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you need evidence that poker is a game of skill, look no further than Allen Cunningham. The first event of the 2005 World
Series of Poker had many pundits questioning whether poker pros would ever again be a force at the World Series. Many felt
that the pros would not overcome the massive fields that were expected at each of the events. They predicted that mostly
unknowns would be featured at the final tables. Over 2,300 people waited in line for hours to pay the $1,500 No Limit Holdem
entry fee, but in the end, there were three familiar faces in the win, place and show categories. Third place went to
Dave Devilfish Ulliott, second to Scott
Fischman (the defending champion), and the winner of the event was Allen Cunningham. Allen went on to prove that his success
was not a fluke by making three more final tables that year at the series, earning him the WSOP “Player of the Year” honors.
Allen was born in 1977 in Riverside, California. He plays online as part of the Full Tilt Poker Team, but is not a stereotypical
young online player. He is a veteran of the game, playing professionally for many years. He does not have a super aggressive style,
but rather takes a solid, analytical approach to his game. Allen is not as brash as many of the "young guns". He appears quiet
and unassuming, gentle yet terrifying.
Allen has one of the best demeanors at the table, but I did hear a funny story about him "flipping out" while playing
online poker. Melissa Hayden told me about an occasion when she heard Allen cursing at the computer. She went and asked him what
was going on and he told her that he was playing a
freeroll. She said that she has never seen
Allen lose his temper at the table, yet here he was getting mad about a freeroll!
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Cunningham attended college at UCLA with intentions of pursuing an engineering degree. During college, he began playing
poker at local Indian casinos. He did well and decided to quit college to pursue poker full-time. He joined the tournament
circuit as soon as he turned 21. He struggled his first year, but began enjoying success at 22. His first break through
occurred when he won “Best All-Around Player” at the Bicycle Casino’s Legend of Poker. He has improved his results every year since.
When not playing in tournaments or online, Cunningham plays in cash games. His games of choice are No-Limit Hold'em,
Pot-Limit Omaha and Mixed Games. He believes that one of the most important skills that a poker player can have is to remain
in control of his emotions and not go on tilt.
Despite Allen’s long-term success, he is not as well known as some of his friends, like Daniel Negreanu. This may be partly
by design. A request by Toyota to appear on a TV show to "soup up" the truck he earned as the ESPN 2005 Toyota World
Series of Poker player of the year was declined. Cunningham is however very popular with his peers. At one time, they voted him
“Best Player under 35”. This likeability, combined with his increasing number of high profile wins, has propelled him to top
of the poker fame food chain.
Allen Cunningham has five World Series of Poker bracelets. In 2001, he won the $5,000 Seven Card Stud Event. In 2002, he won the $5,000
Deuce to Seven No Limit Event. In 2005 he won the $1,500 No Limit Event and went on to make three more final tables ($5000
Pot Limit Omaha, $5000 Omaha Hi/Lo, and $5000 Pot Limit Hold’em). In 2006 he won a No Limit Holdem event and in 2007, he won
the Pot Limit Holdem championship. Some of his other accomplishments include a first place finish in the $3,000 No Limit
Hold’em Ultimate Poker Challenge (2005) and a first place finish at the 2004 $5000 No Limit Hold'em Event at the Bellagio
Five Star World Poker Classic.
Allen Cunningham: English,