Sunday, March 14, 2010

All-Time H.O.R.S.E. Studs

This article first appeared in the March 2010 issue of Online Poker Pro Magazine. It also appeared on their website at

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Current Issue - March 2010
All-Time H.O.R.S.E. Studs

Ride These All-Around Players to the Finish Line

By Chad Holloway

Who are the best Fantasy Poker players? Like any fantasy sport, this is bound to change from year to year. In Fantasy Poker, this can be particularly hard to determine for two reasons. First, Fantasy Poker scoring is subjective based upon the system implemented in each league, such as points based upon finish, cash earned and final table bonuses. Second, the best players need to be judged based upon their performances in all the variations of poker, not just hold’em.
This means that in order to determine the best Fantasy Poker players, one must consider a specific variation and look at a player’s finish, number of cashes, final tables and earnings. This is not easy information to obtain. It means poring over pages of statistics, while spending hours making calculations and ranking players. Lucky for you, I’ve made it easier for you.
I’ve undertaken an extensive project of compiling players’ statistics in the different variations of poker since the 2005 World Series of Poker (the unofficial year Fantasy Poker began). I have constructed a list of all the players who have cashed in a WSOP event, a specific variation, along with their earnings, number of cashes and finish. By doing this, I’ve been able to compile a list of the best-performing players, while determining the top Fantasy Poker players, in each variation.
This month, I’ve compiled the statistics from the nine H.O.R.S.E. events (an acronym for hold’em, Omaha 8-or-better, razz, stud, stud eight-or-better) since the 2005 WSOP. This includes the annual $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, the 2007 S.H.O.E. event and multiple $3k and $5k buy-in events. By dissecting these statistics, I have come up with a list of what I consider to be the ten best Fantasy Poker Studs in H.O.R.S.E. events.

10. Doyle Brunson

No one has been around the poker scene longer than “Texas Dolly.” He is well versed in every variation, playing them regularly for the highest stakes in Bobby’s Room. He made the final table of the inaugural $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship in 2006, which was won by his good friend, the late Chip Reese. Although he won’t be playing the lower buy-in H.O.R.S.E. events, Brunson will always be a contender for the $50,000 Championship. In addition, Brunson won a bracelet in the 2003 WSOP Limit H.O.R.S.E. event, which is not included in these statistics.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $407,904
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 1
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 3 (8th, 16th, & 22nd)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 23rd

9. Huck Seed

Seed ranks 15th on the all-time H.O.R.S.E. money list since 2005. This is because he managed to make two $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. final tables, finishing fifth and seventh. The 1996 Main Event winner and 2008 NBC Heads-Up Champion is a threat in every poker format and variation; in fact, his H.O.R.S.E. winnings account for more than 20 percent of his all-time WSOP earnings. Winning big money while booking solid finishes at multiple final tables makes Seed a H.O.R.S.E. Fantasy Poker stud.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $569,769
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 2
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 2 (5th & 7th)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 15th

8. James Van Alstyne

Van Alstyne wouldn’t have made this list if it wasn’t for his performance at the 2009 WSOP. Van Alstyne finished second in the $3,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event, coming up one shy in the 452-player field, and then went on to beat 770 players and win the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event less than a week later. These numbers translated into huge Fantasy Points and allowed Van Alstyne to shoot up the H.O.R.S.E. fantasy charts.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $439,899
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 2
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 2 (1st, 2nd)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 22nd

7. Mike DeMichele

You probably best remember DeMichele as the man at the end of Scotty Nguyen’s inebriated assault at the 2008 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. DeMichele ended up finishing runner-up to Nguyen in that event, not only proving his class in the process, but his H.O.R.S.E. skills as well. The year before he demonstrated this by going deep in the $2,500 buy-in event, meaning his earnings from those two events alone account for 89 percent of DeMichele’s WSOP earnings. DeMichele is a young, up-and-coming player who obviously has a knack for H.O.R.S.E.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $1,251,174
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 1
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 2 (2nd, 17th)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 7th

6. David Bach

Bach has performed well in the past two $50,000 WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Championships, finishing 11th in 2008 and claiming victory in 2009. Although the 2009 final table was not broadcast on television, Bach’s success in H.O.R.S.E. tournaments has been recognized by poker pros and fans alike. In fact, his H.O.R.S.E. performances account for the two biggest WSOP cashes in his career and has placed him in the fifth spot in post-2005 H.O.R.S.E. earnings. If the trend continues, Bach will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $1,436,646
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 1
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 2 (1st, 11th)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 5th

5. Freddy Deeb

The poker world was wondering who would take down the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship in 2007; after all, they had some big shoes to fill following Chip Reese. The winner turned out to be none other than Deeb, who took down his second bracelet and a $2,276,832 payday. That victory still accounts for almost 70 percent of his WSOP earnings. Deeb continued his H.O.R.S.E. success by finishing 14th in last year’s $50,000 event. All told, Deeb is the all-time leading money earner in H.O.R.S.E. events, which is reason enough for him to make this list.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $2,360,462
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 1
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 2 (1st, 14th)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 1st

4. David Singer

Singer proved his H.O.R.S.E. chops by making back-to-back final tables in the first two $50,000 Championships. He battled some of the world’s greatest poker players and finished sixth in both events. Singer has gone deep in two other events, bringing his H.O.R.S.E. cashes to four, which is tied for first. With one bracelet and 23 WSOP cashes, Singer has shown himself to be a consistent and seasoned pro, and as anyone can attest, consistency is a key element in Fantasy Poker success.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $791,605
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 2
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 4 (6th, 6th, 37th, 41st)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 11th

3. John Hanson

Who is John Hanson? He only has three WSOP cashes, and it seems odd that he would be ranked so high on this list. Hanson may not be the most well-known poker player, but he has certainly made his presence known in the H.O.R.S.E. world. Hanson finished third in the 2007 WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Championship, where he earned $852,480. Obviously not content, Hanson took the poker world by surprise when he finished second in that same event last year for another $789,199. This made him the fourth highest post-2005 H.O.R.S.E. earner, the highest finish without having won the $50,000 title.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $1,641,679
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 2
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 2 (2nd, 3rd)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 4th

2. Barry Greenstein

It’s hard to find a more focused and dedicated poker player than Greenstein. His three bracelets and 44 WSOP cashes are testament to his consistency and skill. Greenstein’s play in H.O.R.S.E. events since 2005 has been quite impressive, making two final tables and amassing four cashes, which is tied for the top spot. He made back-to-back final tables in the $50k Championship, finishing seventh in 2007 and sixth in 2008. Greenstein’s success, coupled with the number of events he plays each and every year, is enough to earn him the No. 2 spot on the H.O.R.S.E. fantasy stud list.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $825,693
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 2
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 4 (6th, 7th, 12th, 43rd)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 10th

1. Phil Ivey

No surprise here. Ivey’s success in 2009 is one of poker’s greatest achievements, which makes it easy to overlook his H.O.R.S.E. accomplishments. Ivey is tied for first with four cashes in H.O.R.S.E. events, including a third-place finish in the inaugural $50,000 Championship. A regular in online nosebleed games and in the “Big Game,” Ivey is accustomed to playing mixed games on a daily basis, and, in fact, started out as a stud player. He has a total of seven bracelets, one coming from a victory in the 2002 $2,000 Limit S.H.O.E. event. Often considered the best poker player in the world, you can bet Ivey has his sights set on the $50,000 “Players Championship.” The fact that Ivey not only cashes in H.O.R.S.E. events, but makes final tables as well, makes him a valuable fantasy asset. Combine this with his determination, unparalleled skill and continued success, and Ivey is the No. 1 all-time H.O.R.S.E. Fantasy Stud.

Total H.O.R.S.E. earnings: $851,022
H.O.R.S.E. final tables: 2
H.O.R.S.E. cashes: 4 (3rd, 4th, 12th, 24th)
H.O.R.S.E. Money List Rank: 9th

There are a few other players who deserve honorable mention in H.O.R.S.E., including Andy Bloch ($1,153,920 in earnings from one final table and 2nd and 15th place finishes), Gavin Smith (only $238,881 in earnings but three cashes in H.O.R.S.E. events – 10th, 11th, and 21st), and Dewey Tomko ($479,765 in earnings, one final table, and three cashes – 7th, 10th, and 35th).
Next time I will determine the top ten Fantasy Poker players in another poker variation. In the end, I hope to compare the statistics from each variation and determine the top ten Fantasy Poker Studs of all-time.

Chad Holloway is a semi-professional poker player from Baraboo, Wisconsin, whose specialty is Fantasy Poker. He currently writes poker material for and is a featured blogger at

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