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Poker Player Profile: Allen Cunningham

Personal Life

On March 28, 1977, Allen Cunningham was born in Riverside, Southern California. Growing up, he was a happy talented child of loving parents with a love for card games. Growing up and winning all the family card games, he had an aptitude with cards that belied his tender years. He won friendly card games when other children his age could not even differentiate between the cards. Poker was just fun and a hobby and never a career option for the young Allen.

Poker Beginnings

On completion of high school, he studied in Los Angeles for a Civil Engineering degree. He started his serious interest in poker during his time there and in his second year, he was a regular poker player at several Indian casinos. Playing low stakes initially his continued wins convinced him that he was on the wrong career path. He gave up his studies when he was 19, but as he was underage, he was not allowed to play poker outside Indian property. However, this did not stop him from continuing to play locally and he honed his skills while he built his growing bankroll until he reached 21, which allowed him to play professionally.

When Allen turned 21, he immediately took part in several poker tournaments and events without initial success. He befriended Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu, poker legends themselves today, and playing together they each improved their games, without knowing at that stage the role they would play in poker history. He continued cashing in several events such as the Lake Elsinore Classic, Highland Empire Classic and more. The world took notice of Allen in 1999 at the Legends of Poker tournament where he won two of the events as well as final tables for five events. Best All Time Player was his title he won for that achievement, which started his success.

Poker Success

His first WSOP bracelet was in 2001 with a $201,760 win during the $5,000 Seven–Card Stud tournament. In 2002 in a $5,000 Deuce-to-seven-draw no-limit event, he took his second gold bracelet. In 2005 he scored his third, in 2006 he took his fourth bracelet and in 2007 he took his fifth WSOP bracelet. For the three bracelets he won in that period, he took home $625,830, $3,628,513 and $427,287 respectively. He did not stop winning other events and earned big money in-between those tournaments even as he played the Tour Euro Finals in Paris, amongst several other big events during this period.

Poker Fame

With five WSOP bracelets, he is a feared, respected, and highly talented poker player. In the history of all-time poker, he is not only one of the most respected, but also most consistent. His sponsorship with Full Tilt Poker, which he gained in 2006, lasted several years.

By 2011, Cunningham was the estimated winner of over $11.2 million in live tournament winnings alone. As a player of under 35 he holds titles such as best all-round player and player of the year in the 2005 ESPN/Toyota award. Apart from that, he holds several titles in preliminary as well as major tournaments.

Allen Cunningham currently lives in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and commutes with his girlfriend, Melissa Hayden, to the different locations, wherever the poker action is.

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