Once upon a time there was a man. An average man working as an accountant. A man with the habit of playing online poker.
That man played a qualifying poker tournament on the internet and turned his $40 entry fee into a real life seat at the biggest poker game in town. Later he went on and turned that seat into $2.5 Million. The year was 2003 and his name was Chris Moneymaker – that was the year I started playing online poker.
Since then many players has come and gone, had their 5 minutes of fame. Some of them has left a bigger impression than others, some of them was already there when it started.
This is my top-10 list of the Best Poker players over the last decade.
Top10 Poker Players of the decade
10. Patrik Antonius
Recognised as one of the hottest young players on the poker circuit – and not just for his poker skills – Patrik Antonius sets jaws gaping wherever he goes. Since taking up poker as a profession in 2002, he’s amassed almost $3 million as a result of his skill and aggressive style. He has earned a total of 11 WSOP Cash Finishes, seven WPT Cash Finishes and one European Poker Tour (EPT) Title.
Antonius is considered one of the best heads-up players in the world and also one of the best mixed-game players. His competitive streak extends even beyond poker – he is also an avid tennis player and golfer.
- Nickname: Black Lotus, The Fin
- Screen name: Patrik Antonius / FinddaGrind
- Celebrity look-a-like: Brad Pitt
- Personal advice: Button up that shirt.
- Tournament winnings: $ 2,861,030
Featured video: Biggest pot in online poker history
9. Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan
By 2008, Dwan’s bankroll had easily exceeded seven figures, and although no one knows the exact number, there are rumours that Dwan has won in excess of $5 million online.
Playing at the highest limits available, Dwan has racked up some very memorable hands.
Dwan holds the record for the largest pot ever won in a recorded live game at over $1.1 million, which occurred during the fourth season of Million Dollar Cash Game. This record broke the previous record of over $919,000, which was also won by Dwan, in the fifth season of High Stakes Poker.
By far one of the most prolific and successful players in online poker history, Dwan’s meteoric rise through the ranks of online poker is the stuff of legends. He created an online sensation through his play, multi-tabling his way to a fortune. But Dwan is more than an online star; he has already established himself as one of the world’s best live high-stakes ring game players, as well as a formidable tournament player who has earned more than $1 million in live tournament prize money.
- Nickname: durrrr-a-cell
- Screen name: durrrr / Hold_emNL
- Celebrity look-a-like: The kid in ’2 and a half men’
- Personal advice: Get some sleep.
- Tournament winnings: $ 1,150,853
Featured video: Tom Dwan plays an amazing bluff!
8. Chris Ferguson
Known as “Jesus” for his eccentric appearance, Chris Ferguson has made 25 WSOP final tables, won five WSOP bracelets, cashed 42 times in a range of WSOP events, and won three WSOP Circuit championship rings. His WSOP earnings alone total over $6.7 million.
In 2008, Ferguson provided further proof as to why he is considered one of the world’s most skilled poker players when he won the National Heads-Up Poker Championship after battling through a tough 64-person field.
Ferguson’s talent with playing cards doesn’t stop at the poker table. He is also well known for his ability to cut a carrot in half by throwing a regular playing card from a distance of 10 feet.
- Nickname: Jesus
- Screen name: Chris Ferguson
- Celebrity look-a-like: Chuck Norris
- Personal advice: Get a haircut.
- Tournament winnings: $ 8,032,899
Featured video: WSOP 2000 Final hand
7. Scotty Nguyen
Nguyen is the only player in the world to make a final table in all WPT seasons and has acquired several WPT titles. In January 2006, Nguyen won the coveted WPT championship title – a feat which he managed in an unprecedented one hand. He was the first player in history to win the triple crown of a WPT Championship, the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Championship.
Nguyen has cashed in hundreds of tournaments, including nearly 40 WSOP events, more than a dozen WPT tournaments, and countless stand-alone events such as the California State Poker Championship, Aussie Millions, Poker Superstars Invitational, U.S. Poker Bowl, Caribbean Poker Classic, Monte Carlo Millions and Austrian Masters, to name a few. His total live tournament winnings exceed $6.7 million.
Armed with his contagious exuberance, deadly plays and beguiling charisma, Nguyen remains one of the most beloved and feared poker pros on the scene.
- Nickname: The Prince of Poker
- Screen name: Noo limit
- Celebrity look-a-like: Dog – The Bountyhunter
- Personal advice: Stay sober, baby.
- Tournament winnings: $ 4,019,022
Featured video: 1998 WSOP final hand
6. Erik Seidel
Erik Seidel has won eight WSOP bracelets and a WPT title. The first time Seidel played in a major tournament – the 1988 WSOP Championship Event – he finished second. The famous knockout hand – in which he lost to Johnny Chan – was featured in the film Rounders.
Seidel won his first WSOP bracelet back in 1992 and won his eighth and most recent bracelet in 2007. He has won bracelets in five different games, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Deuce to Seven Draw – only four players in the history of the WSOP have won more bracelets than Seidel.
In total Seidel has earned well over $10 million in tournaments, earning him a top 10 place on the All-Time Money List for WSOP.
- Nickname: Sly
- Screen name: Erik Seidel
- Celebrity look-a-like: Jerry Seinfeld
- Personal advice: Sit straight.
- Tournament winnings: $ 10,188,613
Featured video: 1988 WSOP Final table
5. Johnny Chan
“The Orient Express”, Chan shot to fame in the late 1980s, winning the championship event of the WSOP in two consecutive years – 1987 and 1988 (footage of the 1988 WSOP final heads-up match is featured in the movie Rounders, in which Johnny Chan makes a cameo appearance). He has 10 WSOP bracelets to his name and has won over $10 million in tournament earnings during his career.
Chan attributes some of his early success in poker to the fact that when he first went to Las Vegas to play poker, players had not previously played against Asian players and therefore underestimated his skill.
Chan is still considered to be one of the most well-rounded poker players in the game; his tournament wins are not only in Texas Hold’em events, but also in Omaha and Draw poker.
- Nickname: The Orient Express
- Screen name: Johnny Chan
- Celebrity look-a-like: Bob Hoskins
- Personal advice: Come back!
- Tournament winnings: $ 8,300,591
Featured video: Johnny in poker movie Rounders
4. Doyle Brunson
“The Godfather of Poker”, Doyle Brunson has been playing poker professionally for over 50 years. He is the first two-time WSOP Main Event champion to win consecutively, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, and the author of several books on poker.
Brunson was the first player to earn $1 million in poker tournaments and has won 10 WSOP bracelets throughout his career. He is the first of five players to win both the WSOP Main Event and a WPT title. In January 2006, Bluff Magazine voted Brunson the #1 most influential force in the world of poker.
Still going strong at 76 years of age, retirement, Brunson says, will come when he quits winning.
- Nickname: Texas Dolly
- Screen name: Doyle Brunson
- Celebrity look-a-like: John Wayne
- Personal advice: Live long and prosper
- Tournament winnings: $ 5,945,783
Featured video: Texas Dolly – The good old days
3. Phil Hellmuth
Famous for being the “Poker Brat”, Phil Hellmuth holds a record 11 WSOP bracelets. A living legend for his skill as well as his antics at the poker table, Hellmuth joined Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson in 2006 as one of only three poker players in history with ten WSOP bracelets to their name. But what separates Hellmuth from even this legendary pack is that all of his WSOP wins have come in Texas Hold’em events.
As well as having amassed an unsurpassed record 11 WSOP championships, Hellmuth has set astonishing records for both most WSOP cashes (68) and most final tables (41). His total tournament winnings are in excess of $8.8 million.
Hellmuth became the youngest person ever to win a WSOP Main Event when he defeated two-time defending champion Johnny Chan in 1989 at just 24 years of age. His record as the youngest champ in WSOP history stood for 19 years.
- Nickname: The Poker Brat
- Screen name: PHILHELLMUTH / #1_Lucky_One
- Celebrity look-a-like: Gabe Kaplan
- Personal advice: Relax.
- Tournament winnings: $ 11,326,126
Featured video: The young Hellmuth defeats Chan
2. Daniel Negreanu
Canadian born Daniel Negreanu has won four WSOP bracelets and two WPT titles and is ranked second in the all-time career earnings list behind Phil Ivey. Known for his friendly nature as well as his talent at the poker table, Negreanu is arguably the most-liked player in poker.
Negreanu’s presence continues to be felt on the WPT circuit, where he is one of the all-time money leaders, and at the WSOP, where he was welcomed onto the Player Advisory Board in 2006.
His popularity both at the poker table and away from it is undeniable. The newly opened Wynn Las Vegas recruited him as their “Poker Ambassador” in 2005, which meant he would play for any stakes in their poker room. The next year he was awarded the title “Favourite Poker Player” and was featured in the video game Stacked with Daniel Negreanu. He has also tutored for Poker School Online, given personal lessons to celebrities such as Tobey Maguire, and appeared in Hollywood films including X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
- Nickname: Kid Poker
- Screen name: DoubleSuited / KidPoker
- Celebrity look-a-like: Pee-Wee Herman
- Personal advice: Loose the comb-over.
- Tournament winnings: $ 12,583,677
Featured video: Kid Poker vs. Gambit
1. Phil Ivey
Phillip D. “Phil” Ivey has seven World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and one World Poker Tour (WPT) title under his belt and has appeared at eight WPT final tables. The “Tiger Woods of Poker”, Ivey is currently listed as first in the world among all-time money winners in tournament poker – earning more than $12 million playing live tournaments – and is regarded as the best all-around poker player in the world today.
It’s no wonder then that Phil Ivey is the most feared cash game player in the world – live or online.
- Nickname: The Tiger Woods of Poker / No Home Jerome
- Screen name: Phil Ivey / joe buttons
- Celebrity look-a-like: Tiger Woods
- Personal advice: Do not commit adultery.
- Tournament winnings: $ 12,829,989
Featured video: The world’s best Pokerface
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