Best Poker Players List of All Time

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top poker players

These top poker players have been selected according to titles won, cash earnings and endurance in the professional poker scene.

  1. Justin Bonomo
  2. Doyle Brunson
  3. Johnny Moss
  4. Phil Hellmut
  5. Phil Ivey
  6. Stu Ungar
  7. Daniel Negreanu

Justin Bonomo

Standing as the #1 champ of all time poker is Justin Bonomo, better known as ZeeJustin and just 33 years of age. His poker earnings amount to $44.6 million, the highest amongst all players. Justin continues to be active and in 2018 won the Heads-Up No-Limit Holdem Championship from the WSOP for $185,965. That earned him his second bracelet just days after winning $5 million at the High Roller Bowl.

Bonomo continued his streak that year by winning the Big One for One Drop WSOP event for $10 million. That’s over $15,185 for 2018 alone.

In 2019 his earnings stand at $1.1 million.

His specialty is Heads-up with over 18 major tournaments won since 2016. If he doesn’t win the event he will most certainly play at the final table.

Doyle Brunson

The most long-lived and active poker player of all with more than 50 years in the professional scene. Brunson is still active at age 85 with 10 World Series Poker bracelets, even winning the event twice in a row in the years 76 and 77. He latest major Poker Tour event won was in 2004, the Legends of Poker Tournament.

His total earnings from official tournaments stand at $6.2 million but he probably has made trice that amount on cash games.

Brunson also attributes most of his fame to his top seller poker book, “Super System”. It has been for decades one of the top sellers for the game of poker and considered the poker bible for new player. His books was a must read back in the 80’s and 90’s and continues to be popular. His tactics and strategies might be a little bit outdated, and he himself has modified most of the strategies mentioned in the book during modern play as players learned to counter those moves.  Regardless, the book continues to be a must-read to learn the basics of poker strategy.

Johnny Moss

Moss was one of the very first WSOP real champs when the tournament was just taking shape in the 70’s. He won 9 main events and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

His total earnings amount to $1.25 million as the tournament was much smaller back then, but similar to Brunson, he was road player and made most of his earnings from unrecorded cash games. He passed away in 1995 at the age of 88.

Phil Hellmuth

Winner of 15 WSOP bracelets and $23 million in tournament winnings. His biggest year was in 1993 when he won 3 bracelets. His biggest challenge has been the WPT event that he has never won, but ended runner-up once and 5 final table appearances.

Hellmuth has also written several popular poker books like “Poker Brat (Biography)”, “Play Poker Like the Pros”, “Phil Hellmuth Presents Read ‘Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells” and “Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold’em”. He coauthored many other books.

He is known as “the poker brat” for his unusual behavior at the tables. During big tournaments he would arrive to his seat long after the event started. The brat term comes from his behavior after taking bad beats. During an episode of “Poker After Dark” show Hellmuth threatened to never make an appearance again if the other players weren’t silent when he played, and was offended when they told him the same thing jokingly. During the 2008 WSOP event, Hellmuth began insulting his opponent after folding an AK against a much smaller hand thinking his opponent had a straight, when he only had a small pair. The insulting continued until the officials had to intervene and warn Hellmuth about his behavior.

As of 2019 his total earnings amount to $22,850,000.

Phil Ivey

Known as the Tiger Woods of poker (probably because of their physical similarity and success), Ivey is the story of success based on gradual hard work. He grew up in Atlantic City playing over 15 hours while still underage using a fake ID. He improved by taking notes on other players, hands, plays and situations that allowed to tweak his performance on the next game. He is known for his mastery of reading other players and adjusting his strategy on the move.

He joined the professional poker scene by the end of the 90’s and won his first bracelet at age 21 in the year 2000. He continued to win and appear at the final tables until in 2002 he became a legend by winning three bracelets, becoming the youngest young player with these type of achievements. By 2010 he had amassed 8 bracelets.

His success continued with the World Poker Tour in an era when poker achieve world popularity with world wide broadcasting.

By 2019 he has won over 10 WSOP bracelets and $26 million in live tournaments winnings.

Stu Ungar

Ungar was destined to be much more in his short lived career. His fame comes from winning the WSOP bracelets three times. In 1980 he was the youngest poker player to have won the event, the Phil Ivey of the time.

In November of 1997 he was found dead in a cheap Vegas Hotel due to overdose. He died without a penny to his name and friends had to finance his burial.

By the time he had accrued over $3.7 million in major event winnings. He came into the poker Hall of Fame in 2001. His style was aggressive with ap keen sense of making of the right call.

Daniel Negreanu

Negreanu is the second poker player with the most money earned from poker tournaments with over $40 million.

His great skill is the ability to deduce his opponents cards. Aside from his player skills, Daniel has scored top rated sponsorships deals thanks to his gracious personality.

Winner of 5 bracelets and two WPT titles with player of the year awards in 2004 and 2005. In 2014 he was inducted in the Canadian poker Hall of Fame.  His presence on the media made him the face of modern poker.

Honorable Mentions

Bryn Kenney

Bryn is a new face but already has amassed $55.5 million thanks to his incredible 2019 performance. In August he finished third on the Triton Million winning $20,563,324. So far he has only won one WSOP bracelet and makes most of his earnings from cash games.

Daniel Colman

Known for besting Daniel Negreanu in a heads-up back in 2014 and pocketing $15.3 million, the second largest payout in poker history.

Stephen Chidwick

Considered to be the best tournament poker player today with more than $31.1 million in earnings and one bracelet recently acquired in 2019.

Fedor Holz

With only 25 years of age, Holz made $21 million in winnings between 2016 and 2017 alone. Recently he finished 2nd to Justin Bonomo in the WSOP for $6 million.

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