consistently awesome as John Juanda, and yet still managed to escape the attention.  The Team Full Tilt Poker Pro has racked up incredible results in his poker career, amassing an impressive list of victories and final tables that make him the envy of every poker player.  For me, Juanda embodies the “true poker professional.” He’s never really sought out to create a “poker personality” or be at the front of the cameras.  Juanda has very quietly amassed 6 figure earnings in every year since 1997 (except 1999 when he only hit $91k despite 2 WSOP Final Tables), and coming into 2010 had eclipsed the $1 million earning mark in 4 years (2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008).  Juanda has tons of hardware to his name, including 4 WSOP Bracelets (including 1 in the WSOP-E Main Event), 6 WPT Final Tables, and an Aussie Millions win in their Million Dollar Challenge.  Coming into 2010, Juanda was ranked 8th on the All Time Money List in tournament earnings, and that’s not including how much Juanda has won at the tables playing ring games as one of the most well respected cash gamers in all of poker.  So when Juanda had another monster year, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, and the fact that it flew mostly under the radar should come as even less as a surprise.  But that doesn’t mean that Juanda’s year wasn’t one of the top stories of 2010.  In fact, 2010 was one of Juanda’s best ever, which makes him an easy add to this list. Read more…

Top 2010 Poker Player Stories – #8 Phil Ivey

December 29th, 2010 No comments
Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey captured bracelet #8 in the 2010 WSOP

In my opinion, placing Phil Ivey on a poker list has nothing to do with “how much did he win?”  It does however have everything to do with “Where did he finish this time?”  There are very few people that are going to argue the fact that Phil Ivey is the greatest living poker player on the planet.  There are still a great number of people who will conjecture that Ivey is probably the greatest player to have ever played the game, and they can make a compelling argument.   Ivey is at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to money earned in the career tournament earnings category and finished the year with another “ho-hum” $1.6 million in earnings in 2010.  But the most compelling story over the 10 years that Ivey has played at the summer series in Las Vegas has been how many championships Ivey will win at the WSOP, and in 2010, we saw him increase that number by one, making him one of the best stories of the year. Read more…