greatest poker players

Top 10 Greatest Poker Players of All Time

One of the most popular games in North America, Poker, can be any of several card games in which players bet on which hand they think is the best based on the rules of each particular game and in a manner similar to these rankings. The game is full of excitement and thrill. Fans of poker always find it breathtaking. Here we will discuss the greatest poker players of all time who have astonished the audience with their impressive performances and wins.

Greatest Poker Players of All Time | All-Time Ranking

Needless to say, poker is one of the most played indoor games in the whole world. Besides, it is also among the most popular sports and games in the USA right now. And this game does have some geniuses who have brightened the tables for a long time. So, here they are!

10. Fedor Holz – CrownUpGuy

fedor holz

Country: Saarbrücken, Germany
World Series of Poker Bracelet: 2
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 3
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 3

There’s a lot of buzz around Fedor Holz’s name, not just within the gambling world. He was already one of the greatest poker players in the world at the age of 21. He currently holds the 4th position among the top live tournament players on the Global Poker Index. In December 2017, his live tournament winnings totaled more than $26,700,000, taking his lifetime earnings to more than $32,550,000.

A 25-year-old poker player might have a difficult time imagining all of this! To achieve this, you would need a lot of talent. Nevertheless, he might be one! CrownUpGuy is the nickname he uses to play online. It is entirely devoted to the phenomenon of Fedor Holz, which is presented in a seven-part documentary titled “In the Life of a Champion.”

2017 was the year when it was produced. However, the story of CrownUpGuy is only the beginning of a series of upcoming media projects. The World Poker Tour National – Philippines presented him with Triton Super High Roller in January 2016. In total, he earned $3,463,500 on his initial investment of $200,000.

As of May, CrownUpGuy had won over $10,000,000 in Las Vegas in a matter of two months. The World Series of Poker’s most prestigious non-monetary award followed immediately. His next big win was $3,500,000 in the annual High Roller Bowl Poker Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada – a tournament featuring several of the best poker players in the world.

9. Dan Smith – Cowboy Dan

dan smith Greatest Poker Player

Country: Manalapan, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 23
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 3
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 4

Dan Smith was 16 when he became interested in poker and became a professional player. Before this, he enjoyed playing chess and had excellent results. Soon after, Smith realized chess no longer pleased him, and Smith stopped playing it. He became increasingly interested in poker after discovering this awareness.

Dan began to focus so much on the game that his college education fell to the wayside in his quest to become a professional poker player. After a short while, Smith has managed to become one of the greatest poker players in the world. Since then, he has continued to have success in live events. Dan was fortunate enough to win seven-figure sums in nine live events during his career.

After winning the Aussie Millions Poker Championship’s 100 000$ Challenge in 2012, he earned the first sum. His most impressive win was finishing 3rd in The Big One for One Drop of 1 000 000 dollars at the 2018 WSOP, in which Dan earned 4 000 000 dollars.

With Smith winning $8.76 million when he finished third in the Triton Million series at Triton Poker, breaking the previous record. He has already amassed a fortune of 3 million dollars, and he is also successful online. The player’s PokerStars nickname is “Danny98765”. And now, he is often dubbed as one of the most important athletes in the world.

8. Stephen Chidwick – Stevie444

stephen chidwick

Country: Deal, Kent, England
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 53
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 3
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 12

From a regular grinder to one of the world’s top poker players, Stephen Chidwick has changed over the years. He has won over $32 000 000 during his poker career. Despite Chidwick’s great success, many people believe that the poker player is at the start of his career. Poker was Stephen’s first pastime when he was 16 years old. In the beginning, he played freerolls using play money.

Things were doing well in free tournaments. Accordingly, Chidwick decided to play with real money. British players joined online poker as soon as it emerged. Chidwick started out his career by playing under the screen name “Stevie444”. At 25, he had accumulated a bankroll of $3000 000 in online poker. Now, this amount exceeds $5 000 000.

For the first time, Stephen took part in a live tournament at the European Poker Tour in Prague. A month later, Chidwick played at the Poker Stars Caribbean Adventure. The guy received his first big win in the turbo tournament, which cost $1000 at the PCA 2008. He received $88 760 in prize money after winning the event. In the last decade of the 2010s, Stephen hit his peak.

The impressive achievements of Chidwick make him one of the greatest poker players. Now, Chidwick prefers to play live events over online tournaments. As far as online games go, the guy said they lost their appeal, while offline poker is still enjoyable as the guarantees are constantly increasing, and there are always exciting events to take part in.

7. Bryn Kenney – Mega Crusher

bryn kenney

Country: New York, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 32
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 6
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 5

Bryn Kenney is an ambitious professional player who could get both significant victories and losses in his career. He became one of the top players and has acquired a reputation as an uncompromising opponent. In school, Kenney began playing poker, and after Bryn turned 16, he realized how profitable the game could be.

This is the reason he decided to focus on poker. Bryn had to enroll in college due to pressure from his parents. After a few weeks of studying, he became bored. He quit college because of this and became involved in poker. In the beginning, he studied the basics and then began playing online.

At the age of 17, Bryn played from a mother’s account, and he had to change to another account at the age of 18, which he is still using today. Kenney made a good profit after acquiring experience and sharpening his skills. A 100 000$ Super High roller tournament at PCA gave him a 1 687 800$ win in January 2016. In 2017, Bryn won the Super High Roller 8-Max tournament at Poker Stars Championship for 100 000 dollars and received 1784 500 Euros.

He also made another million dollars in profit from the Main Event of the Triton Super High Roller Series in 2016. These millions make him one of the greatest poker players1 401 694$ was his winnings for taking 2nd place. After finishing in 5th place, Bryn Kenney won 2 000 000 HK Dollars and 1 484 000 dollars at the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl.

6. Erik Seidel – Sly

erik seidel Greatest Poker Player

Country: Las Vegas, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 92
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 26
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 1

Rik Seidel is one of the record-holders according to the number of victories in the history of poker. Even though he is a poker veteran, he can still compete with younger players and take home trophies and titles. His total winnings from tournaments exceed 34 million dollars.

He has 8 WSOP bracelets and a lot of cash in tournaments. His accolades include membership in the Poker Hall of Fame. The legendary Erik Seidel is alive and well and known as one of the greatest poker players. He made his first appearance in 1988 at the WSOP Main Event. SLY got to heads-up with Johnny Chan but was a step away from victory.

He received 280 000 dollars for finishing second. Seidel enjoyed great success in the early 1990s. At the WSOP, he won three golden bracelets in a row. In 1992, Erik took first place in a Limit Holdem tournament, earning 2 500 dollars. In 1993 he finished in 1st place in Omaha 8 or Better for 2 500$.

The Limit Holdem tournament he won in 1994 was worth 5 000 dollars. After winning the No Limit 2-7 Draw game for 5 000$, he got his 4th bracelet at WSOP in 1998. In addition to the WSOP results, the player has numerous other trophies from prestigious poker series.

5. Daniel Negreanu – Kid Poker

daniel negreanu

Country: Las Vegas, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 148
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 24
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 4

One of the most famous professional poker players of the 20th century is Daniel Negreanu. As Poker Ambassador, Daniel has been recognized repeatedly, and he, of course, is the best representative of the game. Almost every poker fan knows Negreanu’s name. Canada was Daniel’s birthplace and where he raised himself.

Though he has Romanian roots and spends most of his time in the United States (he even gained American citizenship) – he is a true Canadian. During poker tournaments, he represents this country. Negreanu has earned numerous titles and victories in prestigious poker competitions. These achievements make him one of the greatest poker players.

Among his responsibilities are hosting many shows, commentating on many significant events, and presenting them. Over almost four years, Negreanu dominated tournament poker wins by earning over $39,000,000. This rating belonged to him until Justin Bonomo passed him in 2018. In addition, Daniel, from time to time, plays cash and participates in charity events.

The famous online poker room PokerStars signed Negreanu to its Team Pro team in 2007. Negreanu is often referred to as “Kid Poker” at PokerStars. Several months after leaving PokerStars, Negreanu joined GGPoker as an ambassador.

4. Stu Ungar – The Comeback Kid

stu ungar

Country: New York City, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 15
Born: 8th September 1953
Died: 22nd November 1998

There are still many people who consider Stu Ungar the best poker player ever. It is unprecedented for a poker player to make such an incredible career since no other player has ever made such rapid progress in such a short time. A Manhattan native, Stu was born on September 5, 1953. Math was his most vital subject in school.

The father of Stu was close to the mob, and he also ran a bar where illegal games of chance were played in the evenings. In his tenth year, he placed his first bet on a horse race, and in his eighth year, he played his first poker game. Stu had to drop out of school to take care of his sister and mother after his father died.

The mafia thug Victor Romano became familiar with him as an adolescent. For the fifth of his wins, the young man used him as a “protection racket” and began to play throughout the city. Soon, Ungar became famous throughout the country, and people lined up wishing to beat him, but no one succeeded.

Despite his age, Stu played rather aggressively for a guy who looked like he was seven years old. After quickly reading his opponent’s card, he taunted and put them on tilt. The winnings of Ungar came from horse racing. It was revealed in Stu’s interviews that he preferred playing the game itself rather than winning.

3. Phil Ivey – The Tiger Woods of Poker

phil ivey

Country: Las Vegas, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 59
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 13
European Poker Tour Money Finish: 3

Throughout his career, Phil Ivey has proved his skill as a poker player. The individual has achieved excellent results in our day and age since he was a teenager using fictitious documentation. He is now a famous high roller and a frequent guest of the most expensive games in Atlantic City and not a poor casino regular. He is also the main force in making poker of the richest games of all time.

Numbers range from $100 to $125 million on the Web regarding Phil Ivey’s net worth. Ivey has been a successful player online and in live tournaments. His achievements make him one of the greatest poker players. He has repeatedly exceeded 1 000 000$ each (at least six times), and in cash games, he plays at maximum limits in contests.

After playing with Full Tilt Poker patches for a long time, he started the Ivey League, both a poker room and a training site. May 2017 marked the end of the Ivey League. Phil Ivey has won significant prizes at the World Series of Poker. This player won his first bracelet in 2000 and went on to win three more in 2002.

He has won WSOP bracelets in six different types of poker tournaments in total. Additionally, he placed 7th in 2009 at the world’s biggest poker tournament, the World Series of Poker ME. Throughout the World Series, he reached the prize zone fifty times. Apart from that, Phil had played on the 8th World Poker Tour final table, which is impressive.

2. Phil Hellmuth – The Poker Brat

phil hellmuth

Country: Palo Alto, California, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 165
World Poker Tour Money Finish: 18
European Poker Tour Money Finish: NA

WSOP Main Event Gold Bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth achieved fame at a very young age. The 24-year-old became the youngest World Series champ ever with this victory. Since the beginning, Phil has been asserting himself loudly and “keeping the brand.” Poker has always been a part of Hellmuth’s life (he played with his family as a young teen).

It was one of the games he played when he studied at university (in 1985). His hometown helped him build up a 20 000$ bankroll. All of which he spent in Las Vegas for ten weeks. It was a much more successful trip the second time, and it brought Phil 10 000$ of profit. The player decided to pursue a poker career seriously and left university as a result.

Hellmuth was the first member of the family to work part-time. In the beginning, Phil’s parents didn’t approve of such a choice, but realizing it was the right one soon proved he was right, and he became one of the greatest jumma players. In 1989, Hellmuth became the youngest WSOP champion with a 755 000 dollar victory.

A dramatic change occurred in the player’s life after that. His tournament participation increased dramatically, and he won many prizes. He was known as a phenomenon of that time because he won recognition at most of the contests he played in and placed high in those contests.

1. Johnny Moss – Grandfather of Poker

johnny moss Greatest Poker Player

Country: Dallas, Texas, United States of America
World Series of Poker Money Finish: 25
Born: 14th May 1907
Died: 16th December 1995

In so many ways, Johnny Moss is considered to be one of the greatest poker players of his generation. Additionally, he’s one of the few people to have won the World Series of Poker Main Event three times. Moreover, Johnny has also been inducted into the first Poker Hall of Fame to recognize his contributions to the world of poker.

Everybody agrees that Johnny was the kind of person that players would be happy to lose to since they would finally be able to say that they had failed against the best. A $10,000 Limit 7-Card Stud event at the 2nd World Series of Poker saw him finish second.

He won $34,150 for his second-place finish. In a $10,000 No-Limit Hold ’em World Championship event a couple of days later, he won his third WSOP bracelet. After placing first, he was awarded the WSOP bracelet and a cash prize of $160,000.

Four years later, when he played $1,000 Limit Seven-Card Stud at the 6th World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, he won his fourth WSOP bracelet. First place in the competition earned him a prize of $44,000, as well as a bracelet.

Honorable mentions

11. Justin Bonomo – ZeeJustin

justin bonomo

Known for both his live tournaments and online events, Justin Bonomo is always in the spotlight. After playing poker since he was 16, he won hundreds of thousands of dollars by the age of 21. In the early days of online poker, he was one of the first players to gain recognition, becoming one of the top poker players in Sit&Go on Party Poker and winning the Sunday Million on Poker Stars.

But that all changed in February 2006, when Bonomo lost his Poker Stars account due to being blocked from PartyPoker for having multiple accounts. Justin has taken a career break after being asked to use multiple accounts.

After apologizing publicly, his reputation was able to be saved over time. Now he shines with good results in the poker world. Justin played at his first World Series of Poker in 2007. In the NLH-event that day, he took fourth place for 2 000 dollars and won 156 040 dollars.

Bonomo’s first WSOP victory came when he placed 5th at the 40th Anniversary event in 2009, and his first bracelet came in 2014 when he won 1 500$ in the No Limit Hold’em-Six Handed tournament. This victory brought him 449 980$.

12. Doyle Brunson – Texas Dolly

doyle brunson

Doyle Brunson is undoubtedly one of the greatest poker players. Few professionals from the first generation, such as him, can still be found at the poker table. It is safe to say that Doyle has several titles to his credit.

Throughout its history, he has been regarded as the most influential person in the poker world. In addition to winning 10 WSOP bracelets, “The Godfather” has won the Main Event twice (1976 and 1977). His overall achievements make him one of the greatest poker players in the world.

As a result of his books, Brunson has significantly contributed to the poker industry. “Supersystem” (1978) is the best-known of these books, also known as the Poker Bible. Throughout Doyle’s life, he has experienced both highs and lows.

Poker history is a part of his success and accomplishments. Among his admirers are his career achievements, as well as his personal qualities. He’s built a close-knit family; he keeps a sound mind, maintains close relationships with many colleagues, and has a great sense of humor and mental strength.

Final Words

We hope you liked the list of our greatest poker players of all time. Feel free to tell us about this list in the comment box. We appreciate your feedback.

Greatest Poker Players – 2024 Infographics

greatest poker players - infographics
Infographics: Greatest Poker Players

FAQs Regarding Greatest Poker Players

Q. Who is the greatest poker player ever?

It would not be complete without Johnny Moss, the legendary master of the game is one of the greatest poker players ever. He and Nick Dandalos (the Negreanu-Polk battle of the 1940s) made poker the way it is today if it weren’t for him.

Q. Who is the best poker player in the world right now?

Poker player Bryan Kenney ranks among the best in the world. The only way one can ever become as good as him is by playing at Global and gaining plenty of experience.

Q. Who has earned the most money in poker?

In addition to being a prominent poker player, Brian Kenney is one of those players who earned the most.

Q. Who is the smartest poker player?

This is the list of the top 4 most competent and smartest pool players. There are Phil Hellmuth – The Poker Brat, Phil Ivey – The Tiger Woods of Poker, Stu Ungar – The Comeback Kid, and Daniel Negreanu – Kid Poker.

Last Updated On: May 2024

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