Top Poker Players of 2005 - Part 3
Dec 22, 2005  
2005 Jason Kirk  

Here's a quick look at some more of the top tournament players of 2005.

John Gale

Englishman John Gale was one of the best stories of 2005. After spending a mere $127 to win a satellite on PokerStars, Gale took the Bahamas by storm and emerged victorious at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He put his newfound bankroll to good use, cashing in 4 WSOP events, including 2nd place in the $5,000 Pot Limit Hold'em event. Then in mid-December he cashed in to events at the Bellagio's Five Diamond World Poker Classic - 2nd place in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em and 77th in the $15,000 main event. 2005 was indeed a good year for John Gale.

Minh Ly

Despite his reputation as one of the world's best high-stakes cash game players, Ly hasn't enjoyed the same kind of recognition as the players he faces off against on a regular basis. His tournament results in 2005 should correct that. His first big success of the year was taking 4th at the Mirage heads-up no-limit hold'em championship. During the WSOP he cashed in 4 events. His 2nd place finish in the $5,000 Shorthanded No-Limit Hold'em event was overshadowed by Doyle Brunson winning his 10th bracelet, and his 19th place finish at the Main Event was obscured by the enormity of that event. One result impossible to overlook, however, was his million-dollar 1st place finish at Bellagio's Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship. Ly rounded out the year with a final table at the Bally's/Paris Las Vegas WSOP Circuit main event, a good hin that he'll be a strong presence on the tournament trail again next year.

Men "The Master" Nguyen

There are plenty of poker players with colorful nicknames, but few live up to theirs as well as the man they call The Master. Men Nguyen was an absolute machine throughout 2005, making 16 final tables and cashing an incredible 50 times. Among those cashes were 4 events at the Jack Binion World Poker Open, 3 at the LA Poker Classic, 9 at the WSOP, 9 at the Legends of Poker, and 7 at the WSOP Circuit. Among his most memorable performances were his 2nd place finishes at the WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event and the main event of the WSOP Circuit at Caesars Indiana. There are few players in poker who have performed so consistently as The Master, and 2005 was no exception.

Patrik Antonius

One of Europe's hottest young stars - and a member of Marcel Luske's Circle of Outlaws - Finland's Patrik Antonius started the year slowly with modest success at the main events of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the Bay 101 Shooting Stars tournament. He also managed to cash in 3 events at the WSOP, though never for more than $11,000. His breakthrough came in the second half of the year, when he won the Scandinavian Championship. He then took 3rd place in the Barcelona Open and followed that performance with a win at the EPT Baden Classic. He proved that his hot streak hadn't ended when he finished 2nd at the Bellagio's Five-Diamond World Poker Classic in December. With half of the EPT season yet to come, Antonius should have a good shot at continuing his success in the new year.

John Phan

Another steady presence on the tournament scene throughout 2005 was John Phan. Though he only cashed in one event at the 2005 WSOP (4th place in the $5,000 7-Card Stud event), the World Poker Tour was much kinder to Phan. He cashed in 2 events at the Jack Binion World Poker Open, won a $2,500 event at the LA Poker Classic, made the final table of the $25,000 Five-Diamond World Poker Classic main event, and cashed in one event each at the World Poker Finals, the Festa al Lago IV, and the Legends of Poker. He also won two events at the Ultimate Poker Challenge at the Plaza in Las Vegas within a single week in July. Phan cooled off a bit in the second half of the year, and after holding the lead in the CardPlayer Player of the Year race for the entire year he fell behind Men "The Master" Nguyen with only 2 weeks left in the year. Even if he doesn't come back to claim the title this year, Phan's accomplishments throughout 2005 have been worthy of inclusion among the best players of the year.

Top Poker Players of 2005 - Part 4

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