Full Tilt Poker: Who are the Next Professionals?

When it comes to sackings and packings there aren’t many shocks in the world of sport. Instead, the greatest form of entertainment on earth lives and dies by the no smoke without fire rule.

When Tom ‘durrr’ Dwan was cut loose from his professional relationship with Full Tilt Poker (FTP) it was not a surprise. The only issue people had was there was so much smoke you might not have been able to catch sight of his rear end as he walked away.


That leaves Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom as the figureheads for the once mighty force that is currently being kicked around the playground by much bigger bullies. It’s just not good enough. It’s time for a makeover. There are plumes of smoke everywhere.

The one thing that the three of them have in common is the fact that they are all degenerate high stakes online cash game players. So one assumes this is the type of people that FTP hope to gather into their bosom, otherwise why else appoint a group of people who receive less airtime than an Himalayan Jaguar?

So with Dwan’s umbilical chord lying on the ground, Viktor Blom’s hanging by a thread, and Gus Hansen owning the dubious honor of being the all-time biggest loser in online cash games  – $14,891,778 (including $3,204,539 in 2012 & $8,461,472 in 2013); I want to do some FTP groundwork and find them a new team.

Here are my two options:

The RunItOnce Option

If FTP still want to push the online cash game angle then it’s time to move away from the games biggest losers, and instead focus on the games biggest winners.

With this in mind why not move for a trio of Phil Galfond and Hac & Di Dang. Between them they have cleaned up to the tune of $23m in online profit on FTP alone; making them three of the biggest winners in the history of the virtual felt.

Galfond is the key to this transition because despite his youth, he is one of the most respected voices in world poker. This man could fart at a table containing Kara Scott, Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst, Xuan Liu & Maria Ho and not one person would ever suspect it was him.

His popularity stems from his authenticity. Hansen, Dwan and Blom are as black as Orcs, whilst Galfond is as white as Gandalf. Only Daniel Negreanu can rival Galfond as a high-ranking professional poker player who will not skirt any question, and will give an honest opinion.

He is smart, both emotionally and intelligently, has great business acumen, looks sharp in front of the camera, and with the ferocious looking tag-team of the Dang Brothers by his side, they would be a marketing wet dream.

Galfond is also the owner of arguably the best online training on the net. Why not incorporate the RunItOnce business model into FTP? A site where young wizards are taught to become as wise and wistful as Gandalf; or to produce double clotheslines with the power and punch of the Dang’s?

Phil Galfond & the Dangs versus Gus Hansen, Viktor Blom and Tom Dwan.

Do me a favor.

The Vorsprung Durch Technik Option

One of the alluring qualities of the game of poker is it can be played by anyone. If soccer is the sport of choice for the working class, then poker is its equivalent in the world of gaming.

But recently, poker has gone all-uppity on our arses with the creation of an elite upper class of clientele. Step forward and take a bow the cast of the Super High Rollers.

Now let’s imagine for a moment that the likes of Bill Perkins, Guy Laliberte, Paul Newey and Talal Shakerchi are a little too busy to be running an ailing online poker company – who else comes out of this group and why would they be worthy flag bearers for FTP?

Nobody has kicked ass around the Super High Roller neighborhood with more welly than Ze Germans. In fact, they have been so successful it’s very difficult to create a shortlist.

I think I would plumb for the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse angle with Tobias Reinkemier leading the charge with the likes of Philipp Gruissem, Igor Kurganov and Fabian Quoss riding alongside him in a supporting role.

It’s true that Gruissem has won a tad more dough than Reinkemeier, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for the spotlight just yet. Experience plays a vital role in these castings and Reinkemeier has the edge on this score. Just like Galfond he is highly intelligent, charming, good looking and speaks with the honesty you would expect from a figurehead.

Perhaps, it’s time to try a different tact.

The marketing of The Professionals didn’t attract herds of online cash game players so why not try a different tact and go for the multi-table tournament specialists. I love it. The four of them look like a weird screwed up Musketeer line-up brimming with talent, individualism and above all else they are four of the biggest winners in the toughest games going.

So that’s my opinion. 

What’s yours?