What makes a man rich? The quality of his furs perhaps, the speed of his stable, the noise of his retinue passing, his heart’s content, or the love given reflected backward like an afterglow. Whatever your philosophy, there’s a thousand ways to feel wealthy, having zeppelin loads of cash just happens to be the oldest, best-proven way to measure your fiscal flex.
Poker is many things; exciting, competitive, fun, simple and simultaneously complicated, peacepipe and divider, mallet and shield. To those prepared to learn and tame the game to their will, it’s also an untapped vein of precious ores, from whence spring glad times. Again, to those willing. Whether it’s luck winning and stumbling your way to the final table of your first big tournament, or a lifetime of careful bankroll management transformed into a dowry worth considering, many made their fortunes at the felt. Freed of order, here’s the list:
Out the gate first like a doped up horse, Bryn Kenney proudly sits on the seventh golden rung of the all-time money ladder, which presumably leads to El Dorado. What to say that we haven’t already? Born and raised in NY, this self-styled lone wolf calls on the database inside his head to outwit his foes. With a background in card-gaming of a different sort, the former Magic the Gathering champ had a wealth of live experience under his belt, even before he started showing up and taking everyone’s chips like a teenage bully in McDonald’s. As of 2019, Bryn has $30,654,179 in total live earnings.
After a quieter 2018, Bryn has risen like a phoenix in the new year, shipping the Aussie Millions and the US poker open in the same month – in the shortest month at that! Bryn, outside playing poker and fulfilling various ambassador duties, jetsets around the world and enjoys the pearls of his labour, in the form of lavish meals and elaborate costumes. Those 18th century fops had all the fun, but none of the mod-cons that make money worth having, like being free of syphilis and not having to pass down a denture-set looted from Napoleonic battlefields. Now is the time to be rich.
Who knows what the future holds. For you as an individual, for the world as a whole inexorably churning suspended stringless in the nothingness, but for Bryn we can state with confidence 2019 will involve Tudoresque meals, huge poker wins and more jetsetting than a James Bond marathon.
Daniel’s brand is poker. To most folks, he is poker incarnate, a walking talking deck of shuffled cards. You might say his poker face is the face of poker. Known as a figure of clout, Daniel’s considerable efforts have raised the game to something akin to a major league sport.
Are you sitting down? Are you of a nervous or excitable disposition? If so, place your face into this brown bag. Negreanu’s earnings total $39,830,194. Yes, those are commas and not periods. Feel like booting up the old account to make another run? Us too.
He’s more bulletproof than a robot pope in the backseat of the pontiff’s armoured carriage. Hellmuth is lauded for his trash talk and praised for his consistency. Numerous high-profile wins and sponsorship deals have made Hellmuth one of the most loaded players in the game, with a whopping $22,861,742 in total earnings. If you’ve been living beneath a concrete dome these past ten years, there’s a wealth of Youtube videos giving insights into his character. Every game needs outspoken characters, and Hellmuth plays the role with aplomb.
Antonio is the second richest active poker player. With a total of $27 million to his credit, he’s known as a bold decision-maker, whose icy demeanor ferries him through rough tides. Since youth, he honed his skills playing with his brother Pasha. I bet Pasha has a wealth of dinnertime anecdotes revealing how, at one stage in his life, he easily bested one of the world’s best card players time and again. Outside poker, Antonio sought the quill, penning his acclaimed book The Magician’s Secrets for Winnings Tournaments in 2012.
Proof ageism is a dated concept, Ivey hit the scene a fresh-faced youngster, and by the age of 23 had earned 3 world poker bracelets. While his youthful acquaintances argued over who bought the last PBR crate while struggling to stay ahead of college deadlines, Ivey had millions safely in the bank. As of 2019, Ivey’s winning total is $26,267,283.
Ever a student of the great game, Phil Ivey reportedly meets with business magnate Sheldon Adelson twice a week to discuss the online poker landscape. Further proof of Ivey’s fiscal savviness, if it’s at all required, he sold the apple core from his 2009 World Series win on eBay for $1.5 million. Talk about golden Hesperidian apples!
Dan is better known as a bombivuer, raconteur and hedonist ahead of his prowess as a poker player. Forget Twitch poker streamers and early online adapters, Bilzerian’s desire was to conquer social media. His Instagram account is an altar to the excesses of poker that people desire most, a totem to luxury goals and a middle finger to moderation. The money, the chicks, the speedboats, the rifles, day trips to country villas with the uppercrust of our civilisation. Abandon modesty all ye who enter here. Although his live cash total is lower than others on this list at $36,626, independent and inherited wealth make Dan one of the richest cats out.
If poker didn’t exist, Bilzerian would likely still be a controversial figure in any chosen field, polarity his ultimate goal. Whether they’re hating or loving, they’re arriving in droves. If his 26M Instagram followers is any metric, Danny boy won’t be leaving our phone screens anytime soon.
Sam Trickett, English poker pro, has the Midas touch. With over $20 million in total earnings, it’s a golden ticket for the home counties. Americans, brash as they can be, present poker as a lifestyle choice. In their culture, it’s a game not for idle pleasure, but as a man’s measure. Sam is bringing some of the shine back to old Perfidious Albion. At only thirty two years of age, Sam finds himself ranked 12th on the all-time money list, with no signs of slowing. Whatever he turns his vaunted hand too next, we can be sure there’s another Trickett up his sleeve.
You know in old Hollywood sports movies, there’s always one towering hulk on the opposite team, some insurmountable colossus over which the intrepid band of rag-tag heroes must overcome to fulfill their destiny? Enter Erik Seidel, 8 World Series bracelets heavy on his wrist, revered in the poker world and equally reviled for his seemingly endless success, with a whopping $34,782,420 in live earnings. Siedel is a longtime veteran who hit the scene after crushing the Backgammon leagues, possibly never dreaming he would one day become one of the wealthiest all-time poker players.
Michael was Grinder before a similarly named hook-up took the credit. With a total of $17 million in total earnings, Michael has a lifetime of experience and consistent winning behind him, and with it the confidence to compete at every table. Born in Florida, he left college early to pursue dreams of playing pro, demonstrating those same brass balls that have seen him triumph through adversity and tricky situations throughout his career. Though he has no world titles to speak of, there’s a laundry list of high-profile tournaments several thousands shorter for his attendance.
John Juanda, like the others listed, is one of the winningest players in the history of the game, and that includes all the hold-up miscreants and cowboys with guns stuck up their sleeves as a plan B. Four World Series bracelets, $24 million in total earnings, and time aplenty to double his funds, John Juanda finds himself ranked 9th on the all-time list. Prior to his proposed pursuit of poker perfection, polymath Juanda successfully turned his hand to various political and business endeavours, which when twinned with a brief foray into athletics, seals the deal on his reputation as a canny businessman and a smooth operator.
With these ten most gold of golden-balled players to inspire you to great new heights, join us next week for more poker news, history and in-depth strategic analysis.