Poker is a game of skill, strategy, and luck. It has been played for centuries and has evolved into a global phenomenon. Millions of people around the world enjoy playing poker, either for fun or for money. But who are the best poker players of all time? How do they rank among each other? What makes them so successful and respected in the poker world?
There is no definitive answer to these questions, as different criteria and opinions may vary. However, based on their achievements, skills, and influence, we can try to list some of the most prominent and legendary poker players in history. Here are our picks for the 10 best poker players of all time, in no particular order.
|Name||Nickname||Country||Year of Birth||Prize Money||WSOP Money Finish|
|Daniel Negreanu||Kid Poker||Canada||1974||$50,131,194||162|
|Erik Seidel||Sly, Seiborg||USA||1959||$37,748,126||94|
|Phil Ivey||The Tiger Woods of Poker, No Home Jerome||USA||1976||$30,311,759||60|
|Phil Hellmuth||The Poker Brat||USA||1964||$24,111,972||162|
|Doyle Brunson||Texas Dolly, The Godfather of Poker||USA||1933||$6,176,737||37|
|Stu Ungar||The Kid, Stuey, The Comeback Kid||USA||1953-1998||$3,675,321||15|
|Antonio Esfandiari||The Magician, Antonio the Amazing||Iran/USA||1978||$27,728,437||25|
|Tony G (Antanas Guoga)||The Mouth from Down Under, The Australian Airbag||Lithuania/Australia/USA/Europe (He has a lot of passports)||1973||$7,631,631||15|
|Bryn Kenney||Bryn Kenney||USA||1986||$56,403,507||32|
Daniel Negreanu is one of the most popular and charismatic poker players in the world. He was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1974, and started playing poker at a young age. He dropped out of high school and moved to Las Vegas to pursue his dream of becoming a professional poker player.
Negreanu has won six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, two World Poker Tour (WPT) titles, and numerous other tournaments. He is the only player to win WSOP Player of the Year twice, in 2004 and 2013. He is also the all-time leader in live tournament earnings, with over $50 million.
Negreanu is known for his exceptional reading skills, his ability to adjust to different opponents and situations, and his friendly and talkative personality at the table. He is also a prominent ambassador for poker, as he writes books, blogs, and articles, hosts podcasts and videos, and advocates for various causes.
Erik Seidel is one of the most consistent and respected poker players in history. He was born in New York City, USA, in 1959, and started playing poker after a successful career as a backgammon player and a stock trader.
Seidel has won eight WSOP bracelets, one WPT title, and many other prestigious events. He is one of the few players to have won the WSOP Main Event (in 1988) and the Super High Roller Bowl (in 2016). He is also one of the highest-earning poker players of all time, with over $44 million.
Seidel is known for his calm and composed demeanor, his analytical and strategic thinking, and his longevity and adaptability in the game. He is also a mentor and a role model for many younger players, as he shares his wisdom and experience.
Phil Ivey is widely regarded as one of the best all-around poker players in history. He was born in Riverside, California, USA, in 1976, and started playing poker at an early age. He moved to Atlantic City to play professionally when he was 21.
Ivey has won 10 WSOP bracelets, one WPT title, and numerous other high-stakes tournaments. He is one of the few players to have won WSOP bracelets in three different decades (2000s, 2010s, and 2020s). He is also one of the most feared and respected cash game players in the world, having played in some of the biggest games online and live.
Ivey is known for his aggressive and creative style, his incredible instincts and skills, and his competitive and confident attitude. He is also a legend in the poker community, as he inspires awe and admiration among his peers.
Phil Hellmuth is one of the most accomplished and controversial poker players in history. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, in 1964, and started playing poker while attending college at the University of Wisconsin.
Hellmuth has won a record-breaking 15 WSOP bracelets, including the WSOP Main Event in 1989. He has also won two WPT titles and many other tournaments. He holds several other records in poker history, such as the most WSOP final tables (61), the most WSOP cashes (162), and the most WSOP Player of the Year points (1,421).
Hellmuth is known for his dominant and aggressive play, his remarkable memory and recall ability, and his emotional and outspoken personality. He is also famous for his tirades and rants at the table, which have earned him the nickname “The Poker Brat”.
Doyle Brunson is one of the most influential and legendary poker players in history. He was born in Longworth, Texas, USA, in 1933, and started playing poker after a basketball injury ended his athletic career.
Brunson has won 10 WSOP bracelets, including the WSOP Main Event twice, in 1976 and 1977. He is also the author of the classic poker book “Super/System”, which is considered one of the best and most influential books on poker strategy ever written.
Brunson is known for his pioneering and innovative play, his vast knowledge and experience in the game, and his humble and gentlemanly demeanor. He is also revered as the “Godfather of Poker”, as he has been playing and winning for over six decades.
Stu Ungar is widely considered as one of the most talented and gifted poker players in history. He was born in New York City, USA, in 1953, and started playing poker after dominating the gin rummy scene.
Ungar has won three WSOP Main Event titles, in 1980, 1981, and 1997. He is the only player to have won the WSOP Main Event three times, and the only player to have won both the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw event. He has also won many other tournaments and cash games, especially in no limit hold’em and seven card stud.
Ungar is known for his genius-level IQ, his phenomenal memory and mathematical skills, and his fearless and aggressive play. He is also notorious for his tragic and troubled life, as he struggled with drug addiction and personal problems that eventually led to his premature death in 1998.
Antonio Esfandiari is one of the most charismatic and successful poker players in history. He was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1978, and moved to California with his family when he was nine years old. He started playing poker after working as a professional magician.
Esfandiari has won three WSOP bracelets, including the biggest prize in poker history: $18.3 million for winning the Big One for One Drop event in 2012. He has also won two WPT titles and many other tournaments. He is one of the top-earning poker players of all time, with over $27 million.
Esfandiari is known for his entertaining and flashy play, his amazing chip tricks and magic skills, and his fun-loving and friendly personality. He is also a popular TV personality, as he has appeared on several poker shows and documentaries.
Tony G is one of the most outspoken and provocative poker players in history. He was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1973, and moved to Australia with his family when he was 11 years old. He started playing poker while studying accounting at university.
Tony G has won several tournaments and cash games around the world, especially in Europe and Asia. He is also a successful businessman and entrepreneur, as he owns several online gaming companies and websites. He is also a philanthropist and a politician, as he supports various causes and serves as a member of the European Parliament for Lithuania.
Tony G is known for his aggressive and loose play, his sharp wit and humor, and his notorious trash talk at the table. He is also famous for his catchphrases such as “On your bike!” and “Bring me more Russians!”.
Daniel Colman is one of the most enigmatic and elusive poker players in history. He was born in Holden, Massachusetts, USA, in 1991, and started playing poker online when he was 18 years old.
Colman has won several major tournaments and cash games online and live. His biggest win came in 2014, when he beat Daniel Negreanu heads-up to win the Big One for One Drop event for $15.3 million. He has also won the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller event for $2.1 million and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open Main Event for $1.4 million in the same year. He is one of the highest-earning poker players of all time, with over $29 million.
Colman is known for his quiet and reserved demeanor, his exceptional heads-up skills, and his aversion to media attention. He is also controversial for his views on poker as a harmful activity that exploits people’s weaknesses.
Bryn Kenney is one of the most prolific and successful poker players in history. He was born in Long Beach, New York, USA, in 1986, and started playing poker online when he was 16 years old.
Kenney has won one WSOP bracelet, one WPT title, and many other high-roller and super high-roller events. His biggest win came in 2019, when he finished second in the Triton Million event for $20.6 million, the largest single payout in poker history. He is also the current leader in the all-time money list, with over $56 million.
Kenney is known for his fearless and aggressive play, his versatile and adaptable style, and his competitive and confident nature. He is also a fashion enthusiast and a businessman, as he owns a clothing line and invests in various ventures.