Sunday, March 14, 2010

Who Are the World’s Best 6-Handed Tournament Players?

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


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Poker Articles - March 2010
Who Are the World’s Best 6-Handed Tournament Players?

By Chad Holloway

Who are the best players to pick for your fantasy poker team? This is the question I’ve been exploring over the past few months. When determining the best fantasy poker players, we must take into consideration scoring factors such as the various systems (points based upon finish, cash earned, final table bonuses, etc.) and how the players perform in the different variations of poker, not just hold’em. This is because the best fantasy poker players are those who perform consistently in as many events as possible.
Recently, I’ve been looking at a single poker variation and compiling relevant statistics, including a player’s finish, number of cashes, final tables, and earnings. The stats are gathered from events as far back as the 2005 World Series of Poker (the unofficial year fantasy poker began). By doing this, I’ve been able to compile a list of the top performing players, while determining the top fantasy poker selections, in each variation.
This month I’ve compiled and analysed the statistics from the 14 six-handed hold’em events since the 2005 WSOP. The 2010 WSOP will feature a new $25,000 buy-in six-handed NL hold’em event that will draw the biggest names in poker and surely change many of the names on this list, but until then, I have determined what I consider to be the ten best fantasy poker studs in six-handed events.

10. Eugene Katchalov

Although his six-handed earnings aren’t all that impressive, Katchalov has managed to notch four cashes in six-handed events, more than any other player. All of these cashes were top 50 finishes, which translate into major fantasy points, and of his 15 WSOP cashes, 25 percent have come in six-handed events. With such consistency, Katchalov cracks the top ten and becomes an excellent choice for fantasy players in any six-handed tournament.

Total six-handed earnings: $37,378
six-handed final tables: 0
six-handed cashes: 4 (15th, 25th, 25th, 32nd)
six-handed Money List Rank: Tied for 123rd

9. Daniel Negreanu

Negreanu is one of the most well-known poker players in the world. He has four bracelets and came close to his fifth when he finished runner-up to John Brock Parker in the $2,500 limit hold’em/six-handed event last year. Negreanu’s stats in six-handed events aren’t overly impressive, but if he can continue his success from last year, he will surely add to them. This will prove especially true in any future limit six-handed events, where Negreanu truly excels. Add to this the fact that Negreanu likes to play numerous events and has a sponsorship deal, and it’s easy to see that he has real value.

Total six-handed earnings: $177,132
six-handed final tables: 1
six-handed cashes: 2 (2nd, 8th)
six-handed Money List Rank: 38th

8. Charidimos Demetriou

All of Demetriou’s ten WSOP cashes have come in hold’em events, with two in six-handed events. What does this mean? It means you can expect him to play a lot of hold’em events, including the six-handed variety; in fact, Demetriou’s best finish came in the 2005 $2,500 short-handed event where he finished second to Isaac Galazan. Demetriou has made two six-handed final tables, which is an impressive feat in itself. Needless to say, it seems this man has a knack for six-handed action.

Total six-handed earnings: $222,569
six-handed final tables: 2
six-handed cashes: 2 (2nd, 6th)
six-handed Money List Rank: 31st

7. Ralph Porter

A former equity options trader, Porter has thirteen WSOP cashes, including a bracelet for his victory in the 2008 $1,500 six-handed event. He has $931,950 in WSOP earnings, meaning 41 percent of that came from his six-handed performances. Porter tends to stick to the $1,500 and $2,500 buy-in events, which can be valuable since many of the top pros tend to avoid smaller buy-in events. Not only has Porter shown he is a consistent player, he has proven he has the ability to close as well.

Total six-handed earnings: $386,577
six-handed final tables: 1
six-handed cashes: 3 (1st, 25th, 52nd)
six-handed Money List Rank: 15th

6. Bill Chen

Since 2000, Chen has proven himself a serious player. He plays all the games well and has managed fourteen WSOP cashes, including two bracelets. One of these bracelets came for winning the 2006 $2,500 six-handed event and was good for his biggest cash to date, $442,511. A couple other deep performances have given Chen a total of three six-handed cashes. Willing to play both small and big buy-in tournaments, you can expect Chen to compete in most, if not all, of the six-handed events in future WSOPs.

Total six-handed earnings: $462,843
six-handed final tables: 1
six-handed cashes: 3 (1st, 19th, 64th)
six-handed Money List Rank: 12th

5. Alex Bolotin

Bolotin, also known as “Diesel,” has an impressive 14 WSOP cashes for $1,082,720. More than half of these winnings have come from his two impressive finishes in six-handed events. In 2006, Bolotin made his first six-handed final table when he finished fifth in the $2,500 event. He followed this up a year later when he made another final table and finished runner-up to Bill Edler in the $5,000 six-handed event. One of the few players to have made multiple six-handed final tables, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bolotin continue his success in the six-handed format.

Total six-handed earnings: $582,978
six-handed final tables: 2
six-handed cashes: 2 (2nd, 5th)
six-handed Money List Rank: 7th

4. Russ “Dutch” Boyd

Most people remember Boyd for his performance in the 2003 WSOP Main Event, where he finished twelfth. After battling through some personal issues, Boyd returned to claim his first bracelet in the 2006 $2,500 short-handed event, where he defeated none other than 2005 WSOP Main Event Champ Joe Hachem. That win accounted for nearly 74 percent of Boyd’s career WSOP earnings. He added another six-handed cash – fifth in the 2007 $5,000 event – to join the elite company of players who have made two six-handed final tables.

Total six-handed earnings: $645,081
six-handed final tables: 2
six-handed cashes: 2 (1st, 5th)
six-handed Money List Rank: 5th

3. Bill Edler

Edler burst onto the poker scene when he won a publication’s Player of the Year award. That was the same year he won his first and only bracelet by taking down the $5,000 six-handed event for a staggering $904,672. Edler fell off the radar in 2008 when he failed to cash, but came back on the scene in 2009 when he managed two cashes, both in six-handed events. Edler is a solid short-handed player and he should not be overlooked.

Total six-handed earnings: $929,361
six-handed final tables: 1
six-handed cashes: 3 (1st, 38th, 49th)
six-handed Money List Rank: 2nd

2. John “Brock” Parker

Parker won back-to-back events at the 2009 WSOP, both of which happened to be six-handed tourneys. These were the first two cashes in six-handed events for Parker, who has a total of 15 WSOP cashes, and he sure made them count. He took down Negreanu in heads-up play in one event and Joe Serock in the other. Parker defeated some tough opponents on his way to victory and showed he is a force when it comes to six-handed play. It will be interesting to see if Parker can keep up his six-handed success in the coming years. My guess is that he will.

Total six-handed earnings: $776,442
six-handed final tables: 2
six-handed cashes: 2 (1st, 1st)
six-handed Money List Rank: 4th

1. Matt Hawrilenko

Hawrilenko has been a solid performer at the WSOP since 2005, notching fourteen cashes. He finally had his big breakthrough in 2009 when he took down the $5,000 six-handed event for over a million dollars and his first gold bracelet. The win catapulted Hawrilenko to the top of the all-time six-handed money list, which was padded by two smaller cashes in previous events, both of which were top 50 finishes. With a padded bankroll, you can expect Hawrilenko to return to the game where he has found the most success.

Total six-handed earnings: $1,021,502
six-handed final tables: 1
six-handed cashes: 3 (1st, 20th, 42nd)
six-handed Money List Rank: 1st

Of course there are other players who deserve honorable mention. A number of players finished high on the all-time six-handed money list due to a single victory. These include Joe Commisso ($911,855 - third on the list), Joshua Brikis ($619,608 - sixth), Dario Minieri ($528,418 - ninth), Hoyt Corkins ($515,065 - tenth) and Doyle Brunson ($367,800 - 17th). In addition, a number of players who didn’t make the list showed consistency with multiple cashes. They include Terrence Chan, Gioi Luong, Men Nguyen, David Daneshgar and Tony Guoga who each had three six-handed cashes.
The top ten six-handed fantasy poker players ought to change with the $25,000 event this year, and it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out. In my next article, I will explore another poker variation and come up with a new top ten list. 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 an amateur poker player from Baraboo, Wisconsin, who specialises in fantasy poker. He currently writes for and is a featured blogger at

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