Defining what makes a great poker player is no simple task, it is a complex combination of different traits and achievements that make a player successful in the eyes of their followers.
Good indicators of a player’s ability include their cash and tournament winnings, the major titles they hold and the longevity of their career.
Only the best poker players are able to turn the game into a successful and profitable career. It takes many years of practice to master poker and to develop a winning strategy.
American poker legend Chris Moneymaker sums up the unpredictability of poker with this quote, “the beautiful thing about poker is that everybody thinks they can play.”
However, while anyone can play, only some players have what it takes to be great at the game.
Here are just a few of what we consider to be the greatest poker players in recent history:
Known by his poker name ZeeJustin, Bonomo is a world-class United States poker champion who has secured around $44,626,825 US dollars in winnings over the years. The Sin City resident already has three World Series of Poker bracelets to his name.
In 2018, he won the Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship for $185,965 and the Super High Roller Bowl for $5 million. Later in a different WSOP event year, Bonomo took home a cool $10 million.
He is a regular on the high roller circuit and has won many high roller events in locations such as China and the US.
Daniel Negreanu or Kid Poker is arguably the most well-known professional poker player in the world. The Canadian has the second-highest tournament winnings behind Justin Bonomo with around $39,830,195 in the bank.
Negreanu has an incredible record with six WSOP bracelets to his name and two World Poker Tour championship titles.
The player has made cameo appearances in films including Xmen Origins: Wolverine and Lucky You. He also appeared as a poker player in pop idol Katy Perry’s music video for “Waking Up in Vegas”.
Also known as Sly, American poker pro Erik Seidel is another force to be reckoned with in the poker world. Between the years 1992 and 2007, he has won eight WSOP bracelets and has amassed tournament winnings in the region of $34,782,419 in total.
Seidel features in the bestselling book “The Biggest Bluff” and even made an appearance in the poker movie Rounders. With experience as a successful stocker trader, the poker is a quick thinker who is willing to take risks.
German poker champ Fedor Holz is professionally known online as CrownUpGuy. At just 27 years old, Fedor has already won a total of $32,556,379 in tournament winning and has a successful career ahead of him.
The player has two WSOP bracelets and has made a total of five final tables. He has no fear of big buy-in events and in 2016 he took home $3.1 million from a Triton Super High Roller game.
New York resident Bryn Kenney is another successful player, over the years he has won $30,654,182 in poker tournaments. At the Triton Million for Charity Event the player took home $20,563,324, the largest single pay out in live tournament history.
He is known as the Mega Crusher and is known for his consistency at massive stakes games.
United States poker professional Dan Smith is a former chess champion who got into college on a chess scholarship at 18 before turning his attention to poker shortly after. He has since won over $27,704,822 in tournament games.
In 2014 he won his first WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 game event for $153,220. 2019 was also a very success year, he won a total of $3.1 million at a pair Triton high roller events, followed by being runner up in another Triton event for a $20.5 million winning sum.
Often labelled “The Tiger Woods of Poker”, Phil Ivey grew up on the Atlantic City poker scene, often playing underage with a false ID. At just 23 years old, he won his first WSOP bracelet and for $195,000.
Then in 2002 he won another three WSOP bracelets and become well known as a player to watch. Ivey has won a total of $26,267,283 from tournament games and is well respected and admired by the entire poker community.
English poker star Stephen Chidwick, known online as stevie444, has won a total of $23,130,813 through playing in tournaments. He began his career by playing online tables before starting to play in live tournament games from 2008.
Chidwick has one WSOP bracelet and has made 53 money finishes in the tournament. He also has three money finishes at the World Poker Tour and 12 at the European Poker Tour.
Phil Hellmuth Jr
Another famous name in the poker world, Phil Hellmuth or “The Poker Brat” as he is sometimes called has won $22,866,828 in total from playing in tournaments.
Hellmuth dropped out of university to become a full-time poker player and has since won 15 WSOP bracelets. In 1989, he was the youngest player to win the Main Event of the WSOP at the time.