Top 5 (Almost) Poker Fights

Top 5 (Almost) Poker Fights

Which poker players would you like to see get in the ring?

Daniel Negreanu recently published this poll on his twitter feed asking his followers who they think would win in a boxing match between him and Phil Hellmuth:

That got me thinking about the top 5 poker players I’d like to see get punched in the face, so I came up with this list:


5.) Phil Hellmuth

4.) Phil Hellmuth

3.) Phil Hellmuth

2.) Phil Hellmuth

1.) Phil Hellmuth

When you really think about it, it’s something of a miracle that Phil’s never been beaten down in the middle of a game.  If it weren’t for his extremely tall stature and the prison-level security of most Las Vegas casinos, my guess is that it would have probably happened several times by now.

If it hasn’t happened to Phil, it probably hasn’t happened at all, and to my knowledge that’s true.  However there have been several moments when a fight seemed possible.  Let’ take a look at the top 5 almost poker fights of all time, and handicap the potential winner.

Will Kassouf vs. Gordon Benger

This one’s tough.  I’ve seen Will Kassouf in person and he’s a tiny man, definitely not built for a physical confrontation of any kind.  On the other hand, Gordon Benger actually used the words ‘check your privilege’, so how tough can he possibly be?  I’m calling this one a draw.

Jeffrey Lisandro vs. Prahlad Friedman

(conflict starts @4:45)

Unless Prahlad has some hidden kung fu skills that I don’t know about, I’m giving Lisandro an easy victory here.  Not only does he have a massive size advantage, but he just looks ready for a fight.  The way he stands up and appears ready to bull-charge Prahlad makes me think this isn’t his first potential scuffle.

Tony G vs. Ralph Perry

While I certainly have to give Tony G a few points for aggression and tenacity, I get the feeling that he’s all bark and no bite.  Conversely, Perry’s silence makes me think he’s visualizing all the ways he could make this rabid dog shut up.  Tony G is probably lucky that his opponent manages to keep his composure here.  I’m giving this one to Perry.

Curtis Rystadt Vs. Kyle Keranen

Aside from every Phil Hellmuth blow-up ever, this is the poker conflict that could have most easily resulted in a KO.  For some reason, Rystadt decided to unleash a constant verbal attack on Keranen throughout the day.  I suppose he felt safe under the shelter of the TV cameras, and knew that Keranan wouldn’t risk his reputation and WSOP buy-in just for the satisfaction of punching a loud-mouth asshole.  Regardless, that’s exactly what Rystadt deserved, and if this were a normal real-life situation, it’s probably what would have happened.  Obviously, I’m giving this hypothetical fight to Keranan.  Not only does Rystadt look like he might keel over with a heart attack after 20 seconds of physical activity, but his constant yapping in front of the TV cameras reminds me of a Yorkie Terrier barking through the living room blinds at the bigger dogs on the street.

Daniel Negreanu vs. The Full Tilt Thieves

Okay this one didn’t happen at the tables but I included it anyway.  Obviously, Negreanu wins here since he’d have a legion of fans/fellow poker players following behind with pitch forks and baseball bats, ready to deliver some ‘cheater’s justice’.


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