Bluff Power 20 Released

by , Feb 4, 2010 | 6:44 am

Wicked Chops has the intro and the detailed breakdown … and they provided the actual list:

1. PokerStars
2. Full Tilt Poker
3. Mitch Garber
4. Howard Lederer
5. Ty Stewart
6. Doyle Brunson
7. Joe Cada
8. Barney Frank
9. Tony G
10. Daniel Negreanu
11. Phil Ivey
12. John Pappas
13. Mike Sexton
14. Mori Eskandani
15. Brian Balsbaugh
16. Lance Bradley
17. Joe Sebok
18. Barry Shulman
19. Matt Savage
20. Per Hagen

The only name I don’t recognize is Per Hagen. I’ve since learned he’s a major Norwegian agent who runs the company PokerIcons. (Their stable of players include the much heralded Annette15 , the lesser heralded Layne Flack, and underheralded Kathy Liebert, among others.)

Interesting to see PokerStars and Full Tilt there as entities not individuals. With that in mind, some might wonder where the names Isai Scheinberg (head of PokerStars) and Ray Bitar (honcho at Full Tilt) and Chris Feguson.

Some other notable omissions include Jeffrey Pollack — probably the most notable drop off the list — and Jack Effel, who most anticipate will be the on-the-ground face of the 2010 WSOP way moreso than Ty Stewart and Mitch Garber plan to be.

If you’re gonna include groups, though .. you gotta wonder about:

the WSOP
the Department of Justice

Annie Duke also, to our surprise,didn’t make the cut — even though she did more to reperesent the game (for better or worse) in 2009, has more to do with poker’s Hollywood connections than just about anyone, and has raised more money for charity than just about anyone in the industry save for maybe her UB cronie Phil Hellmuth. But she has arguably taken a huge role resurrecting one of the largest online poker sites from the abyss … a role that Phil Hellmuth has taken no pulic part in.

45 Comments to “Bluff Power 20 Released”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    Think Cada’s rated a bit too high at #7?

  2. DanM

    yeah, he didn’t even make my list. rising star for sure … but too young and unproven to be part of the Power 20, imho.

    Brian Townsend should go before him (not that high though) and even Paul Leggett if you’re going less player heavy.

  3. Kevin Mathers

    I was asked to come up with a list, then never got around to emailing it. Here’s some names I would have had on the list that aren’t in the top 20:

    Barry Hearn
    Norman Chad at #20
    Adam Pliska
    Jeffrey Haas
    John Duthie

    Seems if you get on a lot of mainstream shows for a couple of weeks, that automatically gives you top 10 status.

  4. DanM

    here was my list. i forgot to include Tony G and Kevin Mathers … and I misspelled the #1 choice:

    1. Isai Steinberg
    2. Howard Lederer
    3. Mitch Garber
    4. Barney Frank
    5. Phil Hellmuth
    6. Steve Preiss
    7. Dan Michalski
    8. Mori Eskandani
    9. Mike Sexton
    10. Annie Duke
    11. Daniel Negreanu
    12. Phil Ivey
    13. Matt Savage
    14. Brian Balsbaugh
    15. Paul Leggett
    16. Drew Lesofski
    17. John Pappas
    18. Brian Townsend
    19. Joe Navarro
    20. Jim McManus

  5. DanM

    who’s barry hearn? i’ve heard that name before … someone connected to PartyPoker and Europe?

  6. Kevin Mathers

    Barry Hearn is with Matchroom Sport, who does several poker tournaments in the UK such as:

    World Poker Open
    Premier League Poker
    Durrrr Million Dollar Challenge
    Full Tilt Poker Million
    PKR Heads-Up Poker Challenge

  7. Matthew Parvis

    Not sure how your list did not get copied and pasted directly into the magazine Dan…

  8. Matthew Parvis

    Mots notably the dude in the #7 spot.

  9. DanM

    right … i think i’ve met barry hearn — actually played a sit-n-go with him in Leyton. I believe he was the owner of the Leyton Orient at the time.

    @Parvis … I may or may not have overestimated my own self-importance. but hey … was trying to stand up for the independent media. and i was the WSOP-Dream Team Poker team champion.

  10. DanM

    p.s. @parvis when we actually win in texas … don’t forget who’s been working on that 3-year plan for five years!

  11. Matthew Parvis

    Ah, Dream Team Champions Count? Does that make me eligible for the list?

  12. DanM

    sorry dude, you were like sooo 2008.

  13. DanM

    @mathers i like your inclusion of norman chad. think pliska is still too much in the same boat as joe cada. know who duthie is, but don’t see his power quotient. and jeffrey haas … that’s another one i don’t recognize.

  14. Lara

    Can you guys explain to me how poker agents made the list? I’m not being a smart ass here, I really am curious. Unless they are bringing in a ton of mainstream endorsers that I don’t know about, I just don’t get it.

  15. Mean Gene

    Where’s Jon Kyl?

  16. DanM

    @meangene ah, see that;s my whole point/shady justification for self-inclusion. that won’t become a story until the blogosphere runs with it.

    @Lara i think some agents — like PokerRoyalty — are powerful because they not only bring individual opportunities to individual players, but they help the industry get into certain markets and media. and they get so cut-throat around the final table, which makes them seem powerful.

  17. Lara

    @Dan Makes sense, perception is everything. I disagree about the media part though 😉

  18. Matthew Parvis

    Jeffrey Haas is one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the PokerStars backed tours like the EPT, NAPT, APPT and LAPT. In my opinion he should certainly be on the list. Although with the exception of a few, it is a very US centric list.

  19. Lara

    @Matt it seems as though the ones that stay behind the scene, that most people have never heard of, are the driving forces behind the growth of poker. Which makes them all the more deserving IMO.

  20. Lara

    How about Lotus Pr for PokerStars? They have done a ton of mainstream work to getStars out there.

  21. DanM

    ahh, learn something new. that’s the guy i was looking for when i was thinking about pokerstars at the top … didn’t know his name though, so just went for the super head-honcho.

    i think that’s the one problem with this list. there are people who deserve the credit, but don’t get the recognition. that’s wy i included drew lesofski from the PPA. people now pappas, but i’m sure even he’d attest to hat an important role lesofski plays. likewise from the poker royalty camp. balsbaugh is the boss, but that doesn’t mean he’s the most influential person within their own business. (no offence to pappas or balsbaugh, just thinking some of their help deserves mad props as well.)

  22. DanM

    re: lotus pr … i think the lists would be very different if you separated out individuals from organizations.

  23. Lara

    Agreed, they aren’t exclusively with Stars though, which is the reason I thought of them.

  24. Matt Savage

    I like Dan’s list better 🙂

  25. Andrew

    Interesting Power 20 for sure…here was my take:

    Ty Stewart
    Doug White/Jamie Horowitz
    John Pappas
    Barney Frank
    Mitch Garber
    Steve Lipscomb
    Daniel Negreanu
    Brian Balsbaugh
    Lance Bradley/Eric Morris
    Phil Ivey
    Joe Cada
    Howard Lederer
    Mori Eskandani
    Barry Shulman
    Wicked Chops
    Chris Capra
    Matthew Parvis
    Joe Sebok
    Cliff Josephy/Eric Haber
    Tom Dwan

  26. Andrew

    And yes, I have a very US-centric list. Jeff Haas is definitely a glaring omission of mine.

  27. Matthew Parvis

    Here was my ballot. Looking at it, I would change a few things as I obviously missed Mitch Garber. I had Pollack on there, as I think a lot of his initiatives and ideals for poker were still influential in today’s poker landscape. I probably also would have included some of the other online gaming CEO’s also if I had to do it again. And yes, I through myself in there as a joke. I believe that the poker media does not hold a lot of power in this industry, which is why you see none of them on my ballot. The industry is controlled by the sites, the players and the television producers IMO.

    1. PS
    2. FTP
    3. Doyle
    4. Howard Lederer
    5. Mori Eskandadi
    6. Daniel Negreanu
    7. Mike Sexton
    8. Tony G
    9. Barney Frank
    10. Jamie Horowitz
    11. Jeffrey Pollack
    12. John Duthie
    13. Brian Balsbaugh
    14. Steve Lipscomb
    15. Ty Stewart
    16. Jeffrey Haas
    17. Jon Miller
    18. Annie Duke
    19. Joe Sebok
    20. Matthew Parvis

  28. Kevin Mathers

    Should Steve Lipscomb really be on the list, especially since he’s no longer part of the WPT?

  29. Matthew Parvis

    Probably correct on that Kev. Probably why he was left off the actual list.

  30. DanM

    I think the individuals who didn’t make the master list but got a few votes are probably some of the more interesting people in poker. Though I think all of our lists have arguably a flaw or two … which is what I guess the collectiveness was supposed to, and for the most part did, effectively filter out. Good job on all us voters who put some real thought into it.

    I’m mostly intrigued by the names I don’t recognize.

  31. DanM

    And extra good job by Lance for creating this concept and pulling it all together. I still plan to make a little fun of him on the Radio for his ranking though.

  32. Kevin Mathers

    I got my copy of Bluff today, and for whatever reason, their list of the Bluff 20 has the following:

    7. Barney Frank
    8. Daniel Negreanu
    10. Joe Cada

    There was also an editor’s note is that the real 1 and 2 requested that their names not appear on the list.

  33. DanM

    maybe some second-print revisions? any inaccuracy drops Chops down on my list, lol.

    regarding their names not being included … that’s a huge sigh in and of itself. i don’t think it should be their choice when they reach a certain level! either you’re afraid of going to jail in this world or you’re not!

    a) why would they be hiding? are they that altruistic that they don’t want credit for their good deeds.
    b) why do they have any say in what bluff publishes?

    kudos to bluff for putting this list together, but i hope they extorted at least a nice raise for lance out of letting their “winners” alter their original editorial concept.

    powerful people without a public face is what makes people nervous in this industry or any others.

  34. Jess

    Reading everyone’s ballots makes me want to hunt mine down, but that would require effort, something I am in short supply of today. I am very surprised I am the only one with Jim Ryan (PartyGaming CEO) on my list though. I know they aren’t the biggest site around anymore, but now that they own WPTE and are signing ppls left and right it certainly seems like they have big plans on the horizon.

  35. Dave

    This list is a joke….
    Joe Cada 7th??, beating Negreanu??? Where’s Patrick, not to mention Durrrr…
    Try again Bluff Magazine

  36. Chris 'Homer' Hall

    At first I was going say there would be a collective ‘yawn’ from Europe as we laugh about the American power list. But then I thought about it and was actually struggling to think of that many Europeans who would actually make the list and other than Thomas Kremser I was struggling. The problem is that the list lacks creditability without any Europeans in it, but to put them in would skew the list as well, so the only solution would be to have an American list and a European list as well, with maybe some names like Tony G able to cross both.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of these subjective things, I kinda think they’re all silly but I subscribe to Matt P’s viewpoint that no-one in the media should be in the top 20. The Bax/Sheets staking group is so huge that they would have to be in there now too.

    A European list would hold much more interest to me as 2010 is going to be pretty interesting in terms of poker tours. There’s all the Stars tours going around plus Chilipoker now have a mini-tour, the Unibet tour has been going strong for a couple of years now (even having 400+ players when it clashed with an EPT) while Betsson and Betfair have the occasional tournaments as well. Add a few WPT’s in as well and you can see how packed the European schedule will be.

  37. Haley

    I thought the list was 75% good and 25% high comedy.

  38. Haley

    And no, Lipscomb shouldn’t be on the list, but Lyle Berman should. Also, whoever is the director of sports programming at ESPN these days gets a top 5 spot. Also LOL at Per Hagen getting a mention with his partial repping of Annette and a stable of otherwise second-rate Eurodonkeys. The Bax/Sheets comment is apropos, meaning #7 should have been “Joe Cada’s backer”.

    Parvis’s commemt re: poker media is one of the few things I agree with him on. As long as poker media outlets cling to an increasingly antiquated affiliate system as their primary revenue stream, they have no real power.

  39. Eric Morris


    there is always going to be controversy when a list gets printed, which is a good thing in my opinion. Reason being, is it gets people talking about the poker industry and where it has and will be going in the future. I myself believe there were some worth people left off the list, but at the end of the day we published the results from people involved in the poker industry. The list was not subjective at all. Good or bad the list is made up from many of your respected peers.

    On a side note, PD Parv no one at Bluff even cracked your top 20? Perhaps we were 21 after you?

  40. Matthew Parvis

    No offense Eric… Here was my quote that went along with my ballot.

    “And yes, I through myself in there as a joke. I believe that the poker media does not hold a lot of power in this industry, which is why you see none of them on my ballot. The industry is controlled by the sites, the players and the television producers IMO”.

  41. DanM

    Are you serious? I thought this industry was controlled by Twitter.

  42. Eric Morris

    PD, you know I was just giving you shit. Its all in fun!

  43. Vern

    This just in, Lance Bradley ranks Lance Bradley 16th most influential person in poker.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just kinda funny.

  44. JamesDaBear

    anybody have an idea who the top two were going to be?

  45. DanM

    don’t know for sure, but conventional wisdom says Isai Scheinberg (PokerStars) and Ray Bitar (Full Tilt).