13/11/2013

Kastle Holds Most Flags on The Hendon Mob

Eric Danis

We take a look at the most decorated poker players on The Hendon Mob

King of the Kastle

Casey Kastle GPI
Casey Kastle

You’ll often hear poker players talking about “flags” – what are they talking about? The number of different countries they have cashed in according to The Hendon Mob poker player database.

Who is the king of flags? Why Casey Kastle of course! The veteran poker pro from the small country of Slovenia has collected a total of 124 cashes in 33 different countries around the world, eight more countries than Poland’s Miroslaw Klys who has acquired 25 flags in his career.

Kastle’s first flag came back in January of 1998 at the Carnivale of Poker inside the now famous home of the World Series of Poker, the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Kastle would finish third in a $500 USD buy-in tournament. One of the first stars of the live tournament circuit, T.J. Cloutier, would win that tournament. Kastle would also finish sixth in the Omaha Eight or Better tournament and fifth in the 5K Championship event later in the series.

The veteran grinder’s biggest cash was also obtained in the US when he finished second to Martin Klaser in the 1,500 PLO Hi-Lo event. Kastle would earn over 137K for those efforts.

His 33rd flag came, quite surprisingly, this past October, in England. We say surprising because you would have thought that a travelling poker pro like Kastle would have locked up England’s flag years ago. Kastle finished ninth in the £200 NLH Turbo event at EPT London to earn #33.

Here is a closer look at all 33 flags on Kastle’s resume and when he first won them:

  DATE COUNTRY     DATE COUNTRY     DATE COUNTRY
1 Jan-98 USA   12 Oct-08 Hungary   23 May-12 Monaco
2 Mar-98 Austria   13 Jan-09 Philippines   24 Jun-12 Bulgaria
3 Apr-98 Slovenia   14 Nov-09 Netherlands   25 Sep-12 Malta
4 Sep-99 France   15 Aug-10 Estonia   26 Oct-12 Croatia
5 Sep-01 Intl'   16 Aug-10 Finland   27 Nov-12 Cambodia
6 Oct-03 Aruba   17 Jan-11 Australia   28 Mar-13 South Korea
7 Aug-04 Ireland   18 Nov-11 Greece   29 Apr-13 Cyprus
8 Apr-07 Ukraine   19 Nov-11 Morocco   30 Apr-13 Germany
9 Apr-08 Italy   20 Dec-11 Czech Rep.   31 Jun-13 Portugal
10 Aug-08 Macau   21 Dec-11 Belgium   32 Sep-13 Montenegro
11 Sep-08 Spain   22 Jan-12 Bahamas   33 Oct-13 England

YOUNG GUNS ON THE RISE

Marcel Luske (22 flags) and Barny Boatman (19 flags) are two of star veterans who can be found near the top of the charts. However, a few members of the younger generation have already collected an impressive number of flags and, given the way some of these young guns travel all around the world to play the game, the following players could be the biggest threats to Kastle’s big lead atop the list:

Dominik Nitsche GPI
Dominik Nitsche

Coming off his second-ever cash in South Africa (at the WPT Emperors Palace Classic), Dominik Nitsche is tied for third with Luske with 22 flags. Both Nitsche and Luske earned #22 at the UKIPT Isle of Man series last week.

Nitsche is very well known for playing poker tournaments ANYWHERE in the world spending most of his time away from his UK home. Canada and the Czech Republic are two countries that Nitsche has yet to earn a cash in and with WPT Montreal and EPT and WPT Prague coming soon on the poker calendar – two countries that Nitsche played in at this time last season – we could see him moving past Luske on the flags charts very soon.

A few other young guns to look for include former Asia Player of the Year Sam Razavi (18 flags), former GPI #1 Marvin Rettenmaier (18), the Swedish duo of Martin Jacobson (17) and Ramzi Jelassi (17) and travelling Canadian Sorel Mizzi (18).

Sorel Mizzi GPI
Sorel Mizzi

Mizzi’s inclusion is especially remarkable given that most names on the list are European and it’s easy to understand why. Since Europe is made up of so many countries, most within short distance of each other, it makes sense that it would be easier for a European player to earn flags than someone that lives in North America, where only a handful of countries are within reach. However, the modern-day player travels so much, it should become easier for North-Americans, like Mizzi, to collect more flags.

Mizzi and Argentina’s Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Barbero (17 flags) are the only two non-Europeans (including all Russians for the purposes of this article) to make our Top 35 list.

POS PLAYER COUNTRY FLAGS
1st Casey Kastle SLO 33
2nd Miroslaw Klys POL 25
3rd Dominik Nitsche GER 22
- Marcel Luske NED 22
5th Barny Boatman UK 19
- Ivo Donev AUT 19
7th Samad Razavi UK 18
- Marvin Rettenmaier GER 18
- Sorel Mizzi CAN 18
- Dan Murariu ROU 18
- Juha Helppi FIN 18
12th Julian Thew UK 17
- Jan Bendik SVK 17
- Marcin Horecki POL 17
- Jose Ignacio Barbero ARG 17
- Martin Jacobson SWE 17
- Ramzi Jelassi SWE 17
- Roy Brindley IRL 17
- Johnny Lodden NOR 17
- Simon Trumper UK 17
- Jukka Ilmari Juvonen FIN 17
- Luca Pagano ITA 17
23rd Pierre Neuville GER 16
- Roger Hairabedian FRA 16
- Alexander Kravchenko RUS 16
- Liv Boeree UK 16
- Igor Kurganov RUS 16
- Bo Sehlstedt SWE 16
- Konstantin Puchkov RUS 16
- Mikael Johansson SWE 16
- John Paul Kelly UK 16
- Thomas Bihl GER 16
- William Thorson SWE 16
- Marcus Naalden NED 16
- Christoph Haller GER 16