Top Poker Players: High-Earning Pros in History

Explore top poker players' careers, earnings, and triumphs! Uncover what sets them apart and find inspiration to start playing today.
Top poker players

Top poker players have always been a topic of interest for poker enthusiasts. The reasons why some poker pros stand out as the best poker players are either the money they’ve won, their striking personality, or their contribution to the popularity of the game. The finest of them possess all three of these features, inscribing their names forever on the golden plates of poker history. Compiling a list of top poker players is far from easy, but this article seeks to shine a light on the greatest poker players and their professional and personal lives.

Highly-Paid Poker Players

Let’s start with the highest-paid poker players who have made a massive fortune from playing poker. Bryn Kenney, with career earnings of $56,403,500, is one of the best poker players in history. He won his first WSOP bracelet in 2014 and his first seven-figure score in 2016. Kenney is still active in poker today and is seen as one of the most formidable opponents in the game. Justin Bonomo, with career earnings of $53,263,200, is another dominating force in modern poker. He boasts 188 career cashes and 26 titles and has no intention of backing down any time soon. Daniel Negreanu, with career earnings of $43,298,506, is perhaps the most famous player in the modern era. He owns six World Series of Poker bracelets and many other titles, including two World Poker Tour titles.

Best Female Poker Players

A list of best poker players wouldn’t be complete without including some of the best female poker players. Whether from the perspective of money or skill, these ladies deserve their place among legendary poker players in a male-dominated game. Annette Obrestad, with career earnings of $3,942,233, started playing poker at the age of 15 and honed her skills in online poker for years before transitioning to live competitions. She beat much more seasoned players in 2007 when she won her first and only World Series of Poker bracelet.

Vanessa Selbst is one of the richest women in poker, with three WSOP bracelets in her collection. She remains the only woman to clinch the No. 1 spot in the Global Poker Index. Selbst retired from poker in 2018 and now works as a hedge fund manager.

Kristen Bicknell started her poker career playing online while in university before entering the big live arena. She has three WSOP bracelets in her collection and won the GPI Female Poker Player of the Year Award three times in a row. Bicknell was ranked No.1 among live female poker tournament players in 2017.

Legendary Poker Players

Doyle Brunson is one of the greatest poker players of all time. He became a 10-time winner of the World Series of Poker and boasts two wins in the WSOP Main Event. Brunson is also an author of what is often called the “Bible of Poker,” his book Super/System, which changed the game forever.

Johnny Moss won the very first WSOP and went on to win as many as nine WSOP bracelets, in addition to the three Main Event titles. Moss had a reputation for being a high-stakes player and played in other tournaments as well.

Phil Ivey is believed to be one of the greatest poker players of all time. He has 10 WSOP bracelets under his belt, making him the youngest to own this many bracelets in his collection, having snatched them by the age of 38! He has raked in over $30 million and cemented his reputation as one of the best poker players.

Wild Bill Hickok was a Civil War soldier, lawman, and even actor. He was one of the first professional poker players. Although we don’t know specifics about his methods or the money he made gambling, we know that he turned entirely to playing poker for a living at the end of his life. Unfortunately, the first time he wasn’t granted his peculiar request to sit with his back against the wall while playing poker, he was shot dead in the back of the head.

Stu Ungar is widely believed to be the greatest poker player of all time. Although he excelled on the felt, Ungar struggled with mental health issues throughout his life. He became the youngest ever to win the WSOP Main Event in 1980 and returned for another two Main Event titles, in 1981 and 1997.

It is important to note that mental health comes first and that untreated mental conditions may increase the risk of developing gambling issues. If you or anyone in your vicinity is at risk, please visit our responsible gambling page to learn more.


In conclusion, these top poker players have left a lasting impact on the game of poker. While there are many other skilled players out there, these individuals have proven themselves to be some of the best in the business. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, studying their strategies and techniques can help improve your game.