Although they haven't produced quite as many top-tier pros as in the US, UK poker sites have a strong contingent of cash game and tournament wizards. In fact, when you compare British poker player salaries to countries like Canada, Sweden, and Brazil, it stacks up well. Simply because UK poker players have so many opportunities to play.
The United Kingdom has a buoyant online poker market due to liberal gaming laws and solid regulatory agencies (like The UKGC). This, in turn, has created a thriving live UK poker scene. Together, both online and live poker rooms give rising stars plenty of opportunities to hone their skills. Indeed, when you run through the best UK poker players of the last few years, you’ll see that many of them started at the bottom. Their rise up the ranks has inspired others and, as the saying goes, success breeds success.
We’ve put together a rundown of the best Brits in poker, so you know who to avoid if you play poker in the UK.
From online MTTs to major live events, Brits have shown themselves to be up there with the best in the world. In fact, one UK poker player in particular, Stephen Chidwick, is ranked among the biggest winners of all time. With that being the case, here are five fantastic tournament players from the UK.
|UK MONEY LIST RANK||PLAYER NAME||LIVE EARNINGS TO DATE|
|1st||Stephen Chidwick||$35.6 M|
|2nd||Sam Trickett||$21.8 M|
|3rd||Charlie Carrel||$9.6 M|
|4th||Ben Heath||$8.7 M|
|5th||Jack Salter||$8.4 M|
When it comes to top-rated poker players that walk the walk without talking the talk, Stephen Chidwick is the best. Often as silent and serious as he is successful, Chidwick has risen through the ranks to become the UK’s biggest tournament winner of the last two decades.
For those that were around during the poker boom, Chidwick popped up on people’s radar as Stevie444. His winning runs in small stakes MTTs on PokerStars and Full Tilt had people calling him the next Chris Moorman. Well, he not only proved those people right, he went a step further. Although he’s continued to win online, Chidwick has also become a live tournament beast.
His first entry on the Hendon Mob came in 2008 and, unsurprisingly, he won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure side event for $88,760. Since then he’s gone on to win WSOP, EPT, British Poker Open titles, as well as a host of super high rollers. His best moment came in 2019 when he won the WSOP $25,000 PLO championship for $1.5 million.
His most bittersweet moment came the same year in the £1 million Triton London. Although he picked up his biggest single win ($5.3 million) for finishing fourth, he was just a few hands away from winning the biggest buy-in tournament in history. Today, with $35.6 million in tournament cashes, Stephen Chidwick is the leading British player in terms of total prize money.
Sam Trickett went from fixing leaks in people’s homes to exploiting opponent’s leaks at the table. Today, Trickett is one of England’s richest players. However, it wasn’t always that way. The early part of his career was a combination of highs, extreme lows, and tough decisions. However, the one constant throughout was an undeniable talent for the game.
Trickett got his start online while training to become a plumber. Earning £72-a-week as an apprentice was fine, but Trickett wanted more. He soon branched out and used the skills he’d acquired online to play local live events in Nottingham. Short trips to another poker hotspot, Sheffield followed, and that’s when things started to flow.
Trickett was picking up money in UK poker tournaments but blowing it in cash games. Credit card debts soon appeared and it looked as though things were going south. However, it all changed in 2008. The man from Nottingham finished fourth in a $5,000 WSOP event before heading back to England to win GUKPT Luton for £109,050. He suddenly had real money and the rest, as they say, is history.
Trickett cemented his place as one of the best professional poker players in the UK by finishing second in the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop. Although he’s won major titles around the world, his second-place-finish to Antonio Esfandiari is his biggest cash to-date. The $10.1 million win catapulted Trickett into the upper-echelons of the game and put him right up there in the rankings.
Some people love him, some people aren’t so hot on him (e.g. Doug Polk), but there’s no doubt Charlie Carrel is a world-class pro and one of the best UK poker players. His record speaks for itself. He’s won multiple major online titles under the screen name Epiphany77. One of his biggest wins came in 2017 when he took down PokerStars’ $10,300 SCOOP main event for $1.2 million.
Offline, Carrel has been just as successful. His $9.5 million+ in tournament earnings puts him third on the UK rankings. The start of his rise to fame on the live UK circuit came in 2014 when he won the GUKPT Grand Final. The £108,625 payday gave his bankroll a timely boost. From there, Carrel went on to win EPT and WPT super high rollers, as well as a Triton London event. In fact, the Triton score ($1.6 million) was his biggest to-date.
Away from the felt, Carrel has become something of a YouTuber. As well as coaching the next generation of UK poker players, he uses his channel to offer life advice, spiritual ideas, and lifts the lid on what it’s really like to be a rich pro.
Ben Heath might not be a familiar name to the masses but he’s one of the most talented pros today. What’s more, he was the fourth biggest tournament winner in the UK. So, even though celebrities like Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott and Victoria Coren Mitchell often get love from casual fans, Heath is no less talented.
Heath has become a top-ranked British poker player through a combination of maturity and dedication to his craft. Although he’s now amassed a tournament fortune of more than $8.6 million, there were times when he was left with almost nothing. During an interview in 2019, Ben Heath admitted that he’d lost 50% of his net worth in three days at EPT Barcelona 2016.
Since then he’s taken bankroll management a lot more seriously. He’s also used the skills he picked up at university to become a student of the game. Indeed, Heath also said during the interview that he’d spent more than six months studying the intricacies of $50,000 high rollers before playing his first one. That level of dedication has helped him become a highly respected player and the 2019 $50,000 WSOP Super High Roller champion.
He may not appear in the rankings for live cashes but Chris Moorman is a multi-millionaire. In fact, he’s one of the UK’s richest thanks to his online exploits. Although his total earnings change on a weekly basis (because he’s always playing), Moorman has won over $18 million online. Add to this $6 million in cashes, and few could argue that Chris Moorman is one of the best tournament competitors of all time.
Indeed, as well as millions of dollars (or pounds, as he would say) in prize money, Moorman has won just about everything there is to win in poker. Online, he’s won PocketFives’ Triple Crown (three different MTT wins on three different sites in seven days) 30 times. Very few players, win a Triple Crown once, let alone 30 times. Moorman has been a top-ranked player in the world on multiple occasions.
Live, he’s won WSOP, WPT, and EPT titles. He’s also written books, produced coaching videos, and enjoyed sponsorship deals with various sites. In fact, at the time of writing, he was flying the flag for 888Poker. The final string to Moorman’s bow is poker staking. He often reinvests his winnings into the next generation of UK poker players. For all of these reasons, he’s easily one of the best professionals out there.
Cash game profits aren’t as easy to track as tournament wins because a lot of pots go down in private. However, through a combination of online databases, reputation, and status within the community, we’ve picked out five of the best cash game gurus from the UK.
Better known as Kanu7, Britain’s Millar is regarded as one of the best online cash game beasts to come out of the United Kingdom in the last two decades. Although he’s not a celebrity player you’ll have seen grinding on TV, Millar is popular within the community.
Indeed, his videos on training sites such as UpSwing Poker have not only earned him a solid following. Part of Millar’s affinity for poker comes from his degree in engineering. With a penchant for numbers, logic, and problem solving, he’s found ways to hang with the world’s best online.
Although he’s been successful in six-max games, heads-up is where Kanu7 thrives. Even with opponent’s such as Doug Polk and Phil Galfond sitting opposite him, Millar often comes out on top. In fact, with over $4 million in online earnings that we know of, it’s fair to say he’s not just one of the top UK poker players but one of the best in the world.
He may not be the most technically skilled player in the UK, but Paul Newey is no pushover. As a businessman, Newey has made it to the top. His various companies, including Ocean Finance, are reported to have netted him a fortune of $335 million. You don’t reach these heady heights without being a bit special.
Newey has since proved that he’s got something a bit different by taking on the best poker players in the world. From Sam Trickett and Phil Ivey to Doug Polk, Andrew Robl, and anyone else that’s willing to play pots worth $100,000+, Newey is happy to compete against all of them.
Does he always win? No. However, he doesn’t make life easy for the pros. As well as being a great reader of players, he knows when to apply pressure. That’s helped him be competitive in some of the biggest cash games in the world.
Some people think EireAbu is a Dutch pro living in Ireland. Others believe the mysterious online pro is Irishman Andrew Grimason. We can’t say for sure who EireAbu really is but what we do know is that they’re a legendary high stakes PLO player.
We can say this for certain because they’ve won more than $3 million in online cash games over the years. What’s more, they’ve not been afraid to tangle with the likes of Phil Galfond on multiple occasions. However, the main reason EireAbu deserves a mention in our rundown of elites.
Very few can lose over $300,000 and bounce back. EireAbu did just that in 2012. From a negative balance of $325,000 in March 2012, this PLO pro played its way to a profit of more than $3.1 million by August. That’s an impressive run that players like Viktor Blom would be proud of.
Russell, like Millar, isn’t one of the UK’s celebrity players. He’s not going to turn heads when he walks into a casino. However, when you look at his record, there’s no denying he’s among the top English professionals. For starters, he won the 2019 WCOOP main event on PokerStars for $1.6 million.
That would be a notable achievement in anyone’s books but the win was made all the more impressive by the fact Russell is a cash game pro. In fact, that’s not even the best bit. The man known online as BigBlindsBets was a losing micro-stakes player just a few years previous. He, like most of us, started out small. A £5 deposit on NoIQ poker gave him his first taste of variance.
With his bankroll decimated in a short space of time, he called out for help. He soon got advice from respected online pro Paul Otto and things changed for the better. Countless hours of reviewing hands, chatting to winning players, and digesting strategy content turned things around. Today, he has the type of player salary amateurs can dream of.
Dave Ulliott, aka the Devilfish, sadly passed away in 2015. This guy was winning long before the poker boom. That meant he was in the right place at the right time when online poker took off.
As the industry blossomed, Devilfish used his wily ways and larger-than-life persona to become a star. However, he wasn’t a star without substance. He could back up his talk with some serious ability. Even though he began to fade at the end of his career, Ulliott was always a strong player.
He notched up $6.2 million in tournament earnings and had a string of titles to his name, including a WSOP bracelet. He also had a knack for winning in cash games. Without adequate tracking, we don’t know how much. However, we know he was a force in PLO games. So, for his skills at the felt and his contribution to UK poker in general, Dave Ulliott deserves a place on this list.
We’ve outlined some of the best UK poker players, but we can’t list them all. There are some exceptional female poker champs too, from Victoria Coren to Liv Boeree. There simply are more elite British players than we could fit into our top five:
Many people think that Brits are conservative, not just in life but at the table. However, the reality is that Brits are some of the most cerebral and, at times, aggressive pros in the game.
Part of the reason why English players aren’t always nitty is drinking. This often helps lubricate a player’s raising arm. But don’t let this fool you. The likes of Sam Trickett are drunk gamblers. They’re confident, highly skilled pros that have a certain confidence that comes with being British.
Also poker taxes in the UK are different to other parts of the world in that they’re non existent. British players don’t have to pay tax on their winnings because they’re classed as income from gambling. That not only gives Brits more incentive to play and win (because they get to keep 100% of their profits), it gives them more leeway.
If an American has to think about pay jumps and tax payments, they may play more conservatively than usual. If a Brit doesn’t have to worry about what moving up a spot will do to their tax liability, they can focus more on the game. So, while it may seem like a small thing, UK tax laws actually help.
Other than that, success breeds success. The internet generation looked up to and learned from the Hendon Mob et al. Now, the likes of Chris Moorman are inspiring the next generation. Therefore, Brits can’t be hemmed into a single way of playing. What’s clear, however, is that many of them are world-class players.