The 5 highest earning poker players of all time

The World Series Of Poker is the game’s grandest event

Poker is an all or nothing sport if you want to make it big. A slight miscalculation and you’ve lost your chance at the big leagues but play your cards right and you could see yourself winning millions in a single sitting. It all depends on the level of skill you have and whether Lady Luck is on your side when you play your hands.

An old saying in poker is that money is the only way to keep score in the game. Going by this adage, the greatest poker players would be those who have won the most amount of money and in the sport of poker, we are talking about millions of dollars.

Any aspiring poker player aims to win big money (why else would you play) and should set himself high targets. And if one is looking for inspirational figures one should look no further than the five names mentioned in this article. These are the who’s who of the poker world, with career winnings going through the roof. If these names do not inspire you to take up the sport seriously, trust me, nothing will.

#5 Phil Ivey ($23,856,035)

Phil Ivey has come a long way from his “Jerome without a home” days

Phil Ivey is another American professional who is responsible for creating a lot history in the poker world. He has won an astounding 10 WSOP bracelets, one World Poker Tour title and has appeared in nine World Poker Tour finals, leading many poker experts to term him the best all-round poker player in the world.

After a golden run in 2002 where he won three WSOP bracelets, he was given the moniker “The Phenom”. Another of his nicknames is “The Tiger Woods of Poker” while in the early stages of his career, he was called “No Home Jerome” with reference to an identification card he had acquired to play poker in Atalanta. Ivey won his tenth bracelet aged 32, the youngest ever player to do so.

#4 Antonio Esfandiari ($27,967,060)

Antonio Esfandiari is a former magician

Antonio Esfandiari was born as Amir Esfandiari in Tehran, Iran. A former professional magician, he is also known for his elaborate chip tricks apart from being the face of the United States’ first legal online poker portal Ultimate Poker. He also appears on various poker television shows and has won the World Poker Tour Championships and three WSOP bracelets in his career.

Amir was the winner of the largest ever prize in poker history which stood at $18,346, 673. Esfandiari was also the player with the highest ever winnings at one point in time until he was overtaken by Daniel Negreanu. Apart from this, he has also authored the “The Magician's Secrets for Winning Tournaments.”

#3 Daniel Colman ($27,967,060)

Colman made his name by winning the $1,000,000 buy-in event at the Big One For One Drop in 2014

One of the youngest players on the list, 27-year-old Daniel Colman is another American on the list of poker players with the highest winnings. From Holden, Massachusetts, Colman made his name by winning the $1,000,000 buy-in event at the Big One For One Drop in 2014 where he beat Daniel Negreanu in a one on one showdown. The prize money for that event: $15.3 million, the second highest in poker history.

Primarily an online player, Colman plays under the names, “mrGR33N13” or “riyyc225” and became the first player to win $1,000,000 in hyper turbo tournaments in a calendar year. In 2014, Colman added three seven-figure tournament wins to his earnings at Super High Roller events. He also won the BLUFF Player of the Year Award in 2014.

#2 Erik Seidel ($31,513, 654)

Erik Seidel has successfully moved from Backgammon to Poker

The New York City-born poker pro was initially a stock market trader and a professional backgammon player before making his foray into professional poker. He quickly made a name for himself and became a part of the infamous Mayfair Club which boasts legends of the game like Stu Ungar, Mickey Appleman, Jason Lester and Dan Harrington.

The 57-year-old finished as a runner-up in his first ever WSOP Main Event way back in 1988 and his career since then has always been on the rise. In his 30 year career, Erik has managed to win the WSOP bracelet eight times and the World Poker Tournament once. He won his first bracelet in 1997 and his seventh in 2007, concluding a decade of dominance.

Over the course of his momentous career, Erik finished on the final table an astonishing 35 times and had money finishes 92 times. Erik too is a Poker Hall of Famer, and was granted entry in 2010. Only five players have ever won more bracelets than Erik.

#1 Daniel Negreanu ($32,887,949)

The greatest poker player of all time

The poker player with the highest ever winnings is a 42-year-old Canadian pro named Daniel Negreanu. The Ontario-born schemer is the biggest live poker winner of all time with earnings running as high as $32 million, an accolade he earned after his runners-up finish at the Big One For One Drop in 2014.

He was named the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Player of the Year in 2004 and 2013 making him the only player to have won the honour more than once.

In addition to the above records, Daniel was also the 2004-05 WPT Player of the Year. His achievements are the stuff of legends in poker circles and he became the first player to make the final table at each of the WSOP bracelet tournaments in Las Vegas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2014, he was finally honoured with an entry into the Poker Hall of Fame. On the way to winning his millions, Daniel amassed six WSOP bracelets and two WPT Championships. He is also a self-confessed action junkie, which seems to aid his poker skills.

Edited by Staff Editor