Internet Poker Players Worth Watching
So who are the best Internet poker players in the world? Online poker isn’t like professional basketball or baseball – for the most part, we never see the world’s best players because they sit behind a computer screen instead of in front of a large crowd and TV audience. But we will go over some of my favorite online poker players worth watching over the next few years.
We’ve looked at the world’s biggest online poker sites, like Full Tilt, PokerStars, 888 Poker, Titan Poker, etc.) and found five Internet poker players whose games are at the highest level. You could say these guys are the All-Star players in the online poker scene, up and coming young poker players from all over the world who have scored big winnings at Internet poker rooms.
1. Cal42688 (Calvin Anderson)
As of this writing, Calvin Anderson is probably the most exciting young poker player to watch online. He plays mostly at Full Tilt and PokerStars, having accrued total winnings of a little more than $3,260,000. This upstart poker pro made a name for himself in August 2012, wiunning PokerStars’ Sunday Second Chance for $45,000 and their Sunday Warm-Up for $83,000 all in a single week.
Anderson’s biggest online tournament prize came in his final table appearance at the 2010 PokerStars SCOOP event, when he took home a total of $86,200. He’s also taken 2nd and 3rd place in Full Tilt Poker’s $200k Guarantee, earning him $45,200 and $38,100 respectively.
Calvin has said in online interviews that his favorite poker hand is 2345 and that his favorite cash game is “anything but Holdem,” highlighting the fact that Texas Holdem is losing its edge among younger players.
2. Illini213 (Steve Barshak)
Steve Barshak makes Guanacaste, Costa Rica his home, and he’s made poker rooms all over the world his plaything. Going under the moniker Illini213, Barshak plays or has played at Full Tilt, Poker Stars, 888 Poker, UB.com, Titan Poker, Ladbrokes, Lock, bWin, Poker Loco and Party Poker.
If you play at UB.com, you may know him as BSHAK, otherwise he always goes by Illini213. Originally from Illinois, Barshak made a name for himself by winning the PokerStars Sunday 500 in February 2010 for $88,500. Two months later, Barshak won the Full Tilt Poker $200k Guarantee in April 2010 for a prize of $73,600.
Barshak moved to Costa Rica to continue playing online poker at the world’s major poker sites, and has continued his dominance of the world of online poker after moving, finishing second place in the Ongame Network’s ChampionChip in December 2011 for a prize of $26,000. Barshak’s biggest win by far came in February of 2012, when he won first place in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-up, a victory worth just over $131,000. He lists his hobbies as weightlifting, basketball, and football, and the guy’s online profile shows he has the body for it – Barshak’s arms are massive, which stands out in online poker, a sport that doesn’t necessarily reward brute strength.
3. Hixx (Kenny Hicks)
Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Kenny Hicks (who plays as Hixx at most of his online poker site homes) is another young Internet poker player worth keeping your eye on. Kenny Hicks has earned the majority of his money playing at Poker Stars, Full Tilt, and UB.com.
Kenny Hicks came to the attention of most of the Internet poker world in 2008 with two big victories in the span of four months. in June of 2008 when he won the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance for a total of just under $50,000, a mere four hours after he took sixth place in the same day’s Sunday Warm-Up for $20,000. Hicks has, to his credit, wins in Bodog’s $100k Guaranteed and the UB.com $40k Guaranteed Sniper tournament. But his biggest win by far came in March of 2009, a grand prize of $85,5000 for winning the Full Tilt Poker Sunday Brawl.
Kenny’s recent wins have been big as well – in the summer of 2012, Hicks finished fourth in the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $27,000, then a month later added $22,000 to his bankroll by taking runner-up in the bWin $200k Guaranteed tourney.
Kenny Hicks is considered the number one online poker player in all of Canada, with a lifetime gross of $4.1 million. He is not one to give lots of interviews, preferring to remain something of a mystery, which of course just makes us all the more curious.
4. ch0ppy (Matt Kay)
Close at Kenny Hicks’ heels, in terms of Canadian online poker dominance, is Matt Kay, who plays most often under the name ch0ppy. Matt Kay has won most of his bankroll at Poker Stars, Full Tilt, and 888 Poker, though he’s a regular at another half-dozen of the world’s biggest online poker sites. Considered the second-best online poker player in all of Canada, Matt Kay has won just over $4 million from Internet poker games and tourneys.
Kay can be a little sneaky, sometimes playing under the name NoBadBeatsPlz on Full Tilt and UB. Matt had one of those days all of us online poker players dream of in April of 2007 – winning the Stars Second Chance $200 and taking fifth place in the Party Poker $300k Guaranteed tourney. He has a Sunday Million event win worth well over $200,000, and towards the end of 2008, Matt Kay won the TitanPoker ECOOP III tourney for $91,800 just a month after making the final table in the Full Tilt $750k, which won him another $50,000 give or take.
Matt Kay is making his way back up the leaderboards with some outstanding online poker play in recent months. In March of 2012, Kay added a cool $118,000 to his winning by taking first place in a $5,000 buy-in tournament at Ongame and in the same month won the PartyPoker $200K Guaranteed for a payday of $57,000. Nearly $200,000 in winnings in one month of online poker is guaranteed to get you noticed by other online poker players.
Matt Kay is flirting with top rankings at many important online poker ranking systems – in July of 2012 he wont the Ongame $200K Guaranteed for a $35,000 payday and found himself sitting at #1 in both the PocketFives and dozens of other online poker ranking systems. Matt’s been quoted as saying that his favorite poker game is any no-limit MTT with a buy-in of $100 or more, proof that he’s a big spending online poker star to keep an eye on.
The world’s best Internet poker players may not get the face time that the world’s premiere athletes get, nor the same endorsement deals, but big wins online tend to earn you a following. The four players above are the hottest commodities in online poker today, four young guys who stand to win millions playing poker through the course of their lives.