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Top 10 Poker Players

Poker has been played and enjoyed for centuries. Since around the early 1800s, players would use their skill and luck to win matches, and eventually, tournaments. Today, poker represents a multi-billion dollar market that offers the best players opportunities to win mega prizes. Some tournaments feature prize pools worth several million dollars, with some topping $50m, $70m, and even more $80m.

In this article, we will be introducing the top 10 poker players who won millions from the game. Apart from providing you with some of their backstories, we will also include their Twitter handle so that you can follow them, learn from them, and maybe, one day, become like them.

1. Bryn Kenney – $56,403,505

1986

New York, USA

@BrynKenney

Bryn Kenney is an American poker player who first participated in a live tournament in 2007. Right from the start, “Mega Crusher”, as he is known, showed tenacity, cunning, and, of course, an unbreakable bluff face. Whilst he was the 8th best poker player in 2018, he jumped to the top of the list in 2019. In that year, during a single night, Kenney raked in more than a third of his total wins. 

He currently holds the record for winning the largest prize in the history of poker tournaments, receiving $20 million at the Triton Million.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Bryn Kenney

$20,563,324 – August 3, 2019

London €1,050,000 No Limit Hold’em – Triton Million (Runner-Up)

$1,946,911 – April 27, 2017

Monte Carlo €100,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller Eight MaxPoker Stars Championship

$1,687,800 – June 6, 2016

Paradise Island $100,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller 8-Handed PCA

What his winnings could buy

  • 11 Soneva Sushi Private Islands in the Maldives and still have change for plenty of tropical cocktails!

2. Justin Bonomo – $49,128,107

1985

Virginia, USA

@JustinBonomo

Just Bonomo, known as “ZeeJustin”, grew up in the gambling capital of the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he started a career in poker at just 16, turning $500 into a $10,000 prize at Paradise Poker. He went on to become the youngest player to ever feature on a televised final table event. On that day, he walked away with over $40,000. 

Until recently, Bonomo held the top poker player spot. He got there, in part, after winning over 20 events, such as the 2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop. In that year alone, the young poker player won over $20 million in three separate tournaments.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Justin Bonomo

$10,000,000 – July 15, 2018 Las Vegas

$1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em – The Big One for One Drop WSOP

$5,000,000 – May 27, 2018 Las Vegas

$300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl

$4,823,077 – March 20, 2018 Macao

HK$2,000,000 + 100,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl China

What his winnings could buy

  • 15 grand pianos, each one made out entirely from crystal!

3. Daniel Negreanu – $42,053,307

1974

Toronto, Canada

@RealKidPoker

Daniel Negreanu is quite an accomplished poker player. In addition to ranking third-best, he was chosen as the player of the decade (2004-2013) by the Global Poker Index. “Kid Poker”, as he is known at the tables, started his career in 1998, at a World Series of Poker event. Forty years later, he would make it to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014.

Negreanu has a total of six World Series of Poker bracelets, along with other prestigious and renowned wins. He currently stands as the only player to have ever won World Series bracelets across three continents, namely the US, Europe, and Australia.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Daniel Negreanu

$8,288,001 – June 29, 2014 Las Vegas

$1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em – The Big One for One Drop WSOP (Runner-Up)

$3,000,000 – May 27, 2018 Las Vegas

$300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl

$1,770,218 – December 14, 2004 Las Vegas

$15,000 + 300 No Limit Hold’em Five-Diamond World Poker Classic

What his winnings could buy

  • 4 gold-plated Bugatti Veyron, a sports car that can go from 0 to 100 in 2.8 seconds.

4. Erik Seidel – $37,748,125

1959

New York, USA

@Erik_Seidel

So far in this list, the top poker players we mentioned all began their career during or after the introduction of online poker. Erik Seidel started his career well before online poker rooms became available. In 1988, he finished second at the WSOP Main Event, with his knockout hand featuring on “Rounders”, the movie.

Seidel joined the Poker Hall of Fame in 2010, after winning, amongst many noted accomplishments, 8 WSOP bracelets. His best-performing year came just a year later, when in 2011 he won over $6.5 million. “Sly”, as he’s affectionately known, is the only poker player to ever win over $5 million in a year three times. 

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Erik Seidel

$2,472,555 – January 27, 2011 Melbourne

$250,000 Super High Roller No Limit Hold’em Aussie Millions Poker Championship

$2,400,000 – May 29, 2016 Las Vegas

$300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl

$2,222,222 – April 30, 2015 Monte Carlo

€98,000 + 2,000 No Limit Hold’em EP

What his winnings could buy

  • 1,800 flights around the world in economy class with his wife and two daughters.

5. Dan Smith – $36,742,718

1989

New York, USA

@DanSmithHolla

Dan Smith could have become a top chess player, but instead chose poker, a game he started playing online when he was just 16. “Cowboy Dan”, as he is nicknamed, started his official, full-time, poker career at 18. He first saw prize money in 2008, winning the  Heartland Poker Tour Main Event. Over a relatively short career so far, Smith has amassed an impressive number of prizes, including $2 million at the Bellagio Super High Roller $100,000.

Despite ranking as the fifth best poker player, Smith has never won a WSOP bracelet. This is due to his strategy of played often, but spending “little”. He never goes over $5 million, but this has not kept him from raking in mega prizes.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Dan Smith

$4,000,000 – September 2018, Las Vegas

WSOP $1 million Big One for One Drop

$3,078,974 – July 2016, Las Vegas

WSOP $111,111 No Limit Hold’em High Roller for One Drop (Runner-Up)

$2,044,766 – June 2014, Las Vegas

Bellagio Super High Roller $100,000

What his winnings could buy

  • 120 flights to space courtesy of Virgin Galactic.

6. Stephen Chidwick – $34,770,373

1989

Deal, UK

No known Twitter account

Stephen Chidwick is yet another top poker player who was born in 1989, in a UK town aptly named Deal. He began his poker career in 2008 and won his first big tournament in 2013. It wasn’t until 2018 that “stevie444” began raking in the big wins. In fact, between December and August of the following year, he won his biggest prizes to date.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Stephen Chadwick

$5,368,947 – August 3, 2019 London

£1,050,000 No Limit Hold’em – Triton Million for Charity

$1,618,147 – June 19, 2019 Las Vegas

$25,000 Pot Limit Omaha – High Roller 8-Handed

$1,512,000 – December 17, 2018 Las Vegas

Bellagio $300,000 No Limit Hold’em

What his winnings could buy

  • A whopping, 1.67% share of Apple Inc!

7. David Peters – $33,737,541

1987

Ohio, USA

@dpeterspoker17

David Peters first started playing poker online and decided to start his career after witnessing Chris Moneymaker win the main event of the WSOP in 2003. The “Silent Assassin” is a successful poker player who started playing professionally in 2006. Although he does not have numerous top-ranking titles to his name, Peters has accomplished over 50 cash finishes. He also won two World Series of Poker tournaments, in 2016 and 2020.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for David Peters

$2,699,752 – January 3, 2016 Phillippines

$196,000 + 4,000 No Limit Hold’em WPT

$1,848,008 – October 26, 2018 Rozvadov

€95,000 + 5,000 No Limit Hold’em – Super High Roller WSOP

$1,505,000 – July 2, 2015 Las Vegas

$500,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl

What his winnings could buy

  • A full meal at Sublimotion, the world’s most expensive restaurant, every single day for 19 years with a plus one.

8. Fedor Holz – $32,556,379

1993

Saarbrücken, Germany

@CrownUpGuy

Fedor Holz is the youngest player currently ranking in the top 10 for poker. He started playing in 2012, quickly making a name for himself. His status as one of the best poker players came following his performance in 2016. During this season, “CrownUpGuy” won his first WSOP bracelet, followed by a second-place at the Super High Roller Bowl just a few weeks later. In 2018 he placed second at the WSOP, taking home $6 million. Holz’s poker story has just started being written, and it is likely that he will improve his top poker player ranking in the coming years.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Fedor Holz

$6,000,000 – July 15, 2018 Las Vegas

$1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em – The Big One for One Drop WSOP

$4,981,775 – July 8, 2016 Las Vegas

$111,111 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller for One Drop WSOP

$3,500,000 – May 29, 2016 Las Vegas

$300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl

What his winnings could buy

  • Buy over 512 Bitcoin at their current record price of $63,505.

9. Phil Ivey – $31,377,928

1977

California, USA

@philivey

Phil Ivey won his first WSOP bracelet in 2000 and has since won a further nine. The young poker player from Riverside CA has collected several nicknames during his career, including the “Tiger Woods” of poker and “The Phenom”, which came as a result of his three WSOP bracelet wins in 2002. On seven occasion so far, Ivey managed to walk away with over $1m in cash wins. His best year to date was 2014, where he won a personal record prize of $3.5m.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Phil Ivey

$6,000,000 – July 15, 2018 Las Vegas

$1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em – The Big One for One Drop WSOP

$4,981,775 – July 8, 2016 Las Vegas

$111,111 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller for One Drop WSOP

$3,500,000 – May 29, 2016 Las Vegas

$300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl

What his winnings could buy

  • Buy the world’s most expensive manuscript, Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Hammer.

10. Jason Koon – $31,101,729

1985

West Virginia, USA

@JasonKoon

Jason Koon discovered his ability for playing poker whilst he lay in bed injured. Even though he holds a Master degree in Business Administration and Finance, his career led him away from the books and towards the cards. He started playing in 2006 and won his first online tournament in 2009, walking home with a prize worth just over $300,000. In 2016, “JAKoon1985” won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, with a top prize of $1m.

Top 3 Biggest Wins for Jason Koon

$3,579,836 – May 2019, Montenegro

Short Deck Triton Super High Roller tournament

$1,246,413 – August 2019, London

London Triton Poker Super High Roller Series

$1,000,000 – April 2016, Tampa

Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open

What his winnings could buy

  • Take over 55k VIP helicopter rides around Manhattan with a friend.

Honourable Mentions

The world of poker is constantly refreshed with new faces from around the world. Here are some honourable mentions.

Daniel Colman

Daniel Colman is an American player who has amassed over $29 million in poker prize money. He continues to be one of the main contenders for a stop on the top 10 poker player list having won several major prizes. In 2014, Colman won the second-largest payout, winning $15.3m at the $1 million Big One for One Drop.

Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari is an Iranian-born, US-raised poker player who won 3 WSOP bracelets and a total of $28.1m in his career so far. “The Magician” has an above-average age for top poker players, yet continues to participate in several high roller tournaments, including the World Poker Tour.

Steve O’Dwyer

Steve O’Dwyer is an American who found his poker success in Europe. Just like David Peters, he was amazed by Moneymaker’s win and began a career in poker as a result. Although he does not currently hold any WSOP bracelets, O’Dwyer has 22 money finishes in European Poker Tours, with two titles so far.

Ranjeet Reddy
Ranjeet Reddy Casino Expert
About Ranjeet Reddy

Ranjeet is one of our casino experts which is mainly focusing on the Indian market. He has been working in the industry for a long time, and knows where to look to find the missing pieces of information to great a well informed article with no personal bias.

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