WPT Career Winnings: $5,807,282
Best known for his loose play, great bluffing tactics, and unique chip-stacking style, Juan Carlos Mortensen is currently the only Hispanic Main Event winner at the World Series of Poker.
World Poker Tour
Winner of the WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship in 2004, Mortensen also won the Season Five World Poker Tour championship event and the nearly $4 million first prize along with his second WPT title. He is the first player to ever win both the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour World Championship events. In 2010, Mortensen won the Season Eight WPT Hollywood Poker Open, the win allowed him to surpass Daniel Negreanu on the career WPT money list.
“El Matador” plays loose and aggressive. Always focused on playing for first place, he takes calculated and aggressive gambles whenever he senses weakness. Mortensen says, “Anytime I can bust someone, that is the right thing to do. If I smell weakness, I attack. Either I bust them or they bust me.” A major factor in his success is being able to remember other players’ betting patterns and their tells. He explains that “I believe that poker is a people game played with cards, not just a card game played by people. I think that all players have limits, or situations where they become uneasy, and that is when I put them to the test.”
Famous for being unpredictable, Mortensen believes that staying focused is the most essential component of being champion.
WPT Career Winnings: $5,680,349
Daniel Negreanu is Romanian-Canadian professional poker player who has won two World Poker Tour championship titles. Winner of the 2004-05 WPT Player of the Year, Negreanu currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada and hosts a blog at Full Contact Poker where he gives his thoughts about life, politics, and goings on in the world of poker.
World Poker Tour
Negreanu’s two biggest wins on the World Poker Tour happened in 2004 when he won the $10,000 Borgata Poker Open and its $1,117,400 first prize and the $15,000 Five Diamond World Poker Classic and its $1,795,218 first prize.
In his own words, Negreanu describes his technique as “I do more pre-flop calling than some. I trust my post-flop play because I’m pretty good at reading people after the flop. Playing people and position post-flop are definitely my strengths. When I get into a hand, I’m aggressive but I’m also paying attention to my opponent’s betting patterns.”
WPT Career Winnings: $4,650,509
Michael Mizrachi grew up with ambitions of becoming a doctor but dropped out of college to play poker full-time. When he turned professional, he missed his family so much whenever he was on the road that he bought a motor home with his poker winnings to keep his family close by when he travels.
In 2005, Mizrachi finished fifth in the World Poker Tour World Poker Open and the next month he won the L.A. Poker Classic and the $1.8 grand prize. He recently finished in 11th place in the $25,000 WPT Championship.
Mizrachi is the winner of the 2006 Card Player Magazine’s Player of the Year Award. His nickname “The Grinder” reflects his playing style because of his solid, consistent style of play, where he steadily “grinds” his way through his opponents and the rest of the field with his relentless and tireless play.
WPT Career Winnings: $4,489,063
Tuan Le is a super aggressive player best known for his high risk-taking in big tournaments. At one time, Le was the all-time leading money winner on the WPT Tour until he was overtaken by Daniel Negreanu.
World Poker Tour
Tuan Le’s first win in a WPT event was in 2004 where he earned himself over $1,500,000. The next year, he took first place at the World Poker Tour Season 3 Championship and won over $2,800,000. He also won the WPT Battle of Champions III event by beating Eli Elezra in heads up play.
Le is a fierce player who will only get better as he learns to temper his risk-taking. He won his first two WPT titles through sheer aggression and a little bit of luck. Often considered a wild player, Le is one of the best players in the world at discovering and exploiting any weaknesses he sees in his opponents. He admits that he is some somewhat undisciplined and claims he has made every money-management mistake in poker.
WPT Career Winnings: $4,041,029
Gus Hansen is one of the streakiest players on the WPT Tour and is often called an erratic, loose cannon for his aggressive play. Still, the “Great Dane” is a great poker player, and despite not having won any World Series gold bracelets, he has won three WPT events and is just just one of three players inducted into the World Poker Tour Poker Walk of Fame.
World Poker Tour
On the WPT Tour, Hansen has won three events: the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, L.A. Poker Classic, and the Caribbean Poker Adventure. His biggest win was at the Season 6 WPT World Championship where he took second place and won $1,714,800 in cash.
A pioneer of loose, aggressive, unpredictable play, Hansen style has attracted many imitators since poker exploded in popularity around the world in 2004-2005. Because of his style, Hansen has at times struggled to find consistent success, especially playing online where he claims to have lost millions playing Full Tilt poker.