A reporter recently asked me, “who’s the greatest poker player of all time?”
My answer was — it depends on how we define “greatest.”
Are we judging raw talent? Are we counting the most money won over a lifetime? Are we comparing the most accomplishments and accolades? Are we measuring longevity? Are we weighing popularity? Or, should we define “greatest” by all these things?
Bingo. That’s my final answer. All these things — talent, money, accomplishments, accolades, popularity, and longevity — should merit serious consideration.
By these criteria, when it comes to determining the greatest ever, I don’t know how anyone could argue any poker player, past or present, other than Doyle Brunson. The documentation in support of Brunson from the mid-1950s to the present is so self-evident, that the far more interesting debate should be — who is the poker player most likely to follow in “Texas Dolly’s” footsteps and eventually match his legacy?
Again, I think the evidence here is pretty self-evident.
My vote would go to Daniel Negreanu.
Even if you didn’t know Joe Sartori by name, you still knew him.
He was the kind of guy who was always there for everyone. He was the person who watched over those he cared about. Some people in life are just like that. They’re called guardian angels.
Joe was steadily dependable, unwaveringly so, always there when you needed a favor or just a helping hand. He never took credit for anything, and even displayed an endearing social awkwardness when receiving praise. He shied away from the public spotlight, and instead was seemingly far more comfortable with trying make others look and feel good. He was a doer, not a talker. He believed in actions and results.
Joe was a gentle soul, who worked hard, and loved life. He was best known for his tireless and often varied work within the poker industry. He started out at Palace Station and later the Palms, in Las Vegas. Joe also worked at Casino Morongo, near Palm Springs. For the past two years, he worked exclusively at the television show, “Poker Night in America,” owned by Rush Street Gaming.
Yesterday, Joe passed away at the age of 55, which goes to show that life just isn’t fair sometimes. Most of us never had a chance to say our goodbyes.
Note: The following is provided for information and discussion purposes only. I do not encourage nor endorse any gambling site or wagering on the World Series of Poker final table, or any other poker event.
Bovada Sportsbook has released odds on this year’s “November Nine.” These are the remaining players still in the hunt to become the 2014 world poker champion.
A few interesting things about these odds and my personal thoughts (not to be taken as the basis for any wager):
Earlier today, the Poker Hall of Fame governing council announced the selection of two individuals for induction as the “Class of 2014.”
The latest inductees are Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu. They will be officially welcomed into the prestigious ring of honor on November 9th, one day before the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship (final table) is played.
Induction into the Poker Hall of Fame is the game’s supreme honor. To date, only 48 persons have been selected in the 35-year history of the exclusive fraternity. Of these honorees, 23 are still living.
This marks the first year that I wasn’t part of the governing council. However, I did have a vote in the process and casted my ballot. The choice from among the ten nominees was a difficult one to make, which was taken very seriously. I see virtually all the ten nominees as being worthy of consideration and expect that some of them will be inducted in the years to come.
In the end, the living Poker Hall of Fame members, along with key media people voted and selected two truly outstanding poker professionals. I am thrilled with this year’s class, and look forward to congratulating them personally when the official induction ceremony takes place. I also have the great honor of serving as emcee at the event, which will be held at Binion’s Gambling Hall, the site of so much poker history and so many memories.
To Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu — well done! You both deserve it!
Here’s the official press release which came out earlier today, from Seth Palansky at Caeasars Entertainment:
(L to R) Steven “Ice’ Eidenstein, Steve Goldman, Rich Korbin, Nolan Dalla, Chris O’Connor at Bobby Flay’s in Mohegan Sun Casino — attending FARGO 2014
Who knew that a casual trip to the local Starbucks followed by a conversation out in the parking lot would result in me flying to Connecticut for five days to attend an annual poker gathering where I was invited to be the guest speaker.
That’s exactly what happened as I recently attended my first FARGO event in 13 years.
FARGO probably isn’t what you think. It has nothing to do with North Dakota, although you might see a few “Big Lebowski” types in the group. FARGO is an acronym for the “Fall” version of “BARGE,” which is the largest and longest-running poker annual convention which attracts different kinds of people to the host city for the purposes of two things — to play poker and have fun. What happens at FARGO stays at FARGO.
The parent group called BARGE formed 25 years ago. It now has about 250 regulars. FARGO, which is its close cousin in the northeast, has taken place since 1997. There’s even an Atlantic City contingent called ATLARGE, which also meets every spring. Like I said, I went to the first five FARGO events, but haven’t been back since I moved west.
I had no idea all the fun I was missing.