Famous Poker Players
Want to know how Daniel Negreanu got his Kid Poker nickname? How about Phil Ivey’s hometown and what people used to call him when he played underage in Atlantic City casinos? What about where Patrik Antonius makes his home when he’s not playing $300,000 buy-in tournaments? Or how Chris Moneymaker made his incredible rise from amateur poker-playing accountant to global icon and catalyst for the worldwide poker boom?
If you’re looking for more information about the most famous poker players in the game, our player bios are a good start. The poker world moves quickly, but we can give you a fascinating snapshot of who these players are off the felt and what helps make their poker success possible. From old school road gamblers like Doyle Brunson to early pioneers like Scotty Nguyen to contemporaries like Phil Galfond. Our poker player bios will give you a sense of the people who have made the game great. At the heart of each player’s bio are their most impressive poker accomplishments, anecdotes, and diverse backgrounds.
As any poker fan will have seen (or experienced) over the years, poker is one of the most diverse games. All ages, races and backgrounds are welcome at the table. From 18-108 years of age, male or female. Business leaders to blue-collar workers, average joes to worldwide superstars, poker draws all sorts. Its unique combination of intellectual smarts, gut instinct and sheer mental fortitude makes it one of the most unpredictable and captivating games humans have invented. And the possibilities to explore the game from a strategy perspective are endless.
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As you dig deeper into each player profile you’ll see several themes emerge which help put into perspective just how international and inclusive the game of poker has become. Poker players are a tight and welcoming community of enthusiasts who love to share the game and their experiences. You’ll find poker players that come from all walks of life, (almost) every country on earth and from every socio-economic group. You can see what makes players great - and that usually doesn't come down to a special skill - other than maybe hard work and poker practice. Yes - getting good at the game of poker takes work, whether the format is Holdem, Omaha, Stud or any other. Including study of odds, rankings and poker hands. Ultimately it's how most of your favorite players arrived at their station in the game - even the most polarizing or contentious (read: Phil Hellmuth).
Poker Player Stats
A comprehensive, “exact” record of any poker player’s stats (professional or otherwise) is very hard to compile. Whether it should even be compiled (or publicly accessible), is another important question. The most famous example of a poker player stats database is the internationally renowned Hendon Mob database, which tracks and organizes poker player stats from thousands and thousands of poker tournaments over the last 30 years or so.
It’s remarkably comprehensive and has such a wide range of tournament results catalogued it’ll amaze you. From $10 buy-ins at the local pub up to $1m+ buy-in tournaments, results have been recorded from around the world and through all poker eras. Poker player stats on HendonMob are sorted according to player, country, year, money won, tournament series, poker tours, global player rankings and many more.
The most famous list, naturally, is the All-Time Money Winner list, which currently lists Bryn Kenney and his $43 million (and counting at the top. Poker superstar Daniel Negreanu was the longtime leader and currently has just under $40m in career live tournament earnings. The All Time Money Winner list has every (or almost every) poker tournament a player has ever cashed in and is a fascinating record of a poker player’s stats over an extended period of time.
The Issue with Tracking Poker Player Stats
Tracking poker players stats is, of course, an inexact science. The All Time Money Winners list, for one example, has several flaws, like:
- Record is for money won in live recorded tournaments only
- Doesn't take into account how much was paid in buy-ins, which speaks to true profit
- Doesn’t consider staking or swaps and so isn't a true indicator of how much actual money was won
- Skewed towards players who played in modern tournaments with super-sized buy-ins and prize pools
- Cash games results are not really considered
- The cashing percentage of total tournament played is inaccurate
So it’s a flawed list, at least in terms of identifying the world’s “best” or even “most successful” players. A player could literally have $20m in career tournament earnings and actually still be a losing tournament player – or at the very least have a minimal ROI. For example, Jonathan Duhamel from Canada, who won the 2010 WSOP Main Event for $9M, is second on Canada’s all-time money list at $18M. Even though the bulk of his earnings came in just one event.
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That being said, it’s still fun scrolling through a poker player’s tournament results over time and see just how wide and varied (and international) their track record might be. On PokerListings.com we no longer list a player’s overall results or earnings for a few reasons. Among them being accuracy and reliability. But also because most poker players are uncomfortable with personal financial details made public. Especially if they're not a full or proper reflection of their income or tax responsibilities.
Poker Players Net Worth
As mentioned above a poker player’s net worth is far more difficult to calculate than just simple poker tournament results. Results do not take into amounts paid for buy-ins, re-buys, re-entries, swaps or staking deals. Many of the Super High Roller events were multiple re-entry events so a massive score might only be a minimal amount of actual profit or ROI.
Many career poker tournament players may also have an impressive track record of results but have played (and missed cashing) in so many tournaments they might actually be in make-up to a backer who has supported their career.
Poker tournament earnings also don’t take into account any personal expenses to travel to poker tournaments, past debts (poker or otherwise), investments, etc so is nowhere near accurate as a statement of a famous poker player’s net worth. For many players this is obviously very personal and private information and we prefer not to add any discomfort to an already difficult profession.
Poker Players Rankings
Much like a poker player’s ROI or net worth, Poker Player Rankings aren’t an exact science, either. There’s no one universal ranking system that can categorically call one player better than another but there are several independent ranking systems that try to rank poker players based on their more recent poker tournament results. The Global Poker Index rankings, also part of the Hendon Mob database, rank a player’s tournament results over the recent past through a complicated algorithm that takes into consideration buy-ins, cashes, top payouts and more.
Ratings are compiled over the course of the year and the GPI Male and Female Players of the year are awarded. Poker tournament series will also have ranking system that rank the results and cashes of players over the course of each series and award a Player of the Year or Series at the end. The World Series of Poker and European Poker Tour are examples of that.
Online Poker Players Stats
As mentioned above the Hendon Mob database does not take into account a player’s online poker tournament results. Other independent tracking websites including PocketFives and HighstakesDB do have online result tracking to some degree but it’s not inclusive of every event that player has played either. Online poker players have also used different screen names on different sites so not all of their cumulative results can be accounted for. On HighstakesDB players can also opt out of tracking so none of their results will appear. The PocketFives online rankings were the de facto #1 rankings for a long time but do not give a 100% certifiable list of cashes.
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Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Viktor Blom ... whomever your favorite poker player here's where you'll find all of the in-depth information, deep dive interviews and news updates on what's going on in their lives and on the felt. If you follow the game and its players, we have what you're looking for.