05Mar
Allen Cunningham

The Most Feared Player of the Poker World

Allen Cunningham, the winner of five World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, is the most feared player in the poker circuit. With live poker tournament earnings in the excess of $10.4 million, an amazing 42 money finishes in WSOP and, 12 money finishes and 2 final tables in the World Poker Tour, this player has proved beyond all doubt that he is one of the most talented poker players.

Early Years

Allen Cunningham was born on the 28th of March 1977 in Riverside (California). He was blessed with a loving and supportive family. He started playing poker as a small kid with his family. Having a natural talent for the game, Allen ended up winning most of these family games. His innate aptitude for card games was apparent to every one. He was already winning at games, when most children could barely tell the cards apart. But at this stage poker was just a hobby rather than a serious career option.

After completing high school, Allen went on to study Civil Engineering at the University of California in Los Angeles. It was while studying here that he started taking a serious interest in poker. By the time he was in the 2nd year of college, he was regularly playing at a number of Indian casinos. Initially he took part in low stake tournaments. Consistent wins in these games helped him to move to $10- $20 tables. This initial success convinced him to give up college at the age of 19 in the favour of a career as a professional poker player. But Allen was unable to take part in games in casinos outside the Indian property as he was still underage. He continued improving his game, honing his skills and building his bankroll so as to be able to make it big on reaching the age of 21.

A Brilliant Poker Career

Soon after turning 21, Allen started taking part in a number of poker events and tournaments. Success eluded him initially, but he did meet and befriend future poker legends like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey. Playing with each other helped these players take their game a step further. At this stage they were still unaware that all three of them would make a place for themselves in poker history.

Allen made his presence felt in the poker world for the 1st time during the Legends of Poker tournament organized by Bicycle casino in 1999. He managed to win 2 events and made it to the final table of totally 5 events. For this achievement, he was awarded the title of ‘The Best All Around Player’. This was just the beginning of an amazing and a highly successful poker career.

Two years later, Allen earned his 1st gold bracelet in the 2001 World Series of Poker by winning the $5000 Seven Card Stud tournament. The following year, Allen once again succeeded in getting hold of a gold bracelet for the $5000 Deuce to Seven No Limit event. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 WSOP events brought 3 more gold bracelets for Allen from different Hold’em events. In 2005, he also received the title of Toyota / ESPN Player of the Year. He was a strong contender for the title in 2006 as well. He also has the honour of being voted as the ‘Best All Around Player’ under thirty-five by other professional poker players.

His biggest cash win, $3,628,513, was in 2006 WSOP main event in which he managed to finish 4th. During this tournament, Norman Chad, commentator for ESPN, was often heard saying things like ‘It is Allen Cunningham, where what are they thinking?’. It made Allen famous as one of the most feared player on poker tables. In 2007, Allen won Poker After Dark’s $300,000 Mega Match and the main event of the $15,000 buy-in National Poker League Vegas Open Championship. In the 2008 WSOP main event, Allen finished 117th, but managed to win the Circuit event.

Other Interesting Facts

Allen Cunningham is one of the few players to have won a WSOP bracelet for 3 consecutive years. The list includes Doyle Brunson, Erik Seidel, Gary Berland, Bill Boyd and Johnny Moss, apart from Allen Cunningham. With live poker event earnings of over $10.4 million, of which more than $6.7 has been won at the WSOP, Allen ranks 9th in the all time winnings list. Allen has been a member of the Full Tilt Poker team since 2006. He currently stays with his girlfriend Melissa Hayden in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has a dog called Muffin. He continues to improve his game and hopes to win more titles and bracelets.

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