The 10 Best Poker Players of All Time

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To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. In poker, you have to beat the best time and time again in all games and at all stakes to be considered one of the best poker players of all time.

Forget earnings, forget bracelets, we’re going to give you the 10 best poker players living or dead based on purely skill level. This list is my own personal opinion and you may absolutely disagree with what I have to say.

Honorable Mentions

  • Benny Glaser
  • Phil Hellmuth
  • Daniel Colman
  • Artur Martirosyan
  • Bryn Kenney
  • Alex Foxen
  • Mikita Bodyakovsky
  • Johnny Chan
  • Antonio Esfandiari
  • Dan Smith
  • Tom Dwan

10. Shaun Deeb

Shaun Deeb wins WSOP bracelet #6
Image: WSOP

Shaun Deeb is your definition of a classic grinder who doesn’t require any glitz or glamor. Without playing that many of the high rollers and having yet to play in a Triton event, Deeb is still one of the biggest winners in poker.

His $12.4M in earnings from 235 cashes as of April 2024 has the Troy, NY native in 101st on the all-time money list and his results come from all game formats.

Deeb also dominated the online poker scene back in the day, being the world’s #1 ranked online player in 2008 and 2009 and winning 13 COOP titles.

Whether it’s No-Limit Hold’em, PLO, 7-card stud, 8-game, Razz, or the Poker Players Championship, Deeb is one of the last guys you want at your table.

Having never studied the game using any traditional methods and without touching a solver, Deeb has amassed a total of six WSOP bracelets, 25 six-figure scores, and a pair of seven-figure cashes.

Not to mention, he got his start at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY, the same casino I began grinding in.

You’ll also notice a much slimmer Deeb in Vegas this summer as he’s lost around 100 pounds thanks to accepting a bet from Bill Perkins and putting in some crazy work.

He’s a grinder on and off the felt, and that’s something to be respected.

9. Fedor Holz

Fedor Holz wins 4th Triton title
Image: Triton Poker

Despite being only 30 years old, German poker wizard Fedor Holz is undoubtedly one of the greatest poker minds in the world.

Holz has been one of the biggest crushers for a decade and has already earned over $41.6M in live earnings, good for 12th on poker’s all-time money list.

This includes an incredible 10 7-figure scores, including a $6M score in the $1M WSOP Big One for One Drop in 2018.

Holz usually sticks to the live high roller and super high roller scene nowadays as he mainly focuses on coaching players on his Pokercode website and his other business dealings.

Impressively, Holz was featured on the Forbes 30-Under-30 list at just 24 years old.

Of course, Holz still finds time to play on real money online poker sites, where he has been the #1 ranked player in the world on numerous occasions.

8. Isaac Haxton

Isaac Haxton wins APT Super High Roller
Image: Asian Poker Tour

Love him or hate him, Isaac Haxton is arguably the best player in the world at the moment right now.

His technical prowess and his ability to carefully navigate final tables makes him one of the toughest players to face at the moment.

Currently, Haxton is 8th on poker’s all-time money list with over $47.7M in career live tournament earnings.

After finally getting off the “Best Players to Never Win a WSOP Bracelet” list last year, Haxton is in the midst of an insane heater, making over $20M since the beginning of 2022.

In that time, Haxton has won the Super High Roller Bowl, multiple PCA titles, multiple PGT titles, an APT Super High Roller, and has taken home an incredible seven 7-figure scores.

Even when he hasn’t won, it seems like he’s on a televised final table every single week.

7. Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson wins 1976 WSOP Main Event
Image: WSOP

Texas Dolly, who recently passed at the age of 89, will always have a place as one of the biggest and most important legends of poker.

He’s often referred to as the “Godfather of Poker” due to his impact on the game.

Brunson was a master of both cash and tournament poker and won a total of 10 WSOP bracelets in his time, including back-to-back Main Event titles in 1976 and 1977 with 10-2, a hand that’s now known as “The Doyle”. You must be doing something right if you have poker slang named after you.

What’s most impressive about Brunson is how he stood the test of time. Not only did he still compete in the highest-profile cash games amongst current legends, he often beat them with a style and grace only Doyle could achieve.

Brunson is one of the first-ever poker grinders, often going across the country back in the day in order to play cards before Las Vegas was even built.

Read our Doyle Brunson anniversary tribute if you’d like to know more about his life story.

6. Justin Bonomo

Justin Bonomo wins the $1M Big One for One Drop
Image: WSOP

Justin Bonomo’s 2018 heater will long be considered one of the greatest runs in the history of poker.

The number two-ranked player with $63.4M in live tournament earnings went on a six-month run that still baffles us today.

Bonomo made over $25M that year alone, including victories in the Super High Roller Bowl China ($4.8M), Super High Roller Bowl ($5M), and the $1M Big One for One Drop ($10M).

Bonomo also won another WSOP bracelet that summer, taking home the $10K Heads-Up Championship title.

While “The Year of Bonomo” is an achievement that will be incredibly hard for anyone to duplicate, Bonomo’s game has not let up.

He’s been able to continue his dominance and finds himself regularly on televised high roller final tables, last winning the $25K NLH event at the 2023 PGT Poker Masters.

Bonomo and Bryn Kenney continuously swap places atop the all-time money list in a race to see who will be the first to reach $100M in live career tournament earnings.

5. Stephen Chidwick

Stephen Chidwick wins at Triton Jeju
Image: Triton Poker

Chidwick is considered by many of the best poker players in the world to be the best tournament player of all time, earning endorsements from bencb and Dan Cates amongst others.

Chidwick was also named CardPlayer’s Player’s Choice for best player in the world in 2019, when he was just 30 years old.

Chidwick is best known for his deathly stare and making his opponent’s extremely uncomfortable at the table.

As one of the best live pros and online pros over the last few years, he’s already amassed nearly $56.8M in career live tournament earnings and is ranked #3 on poker’s all-time money list.

He’s a huge grinder as well, with 327 documented live scores with nearly 40 total titles, mostly coming on the high-roller circuit.

As he’s only 34 years old, Chidwick will be in the fight to become the first player in history to reach $100M in live tournament earnings.

By the time all is said and done, Chidwick may be considered one of the best players who ever lived.

4. Jason Koon

Jason Koon wins his 10th Triton title
Image: Triton Poker

Despite being a relative unknown in the poker world as of 10 years ago, Koon has already become one of the true kings of poker.

With a record 10 Triton titles, he is currently dominating at the highest level of poker and consistently doing so.

The West Virginia-native has already amassed nearly $56.7M in live tournament earnings, putting him 4th on poker’s all-time money list.

While Koon has only one WSOP bracelet, his one win was in the prestigious 2021 $25,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship, where he had to defeat Chris Brewer, Nicolai Morris, Johannes Becker, Jake Daniels, heads-up specialist Henri Puustinen, and Gabor Szabo to win the title.

Koon also has 16 top-10 WSOP finishes, so you can only assume the 38-year-old has more bracelets coming his way.

Koon may not get the love he otherwise would because he doesn’t vlog, he doesn’t stream, and he really doesn’t participate much in social-media debates.

However, when it comes to his poker mastery, few will debate that he’s one of the best we’ve ever seen. The sky is truly the limit.

3. Erik Seidel

Erik Seidel wins his 10th WSOP bracelet
Image: WSOP

As with Doyle Brunson, Seidel is another who has just evolved with time, though Seidel’s game is noticeably stronger.

Having previously been a professional backgammon player, Seidel is known for having an innate poker wisdom that he cannot even explain himself.

While Seidel mostly keeps a low profile, few can argue about his true ability on the felt.

In fact, Seidel won his 10th WSOP bracelet at WSOP Paradise last December, winning over $1.7M in the $50K Super High Roller.

With the win, Seidel became just the 5th player in history to win double-digit bracelets and is now in a four-way tie for second all-time with Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson.

Seidel has been one of the best players in the world for nearly four decades, spanning back to finishing second in the 1988 WSOP Main Event.

Despite being from the older generation of poker grinders, Seidel continues to beat up the best players in the world and is currently 9th on poker’s all-time money list at the age of 64.

What he’s accomplished, especially coming from the world before solvers, is truly remarkable and may never be replicated.

2. Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu wins Super High Roller Bowl VII
Image: PokerGO Tour

Negreanu, like Ivey, is one of, if not the most famous poker player in the world – and for good reason.

Negreanu is one of the poker legends that have continued to evolve as the game has grown and continues to dominate at the highest levels of poker today.

With over $52.4M in live tournament earnings, “Kid Poker” is currently ranked 7th on poker’s all-time money list and will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most impactful players in the game.

Negreanu has adapted so much that he has one of the biggest poker vlogs on the planet.

Despite being one of Phil Ivey’s personal friends, he has almost the exact opposite personality. You’ll know whenever he’s in the room.

While Negreanu may have a very outspoken image, he has all the game to back up all the hype.

He’s extremely profitable just about every year, has won six bracelets, multiple WPT titles, and continues to challenge for the WSOP Player of the Year just about every single year.

He is still, to this day, the only player in history to win WSOP POY more than once and is likely to add at least a third honor before he calls it a day.

1. Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey with his 10th bracelet
Image: WSOP

Often referred to as the “Tiger Woods of Poker”, there is little debate when it comes to Phil Ivey being considered the best poker player of all time.

Ivey has developed from a poker prodigy into the legend he is today. There hasn’t been and will not be many players who crush mixed games, super high-stakes cash games, and high-roller tournaments like Ivey.

While Ivey does not spend much time grinding the high-roller circuit like many others on this list, Ivey is one of just five players who have won at least 10 WSOP bracelets and has still managed to earn over $42.5M in live tournament earnings, ranking 11th on poker’s all-time money list.

In doing so, he’s won just about every single title there is to be won.

Ivey has also, notably, won tens of millions (if not more) playing in some of the biggest cash games on the planet.

His epic staredown is his trademark and he has always been a man of few words. When he speaks, people listen.

Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert
Blaise Bourgeois
Poker and Gambling Expert

Blaise is an Expert Gambling Writer and a professional poker player in Brazil. He has played and traveled throughout Latin America for the last four-and-a-half years and recently won his first WSOP Circuit ring! He received his Master's in Sport Management and Sports Analytics from St. John's University. Blaise also holds a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from SUNY Purchase, where he still holds the school's Men's Soccer record for goals in a season. Blaise has worked for Catena Media, OddsSeeker, WSOP, PokerNews, and Poker.Org in various capacities. He has a passion for extensive research and aims to provide accurate…