The differences of opinion are vast, particularly when discussing players in the top 10 or 20, and this is evidenced by the fact that pretty much every week that the pro poll has been collected, the best average pro poll ranking has been somewhere around 6 or 7. The current poll, as of this writing, is actually a bit of an anomoly. Imper1um has been impressing everyone so much with his continuous huge weekend wins that he's got an average score below 4; this is the exception, not the rule.
Because very few players can possibly impress their peers in unanimous fashion, the goal of the pro poll has always been to have at least fourty people's votes counting at any given time. With fourty voters, we feel that the votes become fairly normalized; we get a relatively accurate depiction of which players are at the top of the chain in the eyes of the people they face at the tables on a regular basis. Since the inception of the poll, we've actually had about 70 voters on average every week (anyone who's updated their poll in the last month continues to count as an active poller). There are currently 76 pro pollers with votes that are counting towards the rankings.
Four6suited and AaronBeen are two of the regulars on the pro poll. They've both been putting up very solid results for many months now, and each is a highly respected and well-ranked player on PocketFives.com. They also have completely different top 10's; Imper1um and mr. menlo are the only two players in each of their lists. I've obtained permission from each of them to post their top 10 ranked players, and they've also each commented on some of their selections.
Four6suited's top 10:
When I spoke to four6suited, I immediately wanted to know what makes Imper1um the top player in her eyes. She told me she felt his recent results in the FTOPS and Sunday rebuys stand out, particularly when knowing that at the same time he was crushing live events as well. "Other players have similar results," she told me, "but Imper1um's style makes him impossible to play against."
Aaron Been had even more to say about Imp: "I think most people don't realize that the reason Sorel wins hundreds of thousands is that he knows how to use all the information to figure out his opponent's hole cards. Most people can't put things together the way he does. Your average hand where someone raises and Imper1um cold calls is so much more complex than people realize."
Back to four6suited's poll, though. Her second ranked player is Andy McLEOD, who's clearly been one of the premier online players of the last 6 months. Four6suited has been one of Andy's most vocal supporters, and she commented, "I have Andy second and he could easily be first. What's most impressive about him and what people don't realize is that he generally only plays a few times a week, and he's still 3rd in the PLB. People see him make a lot of insane plays and sometimes look stupid, but he also makes a lot of great plays." She also mentioned some similarities between his game and that of former top-ranked player BeL0WaB0Ve.
Fourth on her list was M8kingmoves, known to many as lilholdem954. "I moved him way up recently," she told me. "He's made something like a million final tables in the past few weeks. There's no arguing with his past success either; it was just a factor of so many good players and it being hard to fit them all in the top 10."
Her sixth pick was Davidp18, a player with whom some of our readers may not be familiar. It seems like we're writing about him in the Tournament Review at least once or twice a month, though, as he manages to get to the top with incredible consistency once he reaches the final table. Four6suited noticed the same thing I did and ranked him sixth. As she put it, "I put him there because he never loses at the final table. I have tons of respect for him after a recent Sunday when he won the $100 rebuy. When I play with him, I'm never sure if he's tight or loose. I think he changes the way he plays all the time, so it's tough to ever get a read on him. He'll be really tight for a while and then put a big bluff on you out of nowhere, or at least that's my suspicion. I never get to see his cards unless he's beating me in a pot."
The next player we talked about was P0KERPR033, who's currently number 1 in the PLB and recently won the Sunday Million. On why he's not quite as high in the pro poll, she responded, "I definitely respect his game. I just think a lot of people maybe aren't sold on him yet or are possibly jealous of Sunday Million winners and assume he just got lucky to get through such a massive field. He's been doing it for years, though, and I always knew of him as a player you don't want to mess with. If you look at the top 10, atimos and menlo are also winners, and menlo's probably the best all around player of anyone."
When I asked her if she had any other comments about her poll, she responded that mattg1983 and YourTimeIsUp are two other players who have impressed her for a while. Mattg1983 is number 9 on her list, and YTIU isn't far behind the top 10.
Aaronbeen's Pro Poll:
Aaronbeen has strong opinions about his top 10 ranked players, starting with his number 1, mr. menlo. "He's very aggressive in position, he's a good hand reader, and he varies his play," he told me. When I asked him how menlo puts up so many great results with such a low volume of play, though, he commented that a lot of it is variance. "He's the best," Aaron said, "but he's not as much better than other top players as his results per volume might indicate."
Phwap is the third ranked player in Aaron's poll, and Aaron's main comment about him was, "He's as tricky and aggressive as the other top players and he has literally no leaks at all." My response to that was probably a common one: "Can you tell this just from watching him play at your table?" He corrected me though by telling me he can tell by watching everyone else. "All poker players have situations where we are too loose or too tight, and everyone gets into spots we shouldn't. I've played with Phwap a fair amount, and the only times something every goes wrong are when it's specific to his opponent; his standard type plays all seem very strong."
PokerJoe9 is Aaron's fourth ranked player, and Aaron's comments on him were concise: "He's flexible/unpredictable post flop and another great hand reader."
On Ari, his fifth ranked player, Aaron mentioned that he's very good at learning and adapting. "He's very smart, focused, and tough."
Deuce2High became a well-known player for followers of online MTTs after an incredible run in October 2005 that included wins in the UB $200k, the Party Daily Super, the Stars $150, and the Paradise $100 rebuy, all in a span of 10 days. Aaron has him in his top 10, and he feels similarly about his game to the way he feels about that of Phwap. In addition to having very few visible leaks, Aaron mentioned that this is a player who is really solid post flop. He also learned MTT strategy much more quickly than most are able to.
Next on his list is Tmay420. "Like Ari," Aaron told me, "he's grown tremendously as a player. He's a tricky player, and playing against him has made me change my own play." That's a high compliment, to say the least.
On the rest of his top 10, Aaron told me that the main reason he has them ranked highly is what they don't do, rather than what they do at the tables. His rankings are very much based on who doesn't mess up. "They don't make hopeless calls," he told me. I asked him which is more important: being aggressive or not making bad calls? His response was that all the players he has in his top 10 do both. "I'd say specific hand reading is more important than either though," he added.
Finally, I asked him the toughest question: "Do you feel you've earned the spot you've given yourself in your top 10?" His response: "Well, counting what I've made my backers, I've made close to $500k in online MTT's."
I really can't argue with that; who can?