Poker Central’s revival of high-stakes cash games has us feeling nostalgic. Because of this, we decided to make a list of the best poker players of all time, all of whom deserve to be considered the cream of the crop. In addition to destroying even the most high-stakes games, these king sharks often do so spectacularly.
Because we’re not fans of lengthy preambles, we will get right down to business.
14 of the Best Poker Players in the World this 2023
1. Fraser Russel (aka The BigBlindBets)
Those who keep up with the current high-stakes Holdem scene will recognize BigBlindBets as a common screen name. Fraser, also known as BigBlindBets, was born in the early 1990s, began playing poker at low stakes and documenting his progress on a Challenge blog on 2+2. On NoIQ poker, which was part of the Entraction poker network in 2011, he began playing €NL4 with a bankroll of €70.
It’s hard to believe that he’s already crushing online poker for millions of dollars at the highest stakes in just a few short years. The 2019 WCOOP was the largest online tournament he won, with the first-place prize of $1.67M.
He has said that talking about strategy with many people has helped his game, but Paul “Internet” Otto was the coach who put him in touch with some really smart and hard-working guys who helped him do well in poker. Once more, the impact of a strong mastermind group on one’s poker results should not be understated.
2. Jason Koon
Jason Koon, an ambassador for Triton Poker, has had a very successful year since 2019, contributing over $6 million in prize money to an already impeccable record. Koon’s two largest career fistfuls of cash came from a pair of quick deck events that took place on the Triton circuit. Koon is a regular participant in the high roller tournaments that take place at the Triton. Koon was victorious in both competitions, and as a result, he took home over $6.4 million in prize money from just those two tournaments.
The 2021 United States Poker Open was the location of Koon’s most recent significant win. A total of $336,000 was won by the Triton Poker ambassador after he finished in third place in the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament.
3. Mr. Dan “Jungleman” Cates
A 30-year-old Maryland native who started his poker career at the micro stakes level has gone on to have a massive online and live tournament career. Cates allegedly had more than $10 million dollars in online winnings by 2014. His opponents have included the likes of Viktor Blom and Tom Dwan, both of whom play at extremely high stakes online, and he is said to have won a staggering $5 million in 2010.
As a young man, he started playing poker, and later, while attending college, he majored in economics. However, he dropped out of school to devote himself full-time to poker, as have several other players here. He decided to try his luck in real-life poker rooms, and his online poker prowess quickly translated.
WPT high roller tournament victories in 2013 and 2014 were just the beginning of a string of successes at the game’s highest levels. He took first place in a Triton Super High Roller in 2016, winning $359,229, and third place in a Triton tournament the following year, winning $1 million. Cates has increased his live tournament earnings to $7.4 million after winning another Triton event for $500,682.
Cates is now among the game’s most accomplished players in line with other known players like Antanas Guoga.
Among online NL Hold’em players, Red Baron is universally regarded as the best there is. The benefit of being this successful at online poker is that you have the option to play under a false identity, which is what he did. The only information we have on OtB Redbaron is that he was born in Belgium and currently resides in the UK.
And we all know he cashed in on the poker scene as well. At this time, it is just speculation that Red Baron is actually Jonas Mols. In 2012, he announced that he would play a total of 100,000 hands of NL500 zoom poker in 20 days. He aimed for 6 EV bb/100 in the marathon.
After playing 100,000 hands, he won $33,000, but he took 40 days to do so and “only” averaged 3.9 expected value (EV) blinds per hundred hands. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you’re crushing the hardest online poker game. A new marathon was begun after his first one ended, and this time he achieved his goals, winning 7 EV bb/100 after playing 125k hands.
His success is not limited to low-stakes cash games; he has reportedly won $5–$7 million in high-stakes tournaments alone.
Two of his WCOOP championships came from the $229,600 super high roller heads-up tournament. OtB Redbaron is an inspiring figure because he rose to the top of the poker world all on his own. He dedicated himself to the game by practicing, studying, and improving upon it daily.
He got to where he is at this point in his career after spending many years practicing. That’s proof that if you put in the time and effort, you can achieve any goal you set for yourself. Having a solid poker education and putting in the time and effort necessary to apply that knowledge guarantees victory.
5. Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu is widely regarded as one of the best poker players to have ever lived during the 20th century. Daniel Negreanu is widely regarded as the best representative for the game of poker and is often called an ambassador for the sport. Over the course of four years, he amassed more than $39,000,000.00 in winnings from poker tournaments.
The nickname “Kid Poker” has been given to Negreanu. He has taken home 6 bracelets from the World Series of Poker and 2 championship titles from the World Poker Tour.
When it comes to Omaha, few players can take on EEE27’s level of dedication. EEE27 has consistently put in an extremely high volume of hands, as evidenced by his two Supernova Elite titles and a cumulative total of over ten million. Starting at NL10 and NL25, he eventually found himself grinding rake races at mid-stakes NLHE tables on the Entraction and Ongame networks. When he played NL200 and NL400 with over 100% RB, including the money he made from rake races and other poker bonuses, he could rake as much as €50,000 per month.
Later, when the action slowed down after 2010, he made the switch to PLO, confident that he could make more money in Omaha. Observing the Finnish players in the nosebleeds on Full Tilt Poker was the impetus for him to make the switch. After his first Omaha session, he was hooked, and his decision paid off handsomely as he has since played at PLO40k stakes successfully for years.
7. Linua “LlinusLlove” Loeliger
“LLinusLLove,” Linus Poker player Loeliger is a Swiss ex-pat currently based in Malta. Having a profound understanding of GTO strategy, he is currently considered the greatest NLHE 6max player in the world.
In 2013, he posted a challenge on 2+2 to increase his bankroll from $240 while playing NL10 to $20,000 so that he could regularly compete in the NL100. Like any poker player, he would have his ups and downs, but he focused on playing and improving his game every day. To fast forward four years, in 2017, he is competing at the NL40k stakes on PokerStars against the top online players worldwide, winning more than $1.4 million in 2018.
Statname claims he has won $2.6M in online tournaments for a win rate of 6.4 bb/100. If you keep up with poker news, you’ve probably heard that Linus has been making headlines by taking on the best live players. His recent increase in live tournament participation has propelled him to the top of the Swiss all-time money list on HendonMob, where he has earned $1.86M.
The trophy for the Triton 6-handed Turbo event, which he won for 690,000 GBP, is his biggest victory to date. Linus has said that his favorite part of poker is playing 3-handed NLHE against skilled opponents. Even though few poker players share his sentiment, he finds enjoyment in both the ups and downs that come with playing the game.
8. Bryn Kenney
American During the height of the poker boom, Bryn Kenney was one of a large number of Magic: The Gathering players who made the switch to become poker players. He started out his career by competing in live tournaments here on Eastern Seaboard and online tournaments with low buy-ins.
Kenney was able to rapidly advance his career and enter the world of high stakes. In addition to Texas Hold’em and Omaha, he was a formidable opponent in a wide variety of poker games and competed in tournaments worldwide. He amassed victories in both Europe and the United States, capturing his first World Series of Poker title in 2014.
Over the past few years, he has established himself as one of the most successful players in High Roller tournaments. His second-place finish in the Triton Million London series in 2019 earned him $20.5 million, which was his most lucrative cash prize to date. To this day, he has made more than $57 million, which places him at the very top of the list of people who have made the most money in the history of the world.
9. Phil Galfond
Pot-Limit Omaha players who haven’t watched Galfond’s training videos are missing out. Phil Galfond, who was born in 1985, is a famous PLO player and the creator and head coach of the poker website Runitonce. He used to record training videos for Bluefire Poker, using the alias OMGClayAiken, to explain his strategy in high-stakes games against players like David Benyamine and Isildur1. Galfond has been a professional poker player for over 15 years and has won three WSOP bracelets.
For the first 15 months of his poker career, he competed in single-table tournaments (SNGs) and did fairly well, steadily increasing his bankroll. After a few years, he played in $5/10 NLHE cash games and eventually moved to higher stakes. He persisted in playing low-stakes games until he came across some $50/100 ones, at which he made an attempt and promptly lost.
He started playing on UB and Full Tilt, and despite only having $400,000 in the bank, he was playing at stakes as high as $300/600. Since then, Pot-Limit Omaha has been Phil’s primary focus, and he has achieved unprecedented success at the table. Phil has faced off against a number of opponents in 2020’s Galfond challenge, which consists of high-stakes PLO matches with massive sidebets.
A rematch with Chance Kornuth is scheduled for late 2020, marking the third installment of Galfond’s challenge. Phil and Chance will play 35,000 hands at €100/€200. Chance, a poker player, and coach is Galfond’s fourth opponent in this tournament. Phil Galfond created the Galfond Challenge to revive the once-popular practice of railing high-stakes poker tournaments.
10. “TrueTeller” Timofey Kuznetsov
Timofey Kuznetsov, born in 1991, is a formidable opponent at Russia’s highest-stakes poker games. A friend of Trueteller’s in Moscow introduced him to poker after he saw how much cash he could win playing the game. He reasoned that he, too, could join the other players at the poker table, and soon he was spending a great deal of time doing so.
He didn’t do well financially at first, but he started winning big pretty quickly and moved up to the high stakes, which was a big deal at the time. Timofey has found that playing with laser-like focus and giving every detail of the game some thought has helped him the most. His biggest live tournament cash to date is a $4.15 million fourth-place finish at the 2015 $500k Super High Roller Bowl.
11. Chris Ferguson
Christopher Ferguson is a six-time winner at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), with one of those victories coming in the Main Event. Despite this, his reputation among the players isn’t exactly stellar. He was accused of helping pull off a $400 million dollar poker site heist at Full Tilt Poker.
He has extensive experience in the field of computer science and holds a doctorate in the field of virtual network algorithms. When Chris was ten years old, he began playing poker, and while he was in college, he honed his skills by participating in IRC poker.
Ferguson is a reserved player who prefers to stay still and not give his opponents any information. Because of his impressive head of hair, people in the poker community referred to him as Jesus. However, as a result of the harmful things he did, his reputation suffered. However, his net worth has not changed from $80 million.
12. Phil “The Poker Brat” Helmuth
Phil Hellmuth is one of the most well-known poker players in the world today. In addition to this, he is renowned for being one of the most difficult players and having an exceptional grasp of poker. It is impossible to dispute the fact that he is a skilled poker player, given his 15 World Series of Poker bracelets and approximately $23 million in earnings.
He won the main event of the World Series of Poker in Vegas, US, in 1989 and again in Europe in 2012. However, his name is not yet on the Champions Cup because he has not yet won it. Hellmuth is currently working toward the goal of becoming a WPT champion in the not-too-distant future.
13. Johnny Moss
Johnny Moss is widely regarded as one of the best poker players of his generation, and for good reason. He has won numerous tournaments throughout his career. In addition, he is one of the very few individuals to have triumphed three times in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker. In addition to this, Johnny has been recognized for the contributions he has made to the world of poker by being inducted into the very first Poker Hall of Fame.
Everyone is in agreement that Johnny had been the kind of opponent that gamers would be pleased to lose to because it would finally give them the opportunity to say that they had been defeated by the best. He finished in second place in the $10,000 Limit 7-Card Stud event that was held during the second World Series of Poker.
As a result of his second-place finish, he was awarded $34,150. A day or two later, he won his third World Series of Poker bracelet by taking first place in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold ’em World Championship event. Following his victory, he was presented with the WSOP bracelet in addition to a cash prize of 160 thousand dollars.
After another four years, he participated in the sixth World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and won his fourth WSOP bracelet by competing in the $1,000 Limit Seven-Card Stud event. He was awarded a first-place prize of $44,000 in addition to a bracelet for his performance in the competition.
14. Vanessa Selbst
The name Vanessa Selbst is extremely significant in the community of poker due to the fact that she is the female player who has earned the most money throughout the history of the game. She has achieved success in a field that is notoriously dominated by men despite the fact that she has competed in nearly 12 million dollars’ worth of live tournaments over the course of her career. Additionally, she is the only woman in the history of the Global Poker Index ever to hold the number one spot.
She has won three bracelets at the World Series of Poker over the course of her career, with her most recent one coming in 2014. In addition to that, she has made it to the final table of two WPT competitions. She has won at least $100,000 on no less than 21 separate occasions, with her largest cash prize being the $1,823,430 she received for coming in first place at the Main Event of the 2010 PPT Cannes event. Her wins have taken place in both the United States and Europe. Since then, she has scaled back her poker career and is now employed by Bridgewater Associates in the role of the hedge fund manager.
We can’t determine who the best poker player is because there are so many variations of the game and so many different ways that a player could win.
Got some favorite poker players (like Ethan Yau or Brad Owen)?
Leave a comment with your favorite player’s name and a brief explanation of why you believe they have become the best. And if you like to play for the big bucks, we can set you up at the top online poker rooms, casinos, and clubs (PokerBros, Upoker, pokerrrr2, ClubGG, or PPPoker) so you can experience the action from the front row.
Keep up aiming high!