There is a lot of money to be made playing poker. Many of the game’s best players have climbed the ladder and made millions on the live and virtual felt in the world of poker tournaments.
Let’s take a look at the top ten best poker players of all time, based on tournament earnings.
First, a shout-out to numbers 11–20!
20. Brian Rast (US): $21.5 million
19. Phil Hellmuth, Jr. (US): $22.9 million
18. Scott Seiver (US): $23.8 million
17. Jake Schindler (US): $24.6 million
16. Mikita Bodziakouski (Belarus): $25.1 million
15. John Junada (Indonesia): $25.2 million
14. Isaac Haxton (US): $26.1 million
13. Phil Ivey (US): $26.3 million
12. Steve O’Dwyer (US): $27.4 million
11. Antonio Esfandiari (US): $28.1 million
And now, the top ten best poker players of all time (so far)
10. Daniel Colman (US): $29 million
Daniel Colman climbed to his spot on this list by besting Daniel Negreanu heads-up in the 2014 $1 million Big One for One Drop, pocketing the $15.3 million 1st prize—the second largest payout in poker history.
9. Jason Koon (US): $30 million
The Triton Poker ambassador Jason Koon has had himself quite a year in 2019, adding more than $6 million in tournament winnings to his already impressive resume.
A fixture on the Triton high roller tournament scene, Koon’s two biggest career cashes came in a pair of short deck events on the Triton circuit. Koon won both events, cashing for more than $6.4 million in just those two tournaments alone.
8. Stephen Chidwick (England): $31.1 million
Stephen Chidwick is considered, even among his peers on the high roller tournament scene, to be quite possibly the best tournament poker player in the world.
The Englishman has spent considerable time at the top of the Global Poker Index player rankings, and broke through for his first World Series of Poker bracelet this summer at the 2019 WSOP.
Chidwick owns more than $5 million in online earnings, in addition to his live totals.
7. Fedor Holz (Germany): $32.6 million
25-year-old Fedor Holz is, indeed, one of the best poker players in history. During 2016 and 2017 seasons Holz had one of the sickest runs ever, winning $21 million during this short span. Most recently, Holz finished in 2nd place behind Justin Bonomo in the 2018 WSOP $1 million Big One for One Drop, taking home the hefty $6 million consolation prize.
6. David Peters (US): $33.1 million
Always a fixture on the high roller circuit, as well a threat to win any tournament, David Peters has kept a steady climb up the all-time money list throughout the last few years.
Peters first cash came in 2007, when he was playing at much more modest stakes than the five, six and seven-figure plus buy-ins he plays now. He’s added two more seven-figure cashes to the resume in 2019 and could very well find himself at the top of this list at some point.
5. Erik Seidel (US): $35.7 million
The “old man” on this list, 58-year-old Erik Seidel is one of the original players from New York City’s Mayfair Clu0b, which includes the likes of Stu Ungar, Dan Harrington, and Howard Lederer. Seidel is an eight-time WSOP bracelet winner who has made an impressive 35 final tables and whopping 92 cashes, including his 2nd-place finish in the 1988 Main Event behind Johnny Chan.
Seidel won his largest cash payout of almost $2.5 million at the 2011 Aussie Millions Poker Championship $250,000 Super High Roller NLHE event. In 2010, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
4. Dan Smith (US): $36.7 million
Dan Smith isn’t a vocal player, but he has been slowly and surely moving up the All-Time Money List. 2012 marked a turning point in Smith’s career, beginning with a victory in the Aussie Millions Poker Championship $100,000 NHLE event for a very respectable $1.04 million. Smith also did particularly well at the 2012 EPT-8 in Monte Carlo, where he won three NLHE events over a span of four days.
Most recently, Smith placed 3rd in the 2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop for $4 million and scored his biggest career cash with a 3rd place finish for $8,765,628 at the Triton Million.
Take a look at Smith playing the 2016 WSOP $111,111 for One Drop. He ultimately finished in 2nd place, winning $3,078,974:
3. Daniel Negreanu (Canada): $41.8 million
Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu spent considerable time atop the all-time money list until the 2018 WSOP. But Negreanu’s career isn’t anything to scoff at. He has six WSOP bracelets, made 38 final tables, and has cashed 108 times, including as 11th place finish at both the 2001 and 2015 WSOP Main Events. Negreanu was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014.
Negreanu’s uncanny ability to read his opponents with incredible accuracy has undoubtedly contributed to his impressive success and well-deserved place among the best poker players of all time.
2. Justin Bonomo (US): $45 million
Justin Bonomo took over the top spot with his win in the 2018 WSOP $1 million Big One for One Drop. The $10 million prize swiftly propelled him to #1 on the All Time Money List. Now at #2, the 32-year-old Bonomo had a crazy run in 2018, amassing wins seemingly wherever he played. This three-time WSOP bracelet winner managed an impressive ten wins in various high-roller events across the world that year, including the May Aria Super High Roller Bowl $300,000 NLHE event where he won $5 million and the Macau Super High Roller Bowl $HK 3 million NLHE event where he pocketed another $4.8 million (HK $37.8 million). Bonomo certainly shows no signs of slowing down.
1. Bryn Kenney (US): $55.5 million
Bryn Kenney’s incredible 2019 run has vaulted him to the top of this list, with his biggest career cash coming in August at the Triton Million. Kenney finished 3rd in that event for $20,563,324.
Kenney’s first live tournament cash was in 2007. Since then he has steadily added to his impressive winnings. Kenney won a WSOP bracelet in 2014 at the $1,500 10-Game Mix 6-Handed event, and, in total, he has made seven final WSOP tables and cashed 32 times, including a 28th place in the 2010 Main Event. His largest single cash of nearly $2 million came back in April 2017, at the PokerStars Championship €100,000 NLHE Super High Roller 8-Max in Barcelona. Since then, Kenney has had many top-five finishes across the globe.
Here’s Kenny with a tremendous bluff at the 2015 PCA Main Event.
Learn more about Bryn and his rise to the top here.
There you have it, the best poker players in history, to date!
Who is your favorite?
And who do you anticipate to make their way on to this list? Comment below!
Until next time!
Read more from Upswing Poker: