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Anagram Time Again

Anagram Time Again

by John Vorhaus |  Published: Oct 19, 2011


John VorhausIt’s been quite awhile since I devoted a column to discovering the hidden meanings of poker players’ names, esoteric gems of insight buried in alphabetic code deep inside their anagrams. I needn’t remind you, I suppose, that an anagram is a rescrambling of a word’s letters, such that poker tournament, for example, equals remake nut pronto.

You might remember some of the classics of bygone days: Dan Harrington (Grant Ironhand); Allen Cunningham (he all cunning, man): Annie Duke (a nude Nike). But there’s a new generation of poker players on the scene these days, and it’s time that some of them (plus a few overlooked oldies) got the ol’ JV anagram treatment. Thus I declare that it’s anagram time again (mine, a ragtag mania). Hang on, folks; this could get silly.

I start with an easy one, Brain Rast. That’s brain rats, right? Those friendly mental creatures that help you think through a hand. Does he drink after playing? He ought to beware of bar strain.

Now we jump to a hard one, Antonio Esfandiari. That’s a lot of letters, right? Never fear: my lightning-quick anagram mind (okay, my Internet-based anagram generator) quickly yields fan noise radiation, ratified as an onion, and fine Asian Tandoori. I don’t know what these mean, but the last one makes me hungry.

What about Antonio’s buddy, Phil Laak? Not much there. Maybe a hidden murderous urge (Kill pa? Ha!) Maybe his place in the pecking order (alpha ilk.) Not much there.
Naturally we can’t move on from this neck of the poker woods without considering Phil’s gal-pal Jennifer Tilly, and her unspeakably weird hobby, I tin fern jelly. Okay, let’s move on from this neck of the woods. Quickly, quickly please.

The young internet pros were tearing up the online scene, and now they’re tearing up live poker. Tom “Durrrr” Dwan has wayyyy too many rrrrrs in his name, prompting us to say, Darn, Mr. Rutword! Viktor “Isildur1” Blom is 1morbid vitriol sulk. Scary. Nonsensical, but scary. And his online nemesis, Patrik Antonius? Why, he’s saturation pink or situation prank or even a sunk partition. I’m not sure if that says it all, but it certainly says something.

Remember Team Full Tilt (a lit mutt fell)? Was it only half a year ago that they ruled the online world? It seems like a lifetime now. Who can forget Mike Matusow (smut aim woke) or Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (confuse her jugs, sirs), or Phil Ivey (El Hip Ivy), or Howard Lederer (lewder hoarder), or Phil Gordon (hi, porn gold), or Jennifer Harman (ninja hen farmer)?

Meanwhile, back among the good and the great, let’s not overlook Doyle Brunson (older by nouns) or son Todd Brunson (odd turn snob), for they are a poker dynasty, as are Barry Greenstein (berry tangerines) and Joe Sebok (eke job so). Me, I’m Josh van Hour, and my imaginary son Cleotis Vorhaus is a voracious sloth. Lazy, good-for-nothing imaginary son.
Then there’s the lady parade, great looking poker players who class up the joint just by walking in – and then kick the keisters of us lesser mortals. Among their number we count Vanessa Rousso (a sass oven or us), Erica Schoenberg (concierge’s rehab), Tiffany Michelle, (chiefly filament), Kara Scott (sat to rack), Gloria Balding, (a ribald ogling), Isabelle Mercier (Mlle. be ice raiser), Liz Lieu (no anagrams found), Liv Boeree (Eve Boiler), Jennifer Leigh (her fine jingle), Cyndy Violette (tilt envy decoy) and Lacey Jones (enjoys lace).

As if that weren’t enough (and when it comes to anagrams, too much is never enough), we also have such stalwarts of the baize as Erik Seidel (I keeled, sir) Chino Rheem (enrich home), Ben Lamb (men blab), Jake Cody (a deck? joy!), Jason Mercier (Major Sincere), Eric Froehlich (cheer for chili), Chris Moorman (Mr. so harmonic), Daniel Negreanu (needle run again), and (just to prove I can spell it) Sirous Baghchehsaraie (Hebraic hoagie hussars).

And now, just to cleanse the palette, or to tax your brain instead of mine for a change, let’s see if you can reverse-engineer these anagrams back to their original names. Hint: they’re all Card Player columnists.

hemp hilt hull
meanwhile, icebergs
stat marmot
office nabob
mild leer
stitch my duds
ooze wet volts
a hoax prism
a ramshackle noon
nubby errata man
angriest smelt

And finally…
ah, jv, honor us

And I am pleased to do so. Don’t thank me, I define myself through service.
Speaking of service, do you want some anagram magic (mama cigar nag) for your own or a loved one’s name? Shoot an email to and I’ll send you something snarky by immediate return post. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to by my new Kindle-only poker novel, World Series of Murder. Maybe you’ll be inspired to stop reading me entirely. Well, whatever. In the meantime, let’s all remember that poker is just a game, and if we can’t have some fun with it – serious demented anagram fun – from time to time, then it’s probably not serving us all that well. ♠

John Vorhaus is author of the Killer Poker series and co-author of Decide to Play Great Poker, plus many mystery novels including World Series of Murder, available exclusively on Kindle. He tweets for no apparent reason @TrueFactBarFact and secretly controls the world from