Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world with an active player base of more than 100 million people. Although it’s known for being a high-stakes game where winning isn’t guaranteed, poker can be extremely lucrative in professional circles. In fact, some professional poker tournaments can even offer up prize pools of up to $42.6 million. That’s a pretty hefty paycheck for playing a card game.
Globally, only a small percentage of poker aficionados ever make it into these high-paying big leagues. The handful that do become millionaires nab endorsements, book deals, and make media appearances that further increase their income. Considered celebrities, here are ten of the richest poker players who’ve achieved just that:
10. Phil Hellmuth
Net Worth: $24 million
Compared to other poker stars, 15-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion Phil has relatively lower tournament winnings. However, he makes up for this by frequently playing high-roller games. Although he’s called the “Poker Brat” for his behavior, Phil is one of the most successful poker players worldwide. In 2021, he even bested Daniel Negreanu in a series of three highly-publicized matches. With this win, Phil took home another $350,000 in cash winnings.
9. Antonio Esfandiari
Net Worth: $27 million
The Persian-born Antonio Esfandiari started out as a magician, and he seems to have brought the magic with him into poker. In 2004, he earned his first large cash prize worth $1.4 million by winning the World Poker Tournament (WPT) championship. Since then, Antonio has won two more WPT titles plus three WSOP bracelets. In 2012, he also made history by winning over $18 million at the “Big One for One Drop” at the WSOP.
8. Justin Bonomo
Net Worth: $49 million
Since American player Justin Bonomo has a massive presence in both live and online poker, it’s no surprise that he has some of the highest cash earnings. Winner of three Super High Roller Bowl titles and three WSOP bracelets, Justin has won competitions as recently as 2020. In 2018 alone, Justin added another $10 million to his wealth when he won a WSOP live tournament. Because Justin plays online poker matches often, many speculate this his net worth may even be closer to $55 million, though conservative estimates put him at $49 million.
7. Daniel Negreanu
Net Worth: $50 million
Canadian player Daniel Negreanu is a fan-favorite known also as “Kid Poker”. Winner of six WSOP bracelets and inaugurated into the Poker Hall of Fame at only 46 years old, Daniel is considered one of the greatest poker players of all time. With a career spanning over 20 years, Daniel has accumulated a lot of fame and fortune. Credited with inventing the “small ball” style of play, Daniel also has the third all-time highest amount of live tournament cashes at $42 million.
6. Bryn Kenney
Net Worth: $56+ million
Unlike some of the names on this list, Bryn Kenney credits his entire wealth purely to playing poker. Though he only has one WSOP bracelet, he’s regarded by poker fans as a formidable player. At a 2019 charity poker event, Bryn proved his skills and cemented his wealth by winning $20.5 million. This feat earned Bryn the title of winning the highest ever cash poker prize.
5. Doyle Brunson
Net Worth: $75 million
In his 50-year poker career, Doyle penned an iconic strategy book, won 10 WSOP bracelets, was inducted in the Poker Hall of Fame, and had a hand named after him. Also called “Texas Dolly”, Doyle was the first player whose winnings reached a million dollars. Already in his late 80s, Doyle is now happily retired with his large and hard-earned fortune.
4. Christopher Ferguson
Net Worth: $80 million
Though he’s called “Jesus” because of his long locks, Christopher “Chris” Ferguson is considered one of the shadier pro poker players. Accused of masterminding a Ponzi scheme that cost other players more than $400 million, Chris’ reputation has since dipped. Despite this, his net worth hasn’t. A high-stakes player, Chris has won six WSOP titles and numerous live tourneys that have contributed to his own wealth.
3. Sammy Farha
Net Worth: $100 million
Lebanese player Sammy Farha became a household name when Chris Moneymaker famous bested him with the “Bluff of the Century”. Aside from that historical moment, though, Sammy’s skills have helped him become a multimillionaire. Winner of three WSOP bracelets, he once took home just under $500,000 for winning first place.
2. Phil Ivey
Net Worth: $100+ million
Called by many as the best poker player ever, Phil Ivey has 10 WSOP bracelets and is among the youngest members of the Poker Hall of Fame. His live tourney winnings are estimated to be around $26 million while his online winnings total more than $20 million. On top of this, he notably won $16 million in three days by playing against billionaire Andy Beal.
1. Dan Bilzerian
Net Worth: $200 million
Although he’s never won a major title, Dan Bilzerian tops the list thanks to a successful influencer career and sizable trust fund. An ultra-high-stakes poker player, he claims to have made most of his money from poker, though many doubt this. After all, he is considered among the most controversial poker players. Just last November, his autobiography’s release was delayed due to “offensive content”. Though he may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Dan Bilzerian is undeniably the richest poker player today.
Poker as a source of income is not viable for most people. However, for these extremely talented individuals, poker has not only been a source of cash but it’s also become a fruitful career. Though their net worths are already astronomical, given the recent online poker boom, it’s likely that their wealth will grow even more.
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