We here at PokerListings.com love our Top 5 lists (as you can probably tell) and we figured this presented a unique opportunity to showcase some of the slightly less-well-known poker pros who deserve contracts.
Online poker rooms should listen up because the next five players are some of the best players who have yet to be scooped up.
In no particular order, these are the best of the badge-less:
5) Tom "durrrr" Dwan. Although it's rare we publish a Top 5 without Tom "durrrr" Dwan on it, it's easy to see why. Dwan crushes online poker at stakes that most can only dream of (check out our MarketPulse section for more). Dwan has been mentioned by many well-known players as "The Next One."
Although he's had a relatively quiet WSOP (it's likely hard to concentrate on tournament poker when you're making $100,000 in cash games online) he's already proven that he can adapt to live play by making a final table at WPT Foxwoods and bubbling the WPT World Championship.
So why doesn't he have a deal? Well, for starters, it's questionable if he'd even want one. Money is obviously not a problem for Dwan, and perhaps he'd rather just play poker without having to worry about wearing a patch and having team responsibilities. It could also be that online rooms are more concerned about players with successful live tournaments instead of online cashes.
The same could be said for players like Phil Galfond, Michael McDonald and Di Dang, but then again Full Tilt is currently home to online wizards like David Benyamine and Patrik Antonius, so who knows what the reasoning is.
In any case, Dwan is the online kid to sign.
4) Kathy Liebert. Kathy Liebert has proven again and again that she can play with the big boys just fine, thank you very much. Liebert stands as the No. 1 money-winning female of all time, and even makes the top 50 overall.
Just this year Liebert made a stacked final table which included the likes of Nenad Medic, Andy Bloch and Patrik Antonius. Liebert ended up taking third for a cool $306,000, which moved her even higher in the all-time money rankings.
3) Michael/Nick Binger. The Binger brothers always seem to be at the forefront of the poker world. They both have a ridiculous amount of cashes, victories at numerous preliminary events, countless final tables and charisma to burn.
Perhaps the biggest knock on the Binger brothers is their lack of a WSOP bracelet or WPT title, but you don't go as deep as they go in numerous events without being skilled.
On top of that, both the Binger brothers seem to be very marketable and any online room would be lucky to have them.
Don't be surprised if one, or both, of these guys shows up on the team roster of a major online room in the near future.
2) Michael Mizrachi. What's the deal here? Michael Mizrachi is one of the most winningest tournament players of all time and he's not even on the lower level of Full Tilt's pro team. Even his brother Robert (who's obviously no slouch either) is on the team and it just seems bizarre that "The Grinder" wouldn't be a part of some poker team.
Ever since Michael left the Absolute Poker team it seems like the poker world has forgotten about the player who has accumulated more than $6 million in tournament cashes. Now that he came very close to winning another bracelet at the 2008 WSOP, maybe people will remember.
1) J.C. Tran. When it comes to live poker tournaments J.C. Tran is a maniac. There is no doubt that he is among best tournament players in the world, and if you've ever seen him at a poker tournament, chances are he was sitting behind a massive mountain of chips.
Although Tran isn't as flashy as the Phil Hellmuths or Daniel Negreanus of the world, his results speak for themselves: He has over $6.5 million in cash, five WPT tables, one WPT title, a WPT Player of the Year Award and countless preliminary event victories.
So why doesn't Tran have a contract with a big online poker room?
For years the only knock on Tran was his lack of a WSOP bracelet, but now that he's rectified that situation it's hard to think of any reason not to have Tran on your team. He would not be out of place on Team PokerStars Pro or Team Full Tilt.
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There you have it - five of the most sponsorship-deserving players in the world. But no list is perfect. Feel free to add some of your picks in the comment box below.