This is the WSOP making the selections, and I believe that Phil Hellmuth has won 12 WSOP bracelets (including one last year), which is the all-time record. And, NO, his name is not spelled Hellmouth although it certainly should be, LOL. And he is actually a nice decent guy away from the tables and does a lot of ambassador type activities.
I've heard people say this, but have seen no evidence for it.
I'm sure, as an egomaniac, he is nice to people who ask him for autographs or whatever because he craves the adulation, but that doesn't make him a nice guy. Lots of people are nice to people who kiss their butts.
I mean, you are who you are. He has no problem abusing amateurs. He has no problem breaking rules in a way that costs people money, right up to the point of cheating. That's who he is. He only cares about himself.
But, he has nothing to do with me, so oh well.
His achievement of continuing to excel at tourneys after all of the other guys from his era have faded away, and there has been a huge influx of brilliant, hungry young players is tremendous. But IDK about influential.
Johnny Chan? Yep, two M.E. wins when no one was paying attention, but he has done very little during the post-2004 television era of poker. However, it is well known that Lloyd Waner was voted into the MLB Hall of Fame because voters confused him with his much-better brother, Paul Waner. So, in that spirit, maybe Johnny Chan's excellence at choreographing and executing martial arts sequences will put him over the top and get him selected as one of the 4-most influential poker players.
An incredible snub of Daniel Negreanu, who has been the affable face of professional poker for many years.