Steven Danneman: Poker's "Everyman." That's what they are calling Steve Dannenman these days. He doesn't have TV profile many hotshot newcomers do when they make their way into view of the World Series of Poker cameras. He doesn't have a resume of poker tournaments won or bracelets claimed. He's not even the best player in his home game (he ranks himself fourth or fifth best.) Yet it was Steve Dannenman who faced Joseph Hachem heads up for the title of WSOP Champion for 2005, outlasting over five thousand hopefuls to get there. While his heads up face-off technically left him the "loser" when Aussie Hachem teased him all in with the better hand, it is hard to call anyone a loser when they walk away with over four million dollars in cash.
Steve was born in Brooklyn Park, MD and now lives in Severn, MD, with wife and child. In Severn he is a CPA and a mortgage broker. Now he is a millionaire-even after he gave away half his money. In an untelevised moment, while Steve was picking up his winnings, his friend Jerry Ditzell joined him. Jerry, who got nearly as much air time as his poker buddy did, cheering Steve on from the sidelines, matched $5,000 to enable Dannenman to buy in to the main event. With nothing more binding than a handshake sealing the deal, Dannenman showed his word was good when he split his winnings right down the middle, making his buddy a millionaire too.
Steve made for some great TV during the tournament, often calling home to report on his progress in the event. From clips of him telling his wife he was out of clean underwear to a moment he might like to take back (when he spoke bluntly of Howard Lederer on the phone after relieving him of around $30,000 in chips with a bluff), Steve put on no act, but just remained his positive self. He was not immune to tilt, of course, or to being fooled by other player's manipulations, such as the last hand when Hachem threw him for a loop by commenting on Steve's re-raise, "I thought we were being friendly?"
He's honest, too. When asked after his big win/loss if he was going to quit being a certified public accountant, he said no. Too many people are counting on him. Plus, poker is boring.
From start to finish, winning or losing, Steve Dannenman was fascinating to watch as he lived out every poker player's dream. With over two million dollars to call his own, and now able to bankroll himself into any event he wants, odds are good poker's everyman will be making more appearances at the WSOP.