In its new March issue, Bluff Magazine once again published the annual ranking of the 20 most influential people in the poker world, the “Power 20”. Obviously, several major industry figures are present in this ranking report but we also find people whose names are a little less familiar and it’s also impressive to see people with Canadian ties on the list. In last year’s Power 20 classification, those who stood on top were the owners of the giant online poker room PokerStars. In second place was Full Tilt Poker, the second largest online poker room in the world. Montrealer Mitch Garber, the former CEO of PartyGaming and current CEO of Caesars Interactive completed the top three.
Regarding the 2011 classification, let’s review some of the interesting names that stand out from the crowd. Firstly, in 19th position is Canadian Jim Ryan, the new CEO of PartyGaming. He was instrumental in last’s year’s merger with BWIN.com, big news in the poker world which brought up the value of PartyGaming’s shares and may plant the seed for more consolidation in the gaming market.
In 16th position is none other than the legendary Phil Hellmuth. He has become the most coveted poker free agent in December when we learned that he broke ties with his long time sponsor, Ultimate Bet. The reason that he is sought after is for his WSOP records which make him a poker icon and that he is a show stopper. One need only think of his flamboyant entrances to major events.
The famous high stakes player Tom “durrrr” Dwan rises to 12th spot. Not only is he a respected by the poker community for his talent, but he has also gained even more popularity in the 2010 World Series with its huge prop bet of several million dollars that has kept the circle of high stakes players talking for quite some time.
Somebody who ranked 3rd in last year’s standings, Mitch Garber, now occupies 8th spot. The CEO of Caesars Entertainment Interactive now handles all aspects of the WSOP brand, both in real money and play money on the Internet. Moreover, Caesars have long had their eyes set on the potential to be gained if a law making online poker legal in the United States entered into force. When that day comes, Mitch Garber could end up driving one of the biggest online poker online sites due to the sheer size of the Caesars organization (formerly Harrah’s) and the WSOP brand! It is also interesting to note that Ty Stewart, vice president of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, finds himself in 3rd position in the top 20. He is currently executive director of the World Series of Poker and is therefore to manage the series of the most important tournament in the world.
The most influential person last year is in 2nd place this year. Indeed, Isai Scheinberg, who founded PokerStars while living in Richmond Hill, Ontario is undoubtedly continues to be a key figure in the world of poker today. Using their excellent marketing team (and billions of dollars at their disposal), the Scheinberg family have hoisted their company to the top of online poker and PokerStars is now the undisputed leader in the industry.
At the top of the top 20 of Bluff Magazine for 2011, we find the renowned Howard Lederer, also known by the nickname of “The Professor”. Lederer is co-founder of giant Full Tilt Poker and consultant for Pocket Kings Ltd, the company that handles marketing and technology for Full Tilt. In addition to these prestigious positions, “The Professor” is also a professional poker player who made and still making numerous television appearances. It is therefore hardly surprising that Lederer is chosen as the most influential person in the poker world this year!
It is obviously too long to make a comprehensive summary of 20 people of the charts, but here are some other names that have held the attention. Poker news sites are well represented with two people in the top 20, Lance Bradley, editor of Bluff Magazine and Tony G, Site Owner of pokernews.com. Some notable player names stand out, like Doyle Brunson (#10), Canadian Daniel Negreanu (#7) and arguably the best player in the world according to many, Phil Ivey (#6).
It will be very interesting to see who can make his mark and climb into the top 20 for the next edition of the Power 20 of Bluff Magazine.
Here is the comprehensive 2011 Power 20 list:
# 1 – Howard Lederer – Consultant, Pocket Kings Limited
# 2 – Isai Scheinberg – Founder, PokerStars
# 3 – Ty Stewart – Vice President, Caesars Interactive Entertainment / Executive Director, World Series of Poker
# 4 – Harry Reid – Senator, Nevada
# 5 – Brian Balsbaugh – Founder, Poker Royalty
# 6 – Phil Ivey – Best poker player in the world
# 7 – Daniel Negreanu – Player, Team PokerStars Pro
# 8 – Mitch Garber – CEO, Caesars Interactive Entertainment
# 9 – Mori Eskandani – CEO Poker PROduction
# 10 – Doyle Brunson – The Godfather of Poker
# 11 – John Pappas – Executive Director, Poker Players Alliance
# 12 – Tom Dwan – Player, Team Full Tilt
# 13 – Tony G – Owner, PokerNews
# 14 – Matt Savage – Executive Director, World Poker Tour
# 15 – Ray Bitar – Director, Pocket Kings Ltd
# 16 – Phil Hellmuth – The most coveted free agent poker
# 17 – Lance Bradley – Editor in Chief, BLUFF Magazine
# 18 – Steve “Chops” Preiss – Wicked Chops Poker
# 19 – Jim Ryan – CEO, PartyGaming
# 20 – Eric “Sheets” Haber and Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy – Investors (staking) – Bax and Sheets