Allen Cunningham

Allen Cunningham is a professional poker player and in 2005 he was nominated the ESPN Player Of The Year. Find his poker biography & videos here.

Allen Cunningham is a professional poker player and the 2005 ESPN Player of the Year.

Allen Cunningham was born in Ventura, California in 1977. He began playing the game as a teen, but it wasn’t until college that he started taking poker seriously. While studying civil engineering at UCLA, he realized that playing poker was more of a concern than his studies, so he dropped out of school and decided to pursue it as a career.

He began professional play by playing at Indian casinos at the age of 18, where he won minor tournaments. His first recorded cash was in 1996 in Lake Elsinore, where he took home $540 for a 6th place finish. Between 1996 and 1999 he consistently made deep runs in local tournaments before moving up to playing the World Series of Poker in 2000. At his first WSOP, he took home nearly $150,000 in cashes, including a second place finish in the $5k Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event.

He made similar runs at WSOP events through 2001, where he took home $201k for the $5k Seven Card Stud event, in addition to still playing smaller tournaments in the local area. Beginning in 2002, however, he became a serious force in tournament poker, playing in many of the largest events in Las Vegas in a variety of formats, including Pot Limit Omaha, Limit Holdem, Seven Card Stud, Deuce to Seven, and HORSE, proving that he is an all around player that can perform well in any situation.

In contrast to recent generations, he was not concerned with being the best NLHE player and instead wanted to be the best. By his late twenties, he had earned more accolades than many players do in a lifetime, making him a feared opponent no matter what the game or stakes were. In fact, he is one of the few players to have won bracelets in three consecutive years, joining the ranks of such legends as Doyle Brunson, Erik Seidel, and the late Johnny Moss.

The WSOP is the largest event that he attends each year, with his deepest Main Event run being in 2006, where he took home $3.6 million for a fourth place finish. The 2000s were kind to Cunningham as he also won $300k on the Poker After Dark television series in addition to winning the National Poker League Vegas Open Championship, a $15k buy-in tournament with a $325k first prize. Most recently, he came in 3rd in the 2015 World Series of Poker $1,500 Seen Card Stud event for $44,846. In total, his live winnings total over $11.5 million, putting him at 15th on the All Time Winnings List according to Hendon Mob (17th in Nevada), including 55 cashes and five WSOP bracelets. At his peak, he was ranked as high as 5th on the all time list.

Cunningham still lives in Las Vegas and plays the World Series of Poker every year, although he is not as active as he once was, deciding to play mainly non-NLHE events.

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