From magicians to Instagram stars, these 10 players have gone all in to become some of the richest poker tournament players in the world. If you regularly play online poker or enjoy the excitement of live or online poker tournaments, you will recognize some of them. While rankings constantly shift as new talent enters the scene and fortunes change, this list will indicate some of the most successful poker players on the scene, ranked according to their net worth (based on the latest available information online).
Which poker player is the richest?
While most of us play online poker for money or in the casino for a bit of fun, there are players whose skills and strategies take them far beyond a casual game of five-card draw or Texas hold’em poker. Whether they’ve won the World Series of Poker (WSOP), gained millions in sponsorships, or have invested their takings wisely, the professional poker players in our countdown list have bankrolls others can only dream of. Let’s dive in and see who makes the list!
10. Antonio Esfandiari ($27 million)
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Antonio Esfandiari’s meteoric rise through the ranks of professional poker for the greatest levitation trick you’ve ever seen! In fact, his almost mystical skills at the table and training as an illusionist earned Esfandiari the nickname “The Magician.”
Esfandiari was born in Iran as Amir Esfandiari and later changed his name to Antonio. He began his magic career after seeing a barman do tricks while he was working as a waiter at the age of 16. Ten years later, he would use his skills to intimidate and entertain other players at the poker table with his casino chip tricks.
After winning his first World Poker Tour (WPT) in 2004 and picking up a tidy $1.4 million, he pulled a WSOP bracelet out of the hat just a few months later. In 2005, Esfandiari went on to make the final table in the National Heads-up Poker Championship and the Five-Star WPT. After a few quiet years, he clinched the WSOP bracelet twice more and took the WPT title once again. One thing’s for sure: There’s no magic trick that compares to these big wins!
9. Tony G ($36 million)
Antanas Guoga, known by the nickname “Tony G,” is a Lithuanian entrepreneur, professional poker player and was a member of the European Parliament until 2019. With all of the shenanigans that can go on around a poker table, we’re sure all the political training comes in handy! Known for the way he keeps his cool in every situation, Tony G can upend the game with his ability to get under other players’ skin and throw them off, making him one of the best poker players in the world.
This ability to stay calm under pressure, combined with his confidence – which some might call arrogance – means there isn’t a variation of poker that Tony G hasn’t mastered. He’s won twice in Europe, has had plenty of cash-ins at the WSOP, and in three rare appearances in 2019, took home nearly $1 million. It just goes to show that keeping a cool head does pay off.
In early 2022, Tony G and another online poker player made history by winning the largest online poker pot of all time, valued at $7,750,652!
8. Justin Bonomo ($49 million)
Next on the list is a poker professional who has done incredibly well in live and online poker tournaments. Justin Bonomo is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and has cashed in 55 times at the tournament. When it comes to online poker, he has also won many of the larger tournaments, including the Super High Roller Bowl Online, in 2020.
Like many other pros, Oakton, Virginia-born Bonomo competed in strategic card games, such as Magic: The Gathering (MTG) tournaments, before deciding to play poker professionally. His biggest win to date came in 2018 at the Big One for One Drop tournament, where he took home a very respectable $10 million. The windfall nudged him into the position of biggest all-time live-tournament money winner until Bryn Kenney took that record just a year later and pushed him down the ranks of the top 10 online poker players.
7. Daniel Negreanu ($50 million)
If you know anything about poker – and even if you don’t – you’ll probably have heard of Daniel Negreanu. He’s easily one of the top poker players of all time, having made 148 money finishes with 45 final tables and earning himself no fewer than six WSOP bracelets.
Though Toronto-born Negreanu is known to have pretty bad manners at the table, the Canadian makes incredible reads and is number one in the poker popularity rankings. He has a knack for predicting his opponents’ hands (sometimes doing so out loud) and making some of the best calls in the game. From a young age, his prowess on the felt earned him the nickname “Kid Poker” and an induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, which is no mean feat.
Negreanu also shares his skills as part of the popular Masterclass series, which features a range of experts from many different fields. There are always ways to take your poker game from average to amazing.
6. Bryn Kenney ($56 million)
Born in Long Beach, New York, Bryn Kenney is another poker pro who started his career with strategic card challenge games. When asked about his beginnings, Kenney said that he loved MTG, but knew it wouldn’t bring in the big bucks, so he started working on his poker game. It’s interesting to note that he isn’t the first player on this list who laid the foundation for his poker skills playing MTG!
Today, Kenney is one of the richest professional poker players, and even though he has won only one WSOP bracelet, he has managed to claim 28 other titles, along with 264 cash-ins. His success across so many different big poker tournaments makes Kenney one of the most consistent players of all time. He is also one of a handful of players who have made the final table at the Triton tournament.
He secured his biggest win (and the biggest poker tournament prize in the game’s history) at the 2019 Triton Charity Invitational, taking a whopping $20.5 million.
In recent years, Kenney has shifted his focus from high-stakes games to improving his health and lifestyle, although he said in an interview with Poker News that he could still be tempted to “put his money where his mouth is” and play in a big tournament if the right opportunity came around.
5. Doyle Brunson ($75 million)
He may not be playing anymore at 88 years of age, but Doyle Brunson is undoubtedly one of the greatest names in poker history, having won 10 WSOP bracelets and a series of WPT titles. The retiree has earned more than $6.1 million in live tournament winnings and has regularly played cash games at Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio – sometimes with $4,000 to $8,000 blinds.
For those who don’t know, Bobby’s Room is named after Bobby Baldwin, another well-known poker player and casino designer who created a dedicated space for high-stakes poker games. These games aren’t just for anyone, though, as the minimum buy-in is $20,000!
While it’s not known how much money Brunson has made from high-stakes cash games, the Texan has earned money from sources besides poker, such as his book, Super System: A Course in Power Poker, which is considered one of the best poker strategy books ever written.
4. Chris Ferguson ($80 million)
Whether it’s to throw their opponents off or to bring themselves good fortune, some professional poker players cultivate an appearance that makes them easy to pick out at a crowded table, and Chris Ferguson is one of them. Known as “Jesus” because of his long hair and beard, LA-born Ferguson’s rugged exterior belies his shrewd approach to poker. With a Ph.D. in computer science, he’s incredibly analytical and, unsurprisingly, is no stranger to the numbers and calculations that help him outwit his opponents.
Ferguson has won six events in WSOP, including one Main Event, in his career so far and is hoping for more. He is also a fan of variations that are played less often than Texas hold’em poker games, such as Omaha hold’em and hi-lo poker. In fact, one of his big World Series wins was at the Omaha hi-lo Split 8 or Better back in 2001.
3. Sam Farha ($100 million)
Sam Farha has played poker since he was a boy. The game captured his imagination after he traveled to America from Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War. Known at the tables as “Mister Cool,” he has always been one of the calmest poker players to grace the felt. Instead of losing his cool or even going on tilt after a bad hand, Farha would simply react with a smile and light-hearted banter.
Once again, this shows how it pays to cultivate mental habits that help you to keep a level head in poker!
Farha is best known for his performance in the 2003 WSOP main event. After losing a major pot that left him with only 10% of the average stack on the second day of the tournament, Mister Cool went on to finish second to Chris Moneymaker – and take home $1.3 million! Having won three WSOP bracelets, finishing in the money in multiple National Heads-Up Poker Championships and WPT events, Farha was able to capitalize on his fame to publish books and appear in TV series focused on poker, which certainly added to this poker player’s net worth.
2. Phil Ivey ($125 million)
One of the most mysterious players of all time, Phil Ivey is also one of the most successful. By the time he turned 25, he was already considered poker’s GOAT (greatest of all time,) having amassed $15 million in live tournament earnings and nearly $20 million from poker online games.
Born in Riverside, California, Ivey has won 10 WSOP bracelets and a WPT title, the youngest player ever to do this by age 38. He also scooped a 2010 Bellagio Cup spot and a World Series win in the same year. Ivey loves a big buy-in game and has even participated in the Triton Million tournament in Asia, where he played against the continent’s wealthiest people in an ultra-high-stakes game.
In the 2022 Super High Roller Series Europe, he outplayed 32 opponents to win Event #4: $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha and won two cashes at the combined Triton Poker/SHRS Europe, netting the top prize of $640,000 from a prize pool of $1,600,000.
1. Dan Bilzerian ($200 million)
Although he’s probably better known for his Instagram antics, Dan Bilzerian boasts poker wins and a net worth that puts him at the top of our list. A big fan of high-stakes games, Bilzerian won more than $10 million in a game of heads up no-limit hold’em in one night.
That said, his fortune can’t be attributed solely to poker. Bilzerian is reported to have investments in various businesses, as well as a hefty trust fund that was given to him by his corporate-raider father, which likely makes up the bulk of his fortune. Born in Tampa, Florida, the Armenian-American has also worked as an actor, with small roles in films including The Equalizer, which stars Hollywood great Denzel Washington.
Either way, whether from poker or not, this gambler’s cool $200 million makes him the richest poker player in the world.
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