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PATRIK ANTONIUS

PATRIK  ANTONIUS

Even if this article about hot male poker players wasn’t written in alphabetical order, Patrik Antonius would be at the top of the list. To date, he’s the best looking male professional poker player, and his background as a model should come as no surprise. He’s very aware of the mental and physical demands of playing professional poker and makes sure to exercise so his mind and body are in peak condition and can withstand the stress of tournament play.

Antonius was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1980 and was an avid tennis player growing up with aspirations to play professionally. Always interested in cards, when he and his friends weren’t playing tennis, they’d meet up to play poker. He later began playing online, where he still spends hours playing poker today and is regarded as one of the world’s best online players. When he was 18, he entered his first online tournament and shortly after he played in his first live casino tournament and won! Although he does spend considerable amount of time online, he does like to play a lot of games in Las Vegas to learn from the best players.

His poker career really took off in 2005 when he came in second in both the Bellagio Five Diamond Classic Event in Las Vegas and the EPT’s Barcelona Open and winning the EPT’s Scandinavian Open.

According to his MySpace site, he’s 6’2”, a Sagittarius, doesn’t smoke, wants children someday, and, sorry ladies, he is in a relationship right now. But do you see a simple band on his left ring finger? Not yet…

JOHN D'AGOSTINO

JOHN D'AGOSTINO

JOHN D'AGOSTINO

John D’Agostino is one of the youngest players on the pro circuit, but don’t let his age fool you: he’s been playing high stakes, No Limit poker for over four years and without having won a single tournament, he’s still managed to make over 2.5 million in prize money. (That’s way sexier than the job he had working in a doughnut shop before going pro.) Originally from Seymour, Connecticut, he now spends a lot of time in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey and Las Vegas playing major tournaments.

To date, he’s made it to the final table in four major tournaments (including second at the Borgata Winter open), but with more experience, this player is sure to capture a title very soon. Keep your eyes on this brown-eyed cutie!

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ANTONIO ESFANDIARI

ANTONIO  ESFANDIARI

Antonio Esfandiari was born in Tehran, Iran and when he was nine years old, he immigrated with his family to San Jose, California, where he still resides. Life in America wasn’t easy for the young Esfandiari: he was teased about his name (Amir) when he first arrived (so he changed it to Anthony until he graduated from high school), and he was harassed for his broken English and Middle Eastern features. Things got to be so hard in his household that his mother couldn’t take it anymore and moved back to Iran, which totally devastated Esfandiari and his brother and father.

Esfandiari channeled all of this pain into raw energy to power his drive to attain the American dream and live a successful life. So by the age of eleven, he got a job as a telemarketer, earning enough money to dress nicely and take his friends out for a good time. By sixteen, he had a job as a waiter and by seventeen, he was making enough money to move into his own apartment.

It was at the restaurant where he worked that he had first encounter with illusionism. He was so impressed by a card trick he saw a bartender perform, that he went out and bought every book and video on magic he could find. Thus began an intensive, two-year-and-twelve-hours-a-day magic training schedule. He also changed his name during this time yet again from Anthony to Antonio because it sounded more mysterious. By the age of nineteen, he was a working, professional magician. Or is ‘illusionist’ the politically correct term? In any case, the magic was about to run out…or rather, be replaced.

By poker.

After doing magic at his restaurant and at private parties for over a year, Esfandiari went to his first casino with a friend who was in a poker tournament. He played a few games of Texas Hold ‘em and was hooked right from the beginning. He then went about teaching himself poker with the same fervor that he taught himself magic.

After much training and entering smaller tournaments, he had established a big enough bankroll to finance a trip to Las Vegas and entered his first WPT main event. Unfortunately, he didn’t do very well and lost everything. But he did meet Phil ‘The Unabomber’ Laak (Jennifer Tilly’s boyfriend), and the two became good friends. Laak gave Esfandiari some good advice especially about managing money and he went back to San Jose with a renewed focus to succeed at poker.

To date, Esfandiari has won his first (and only) bracelet at the 2004 WSOP Pot Limit Hold ‘em in Las Vegas and has had strong finishes in countless other tournaments.

PHIL GORDON

PHIL  GORDON

PHIL  GORDON

Phil Gordon is hot not just for his classic ‘tall, dark and handsome’ looks (ladies, he’s 6’9”!), but for his above-average intelligence. By the time he was fifteen, he made it to the finals in the National Merit Scholarship, and five years later, he graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in computer science. He was immediately hired by Lockheed Missiles and Space right after graduation.

And so it seems Gordon’s life was pretty well established, until two years later when entrepreneur Herb Madan lured him to be a software architect at his new company, Netsys Technologies, in Paolo Alto, California. In 1996 and 1997, due to the explosion of LAN and WAN market, Netsys was sold for $95 million and Gordon became a very wealthy man overnight. Instead of finding another high-paying job, he decided to cut loose from the business and computer world and set about exploring parts of the planet he had never seen. He traveled to over fifty countries in six continents, and after five years of this extraordinary, peripatetic lifestyle, it was time to come home. Gordon chose Lake Tahoe, Nevada as his new home base.

Not knowing what to do next, Gordon’s attention was caught by the high-rolling, glamorous world of poker. He had the bankroll to do it, just not the skills, so he went about teaching himself poker basics. With that limited knowledge, he entered his first tournament and paid the $10,000 buy-in for the 2001 WSOP Championship. Despite being a relative beginner to the game, Gordon not only made it to the final table, but placed fourth and made $399,610!Pretty impressive for your first tournament! The media immediately took notice and he’s been a tournament regular ever since.

To date, he’s made more than a million dollars in prize money and has authored three poker books.

JOSEPH HACHEM

JOSEPH  HACHEM

Sorry, ladies, Joseph Hachem is already happily married with four children, but with that million dollar smile, he needs to be mentioned on this list! (Or is it the 7.5 million dollars in prize money he took home from the 2005 WSOP that’s so attractive?)

Hachem was born in Lebanon and moved to Melbourne, Australia in the 1970s, where he worked as a mortgage broker and chiropractor. He started playing poker in 2003 and made a name for himself in Australian casinos. In 2005, he came in 10th at a $1000 WSOP No Limit tournament. Later that year, a friend of his won the $10,000 buy-in and all-expenses paid trip for the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas through an online tournament. Pumped by his high standing at the previous tournament, Hachem decided to go along with his friend to Las Vegas and paid the $10,000 buy-in in whole.

It was the best ten large he ever spent. In a heads-up game against Steve Dannenmann, Hachem was dealt 7-3 of spades, which was the lowest winning starting hand in the history of the WSOP. With 6-5-4 on the flop, Hachem only needed two cards to finish his straight and win the biggest payout ever at the WSOP: 7.5 million dollars. He got his two cards and the Aussies in the casino went mad with excitement that one of their own had won the Main Event.

Hachem is still a prominent figure at high level poker, but he still spends a lot of time playing online. Take a tip from one of the highest-paid professional poker players and get a lot of practice in playing online. VCPoker.com is a great site for all levels of ability with free and pay tables available 24-7.

GUS HANSEN

GUS HANSEN

GUS HANSEN

GUS HANSEN

Frequently gracing the lists of hot male poker players, People magazine made it official when they called him the ‘Sexiest Poker Player’ in the 2004 Sexiest Men Alive issue. Yes, Gus Hansen’s a babe, and with his flirtatious behavior, easy smile, and aggressive, reckless playing style, he’s the poker bad boy women can’t resist.

Originally from Denmark, Hansen’s first foray into making money off playing games was by competing in backgammon tournaments (he was a world-class player). They weren’t held as regularly in Denmark as they were in America, so he moved to Santa Cruz, California in 1993. It was there that he started playing poker in card rooms and was immediately hooked. He briefly returned to Denmark to serve his mandatory military service (he chose to carry out his duties as a civil servant), and then returned to New York when it was over, where he made money playing high-dollar backgammon and gin.

But poker was never far from his mind and in 2002, he entered his first tournament, the WPT’s Five-Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio. It was the WPT’s debut tournament, and Hansen beat out 146 other players to win the WPT title and $550,000 in prize money. He became an instant celebrity and his good fortune and fame has steadily increased since then.

PHIL IVEY

PHIL IVEY

Phil Ivey grew up in New Jersey and was taught how to play poker by his grandfather when he was just eight years old. By the time he was 18, he was so keen to play the game in a casino that he had a fake ID and played the Atlantic City casinos. Two years later, he permanently moved there and pursued poker professionally. Since then, he has won several tournaments and five WSOP bracelets (as of 2006) his first was when he was only 23 years old. What’s more significant about his WSOP wins is that they were won playing different games, which is a sign of a truly gifted, well-rounded poker player. In 2006, he was named Player of the Year by All In Magazine, Bluff Magazine and the UK Gaming Awards.

Ivey is all the more charming as he married his high school sweetheart (isn’t it so sweet when love survives fame and fortune?). They currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.

PHIL LAAK

PHIL LAAK

Phil ‘The Unabomber’ Laak was born in Dublin, Ireland and raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in mechanical engineering. He worked as an engineer for a few years after graduation, but he didn’t thoroughly enjoy it, so he tried out different jobs, including repo man, real estate investor and bookie.

Like Gus Hansen, Laak was a skilled backgammon player and honed his skills during college. One day when he was in San Diego, he came across a backgammon tournament being played in the back of a restaurant. He was intrigued and began playing tournaments and winning money. He switched to poker soon after and was playing in underground card rooms in New York City, and then eventually he moved back to the West Coast, where he settled in the Bay Area.

Laak got his nickname when he used to show up at the table, hung over from the night before, with his sunglasses on and wearing the hood of his hoodie. The look and the name stuck, and his theatrical, gregarious behavior during games has made him a fan favorite (although there are some players that think he’s being unprofessional when he gets up and puts on a show).

He’s presently going out with actress and fellow poker player Jennifer Tilly (who won two WSOP bracelets in 2005).

ERICK LINDGREN

ERICK  LINDGREN

Erick Lindgren is a blonde hottie who grew up playing sports in Northern California, where his competitive nature was given a chance to flourish on the football field and basketball court. He was an all league quarterback and won the MVP of his basketball league as a shooting guard. He went to Butte Junior College right out of high school, but he dropped out in his second year as he knew that he was going to make a living gambling and was wasting his time and money on school. Armed with that knowledge, he first got a job as a blackjack dealer before making the move to playing poker (as a prop player).

He learned a lot about poker during his stint as a prop player, particularly when he was seated with older, more skilled players who were happy to give Lindgren tips and advice on his game and career plans. He directed a lot of time and energy to the game and in 2002, he was finally rewarded for his effort when he won his first major tournament at the Bellagio, followed by his first WPT win ten months later, and then winning a million dollars six months after that at the Poker Million III. Since then, Lindgren has won over two million dollars in prize money, a second WPT title, and in 2004, he won the WPT Player of the Year award.

Lindgren now resides in Las Vegas to be closer to the major tournaments and ladies, he’s currently single!

MIKE ‘THE GRINDER’ MIZRACHI

MIKE ‘THE  GRINDER’ MIZRACHI

MIKE ‘THE  GRINDER’ MIZRACHI

MIKE ‘THE  GRINDER’ MIZRACHI

Mike ‘the Grinder’ Mizrachi is married, so might as well get that out of the way right from the start. But that can’t stop us girls from looking! He’s married to the very gorgeous and very curvy Aidily ‘Lily’ Elviro, an up-and-coming poker player who he met in, you guessed it, a casino. Both were born (in the same hospital!) and raised in Miami, Florida. They have one young child together.

Mizrachi comes from a tight-knit family of poker players his brothers Robert and Eric play high stakes tournaments as well and his mother watches as many tournaments as she can. Strong family values, closeness, and unwavering support were integral to Mizrachi’s upbringing something he credits to his family’s strong Jewish faith.

He originally wanted to be a doctor, but he withdrew from university to pursue poker full time. That decision has paid off as Mizrachi has won more than $5.4 million dollars in prize money as of August 2006, prompting Card Player Magazine to name him the Player of the Year. He’s also made it to the final table in countless tournaments and has won two WPT titles. You’ll be hearing more from this pillow-lipped Floridian as his game shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

GREG MUELLER

GREG  MUELLER

This Canadian hunk is a former professional hockey player and at 6’4”, Greg Mueller is a towering force at the felt. Mueller first started playing poker with his teammates on long bus trips to hockey games. He didn’t even think about playing poker as a career until he retired from hockey in 1999. He started out playing Limit games (as everyone should) before moving on to master No Limit games and tournaments. In 2005, he really made a name for himself by placing in the money and making the final tables in several tournaments, including the WSOP and WPT.

Mueller’s known for his excellent sense of humor (sold!) and outgoing personality, but he’s also a calculating player who watches his opponents’ every move. When he’s not in Las Vegas playing poker, he enjoys spending time with his family in Vancouver, Canada. He likes to play golf and watch professional sports especially his hometown NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks.

Expect to see more tournament final table appearances from this Canadian as he gets more experience playing No Limit games.

DANIEL NEGREANU

DANIEL  NEGREANU

DANIEL  NEGREANU

DANIEL  NEGREANU

DANIEL  NEGREANU

DANIEL  NEGREANU

If you haven’t heard of Daniel Negreanu by now, are you sure you’re interested in poker? More than just being an excellent poker player, Negreanu is a marketing and business genius. Ok, maybe ‘genius’ is too strong a word, but there are few poker players who have profited from the game both at and away from the table as much as he has. (Currently, he’s the second-richest tournament player in history.)

Born in Toronto, Canada to Romanian-Canadian parents, he started off with ambitions to be a professional pool player in his teens, but by the time he was 21, he made the switch to poker and moved to Las Vegas. Two years later, at 23, he won his first WSOP bracelet in 1998, earning him the nickname ‘Poker Kid.’ More money finishes and bracelet wins later, in 2004, Negreanu was named ESPN and Card Player Magazine’s Player of the Year and the Champion Player of the Year, and for the 2004-2005 season, the WPT gave him the same honors.

When not playing poker, he’s writing about it he has regular columns for various web sites and magazines and he submitted a piece on strategy for Doyle Brunson’s Super/System 2. Perhaps most exciting is his new X-Box poker game, Stacked with Daniel Negreanu. The game has garnered positive reviews for its effective use of artificial intelligence to help players improve in live settings and for its excellent tutorials for beginner players.

To date, Negreanu has earned more than $5 million in tournament winnings alone. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife and enjoys hockey, golf and comedy when not playing poker or making really cool video games.

DAVID WILLIAMS

DAVID  WILLIAMS

DAVID  WILLIAMS

DAVID  WILLIAMS

David Williams burst onto the poker scene in 2004 with several second place finishes, but he was making decent cash off gambling long before that. Williams was a gifted student and attended high school at the Academy of Math and Science in his home state of Texas. While still in high school, he became one of the best ‘Magic: The Gathering’ players in the world and earned over $40,000 for playing a game he loved. Williams describes the game as, “Pokemon for the advanced.”  However, he was suspended from playing in Magic tournaments for a year due to some technical rules about bent cards. It was during this time that he started playing poker in illegal Dallas card rooms to help fund his tuition. Soon after, he was playing online and entering tournaments where he could win money quickly.

Before any of this happened, he was accepted to both Harvard and Princeton and chose the latter, but didn’t stay long: he was so homesick for Texas that he transferred to Southern Methodist University. With only a semester left before graduation (or thirty credits, depending on the source), Williams dropped out after coming in second at the 2004 WSOP and winning $3.5 million dollars. He believed that it was more important to devote his time to poker (since he was on a roll), but he also has said that he will return to finish his degree.

Playboy magazine predicts great things from this player and wrote an article about him: “Is This Man the Future of Poker.” With his intelligence, experience and determination, there’s a very good chance he is.

Take Williams’ lead and start playing poker online today! The benefit of playing lots of hands quickly is key to developing your skill in the game. Try Poker Stars for tutorials and free tables both of which are important and useful for beginner players. For those of you who have more experience, PartyPoker.com is a great site for when you’re ready to start playing in online tournaments.

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