Who’s the most talented poker player in the world? Doyle Brunson shares his thoughts

Geoff Fisk
Published by:
Posted on 01/18/2021

Remko Rinkema’s top players list sparks Twitter debate with Brunson

What happens when the “Greatest of All Time” weighs in on the “Most Talented” player in poker history? Poker Twitter was treated to such a discussion Sunday, with legendary poker icon Doyle Brunson giving us a glimpse at what his list of poker’s best would look like.

The debate began when a top ten most talented players list posted by PokerGO host Remko Rinkema caught Brunson’s eye. Rinkema tweeted the list in May of last year, but comments from 87-year-old “Texas Dolly” brought Remko’s post back to life on the social media platform.

“My highly scientific Top 10 Most TALENTED Poker Players of All Time! Discuss!” reads Rinkema’s tweet, followed by a list of what he believes are poker’s all-time most talented players.

The list prompted a spirited debate among poker’s elite players at the time it was posted. The thread’s Twitter lifespan hit the eight-month mark this weekend, with Brunson giving his take on how Rinkema’s lineup of players would fare against Brunson’s choices:

“Bring the players into Bobby’s Room. See how they do with untalented guys like Rast, Siever, Angry, Johnny World, Ray D, Oppie, and any other regulars. #7 should be #1,” Brunson tweeted.

Brunson later clarified that the “untalented” qualifier in the above tweet was meant to be sarcastic. Brunson’s tweet revealed that the poker legend feels Chip Reese should be moved from No. 7 to No. 1 on Rinkema’s list.

Other names alluded to by Brunson include Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, John “Johnny World” Hennigan, Ray Dehkharghani, and David Oppenheim. 

“Every player I mentioned is an absolute beast. Left some out, Ike, Jason, 3 different Daniels, etc. Oppie is the biggest winner in Bobby’s Room in the last couple of years,” Brunson wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Isaac “Ike” Haxton makes Brunson’s expanded list, while it’s interesting to contemplate which “3 different Daniels” Brunson refers to. Dan “Jungleman” Cates is likely one of them, as he’s a high-stakes regular that frequently appears at Bobby’s Room, the Bellagio poker room that often plays host to the highest limit games in Las Vegas.

Twitter user Brad Mendelson asks Brunson to weigh in on Phil Ivey’s place on the list, which prompted an interesting comment from “Texas Dolly.”

“The old Ivey was right at the top. Somehow since he started spending his time in China he hasn’t been as sharp,” Brunson wrote.

Ivey’s legend as one of the world’s top high stakes players goes back nearly two decades, and his reputation as perhaps poker’s most intriguing figure persists to this day. Ivey rarely plays high-stakes cash games in the U.S., however, instead plying his trade in the poker rooms of Macau.

This eight-month-long Twitter discussion still isn’t over. Rinkema asked Brunson to offer an opinion on his own place on the most-talented players list:

“Where would you put yourself talent wise? When a new game popped up, would you adapt quickly? Obviously this is a silly discussion but thanks for chiming in!” Rinkema tweeted Sunday.

Brunson responded with a preview of things to come:

“I’ll make 2 lists. Have to be after football though,” Brunson tweeted.

We’ll certainly have to keep an eye out for the pair of lists Brunson says are on the way. Brunson hasn’t provided those as of Monday morning, but it seems as if this ongoing debate shows no signs of slowing down.

Featured image source: Flickr/Mark Richardson