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15 Best Poker Players in the World
Poker, undoubtedly one of the world’s most captivating and beloved card games, has inspired high-stakes cash game players drawn to renowned figures with impressive net worths and a track record of success.
When it comes to professional poker, naming the top players of all time can be quite challenging, unlike in many other sports. It’s not as simple as looking at their winnings because poker is a game where greatness isn’t solely defined by money.
So, we took a different approach. We considered factors like their playing style, personality, and achievements to create our list of the world best poker players. Of course, this list is subjective, and we respect the talent of other incredible players who didn’t make the cut. So, without any further ado, here are the top 15 best poker players of all time.
15 Best Poker Players of All Time
1 – Doyle Brunson – Texas Dolly
Doyle Brunson, aka “Texas Dolly,” is a poker legend who has stood the test of time, playing professionally for over 50 years. With 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, including back-to-back Main Event wins in 1976 and 1977, Brunson has solidified his status as one of the greatest players of all time.
He has a career tournament earnings of $6.2 million. But Brunson’s greatness comes from more than just his impressive record. He has a natural feel for the game and an instinct honed from seeing thousands of hands over the years. No other player has maintained such a high level of play for decades, earning him the nickname “The Godfather of Poker.”
Brunson’s book “Super System” revolutionized poker strategy. Doyle has died, but he’s genuinely an idol for many and a gentleman at the table, and he was rightfully inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
2 – Johnny Moss – Grandfather of Poker
Johnny Moss, aka the Grandfather of Poker, was a legendary player and one of the best of his generation. He achieved the remarkable feat of winning the World Series of Poker Main Event three times, a testament to his extraordinary skills.
At the 2nd World Series of Poker, he secured second place in a $10,000 Limit 7-Card Stud Poker, earning a substantial $34,150. Shortly after, triumphed in a $10,000 No-Limit Hold ’em World Championship event, claiming his third WSOP bracelet and a cash prize of $160,000.
In the 6th World Series of Poker, Johnny seized his fourth WSOP bracelet, winning a prize of $44,000 while playing $1000 Limit Seven Card Stud.
Despite his success as a professional poker player, his exact cash winnings remain unknown due to his earlier days as a Texas road gambler. Johnny Moss, who passed away in 1995 at 88, is fondly remembered by his peers and game pioneers as a fierce competitor who fearlessly embraced aggression.
3 – Phil Hellmuth – The Poker Brat
Phil Hellmuth, also known as the “Poker Brat,” is undeniably one of the biggest names in the world’s top poker players today. Having obtained 15 World Series of Poker bracelets around $23 million in earnings, his skill at the game is truly remarkable.
He made history by winning the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas in 1989 and again in Europe in 2012, showcasing his dominance on both sides of the Atlantic. While he has yet to claim the Champions Cup, Hellmuth is determined to add a WPT title to his impressive list of accomplishments.
Despite his polarizing on-table antics, it’s clear that Hellmuth possesses an excellent understanding of the game and remains one of the greatest poker players of all time. His record-breaking number of bracelets and remarkable victories, including defeating the defending champion Johnny Chan in 1989, solidified his rank among the world’s best poker players.
4 – Justin Bonomo – ZeeJustin
Justin Bonomo has been playing poker since he was just 16. He’s famous for his skills in both online and live tournaments. Back in the day, he made a name for himself during the internet poker boom but made some rookie mistakes by multi-accounting.
However, he’s worked hard to redeem himself and show his moral growth. These days, he’s a big deal in live events, reaching the final tables in Europe in 2005 and 2006. He’s won some impressive prizes, including three bracelets at the World Series. He even scored a massive $10 million payout in 2018.
With winnings totalling $61 million, he’s one of the top earners in the game. And get this—he’s only 37 years old! It seems like his reign in poker is just beginning. Justin’s strategic brilliance and intellect make him a formidable opponent, especially in heads-up matches. Trust me; you wouldn’t want to go up against him on the felt.
5 – Phil Ivey – The Tiger Woods of Poker
Phil Ivey, known as the Tiger Woods of Poker, has consistently excelled in his poker career. He’s a popular high roller, frequently seen at Atlantic City’s most extravagant games. With a net worth estimated between $100 million and $125 million online, Ivey fearlessly plays at maximum limits, winning over $1,000,000 in six games.
Despite facing accusations of cheating, he remains at the pinnacle of the poker world. In the early 2000s, he emerged as a dominant force, earning his first WSOP bracelet at 23 and securing three more that summer in 2002. His live tournament winnings are somewhere around $39 million, and his impressive record includes 10 WSOP bracelets. Ivey’s prowess has earned him comparisons to Tiger Woods and widespread respect from his peers.
6 – Bryn Kenney – Mega Crusher
Bryn Kenney is a true legend, and he started playing poker in school and quickly realized how profitable the game could be. At just 16 years old, he had his first taste of success by winning a whopping $1,687,800 at the $1,00,000 Super High Roller tournament in 2016.
From there, his winnings only skyrocketed. He claimed millions from various prestigious events, including the Triton Super High Roller Series and the Super High Roller Bowl.
Bryn Kenney’s incredible skills have earned him over $56 million in live earnings, making him the number-one player on the all-time money list. His consistent finishes and undeniable talent have solidified his position as one of the best poker players in history.
7 – Dan Smith – Cowboy Dan
Dan Smith, also known as Cowboy Dan, is a remarkable professional poker player who skyrocketed to success at a young age. Starting at 16, he quickly established himself as one of the world’s greatest players, amassing seven-figure winnings in nine live events.
Notably, he clinched an impressive $4 million by finishing third in The Big One for One Drop at WSOP. In the Triton Million series, he secured an astonishing $8.76 million for another third-place finish.
Despite excelling in chess and receiving a scholarship, Smith chose online poker and never looked back. He continually conquers global competitions, from triumphs on the Heartland Tour to winning the $100K Challenge at the Aussie Millions Championship.
Beyond his $42 million in live tournament earnings, his philanthropy sets him apart. Smith founded the Double Up Drive, rallying fellow players to support charitable causes. Indeed, he’s a winning player and a force for good in the poker community.
8 – Daniel Negreanu – Kid Poker
Daniel Negreanu is a legendary poker player who has dominated the game for over 20 years. Known as “Kid Poker,” Negreanu has won 6 WSOP bracelets and 2 World Poker Tour championship titles, earning around $50 million in live event cash.
What sets him apart is his consistent success over two decades. His innovative “little ball” tactic, where he takes calculated risks with smaller stakes, has revolutionized the game. Beyond his skills at the table, Negreanu is also a prominent figure in the media, with a solid social media presence, podcasts, and even writing.
Thanks to his fame, he remains the world famous poker player in poker history, with an impressive track record of victories on some of the game’s biggest stages.
9 – Stu Ungar – The Comeback Kid
Stu Ungar was known as “The Kid” because of his youthful appearance, but don’t let that fool you. He was a true legend and one of the most fantastic gin and poker players ever. From a young age, he showed incredible talent in gin, rummy, and poker.
In 1980, at just ten years old, he won his first gin event. The following year, he triumphed at the World Series of Poker Main Event, winning it two more times in his career alongside Johnny Moss. Stu’s mastery of different formats and immense success in various tournaments solidify his status as the poker best player in history.
Unfortunately, his life wasn’t without struggles, and he battled personal demons. But his incredible skills at the poker table and his sixth sense for cards will always be remembered by his friends and contemporaries.
10 – Erik Seidel – Sly
Erik Seidel is a legendary poker player who has dominated the game for over three decades. He’s won a jaw-dropping $43 million in live tournaments, placing him in fourth place for all-time earnings.
Despite his success, he’s managed to maintain a relatively low profile, preferring to let his results speak for themselves. Seidel is a true old-school pro, with eight WSOP bracelets and a winning record well into his 60s.
He’s even appeared in the movie Rounders, where he famously finished runner-up in the 1988 WSOP Main Event. Seidel continues to compete at the highest levels, regularly taking on younger players and coming out on top. He’s a game legend and a role model for aspiring poker players everywhere.
11 – Fedor Holz – CrownUpGuy
Have you heard of Fedor Holz? This guy is a total poker pro! He made a name for himself at age 21 and has accumulated lifetime winnings of over $38 million. He’s won multiple awards, including the prestigious World Series of Poker bracelet.
Holz is known for his success online and in live tournaments, with big wins in both arenas. In 2016, he won the $111,111 Big One for One Drop, taking home a whopping $5 million. And get this, in 2019, he came in second place in the $1 million tournament and received a staggering $6 million payout.
With his analytical approach to the game, Fedor Holz is a modern poker superstar and a true poker royalty.
12 – Stephen Chidwick – stevie444
Stephen Chidwick is a top-notch poker player who has made over $47 million. He started playing for fun when he was 16 and has come a long way. Even though he’s from Deal, England, a fitting hometown on England’s southeast coast, he prefers playing live events to online tournaments.
Chidwick has made quite a name in the world’ best poker players and is among the top 15 on the all-time money list. He started his online table career and won his first big win in 2009. He’s since won many live tournaments and is a regular on the high-roller scene.
In 2019, he even won a WSOP bracelet for a $1.6 million prize. With continuous effort to improve his skills, Chidwick shows no signs of slowing down.
13 – Daniel Colman– mrGR33N13
Daniel Colman, also known as “mrGR33N13” in the online poker world, has already raked in a whopping $29 million in earnings at 30.
Despite not having a WPT title, he has already won a WSOP bracelet and even managed to kick out the renowned Daniel Negreanu from The Big One for One Drop competition, winning an impressive $29 million in the process.
With his incredible skills and track record, it’s no doubt that Colman has a promising future ahead in the poker scene. We can’t wait to see what he brings to the table in the future!
14 – Liv Boeree
Liv Boeree is a force to be reckoned with in the poker world, with a net worth of $4 million. Even more impressive is her track record in major tournaments – she’s the only female player to have won big at both the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour.
And if that’s not enough to convince you of her skills, she also snagged her first WSOP bracelet in 2017 at the 10k Tag-Team event and has raked in over $3.5 million in tournament winnings. That’s some serious dough. Safe to say, Liv is someone to keep an eye on in the world of poker, and her accomplishments are awe-inspiring.
15 – Annie Duke — Duchess of Poker
Annie Duke is also known as the Duchess of Poker. She’s a total boss in the high-stakes poker scene, and her net worth proves it – a cool $9 million! Not only is she a fierce cash game player, but she’s also dominated some pretty impressive tournaments.
We’re talking about winning a WSOP bracelet, snagging first place in the WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2004, and taking down the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2010. Annie was even the top female player in the World Series for a while, which is seriously impressive.
But that’s not all – she’s also co-created the Global Poker Index and co-founded the Epic Poker League. Plus, she’s written strategy books like “Decide to Play Great Poker” and “The Middle Zone”. Annie Duke is a poker legend in the world top poker player and beyond!
In the end, poker is a game that transcends mere monetary value and captures the hearts and minds of players and enthusiasts alike. The list of the top 15 best poker players of all time presented here is a testament to the diverse range of skills, achievements, and personalities that have contributed to the game’s rich history.
While this list is subjective, and countless other talented players deserve recognition, these individuals have left an indelible mark on the poker world.
Whether it’s Doyle Brunson’s longevity, Johnny Moss’s legacy, or Phil Hellmuth’s polarizing yet undeniable talent, each player on this list has contributed to the allure and fascination poker holds for millions worldwide. As the game evolves, we anticipate the rise of new stars who will carve their place in poker history.
1 – What criteria were used to rank the players?
The players were ranked based on their overall skill, longevity, success in significant tournaments, number of World Series of Poker bracelets, and impact on the poker community.
2 – Are these the only best poker players of all time?
No, the list is subjective, and many other talented players could be considered among the best. The list represents individuals who contributed significantly to the game and achieved remarkable success.
3 – What distinguishes these players from others in the poker world?
These players possess exceptional skills, achievements, and influence in poker. They have shown consistent success, demonstrated unique playing styles, and made a lasting impact on the game.