Poker may have been invented on the Mississippi riverboats or earlier, in France, but whichever story you believe, poker as a game has changed a lot since its inception. While the World Series of Poker is easily one of the biggest innovations to change the game, another might be the ‘lipstick’ cameras that were placed under the tables in the first series of the cult TV classic, Late Night Poker.
That landscape-changing TV series, as poker does more widely, owed a huge amount to English player, who brought a ready wit, gallows humour and no little skill to the pursuit of poker. But who are the best English players when it comes to live poker tournaments?
We’ve got the top ten cued right up for you, so grab a cup of Earl Grey, a crumpet and some self-effacing one-liners and we’ll tell you exactly who’s tops in the land of tea.
10. Roland de Wolfe Nickname: The WolfLive Tournament Winnings: $5,327,930
It’s impossible to talk about Roland De Wolfe without discussing the fact that he was the first player ever to win a World Poker Tour event (in Paris) and EPT event (in Dublin), but in recent years, de Wolfe has gone off radar to a degree, preferring a secluded, comfortable life in London. Rumours have it he still plays private cash games, but no-one will tell us where they are, which all feels very Roland de Wolfe. He also has the distinction of being a triple crown winner since he won a WSOP bracelet in PLO ten years ago.
Capable of literally anything at the table, we still fondly recall him placing a small serviette insulting Phil Hellmuth upside-down on the card reader camera under the table just for giggles. And when we say he was capable of anything, we really do mean anything.
9. Chris Moorman Nickname: Moorman1Live Tournament Winnings: $5,907971
Not enough is said about Chris Moorman’s live tournament winnings, and for a very good reason – he’s won more money at online poker tournaments than anyone else on the planet.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the 888poker pro than online winnings, and Moorman’s WSOP bracelet, WPT Main Event win and EPT final table appearance long-ago confirmed him as one of the best live poker players in the world too. It’s just that winning over $11m in online tournaments is such a mammoth undertaking that it’s inspired thousands of British players to take up the game.
The Brighton-born pro has also written not one but two poker books, Moorman’s Book of Poker and Moorman, both of which are great reads.
8. Dave Ulliott Nickname ‘The Devilfish’Live Tournament Winnings: $6,235,519
Some nicknames come and go, but others stick around, and long after the Hull legend’s untimely passing after a short battle with cancer, The Devilfish lives on. If you ever hear distant cackling at a bad beat in Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, they say it’s the ghost of the ‘Fish, laughing at your misfortune.
A complete one-off, Ulliott could turn $500 into a six-figure score, wiping out everyone at the final table as he did when winning the 1 997 Four Queens Poker Classic. When heads-up against Men Nguyen, and having ground ‘The Master’ down to one solitary poker chip, the two players went on break, at which point Ulliott quipped: “We’re taking a break, and in all fairness to you, I think you should go upstairs and think about your tactics.”
Ulliott won his one and only WSOP bracelet in 1997 too, winning $180,310 in the $2,000-entry PLO event, but sadly lost his battle with cancer in 2015, aged just 61. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame posthumously in 2017.
7. Toby LewisNickname 108ofclubsLive Tournament Winnings: $6,420,339
One of Britain’s best-ever players is Toby Lewis, the Hampshire hotshot who has always mixed an ability to duke it out with the best online with his impressive live poker tournament CV.
Lewis won the EPT Vilamoura Main Event in 2010, taking down an entertaining table featuring Sam Trickett and Teddy Sheringham, and has also won the Aussie Millions Main Event in 2018, his only seven-figure score of $1.1 million. Lewis, who also finished 2nd in the 2018 LAPC, winning another $600,000, is an extremely well-respected and much-loved member of the British ‘Brat Pack’ of superstars who have made this decade their own.
6. Ben HeathNickname Suggestions: Heathy, Ben ‘Hurrrrr’, Heathcliff.Live Tournament Winnings: $7,134,923
Ben Heath is one of a number of young British players who have made a name for themselves almost exclusively at the highest stakes, frequenting high roller events more than they do standard Main Events or lower buy-ins.
Heath’s signature win was the $50,000 High Roller WSOP bracelet he took down in the summer for $1.4 million, beating Andrew Lichtenberger to the gold on a final table that included Sam Soverel, Chance Kornuth, Elio Fox and Cary Katz.
5. Talal ShakerchiNickname Suggestions: The Hedgemaster, King RollLive Tournament Winnings: $7,626,967
One of Britain’s most consistent performers in high roller and super…
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