Here are just a few of the fascinating poker faces
you will see during the tournaments of Travel
Channel's World Poker Tour. As these quick personality
sketches attest, the competitive field is definitely
changing. It's not just a man's world, and if you
thought the game was an all-American pass-time, take
a look at the talent from Costa Rica, Switzerland,
Vietnam and England.
DOYLE BRUNSON, a Texas native who
now calls Las Vegas home, is a poker Hall of Famer
with eight world championship bracelets in his collection.
One of the elder statesmen of the sport, he intends
to keep playing until he's 80 — and that gives
him ten more years until retirement.
ALAN GOEHRING has played in a number
of major final tables, but always seems to come up
short of the title, finishing as a runner up at 3
major tournaments. Alan is a retired junk bond analyst
and trader who says his motivation for playing tournament
poker is for the fun, not the money.
KIRILL GERASIMOV had only 18 months
of poker experience before the World Poker Tour Championship,
though he must be a prodigy as he won the European
Heads Up title last year. From Moscow, Russia, Kirill
earned his seat in this event by winning a $180 satellite.
A former insurance agent, he learned to play by reading
fellow final table player Doyle Brunson's book.
PHIL IVEY is originally from California,
but he now calls Atlantic City home. Phil is sometimes
called the Tiger Woods of poker, though it is a moniker
he is somewhat uncomfortable with. "Tiger is
the best at his game. I'm not there, yet." But
his intense focus and an uncanny ability to read opponents
and "feel" hands might make the comparison
to the golf master an eventual inevitability.
JAMES HOEPPNER is a Las Vegas CPA
and an accomplished player on the tournament circuit.
He most recently won the No Limit Hold 'Em event at
the Legends of Poker championships last year. James
only learned about the WPT Championship 2 weeks prior
to the event and split the entry fee with a buddy.
TED FORREST is well known in the
professional poker circles as an ultra-high stakes
player. He has both won and lost over a million dollars
in single sessions of poker. Ted is a very aggressive
player at the table, and is notorious for taking bets
on dares away from the table as well. Ted lists Doyle
Brunson as one of his idols.
CHRIS BIGLER of Fislisbach, Switzerland,
was a businessman until he discovered his true calling
— poker — just five years ago on a trip
to Vegas. He's already made it to more than one World
Poker Tour final table.
HUMBERTO BRENES has been called
the "godfather of the Costa Rican players."
Known for his Latin charm and grace, Brenes has an
outstanding tournament record including two world
T. J. CLOUTIER of Richardson, Texas,
literally wrote the book on poker; well, make that
three books. He has won 51 major tournaments and is
the leading all-time money winner at the world championships.
He'd like to "bar all bad actors at the table."
ANNIE DUKE is a familiar face at
final tables. This Montana mom of three is a doctoral
candidate in psychology who just happens to play high-stakes
poker for a living.
To learn more about the World Poker Tour tournament,
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by Dave Thursday at 9:29am