Allen Cunningham may not be one of the loudest or most boisterous, but he is easily one of the most well-respected and toughest players in the game. Widely considered by his peers to be one of the greatest in the game today, Cunningham has five WSOP bracelets and $10 million in tournament earnings.
Cunningham began playing poker at the age of 18 in a local Indian casino while studying civil engineering at UCLA. After juggling the grind of being a student and playing poker on the side, Allen was able to successfully build his bankroll and move up in limits. By the time he was 19, Cunningham decided to take on poker full time instead of continuing studying at UCLA. The only thing really holding Cunningham back was the fact that he couldn’t play in most casinos until he was 21. He adult stuck it out though and continued to grind away.
When Cunningham turned 21, he took to the tournament trail along side fellow young guns like Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, John Juanda, and Layne Flack. The group built an extensive catalog of poker knowledge together, getting better and better each day. It wasn’t until 1999 though that Allen would really make a name for himself.
Cunningham was named the “Best All-Around Player” at the 1999 Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino and followed that up with some nice cashes at that year’s United States Poker Championships in Atlantic City. The following year, Cunningham took on the competition in Vegas at the World Series and cashed in five events. His best finish that year came when he placed second in the Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Event for over $110,000. Proving that it was no fluke, Allen returned the following year to cash in another four WSOP events and even win his first bracelet in the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud Event. Then in 2002, Cunningham scored first place in another bracelet event.
After being unsuccessful in winning bracelets in both 2003 and 2004, Cunningham landed another piece of World Series glory in 2005 after he won the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Event. That same year, Cunningham final tabled three other events and cashed for over a million dollars at the WSOP.
One more year later, Cunningham won another bracelet and made a few more final tables at the WSOP; the most notable of which may not be the one that he won. Cunningham rode his way through a field of over 8,700 entrants to reach the final table second in chips to eventual winner Jamie Gold. He went on to finish fourth place earning over three and a half million dollars. Despite missing out his dream of the big one, Cunningham was able to return to the WSOP winners’ circle in 2007 when he won another bracelet to give him five in total.
With an uncanny ability to analyze things at the poker table and amazing discipline, only time will tell to see if the best of Allen Cunningham is yet to come.