The Runner is still out there, has dropped the first clue, and is scheduled to play poker in public at some point today or tonight. Will anyone catch up and claim the $30,000 Platinum Pass and trip to the Bahamas that comes as a reward?
When the Runner went live and on the run, I put together a list of the top five poker players who would excel in the role. What about the other end of the spectrum? Who would fail in epic fashion? Whose hubris would guarantee capture? Who just couldn’t keep the secret? In short, who would have already been caught by now?
Here’s what I came up with.
#5 – Mike Postle
Mike Postle was the center of one of the biggest cheating scandals in the poker world. He was bold enough to hide like a fish in sharks’ clothing for all the poker stream world to see. His absurd win rates, the endless flow of money via super-human plays, and the most insightful hat/lap combo on the felt weren’t enough for him to keep a low profile. He pushed and pushed until the results were too much for watchers to handle. He made one too many impossible folds, just one too many bluff-shoves with almost no money behind. He wouldn’t be happy with a $30,000 Platinum Pass in his back pocket. If someone came up to him and identified him as the Runner, he’d probably lie through his teeth until someone took him to court for the Platinum Pass anyway.
#4 – Allen Kessler
I don’t think Allen Kessler would really have a hard time keeping his identity secret. That said, he’d reveal himself in other ways. The first time he traveled to a new city and the soda was overpriced, Twitter would know about it. The Chainsaw’s required travel-day posts in front of businesses would just be fast-food restaurant specials, probably sharing a picture of his receipts with the address on them. And if you happened to be standing in line and hear somewhere order a plain hamburger and Sprite, just turn around and ask, “How do you feel about rabbit hunting?” Kessler would post your face on Twitter, explain that the bounty hunter never should have played the game the way he did, and complain about the bad beat.
#3 – Daniel Negreanu
When it comes to strategy, Daniel Negreanu would have no problem seeing all the angles. But, he’d have way more fun with it than would be ideal. He started one of the most popular poker vlogs at the 2022 World Series of Poker, and he had people tuning in to see every day in his high-stakes life. Forget required daily posts, he’d vlog the whole thing on his personal channel. Plus, his food options would be limited. Just scope out the best vegan spots in the cities. He always finds time for his fans, even if it’s to say, “I’m fine with rabbit hunters, but I don’t like bounty hunters.”
#2 – Will Kassouf
We know he can bluff nine-high “like a boss,” but Will Kassouf would struggle as the Runner. He would have to taunt every bounty hunter across the nation. H couldn’t help himself. Imagine him sitting at a poker table for an hour when the conversation about the Runner comes up. “I bet he’s a pretty smart chap,” Kassouf would say in that excited voice. “I bet he’s handsome too.” He would relish the role too much, and that’d be his downfall. You might say he wouldn’t be able to check his privilege.
#1 – Mike Matusow
There was never a doubt in my mind who would top this list. His nickname is “The Mouth” for a reason. He likes to talk. Sometimes it works on the felt, sometimes not so much. How many times have we seen Matusow let his opponents off the hook when he has a big hand? He basically told Frank Stepuchin what he had in a big cooler on Poker After Dark.
“I’m just not a liar, I mean I told you what I have, right?” said Matusow. “I’m not gonna lie.” The Runner needs to be able to deceive, to throw people off the scent. Matusow would suffer from the same problem Kassouf has, without the lawyer background to help him plead the fifth now and then. If Matusow was the Runner, “The Mouth” would let it slip well before seeing any sunshine in The Bahamas.
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