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Top 10 poker players in the world

Who are the best professional poker players in the world? 

In the world of professional poker, the elite are separated from the rest by two key metrics: their haul of prizes and their collection of prestigious titles. These ten players have proven their mettle time and again, amassing both wealth and acclaim in the fiercely competitive realm of poker. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the upper echelons of the poker pantheon, according to yours truly:

10. Phil Ivey – The Tiger Woods of Poker

In the grand tapestry of poker, one name stands out like a beacon of excellence: Phil Ivey. While he may not top the all-time money list, he’s widely hailed as the greatest poker player ever. With over £30 million in earnings and a string of WSOP and WPT titles under his belt, Ivey’s poker pedigree is unquestionable. Yet, it’s his uncanny ability to conquer the most grueling cash games, whether in a smoky casino or behind a computer screen, that truly cements his status as the GOAT. Phil Ivey doesn’t just play poker; he embodies it, and his natural talent is a phenomenon that simply can’t be taught.

9. Mikita Bodyakovsky – fish2013

When the conversation turns to high-stakes poker, the name Mikita Bodyakovsky invariably comes up. This Belarusian wunderkind burst onto the live tournament scene in 2010, shortly after turning 18. But it was online, under the alias “fish2013,” that he first caught the poker world’s attention. The moniker commemorated the year he turned 21, marking his WSOP debut in the United States.

Bodyakovsky’s early results might not have raised eyebrows, but the transition to high-roller tournaments transformed him into a force to be reckoned with. His prowess extends beyond the tournament realm; he’s also a formidable cash game player. In the world of poker, Mikita Bodyakovsky has firmly established himself as a name to remember.

8. Dan Smith – Cowboy Dan

Dan Smith’s journey through the poker landscape began at the tender age of 16, fueled by his early passion for chess. His logical acumen, honed on the chessboard, eventually propelled him to a scholarship at the University of Maryland. By the time he turned 18, Smith had abandoned academia for a full-time poker career.

In 2007, Smith clinched his first victory at the Heartland Poker Tour main event, netting a cool $101,960. This initial triumph ignited a blazing poker career that spanned over a decade, marked by numerous titles and triumphs.

7. David Peters – The Silent Assassin

David Peters may not be the loudest voice in the poker world, but his actions speak volumes. Intrigued by Chris Moneymaker’s magical WSOP Main Event win in 2003, Peters dipped his toes into the poker waters. He cut his teeth in the crucible of online freerolls, a formidable training ground for any aspiring player.

Peters’ early days were a testament to his adaptability and tenacity, eventually culminating in a $600 windfall from a freeroll. From those humble beginnings, he embarked on a journey that would see him amass a fortune in poker earnings and solidify his reputation as a formidable force at the tables.

6. Jason Koon – JAKoon1985

Jason Koon embodies the fusion of talent, dedication, and sheer hard work in poker. His ascent in the poker world commenced in the online realm, where his reputation as a tough opponent grew. Following his college graduation, Koon transitioned to live poker and quickly made his mark.

With victories in online tournaments like FTOPs and SCOOP, Koon made a seamless transition to the live circuit. Today, he thrives in the high-stakes super roller events, a testament to his adaptability and skill in the game.

5. Erik Seidel – Seiborg

Erik Seidel’s journey in the poker realm has been marked by a profound understanding of numbers. Prior to poker’s popularity surge, Seidel honed his skills as a professional backgammon player. It was in the hallowed halls of New York City’s Mayfair club that he found his way to poker, rubbing shoulders with legends like Stu Ungar and Dan Harrington.

Seidel’s first WSOP Main Event appearance in 1988 saw him finish as the runner-up, pocketing $280,000. This taste of success emboldened him to make the leap from cash games to live tournaments, a move that has since resulted in numerous titles, WSOP bracelets, and over £35 million in earnings.

4. Stephen Chidwick – Stevie444

Stephen Chidwick may not be the most talkative player at the poker table, but his performance does all the talking. His journey commenced in the online realm, where he earned millions before even setting foot in a live tournament. However, once he transitioned, his rise was meteoric.

Widely regarded by his peers as the finest tournament player globally, Chidwick’s victories, particularly in super high roller tournaments, speak to his ability to outshine the best of the best.

3. Daniel Negreanu – Kid Poker

Daniel Negreanu earned his moniker, Kid Poker, when he clinched his first tournament victory in 1997. His early initiation into the world of poker, beginning at age 15, placed him among a cohort of young pros who would come to dominate the tournament circuit in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Negreanu’s evolution, adapting to modern poker strategy, has been instrumental in his success. With six WSOP bracelets, a plethora of titles, and over £41 million in earnings, his legacy in the poker pantheon is firmly established.

2. Bryn Kenney – BKD

Bryn Kenney may court controversy in some quarters of the poker world, but there’s no disputing his prowess in tournaments. Since his first cash in 2007 at the East Coast Poker Championship, this American pro has amassed over £47 million in prize money.

Kenney’s journey began in gaming, where he excelled as a competitive Magic: The Gathering player. When he turned to poker, he leveraged his gaming skills to master the game, securing a spot among poker’s all-time money list leaders.

1. Justin Bonomo – ZeeJustin

When it comes to tournament results, Justin Bonomo reigns supreme as the undisputed heavyweight champion of poker. His trophy cabinet is replete with WSOP bracelets, Triton titles, and EPT honors. Bonomo not only wins titles but also commands staggering sums of money, with his crowning achievement being the Big One for One Drop victory in 2018, which netted him over £8 million.

Combining his online success under the moniker ZeeJustin with his live triumphs, Bonomo has banked over £49 million as of 2023. While he made his initial mark in the online arena, a minor hiccup for multi-accounting notwithstanding, Bonomo’s transition to live tournaments was seamless. His ability to conquer virtually any poker tournament title makes him the ultimate poker powerhouse.