Throughout the rich history of poker that has brought us to its current immense speed, there are certain stages that you absolutely must know. Its evolution as a social game, its entry into the casinos of Las Vegas, its arrival in Europe, its appearance in the world of television and, more recently, its development on Twitch and various Internet platforms. But if we want to avoid getting lost in too much information and we had to look for a single common point between all these eras, then we focused only on the players. The protagonists of this game have shaped the future of it, but also of its different variants and, in truth, of all its elements.
And there are certain key characters who have succeeded in marking the great history of poker more than others, who have always known how to get the best out of themselves to achieve incredible careers and who, for various reasons, have become the elect of this discipline. We don’t want to forget anyone or leave aside some players who won great victories and thus participated in the development of this game and its entry into the category of “mental sports”, but the true godfathers of poker and its greatest precursors are the ones we are going to tell you about in this article. The team that we are going to present to you is made up of 5 stars, whom we would have liked with all our heart to see one day grouped around the same table.
For the incredible career that he has lived, Doyle Brunson, at the height of his 88 years, can be considered one of the most important players in all history and one of the people who best embody what is poker. The American was close to playing in the NBA first, but a knee injury ended his basketball dreams and pushed him to the cards.
With them, he managed to accumulate no less than 10 WSOP braceletsa World Poker Tour title and a total of more than 16 million tournament winnings live. It is impossible to fully understand the history of Texas Hold’em without him, since he has been fighting around the green mats since the first half of the XXth century, including when it was still dangerous to sit around a clandestine table. Also author of several strategy books on this game which have met with great success, he will have had throughout his career a companion with whom he will have lived many adventures. This is Amarillo Slim.
Even a little older than Brunson, the importance of Amarillo Slim in the history of this mental sport is just as preponderant. Here is yet another traveler who inherited the nickname of the village of his childhood. If he has amassed only half a million dollars in earnings during his career, it is because Thomas Austin Preston, of his real name, did not participate in the most modern stages, and therefore more remunerative, poker. But he was there at the very beginning, with his inseparable friend Brunson, playing all over the United States and participating in the first World Series Of Poker in history.
A player who never separates from his cowboy hat around the tables, and who still has 4 bracelets to his name. A veteran who also wanted to pass on his knowledge in a book before saying goodbye to ordinary mortals in 2012, at 83 years old. Renowned for its bets completely crazy beyond any game logic, it is impossible to really know poker without knowing him.
And in this list, it was impossible for us not to mention our adored Mike Sexton. The father and founder of our online poker site is one of the most influential people in the history of poker. An accomplished gymnast in his early days, he enlisted in the army and it was there that he discovered poker, and he decided a little later to spend all his time there after making sure that would make a better living there than with his work as a salesman. The Ohio man passed away in 2020, but partypoker will surely never forget him.
Also because he was for many years the official commentator of the World Poker Tour, a circuit where he had previously managed to be champion, just as he had also managed to win a bracelet at the WSOP. His seven million dollars in tournament winnings live explain his importance, as well as the large number of articles he will have written during his career and his hard work to promote poker in new media. He is a member of Hall of Fame poker, just like the two other players mentioned above.
If some of you think that poker is a world exclusively for men, we can already tell you that you are wrong. One of the best examples of these women who have realized little by little to interfere in universes where they were little present before is most certainly Vanessa Selbst. With nearly $12 million in winnings, the best poker player in the world currently works in a school where she teaches her knowledge to young players.
Leading two careers at the same time, the New Yorker was born in Brooklyn and rose to fame in poker when she was barely in her twenties. The American and her mind of steel has 3 world bracelets, at 38, and continues to have fun and improve by playing online poker. If before we talked about the godfathers of poker, Vanessa Selbst could perfectly define herself as the godmother of poker.
Finally, to end, we could not not mention Chris Moneymaker. Every poker fan knows him, and it is even very often thanks to him that these fans have begun to learn the basics of poker. He is the trigger for the incredible boom in online poker, following his victory and his bracelet won in 2003 at the WSOP after having qualified through an online satellite tournament.
The responsible for so many new followers of the game could only be in this list.