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Poker history is littered with larger than life characters and gaming legends to make the eyes water. Playing great poker and winning tournaments is not enough. True poker legends seal their place in poker history by winning in style, challenging the establishment and being universally respected by their peers.

Being a poker legend is more than having a shelf full of shiny bracelets.

The Anti-Hero - Stu Ungar

"In my world - the world of high-stakes gin and poker - we play for cold, hard cash. It's all business, pure and simple. Anyone who thinks card playing is a 'game' - I'll show you a loser." - Stu Ungar

Stuey Ungar from poker history

Ungar won the 1980 and 1981 WSOP titles. In 1997, after years of battling drug addiction and deeply in debt, Ungar won the WSOP again after his stake was paid by poker professional Billy Baxter, earning the nickname "Comeback Kid". Ungar died in 1998 of a heart condition brought on by years of drug abuse.

The greatest natural poker talent that ever lived. Troubled and sometimes even unpleasant, particularly to dealers. Love him or loathe him, Stu Ungar is a true poker legend.

The King of Poker - Johnny Moss

"I knew how to cheat but I didn’t have to steal. I made plenty playing clean." - Johnny Moss

Poker legend Johnny Moss

The Grand Old Man of Poker was a notorious road gambler before the days of legalised casinos and poker tournaments. Moss carried a pistol to games to protect himself in these dangerous back room games, at least once having to draw his gun on a player and "ending up shooting him in the ass".

Yet Moss was a class act and a formidable poker player, having learned his art in card rooms of old when he was employed to spot cheaters. To prove the point, in 1970 Moss won the inaugral WSOP tournament aged 63. He went on to win the main event the following year and again in 1974.

The Modern Master - Phil Ivey

"Among all the top poker players there’s a shared love of gambling tonnes and tonnes of money, and taking risks. It’s that little something extra that the really successful poker players always seem to have." - Phil Ivey

Poker legend Johnny Moss

Phil Ivey is the most recognisable face in modern poker history and the poker professionals choice as greatest player alive today. Yet remarkably he has never won the WSOP main event, surely more evidence that the modern huge tournament field prevents the best players from winning.

Ivey has won 8 WSOP bracelets outside the main event and is a World Poker Tour champion. His cash game is frightening, on one occasion beating billionaire Andrew Beal out of $16.6 million over a three day heads up slaughter. Ivey is the greatest poker talent since Ungar.

Poker history is full of rich stories and great achievements (and some not so great!). The Poker Hall of Fame includes many many more great players.

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