While people may have personal opinions about who they believe to be the best poker player, the Global Poker Index cuts to the chase with its highly-regarded point system based on a player’s recent record over the last 12 months. So which players rose to the top during 2017 and are poised to dominate this year? Read on to find out why these pros are considered the top poker players in the world for 2018!
Morris was far from a household name coming into the year, but that all changed when he took home the PartyPoker LIVE UK Poker Championships Super High Roller title at the Dusk Till Dawn Casino in Nottingham, England. Now, the Birmingham, UK native is enjoying his time in the spotlight after taking home the £70,000 first prize. It took a cool head to prevail against a stacked field of experienced players including PartyPoker ambassador Marcel Luske and MILLIONS Germany 50,000 Super High Roller winner Michael Chi Zhang, but Morris prevailed and looks to add to his newfound acclaim.
The Spaniard is one of the youngest players on the list, having turned 23 over the summer. Before his birthday this year, he broke a world record for being the youngest player to win three WSOP bracelets, taking his first when he was just 19, his second at 21 and his last when he was 22. Mateos is incredible when it comes to online poker tournaments, and his total live earnings have now soared past the $10 million mark and he shows no sign of slowing down, coming first in the 2017 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) held in Macau in October.
This Englishman also competed in the recent ACOP Main Event, reaching the final table but ultimately finishing in fourth place. Chidwick has yet to claim a WSOP bracelet, but the largest pay-out of his career came earlier in 2017 during the PokerStars Championship in Barcelona. His recent wedding proved to be the inspiration he needed to win the €25,500 Single-Day High Roller event, beating out Bryn Kenney who came second and claiming the €690,400 prize. He won a similar event in March at the PokerStars Championship in Panama, and his recent hauls have seen his total winnings come to $9,813,042, with one more solid win needed to cross $10m mark.
The young German poker pro is top of his country’s All-Time money list, with huge live earnings of over $26.5 million. What is even more impressive is that, bar two games, he has come in the top three of every live poker match he has played since the start of 2017. This includes five wins at the partypoker Gran Prix in Austria, the Triton Super High Roller Series in Budva and the PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo. The reason he's not higher on the list is he avoided the WSOP games this year, explaining in 2016 that he found them very intense and draining.
This American player has been a pro for over a decade, playing his first major tournament back in 2006. During his illustrious career he has cashed in at the WSOP a grand total of 47 times, but it was only in 2016 that he won his first bracelet at the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event, taking home $412,557 in winnings. Despite total earnings of over $18 million, he has only come first once this year, at the $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em Aria Summer High Roller Series. That said, Peters plays a lot of poker and has reached the final tables of many events and tournaments in 2017.
The third American to make the cut, Petrangelo burst onto the poker scene in 2015, winning a WSOP bracelet for his first place at the $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout. The following year he managed a trio of first place prizes, including the EPT Season XIII in Barcelona, taking home $466,690 from the €10,300 No-Limit Hold'em table. His only win in 2017 was at the Aussie Millions AUD$100,000 No-Limit Hold'em. But with his winnings totalling about $9 million, he has earned his place in the Top 10.
Vegas resident Justin Bonomo is an outspoken voice in the pro poker community, and in 2017 called out PokerStars on a refund loophole that allowed players to make more than they paid when online servers crashed. In live games, Bonomo has racked up over $17 million in earnings and claimed his only WSOP bracelet in 2014, although he has been at the final table a total of seven times. This year saw him come first at two events in Aria, with several runner-up positions in 2017 a well.
New Jersey’s Dan Smith is roughly on par with Bonomo in the live earnings stakes, having hit over $17.5 million in 2017. Just like his fellow American, all three of Smith’s wins came from Aria High Roller events in Las Vegas. However, he did visit Macau for the PokerStars Championship, reaching the final table in two out of three games.
The second German player on the list, Schillhabel recently won the Triton Super High Roller Series in Macau, taking home $752,446 in prize money. This marked his second win of the year after an impressive turn at the PokerStars Championship at the Monte-Carlo Casino in April. Despite no WSOP bracelet just yet, his ability to reach the final eight has propelled him into the GPI Top 10.
Aldemir is part of the same German group of poker pros like Holz who have been smashing high roller events around the world. Aldemir has reached the final table in 2017 at events in Vegas, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Panama, and the Bahamas. His cool demeanour keeps him out of the spotlight, which is the way he likes it, as when he is not playing poker he studies psychology in Vienna.
If you go back to our top poker players list from a few years ago, you'd notice none of those listed in the old article are present in the latest list for 2018. Although the likes of Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth are still actively pursuing bracelets, a young, online poker inspired generation is taking over.
Now that access to competitive poker is limitless thanks to the internet, becoming a professional poker player is more reasonable than ever. Players looking to perfect their skills on the table are no longer forced to spend hours stuffed inside their local casino playing with less-than-quality talent more often than not.
Players can instead sign online from anywhere, anytime and join some of the most competitive tables in the world. Players can even enter the biggest poker tournaments via the internet. And add in the idea that artifice intelligence has already conquered the top poker pros, the ability to practice against the best is endless!