‘HellmuthMania': The Poker World and WWE Universe Collide

Wrestlemania XXX takes place this Sunday, to the delight of several huge wrestling fans here at BLUFF HQ. During one afternoon in particular at the office we got to wondering how some poker players would fare in the world of sports entertainment, and that turned into a long conversation in which we tried to figure out which legends of wrestling best embodied the signature characteristics biggest names in poker.

The staff at BLUFF whittled the best suggestions down to a list of 10 poker player-to-WWE superstar comparisons based on personality, appearance and a variety of other completely serious criteria.

Phil Hellmuth – “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan

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Like Phil Hellmuth, Hulk Hogan reached a new level of popularity by embracing his role as the “Man in the Black Hat”. Critics have often criticized the technical skills of both men, but Hellmuth (13 WSOP bracelets) and Hogan (12 World Championships) each have enough hardware to silence the naysayers.

Doyle Brunson – Bruno Sammartino

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Bruno Sammartino is the longest reigning World Champion in professional wrestling history, someone who consistently broke attendance records at the peak of his popularity. Like Doyle Brunson, Sammartino stands as one of the biggest legends in his business, both for his accomplishments and for his efforts during the “dark ages” of his industry that helped to build it into what it’s become today.

Jason Koon – Scott Steiner

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They called Scott Steiner the “Genetic Freak” because of his size and musculature, and Jason Koon certainly stands out in a similar way in the poker world. It’s unlikely, however, that you’ll ever hear Koon use math like this:

Daniel Negreanu – Jimmy Hart

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Jimmy Hart’s nickname was the “Mouth of the South”. He was always walking around with a huge megaphone to make sure he got his point across. Daniel Negreanu doesn’t carry the megaphone but the Canadian, who could easily be labeled as the “Mouth of the Great White North”, uses YouTube, Twitter and his blog to amplify his message.

Todd Brunson – Dude Love

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This one isn’t so much about having similar personality traits as much as it is about physical appearance. Dude Love had the long hair, sometimes worn in a ponytail and had a penchant for wearing tie-dyed t-shirts. Now we couldn’t find a photo of Todd Brunson wearing a tie-dyed shirt but if you close your eyes for a second … yeah, there it is.

Chip Reese – Bret Hart

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Bret Hart labeled himself as “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be”. Chip Reese wasn’t much for promoting himself but ask those he played with over the years and they’ll use a similar description for Reese.

Phil Galfond – Dean Malenko

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Dean Malenko was widely considered one of the best technical wrestlers ever. Rather than rely on brute strength to defeat his opponents, Malenko took pride in being a step or two ahead of his opponents by out-thinking them every step of the way – like Phil Galfond.

JRB – Brooklyn Brawler

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The Brooklyn Brawler isn’t known for any long championship runs, or championships of any kind, for that matter. He’s the guy who always lost, essentially embodying everything you imagine when you hear the word “jobber”. Despite his inability to win against most of his opponents, he still found himself competing week after week to the surprise of everybody – kinda like Jean-Robert Bellande.

Patrik Antonius – Ravishing Rick Rude

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Rick Rude’s original WWE gimmick was that of a sexy playboy, capable of walking out to the ring, picking some random woman from the crowd and making her swoon with a quick gyration of his hips and a kiss. Patrik Antonius is a happily married man these days but imagine how deep the rails at the WSOP would be if he was single and just randomly started kissing women in the crowd.

Jamie Gold – Razor Ramon

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Razor Ramon was the ultimate villain. He was cocky, brash, unlikeable to a fault and walked with a swagger. If you were at the 2006 WSOP Main Event and saw the way Jamie Gold was steamrolling the competition, while being escorted to the men’s room by security guards on Day 2 (when nobody knew who he was), you would easily call him cocky, brash and unlikeable.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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