There’s no such thing as the perfect poker player – unless you follow our replicant recipe, using only the finest ingredients from the best players on the planet
If you’re a film buff (or old enough to remember the original), you’ll be beside yourself at the imminent release of the sequel to one of the finest sci-films ever made. Blade Runner introduced us to replicants – bioengineered androids that look identical to humans – in 1982, and Blade Runner 2049 is set to bring them crashing back into cinemas across the world in October.
And it got us thinking. There’s no such thing as the perfect poker player. Poker’s a game of decision-making in the face of incomplete information, and human flaws are ripe for exploiting. But, if you could bioengineer a poker player, what would he/she look like? We’ve scoured the world and hand-picked the best features from some of the most successful players in the world. And we’ve ended up with poker perfection. If you come up against him in your local poker room, you can kiss your chips – and possibly your sanity – goodbye.
1. Temperament of Andrew Lichtenberger
Most pro players have superb temperaments – you need it in a game where you can tilt off your entire bankroll in a single session. But we’ve gone with the ever-expanding consciousness of Andrew Lichtenberger.
Lichtenberger wrote the fantastic Yoga of Poker book, which features insights like, “Living and playing poker with an unconditionally loving attitude and outlook is a life-changing experience to uplift and expand consciousness of yourself and those around you.” If that doesn’t ensure our poker replicant is more human than most grinders, nothing will.
2. Brain of Bill Chen
This is a no-brainer. Or should that be big-brainer? Bill Chen is a maths whizz whose book, The Mathematics of Poker, has likely confused way more players than it’s helped.
Here’s Chen on flips: “The square root relationship of trials to standard deviation is an important result, because it shows us how standard deviation scales over multiple trials. If we flip a coin once, it has a standard deviation of ½. If we flip it 100 times, the standard deviation of a sample containing 100 trials is not 50, but 5, the square root of 100 times the standard deviation of one flip.” Struggling? Our replicant just memorised the entire book in five seconds.
3. Heart of Phil Hellmuth
If only the Tin Man had come across Phil Hellmuth in the Wizard of Oz… The 14-time WSOP bracelet winner might think he’s the best no-limit player in the world, but he’s definitely got the most heart. Every hand means so much to him and that’s the reason he takes things so personally at the table.
It’s also the reason he ended up on his hands and knees sobbing at the 2010 WPT Bay 101 event, after being rivered on the final table. Our poker replicant might be more machine than human, but he’ll feel every bad beat and injustice the poker world can throw at him.
4. Looks of Patrik Antonius
What have looks got to do with poker? Well, not much, but we bet plenty of people have been intimidated at the table by the almost impossible physical perfection of Patrick Antonius.
The former tennis coach and model still keeps himself trim, and he’s been voted sexiest male poker player by luminaries of the game such as Sam Trickett and Daniel Negreanu. That’s good enough for us.
5. Eyes of Mike McDonald
We couldn’t build a poker replicant without adding Mike McDonald’s eyes. Timex’s death stare has been used to devastating effect in some of the biggest poker tournaments in the world, against some of the most composed pros.
It was too much even for Daniel Negreanu at the 2013 EPT London Super High Roller. After a three-bet from Negreanu with A-K, McDonald turned his patented stare on him, with Negreanu tapping out after just a few seconds, saying, “I can’t do it, I just can’t look at him. It’s so hard, right? He’s got the death stare, man.”
6. Poker face of Phil Ivey
Nobody’s poker face is perfect. Except for Phil Ivey’s. It doesn’t matter whether he’s betting with the stone cold nuts or risking six-figure sums with a massive bluff – you won’t get a read from him. His poker face is so good he doesn’t even let it drop when the hand’s over.
After losing the world’s biggest televised pot to Tom Dawn ($1,108,500) he simply said, “That’s not good”, and carried on playing. Actually, we tell a lie, his mask did drop once, when Jennifer Tilly checked a full house on the river to Patrik Antonius on Poker After Dark, but that’s entirely forgivable.
7. Personality of Fatima Moreira de Melo
Lots of poker players say that you should have a good time at the poker table, but no one does it quite as well as Fatima Moreira de Melo.
We’ve yet to find the player who can play at her table and not crack a smile. We already know our replicant is going to win all the monies. But we want our opponents to come back for more and this is our real secret weapon.
8. Mouth of Kevin Hart
Carrying on the theme of having fun, who better to talk for us than motormouth comedian Kevin Hart? When he signed with PokerStars he said, “I love the fact that poker is a game that can take people all over the world and sit them down at the table and give them the opportunity to engage, to converse, to get to know each other and walk away with relationships they never knew they could have.”
The multi-award-winning funnyman has an unlimited reserve of verbal ammunition and our poker replicant will know exactly when to use it.
9. Gamble of Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom
Sometimes you’ve got to push things at the poker table. It might not always come off, but putting your opponents to the test is a vital component of any successful player.
No one has displayed this more than Blom, who proved he had more gamble than anyone when he took on the world’s best high-stakes cash game players in 2009, including one crazy session when he played Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius simultaneously, at dizzying stakes, across NLHE and PLO tables. There might have been method to his madness, but there was far more gamble.
10. Intuition of Daniel Negreanu
You can know your poker maths inside out and make yourself as unexploitable as you like but if you don’t have the unerring intuition of Daniel Negreanu, you don’t belong at the same table as our creation.
Negreanu can see inside your soul and tell you the exact two cards you’re holding, before folding a monster and somehow getting you to show the table just how right he is. Negreanu’s intuition has helped propel him to the top of the all-time money list – and you can’t teach that.