Allen Cunningham is one of today’s most successful professional poker players, having earned a grand total of nearly $10,000,000 as of 2007 playing poker. A member of Team Full Tilt, Allen Cunningham holds 5 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Bracelets and was named the 2005 ESPN/Toyota Player of the Year. His poker play can be characterized by an unwavering calmness – no matter what is happening to him, or around him, Allen Cunningham remains cool and composed at all times.
Born March 28, 1977 in Riverside, California, Allen grew up playing poker with friends and family at the kitchen table, but held aspirations of becoming an engineer. He attended UCLA where he studied civil engineering, but between his studies, he would travel to Indian casinos to play poker. This activity was not only a fun diversion from his consuming education, but a profitable one at that.
Cunningham eventually dropped out of college to pursue a professional career playing poker. Though he got off to a relatively slow start, the decision has served him well. Allen Cunningham is to date one of the most profiteering poker players of our time. At a mere 30 years of age, Cunningham has cashed in more than 110 major poker events earning in excess of $9,600,000.
Allen Cunningham and the WSOP
Allen got his first cash reward from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 1998. Though it wasn’t a spectacular win – those would come later – Cunningham proudly earned 25th place in a Pot Limit Holdem event for $2,748. In the 1999, Allen cashed again in the same event, but this time finishing in 15th place for $5,115.
The 2000 WSOP is where Allen’s true talents came bursting through, cashing an incredible 5 times. The first 4 cashes paled in comparison to the 5th however, taking 17th in Event #3, 13th in Event #10, 10th in Event #14 and 15th in Event #19 for a total of about $18,000. The fifth cash came as a 2nd place Limit Omaha Hi-Lo victory for $113, 850 – Allen’s biggest career purse up to this point.
Allen Cunningham found himself taking another 4 purses home in the 2001 WSOP, one of which came with the coveted WSOP Bracelet for taking down Event #21, Limit 7 Card Stud. Cunningham pocketed $201,760 for the 1st place win.
As the 2002 WSOP came along, Allen Cunningham was ready once again, claiming yet another 5 cashes throughout the event, and his second WSOP Bracelet. In Event #32, No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball, Cunningham skillfully knocked out his opponents, one by one, to earn the bracelet and $160,200, in addition to the $30,240 he had earned in the previous weeks of the tournament.
Cunningham cashed twice again in the 2003 WSOP, earning about $145,000, but did not take home a bracelet that year. His next WSOP winnings did not come until 2005, when Allen Cunningham claimed his 3rd WSOP Bracelet, placing in the money 5 times. His first victory came in Event #2, No Limit Holdem, fighting his way through the field to take 1st place and an impressive prize of $725,405. While the following 4 cashes did not win Allen a bracelet or championship, they did earn a cumulatively remarkable $371,575, totaling more than $1 million over the duration of the 2005 WSOP. His spectacular performance earned him the title 2005 ESPN/Toyota Player of the Year.
In 2006, Allen Cunningham truly made his mark on the poker circuit, cashing a striking 6 times for more than $4,000,000 in winnings – oh, and another WSOP Bracelet of course! Allen was awarded the bracelet for taking Event #14, No Limit Holdem, worth $625,830, but that wasn’t the highlight of his year. That came one month later at the No Limit Holdem Championship WSOP Main Event final table, as Allen’s stunning abilities earned him a 4th place overall finish, worth a whopping $3,628,513. That win remains the largest single-cash prize of Allen Cunningham’s his career.
Cunningham earned his 5th WSOP Bracelet in the 2007 WSOP, triumphing in the Pot Limit Holdem World Championship for nearly half of a million dollars. Three more cashes were to follow in the coming weeks of the WSOP, totaling about $38,000.
His 2007 victory at the WSOP has put Allen Cunningham on a short list of professional poker players who have earned WSOP bracelets 3 years in a row; Gary Berland, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss and Erik Seidel. Even Phil Hellmuth, who currently holds the record for most WSOP bracelets with 11, has not accomplished this amazing feat.
Allen Cunningham and the WPT
When the first season of the World Poker Tour (WPT) kicked off in 2003, Allen Cunningham was right there to get in on the action. His first purse came in the Euro Finals of Poker Main Event, making the final table to end in 3rd position with $104,850. A 5th place Pot Limit Holdem event at the LA Poker Classic gained Allen another $6,600, followed by a 13th place No Limit Holdem cash of $26,664 at the Five-Star World Poker Classic.
Having seen notable success at the first season, Allen was back on board as the second season of the WPT got underway. Cunningham finished in the money 5 times, including two major victories. The first was a 2nd place win at Five Diamond No Limit Holdem, worth $131,575. The second was in April of 2004, earning 1st place in the Five-Star World Poker Classic No Limit Holdem Event #8, earning another $111,494.
Allen Cunningham broke the mold in WPT Season 3, achieving an incredible 11 cashes for a grand total of $170,481. Though the 2005/2006 WPT Season 4 did not reveal nearly as many purses for Allen, the 4 purses he won were much heavier. The World Poker Finals on November 18, 2005 were generous to Allen, taking 4th position for $483,000.