Top 11 Poker Players in the World

Date IconLast Updated: Sep 28th, 2022
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Top 11 Poker Players in the World
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Who has made it into our list of the best poker players of all time? We have crunched the numbers and discarded the also-rans to compile the definitive poker player rankings online.

Our comprehensive list takes into account all-time earnings and major titles. However, we have also considered the player’s legacy and impact on the poker world.

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Phil Hellmuth (USA)

Career Earnings: $23 million

Major Titles: 15 WSOP bracelets, 1 WPT title

Phil Hellmuth is simply one of the most famous poker players on the planet. He was also, arguably, the world’s best Texas Hold’em Poker player for many years.

But unlike some of his peers, Hellmuth has maintained an incredible consistency throughout his poker career. He regularly cashes in major tournaments and hit 10 final tables in the 2020 World Series of Poker Online.

Hellmuth burst onto the scene in 1989 by winning the World Series of Poker main event. He denied runner-up Johnny Chan a third successive victory.

Since then, he has racked up more than $23 million in career wins, appeared on countless TV programs like Poker After Dark, and been the face of UltimateBet and ARIA. While Hellmuth’s infamous meltdowns have largely disappeared, his legacy lives on.

Mike Sexton (USA)

Career Earnings: $6.7 million

Major Titles: 1 WSOP bracelet; 2006 Tournament of Champions

Mike Sexton died in September 2020 at the age of 72. It’s fair to say that there are few players who have shaped the game of poker like him.

Sexton was one of the pioneers of televised poker, appearing as the anchor on the fledgling World Poker Tour in 2002. His tenure with WPT stretched to 15 seasons. Sexton also helped to found partypoker in 2001, a poker site that he continued to work with until his death.

At the poker table, Sexton was a mean Hold’em and mixed game player. He won one WSOP bracelet and took down the 2006 Tournament of Champions at a final table crammed with legends like Daniel Negreanu and Mike Matusow.

While his duties with partypoker and the WPT took up much of his time later in life, he was still making cashes into his 70s.

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (Sweden)

Career Earnings: $2.9 million

Major Titles: partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Germany

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom is simply one of the best poker players in the world when it comes to online poker. He was the original star of the “nosebleed” stakes, competing in high-stakes cash games online against fellow legends such as Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan.

Soon after opening his Full Tilt account, Blom racked up online wins worth nearly $6 million. He was involved in some of the biggest online cash game hands of all time.

Not that “Isildur1” had it all his own way. Over the years, he found himself in the red by millions, losing $2 million to $3 million in a single day against other nosebleed players Patrik Antonius and Brian Hastings. On one day in 2009, “Isildur1” lost $4.2 million to Hastings – a dubious record that still stands.

After the demise of Full Tilt and the loss of many of the online high-stakes games, Blom emerged into the live scene. He joined Team PokerStars Pro in 2010 as his secret identity was finally revealed.

Later, Blom took down the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS in 2018 for $1.1 million, to date his biggest live score.

Phil Ivey (USA)

Career Earnings: $30.3 million

Major Titles: 10 WSOP bracelets, 1 WPT title

The greatest poker player ever? Certainly, Phil Ivey is one of the most fearless pros of all time and one of the top cash game poker players. He has 10 WSOP titles to his name, and live tournament winnings worth over $30 million.

Ivey is one of those rare top poker players who has managed to combine formidable live prowess with success online. He was one of the original nosebleed cash game players on Full Tilt in the late 2000s and one of the site’s biggest sponsored pros.

More recently, Ivey has been a regular in the big cash games in Asia and had a high-stakes cardroom opened in his name at the ARIA in Las Vegas.

By 2020, Ivey was still taking down major scores, mostly on the high roller circuit. In one week alone, he won more than $2 million at the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS, winning the $50,000 No Limit Short Deck Hold’em event in Sochi for a cool $856,050.

Daniel Negreanu (Canada)

Career Earnings: $42 million

Major Titles: 6 WSOP bracelets, 2 WPT titles

The winner of six WSOP bracelets and the winner of more than $42 million in live cash prizes, Daniel Negreanu is easily one of the best poker players of all time.

The Canadian pro burst onto the scene in the early days of the poker boom in the 2000s. He famously won back to back WPTs, gaining him the attention of the poker world.

Negreanu would become a regular star on shows like Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker, building a reputation for amazing reads on his opponents at the poker table.

The Canadian was one of the longest-serving PokerStars Team Pros, leaving the site in 2019. He later signed a deal with Asian online poker site GG Poker later that year.

Negreanu continues to prove his mettle live and online. During the first online WSOP in 2020, Negreanu cashed a staggering 31 times, taking down a big score in the $10,000 Heads Up Championship in the process.

Justin Bonomo (USA)

Career Earnings: $49.1 million

Major Titles: 3 WSOP bracelets, Super High Roller Bowl, Triton Poker Series

Justin Bonomo has had something of a checkered career since appearing on the scene in the mid-2000s. He was caught multi-accounting in 2006 and banned from numerous sites, but “ZeeJustin” has emerged from that scandal to become a fearless live player.

Since joining the high roller circuit, Bonomo has proven himself to be one of the best professional poker players in the world. Victories in the Super High Roller Bowl and Triton Poker Series have increased his bank balance ten-fold.

The American poker player also won the Big One for One Drop at the 2018 WSOP, banking $10 million in the process. He now sits third on the all-time money-earners list with $49 million in cashes.

Erik Seidel (USA)

Career Earnings: $37.7 million

Major Titles: 8 WSOP titles, 1 WPT title

The best poker players never fade away – they keep on racking up big scores, even when their peers are fading.

Erik Seidel is still perhaps best known for his runner-up spot at the 1988 WSOP Main Event where he lost out to Johnny Chan. But that was just the springboard for a career spanning five decades.

The pro learned his trade in the same New York cardrooms as pal Howard Lederer, Steve Zolotow and Stu Ungar. He later moved to Las Vegas, competing in and winning Hold’em poker tournaments.

Seidel won his first WSOP bracelet in 1992, the first of eight he would rack up during his career playing poker. He also became one of the most famous players representing the Full Tilt brand.

The collapse of Full Tilt did little to dent Seidel’s progress, however, and he went on to take down major scores on the WSOP, and particularly the Aussie Millions. He was still winning Super High Roller events as recently as 2015.

Fedor Holz (Germany)

Career Earnings: $32.5 million

Major Titles: 2016 High Roller for One Drop

Fedor Holz currently sits eighth on the all-time money list and is the only German pro to appear in the top 20. He’s also one of the youngest poker players to appear in the top 20.

It’s been a remarkable rise for the player over the past 10 years. Playing as “CrownUpGuy,” he was ranked as the best online tournament player two years in a row. Then, he went on to win his first live tournament.

The High Roller for One Drop in 2016 bagged Holz $4,981,775, and he’s backed that up since with wins on the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series and ARIA Super High Roller Series. In September 2020, he took down the People’s Choice event on GGPoker for a cool $1,070,250.

As well as being a great player, Holz is extremely business-savvy. He has set up the Pokercode training site with Matthias Eibinger, offering over 90 lectures and courses for budding pros.

Doyle Brunson (USA)

Career Earnings: $6.1 million

Major Titles: WSOP Main Event (1976, 1977); 10 WSOP bracelets

There are a few poker players who can be called legends. But Doyle “TexasDolly” Brunson easily fits into that category. For influence on the game alone, Brunson deserves a place in our list of the best poker players.

Brunson was one of the first professional poker players to bring the game off the road and into the casinos of Las Vegas. And in 1970 he was one of the founding fathers of the World Series of Poker.

By 1978, Brunson has won six WSOP bracelets, two of them in back-to-back Main Events. He would go on to win four more gold bracelets and rack up millions in tournament winnings. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and even set up his own poker room – Doyle’s Room – in 2004.

Despite taking breaks from the live scene, Brunson was still a regular at the high-stakes cash games of Las Vegas. He even recorded yet another WSOP final table in 2018, finishing sixth in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship.

Chip Reese (USA)

Career Earnings: $3.9 million

Major Titles: 3 WSOP bracelets; 2006 HORSE World Championship

David “Chip” Reese is arguably one of the greatest all-round professional poker players ever. His career spanned 30 years, during which time he amassed nearly $4 million in prize money across a range of disciplines.

Reese’s skills in mixed games were unrivaled for decades. He took down cashes in everything from Hold’em and 2-7 to Seven Card Stud and Omaha. In 2006, at the age of 55, Reese won the WSOP HORSE Championship, beating rivals across poker variants like Omaha, Hold’em and Razz.

After his death in 2007, friend Doyle Brunson called Reese “the best poker player who ever lived.” He was also considered to be one of the top cash game poker players of all time.

Bryn Kenney (USA)

Career Earnings: $56.4 million

Major Titles: WPT High Roller; 1 WSOP title

Despite winning just one WSOP bracelet on 2014, Bryn Kenney has racked up enough cashes to propel him to the top of the all-time money-earners list.

This American poker player started out as a Magic: The Gathering professional before discovering he was adept at handling playing cards too. His first poker cash only came in 2007 but he has seen a steady rise in fortunes ever since.

Most notably, Kenney achieved a lot of success on the high roller circuit. He won the WPT High Roller in Nottingham, England in 2014 for $130,000 before winning millions in the ARIA High Roller events and PokerStars Championship Bahamas.

His biggest ever cash, however, came in the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in 2019. In a $1,050,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament for charity, Kenney finished second for just over $20 million.

The cash lifted Kenney’s all-time career earnings over the $50 million mark and he’s continued to consolidate ever since. Most recently, he came in fourth in the 2020 Aussie Millions 100K Challenge for nearly $400,000.

Just missed the cut…

Stephen Chidwick (UK)

Career Earnings: $34.3 million

Johnny Chan (USA)

Career Earnings: $8.7 million

Antonio Esfandiari (USA)

Career Earnings: $27.8 million

Tom “durrrr” Dwan (USA)

Career Earnings: $3.3 million

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