The 10 Best Online Poker Players of All Time
When you think of the best poker players of all time, certain names immediately come to mind.
Perhaps a name like Doyle Brunson or Daniel Negreanu. Perhaps a WSOP Main Event champion like Johnny Chan, or the Poker Brat Phil Hellmuth. Maybe a guy like Erik Seidel, who’s dominated live tournaments across multiple eras.
The toughest poker games in the world take place online, however, and the world’s toughest players forge their game against each other in the online streets.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 Best Online Poker Players of All Time, in no particular order:
Ben ‘Sauce123’ Sulsky
Ben ‘Sauce123” Sulsky rose to the very highest ranks in the online poker realm in the early-to-mid 2010s.
His 2013 heads-up No-Limit Hold’em matchup against Doug Polk pitted arguably the two best players of that era against each other. Sulsky’s online poker prowess isn’t just limited to HUNL, however.
Playing mostly NLH and PLO, Sauce won more than $5.5 million on PokerStars. At the time of his match with Polk, both players had reached a point in their respective careers in which many other players refused to compete against them.
Sulsky’s recent online poker exploits included a role as an ambassador for Phil Galfond’s Run It Once online poker site.
Michael Addamo’s career poker accomplishments include more than $22 million in recorded tournament earnings (as of July 2023 on the Hendon Mob database).
The majority of those results come from live tournament scores on the EPT (European Poker Tour), Triton Poker series, the PokerGO Tour, and the WSOP.
Addamo is considered by many of his contemporaries as the best tournament player of the modern era. While players like Stephen Chidwick, Fedor Holz, Dan Smith, Jason Koon, Bryn Kenney, and Justin Bonomo could all arguably lay claim to that honor, none of those players would deny that Addamo is one of the top tournament players of all time.
Like many of the other players on this list, it’s hard to nail down just how much Addamo has earned online. Addamo has won the Super Millions tournament, GGPoker’s biggest weekly high roller tournament, five times in his career.
Check out this video of Addamo crushing the final table during one of his Super Millions wins.
Linus ‘LLinusLLove’ Loeliger
Linus Loeliger (known by his online screen name ‘LLinusLLove’) is considered by many of his poker peers as the top poker player of the modern era.
‘LLinusLLove’ first appeared on the scene as an unknown poker player beginning at the micro stakes on PokerStars. His real-life identity was eventually leaked, and we now know that ‘LLinusLLove’ is the screen name of Loeliger, a Swiss poker prodigy.
We can’t really determine just how much Loeliger has won online since rising to the top of the high-stakes food chain in the late 2010s. You can find plenty of massive pots involving Loeliger on YouTube, however, with those hands often going into six and seven-figure territory.
These big pots see Loeliger taking on the best players of the modern era, at a time when online poker is tougher to beat than ever.
If you want a live look at Linus, you can catch a glimpse of him occasionally playing in the highest-stakes live games in the world, often on the Triton Poker circuit.
Phil Galfond’s poker accomplishments include three WSOP bracelets, status as one of the most consistent winners, and even a run as the proprietor of his own online poker site.
Galfond’s Run It Once poker site aimed to challenge established brands in the online poker industry. Beginning as a ROW operation (competing against GGPoker and PokerStars), Run It Once shuttered operations in early 2022, with an aim at entering the U.S. market.
While running Run It Once, Galfond competed in a series of heads-up matches known as the Galfond Challenge. These high-stakes PLO matches aimed to bring back the glory days of big-money HU matches online.
Galfond took on (and defeated) top competitors like ‘Venividi1993,’ Chance Kornuth, ‘ActionFreak’, and Brandon Adams during the Galfond challenge.
Galfond came up in the online poker ranks during the poker boom era at Full Tilt Poker. As the 2020s roll on, expect Galfond to play a major role in the online poker industry, both as a player and an influencer.
Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates
The enigmatic Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates entered 2023 as (still) one of the most respected poker players in the world.
Cates’ understanding of poker strategy for many different games makes him one of the most feared players at any cash game or tournament in which he sits. His back-to-back wins at the World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship in 2021 and 2022 cemented his legacy as one of the best all-around players of all time.
Jungleman owns plenty of bragging rights at the online poker tables as well. Under the screen name ‘jungleman12’ on Full Tilt Poker, Cates first recorded online cash results appeared on HighStakes DB in 2008 at $0.25/$0.50 stakes.
By 2010, Cates was the world’s biggest winner in online poker. He earned $5.5 million that year alone, and more than $10 million between 2009 and 2015.
Cates honed his skills at mixed games on PokerStars under his ‘w00ki3z’ screen name, winning just under $900K on that poker site.
Patrik Antonius won an estimated $18 million on Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars from 2003 to 2013. Antonius was often at the center of the biggest online games ever played in that era, taking on anyone who dared to challenge him at the nosebleed stakes at Full Tilt.
Antonius took on players like Tom Dwan, Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom, Phil Ivey, and others from the list of top poker pro names from the poker boom era. Whether it was No-Limit Hold’em or Pot-Limit Omaha, Antonius played, and often won, against the world’s toughest competition.
One high-stakes PLO game at Full Tilt saw Antonius win the biggest pot in recorded online poker history against Blom. That hand, with a pot worth $1,357,000, still stands as one of the most legendary poker hands ever played.
You can still often catch Antonius playing high-stakes cash games at the live poker rooms of Las Vegas. It’s not uncommon to see Antonius seated in the “Legends Room” (aka “Bobby’s Room”) inside the Bellagio poker room.
Antonius is also a frequent presence in Triton Poker high roller tournaments and live cash games in the modern era.
Phil Ivey carries a name that’s synonymous with poker greatness. Whether it’s online or live poker, tournaments, or cash games, Ivey is rightfully considered one of the best all-around poker players of all time.
For the scope of this piece, we’ll focus on Ivey’s recorded results in online poker cash games. HighStakes DB estimates that Ivey won at least $20 million online during the poker boom era, mostly on Full Tilt Poker.
Ivey was a frequent participant in a collection of recurring high-stakes online poker games known as “Railbird Heaven” on Full Tilt. These games, that played at the biggest possible stakes available on Full Tilt, allowed observers to watch the top players of the era compete at the highest stakes.
The Railbird Heaven online games often saw Ivey go against Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Viktor Blom (aka isildur1), and others from that era’s super high roller list.
Ivey’s success at the live poker tables might surpass his legendary winnings in the online poker sites of the early 2000s and 2010s at this point. Ivey is 11th on the all-time money list in live tournament action, including major success in poker tournaments at the Triton Poker series.
Ivey was recently named a World Poker Tour ambassador, bringing one of the most recognizable figures in the history of poker to the WPT roster. Ivey doesn’t play much in recorded online games anymore but still belongs on our list of the best online players.
Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt
Swedish tournament crusher Niklas Astedt holds a reputation as one of the most feared online players in the modern era. Under the screen name ‘Lena900” on PokerStars, as well as his real name on GGPoker, Astedt is a fixture in the world’s high-stakes online tournament scene.
PokerStake ranked Astedt as the top online tournament player in the world as of July 2023. Astedt is a two-time PocketFives Player of the Year, earning that honor in both 2018 and 2019.
A poll conducted by PocketFives in 2021 ranked Astedt as the best online poker player of all time.
As of July 2023, Astedt’s total recorded online tournament earnings are over the $44 million mark. That figure comes across more than 11,000 online tournament cashes.
Astedt holds nine Championship of Online Poker titles, and we can expect that number, as well as his online tournament winnings, to continue growing.
Chris Moorman began building his legend in the early 2010s, and the British pro still reigns as a beast in both online and live poker.
Moorman achieved success on nearly every imaginable poker site, and as of July 2023 is ranked 14th in PokerStake’s online tournament rankings. He’s been ranked as high as No. 1 in the PokerStake/PocketFives rankings and stands as one of the most prolific and consistent online tournament poker players.
Moorman owns more than $1 million in online tournament earnings at each of the following poker sites: PokerStars, GGPoker, Full Tilt Poker, Americas Cardroom, and WSOP.com. He holds just under a million in earnings on several other sites.
With career online earnings that top $23 million, Moorman has amassed one of the best resumes in the history of online poker.
Moorman’s poker career accolades include two World Series of Poker bracelets, including an online bracelet in the 2021 WSOP $800 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Deepstack Championship. The other of his WSOP bracelets came in live tournament play.
Nobody was more feared in the online poker heads-up Texas Hold’em streets than Doug Polk in the mid-2010s.
Polk’s high-stakes duels in that era are the stuff of legends, with Polk taking on the top professional poker players in the game in high-stakes heads-up cash games. His talent and success rose to such heights that no one really wanted to take Polk on at the heads-up tables.
One of Polk’s most famous heads-up matches came against Ben ‘Sauce123” Sulsky, another player that you’ll find on our list. The 2013 match pitted Sulsky, then considered among the best poker players in the world at HUNL, against Polk, a young player who skyrocketed up the stakes ladder in the early 2010s.
Polk cemented his spot as the world’s No. 1 heads-up player by soundly defeating Sulsky for $740,000 over 15,000 hands.
Polk’s online success includes several big tournament scores as well. In 2016, Polk set the record for the largest tournament score ever recorded on a live Twitch stream. Polk took home $455,000 per the terms of a final table deal, officially finishing second in the $10,300 WCOOP High Roller on PokerStars.
That win broke the previous Twitch record, also set by Polk. Polk added yet another massive score on live stream in 2017 ($271,272 in a $5,200 buy-in event at partypoker Powerfest).
Polk doesn’t play much online poker anymore, but can still be found taking on all challengers in high-stakes heads-up matches at the Lodge Poker Club, which Polk co-owns in Austin, TX.
Check out Upswing Poker’s guide to the best heads-up players of all time: