"For every man there is something in the vocabulary
that would stick to him like a second skin.
His enemies have only to find it."
-- Ambrose Bierce
Texas Dolly, Titanic Thompson, "Sailor"
Roberts, Jack "Treetop" Strauss, Ken "What a Player" Smith... Poker players who came to prominence twenty-five or more
years ago often came with flashy, bigger-than-life nicknames.
Today this is much less true. For every
Men "The Master" Nguyen and
Dave "The Devilfish" Ulliott
there are dozens of players who plod along without the flash or pizzazz of a good, descriptive handle. But this is bad for the rest of
us too. You can learn a lot about a player through their nicknames, and this information can be especially useful in tournaments where
you might play against players who live thousands of miles away, whose play you haven't had a chance to observe. So, as a public
service, I've decided to reveal some previously secret nicknames. This is a service both to these players, who will be much less
incredibly dull now, and to opponents who know something about the essence of each of them.
Windows - Mac
Like Men the Master and Devilfish, some players do have well-known nicknames. Ken "Skyhawk" Flaton was one. What the heck is a "Skyhawk"
anyway? Is it different than a "Groundhawk"? Who knows, but Ken had a cool nickname nonetheless. Another well-known nickname is
"Super" Mario Esquerra. Many people believe the source of this nickname is the Super Mario Brothers game. Not true. The "Super"
in Mario's name comes from the fact that he is a native of the planet Krypton. Seventy-two years old, father of twelve, grandfather
of forty, a great-grandfather, Mario has been mugged by two men twice in the past couple years. Oh those poor muggers. Despite being
stabbed in the chest both times, one mugger received a broken arm, another was rendered unconscious, and another ran away screaming
about "El Diablo." Mario is like a grizzly bear in an old western movie: "Don't shoot him, it'll only make him mad."
What a curse to be Italian from Miami.
"Miami" John Cernuto already has locked up the coolest
nickname, so "Daytona" Tony Cousineau is forced to relocate up the coast. This adaptability (who said "utter lack of loyalty") reveals
Tony's multiple game poker ability. Likewise with Randy "Hometown" Holland. Randy seems to have as many hometowns as Mickey Rooney has
ex-wives. During the same tournament series, event reports will list Randy as hailing from cities in Alberta, Florida, Mississippi and
California. They are all "home" to Randy.
David "The Bubble" Rabbi. Ever finish one out of the money in a tournament? Even though this was a temporary phenomenon, David will always
be "The Bubble" to me. It's almost a sad thing to no longer be able to consider one out of the money as getting "the Rabbi money."
John "The Rock of" Inashima. John had his gamble
surgically removed years ago. Surgery isn't even the right word. It was probably more of an exorcism. A few years back when there were
eleven players left in a Stud HiLo tournament that paid eight places, I looked around and found my chip stack was the puniest one left. Maybe
I should try to limp into the money? Not today, because the next two shortest stacks are held by John and David "The Bubble" Rabbi.
I assumed David would probably go out on the bubble but I also knew that not even if I could put a pistol to his head could I outlast John if
he had a bigger stack than me. I came in eleventh, John ended up tenth and, of course, Rabbi finishing on the bubble (surprise) in ninth.
Mike "the Mouth" Matusow. I'd say something
here, but I can't get a word in edgewise, so onto Tom "Superfly" McEvoy. If clothes make the man, Tom was made in an LSD flashback.
Sirous "13th" Bagofspicycheeritos.
Sirous B is currently in the top 20 of the tournament player
rankings for this year. This feat is even more remarkable considering Sirous has probably twice as many in-the-money second table
finishes as any two other players in the world combined! The man comes in thirteenth or eleventh or twelfth nearly every single day.
Greg "Go Off" Gensicki might be the most successful poker player in history, if you don't count his ring game sessions in excess of
fifty hours, which pretty much break him even.
Rich "The Big Picture" Korbin, Spring "Thanks for the Chips" Cheong,
Jim "The Nit" Meehan, Mike "Cupcake" Dalton,
"Lucky Kevin" Lamonica are more larger than life players
who earn nicknames in the poker trenches day in and day out -- explaining why Maxwell J. Shapiro has no nickname.
Finally, some nicknames quite simply go directly to the soul of a player. They are their nickname. So it is with Toto "The Ripper"
Leonidas -- merciless, brutal, bloodthirsty, probably even a cannibal. On the surface, Toto the Ripper appears to be the sweetest,
nicest and most friendly player in poker, but don't let that fool you! After Toto the Ripper has single-handedly ripped your heart
out, knocking you out of six tournaments in six months, you too would see beneath that pleasant exterior lurks... oh hell, a sheep in
sheep's clothing. Still, he's vicious! Ruthless. A killer. Beware!
Poker Player Nicknames Part Two, and
Poker Hand Nicknames