After watching some of the game's best players ply their craft for over a decade, we're still surprised by how often were awed by something we see at the tables.
An amazing soul read. A fearless hero call with 10 high. An impossible fold at the most essential moment. What the best of the best in poker can do seems, at times, to be superhuman.
Which is why PokerListings Italy's Francesco Esposito began to notice a few similarities between some of Marvel's most famous superheroes and the players we get to watch at the felt.
Read on as he reveals the hidden identities of 10 superheroes of poker. As you might notice, there are a few villains in the mix.
Think we've missed someone? Let us know in the comments.
# Magneto – Thor Hansen
Magneto is one of the most powerful Marvel characters of all time. After watching Thor Hansen battle for 13 hours on Day 1 of the 2014 Battle of Malta and leave with a smile on his face, we have no doubt the living legend - still fighting terminal cancer - has some super powers of his own. A true inspiration.
# Black Widow – Liv Boeree
Black Widow has a slowed aging process together with an accelerated cell regeneration. In combat she's unpredictable and astute and she can recover very quickly after suffering an attack.
Sounds like Boeree, yeah? Five years on from her historic victory at EPT San Remo in 2010 she still looks exactly the same -- thanks, we assume, to experiments the government has done on her. There's also all of that heavy metal guitar.
# Iceman – Daniel Colman
Something surprising and paradoxical happens to the charismatic Iceman when he's not in his mutant form: he freezes. Impassive and cold like no other, Dan Colman has shown he can defeat anyone at the poker table.
One of his main qualities, in both forms, is a sort of brutal honesty, which can sometimes lead him into trouble …
# Punisher – Dan Bilzerian
Punisher is a controversial character oscillating between "hero" and "villain," obsessed with revenge and firearms. If Punisher acts in the shadows to hit without being seen, though, Bilzerian does everything in the light of the sun - or as we know it, social media.
# Emma Frost – Gaëlle Baumann
Elegant and refined, Emma Frost is one of the strongest and long-loved heroes of the Marvel Universe. Emma has the ability to read minds but at the same time she can transform her body into a diamond and fight like nobody else.
These features are reflected in Gaëlles style of play. She can be a solid and defensive poker player but she knows how to attack and be aggressive when the moment is right.
# Captain America – Antonio Esfandiari
Captain America is the emblem for American super heroes. Exactly like Esfandiari, who is the most successful US poker tournament player ever with over $26 million earned in his career.
We considered Daniel Negreanu for the part, given he's the all-time money leader at over $30m, but you can't make a Canadian Captain America, can you?
# Jean Grey (Phoenix) – Jennifer Shahade
Jean Grey is one the most complex Marvel characters. A scholar and researcher, with the abilities of telekinesis and telepathy, her true essence is the Phoenix.
When she's not playing poker heroine Jennifer Shahade uses her brain similarly. Skilled poker player and writer, Shahade is a genius in front of the chess board where's she earned the title of Grand Master and won two US Women's championships.
# Cyclops – Dan Cates
Cyclops and his red laser have literally shaped the history of the X-Men. He embodies the hero, strong and brave, not inclined to humor, a leader and master strategist. Qualities that help Cates excel in poker as well, especially online where he is known as jungleman12.
Cates can seem aloof at times, and he may not be sympathetic to many, but behind that laser there's a genuine heart.
# Ms. Marvel – Vanessa Rousso
Ms. Marvel as a heroine has multiple powers and in everyday life she has multiple talents. Rousso is not only a skilled poker player but also an accomplished DJ, violinist and national debater.
She studied Economics at Duke University and got her degree in just two and a half years -- the shortest time to graduate in the history of Duke.
# Doctor Octopus – Phil Hellmuth
Misunderstood, brilliant scientist Dr Octopus embodies the perfect anti-hero -- ruthless and relentless when desiring something.
Phil Hellmuth has basically the same attitude in front of a WSOP bracelet. Irascibility is Dr Octopus' main characteristic: he literally goes crazy when Spiderman thwarts his plans. We've seen that a few times, haven't we?