The 15 Best Poker Players of All Time

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So you're wondering who the best poker players of all-time are? Let's talk about it!

Poker is one of the most popular card games, whether you're playing Texas Hold 'Em, Five Card Draw, or any of the other variation. There is a reason that the World Series of Poker attracts tens of thousands of entrants hoping to be crowned the most skilled (with a touch of lucky) player on the planet.

Related: A Look at the 4 Best Youtube Poker Live Streams

A few players have cemented their legacy as some of the greatest of all-time, whether it's through the number of games won or money earned.

Here is our list of the 10 best poker players of all-time.

1. Phil Ivey

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $30,000,000+

Phil Ivey - the “Tiger Woods of Poker” - began hisr journey playing with co-workers at a telemarketing firm in the ’90s.  From there, Ivey went as far as getting a fake ID before he became of legal age to play poker in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a teenager.  

A bracelet is awarded to the winner of every WSOP event and is considered one of the most prestigious awards one can receive in the poker world. Ivey has earned 10 of them throughout his career, which is tied for second all-time.  In 2002 alone, Ivey won 3 bracelets in one year, tying the record that to this day has not been surpassed.  

Outside of the World Series of Poker, Ivey has seen enormous success on the World Poker Tour, reaching nine final tables and securing one first place prize. He has cashed for nearly $3,000,000 on that tour alone.

Elected to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017, Ivey has solidified himself as one of the all-time greats in poker.

2. Phil Hellmuth Jr.

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $25,000,000+

The all-time record holder for World Series of Poker bracelets pulls up in second on this list. Phil Hellmuth’s experience in the World Series of Poker dates back to 1988 where he finished in 33rd place.  The following year, he won the main event and became the youngest WSOP champion ever at 24 years of age.

Hellmuth has picked up the nickname “Poker Brat”, for his erratic personality after taking bad beats. 

3. Daniel Negreanu

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  • Country: Canada
  • Career Winnings: $40,000,000+

Daniel Negreanu, otherwise known as “Kid Poker”, is one of the most well-known poker players on Earth.  He's had six first place finishes in the WSOP as well as 2 championships on the World Poker tour.  Kid Poker ranks 3rd all-time with over $40,000,000 in live tournament cashes.

Indicated into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014, Negreanu is definitely in the conversation for greatest of all-time.

4. Doyle Brunson

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $6,000,000+

Doyle Brunson is a widely accomplished poker player who has been around the game longer than anyone else included on this list.  The Texas-born player began his career traveling around southern states looking for action.  Brunson admitted that many of the tables he played at were illegal games ran by members of an organized crime group.  He has even recounted times he had a gun pulled on him while playing them!

Brunson persevered through the early stages of poker in America and went on to win the World Series of Poker main event twice.  Tied for second all-time in WoSOP bracelets, Brunson will forever be a legend in the poker world.

5. Stu Ungar

6. Johnny Moss

7. Antonio Esfandiari

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  • Country: Iran
  • Career Winnings: $25,000,000+

Esfandiari held the record for all-time tournament winnings until 2014 when Daniel Negreanu took over the title.  He was on multiple poker television shows (including the Big Game), has won the World Poker Tour championship twice, and has 3 World Series of Poker bracelets over the course of his career.

In his early life, Esfandiari was a professional magician and flipped that magic over to the tables where he is now considered one of poker’s all-time greats.

8. Johnny Chan

9. Erik Seidel

10. Barry Greenstein

11. Doug Polk

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $10,000,000+

My favorite poker player of all time had to be included on this list.  Doug Polk is one of the smartest people I have found since jumping into the world of poker.  His =training website,, has helped thousands of players improve their game.  I personally have purchased the Post-Flop game plan as well as the monthly Upswing Lab and have seen IMMEDIATE improvements in all facets of my game and ROI.

A former UNC undergraduate before dropping out to pursue poker full-time, Polk started playing just .01/.02 online and turned a $20 deposit into over $10,000.  Within a couple years he was considered one of the best online cash players in the world.  

He came to notoriety in a heads-up no limit hold’em match against Ben Sulsky, dominating him over 15,000 hands and walking away with over $800,000.

Doug Polk had a long feud with Daniel Negreanu, related to him publicly criticizing how naïve Kid Poker had become to the difficulty of today’s poker game.  In 2020 Polk and Negreanu agreed to a 25,000-hand heads-up match.  This high-profile duel drew a ton of attention from those in the poker community.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in side bets were placed on who would be victorious.  It was rumored that the odds of Negreanu winning were set at 4 to 1.  Even at these difficult odds, Polk won over $1,200,000 in addition to over $500,000 he won from side-bets placed on himself to win.

If you want to check out Doug Polk’s poker training website head to where there is a ton of free content to improve your poker game, no matter what skill level you consider yourself.

12. Tony G

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  • Country: Lithuania
  • Career Winnings: $7,000,000+

Tony G, who’s real name is Antanas Guoga, a Lithuanian born player has one of the more interesting backgrounds of players on this list.  He was the Rubik’s Cube champion of Lithuania before the age of 11.  Finding the game of poker at 18, his path to poker fame was a bit slower, taking about 12 years for him to start having any major success at high-profile tournaments.

In addition to his poker career, he was elected to the national Parliament for Lithuania. Although his priorities have transferred from poker to politics, Tony G is a name that will hold weight in the poker community for a long time.

13. Justin Bonomo

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $48,000,000+

One of the most successful high-stakes poker players of all time, Justin Bonomo could easily be ranked higher on this list.  He's cashed at the World Series of Poker over 50 times and has made 19 final tables!  His WSOP success alone has led to over $14,000,000 in tournament cash.  In 2018 he was the number one ranked player in the world in live tournament cashes overtaking Daniel Negreanu.  This record was short-lived though, as the next player on our list is the current record holder.

14. Bryn Kenney

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $55,000,000

Bryn Kenney really came to poker fame in 2014 after winning his first World Series of Poker bracelet, securing over $150,000 for the win of a $1,500 entry fee.  In 2019, he secured the largest recorded payout in poker history when he hauled in over $20,000,000 after chopping the pot while heads-up at the 2019 Triton Million for Charity tournament.

15. Dan Bilzerian

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  • Country: America
  • Career Winnings: $50,000,000+

Many people reading this article know who Dan Bilzerian is.  A social media mogul, actor, and businessman who flaunts his success online has many wondering where his wealth originated from.  Bilzerian claims his fortune was built on the felt, although these claims of poker success are wildly speculated, especially by our friend Doug Polk.

Regardless of how he accumulated his wealth, Bilzerian is one of the most successful and prominent poker players of all-time.

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