My historical picks for the “Nolan Dalla Poker Person of the Year” Award

decisionsRecently Nolan Dalla wrote a blog post offering up his suggestions for his spontaneously created award Poker’s Person of the Year (a play on Time Magazine’s award) and in the process he espoused who he would have chosen in more recent years. Well, I’ve decided to take this a step farther, and offer up my extremely outdated picks for the Poker Person of the Year going back to 2003.

2003: Chris Moneymaker

If I selected anyone else I’d just be trolling.

2004: Daniel Negreanu

In 2004 Negreanu began to emerge as the most popular poker player. Negreanu won a WSOP bracelet in 2004, along with two World Poker Tour titles, and won the WSOP Player of the Year award, the WPT Player of the Year award, and the Cardplayer Magazine POY award –which was the only one at the time.

2005: Online Superstars

The cover of this magazine would be along the lines of SpiritRock/Mahatma, ElkY, Hollingol (sorry, my keyboard doesn’t have Swedish keys), and a few other players who were among the new wave of talented young players taking the online poker tables by storm.

2006: Jamie Gold

While UIGEA or one of its authors could easily take his place, I think Jamie Gold, who is still a polarizing figure in poker to this day, is the obvious choice since nobody really knew what impact UIGEA would have when it passed in late 2006.

Gold on the other hand, was perhaps the most talked about WSOP Main Event Champion since Chris Moneymaker.

2007: The Super User

Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker scandals were THE story of 2007, and a perfect cover would be a black silhouette in front of a computer where the player can see all the hole cards.

2008: Russ Hamilton

While it may seem like a second consecutive year that the award goes to a Super User, the indictment of Russ Hamilton by the poker community was the first time the online poker community could put a name to the cheats, and neither Hamilton’s involvement, nor the Super User story itself has lost any traction over time.

2009: Phil Ivey

In 2009 Phil Ivey decided he was going to put the “Who is the best poker player” argument to bed. Ivey dominated in tournaments, on TV shows, with Full Tilt ads, and his status as a poker pro went from elite to legendary. Some legendary prop bets coming to light didn’t hurt either.

2010: Mike Mizrachi

Mizrachi had a rollercoaster 2010. The year began with foreclosures and rumors of “The Grinder” being busto, but after an amazing WSOP that included a victory in the $50k Players Championship and making the final table of the Main Event, Mizrachi was back in business.

2011: Preet Bharara

I don’t know how you choose anyone other than the face of the Black Friday indictments and shutdown of US online poker.

2012: Antonio Esfandiari

This was a tough choice between Antonio’s One Drop victory and Phil Hellmuth’s two bracelets (including the WSOPE Main Event) and second consecutive runner-up finish in the WSOP Player of the Year race. In the end I went with the story that would better stand the test of time.

2013: Chris Christie

I was torn over whether to select Christie, who signed his state’s online gambling bill in February –when most expected a veto– and has overseen [read as “was in office during”] a very successful rollout of online gambling in his state, or Sheldon Adelson, who is easily the most hated man in poker at the moment; which is an impressive achievement considering the likes of Russ Hamilton, Howard Lederer, and Annie Duke are also vying for that title.


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