Profile of World Top Poker Players

Poker is a game of risk and gambles. It’s a game where players take measured moves in hopes of big returns over time. A player may sustain some short-term losses but is hoping for long-term gains.

Through the years, many players have beaten the odds to become successful on the poker felt as well as in business and life. From life on the tables to the business world to raising a family, here’s a look at a few players who have parlayed their skills at the poker tables to success in life.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu is a Canadian Texas Hold’em poker player who is a talkative professional.

He has won 2 World Poker Tour titles and 6 World Series of Poker bracelets (among various other wins) with his offensive style of playing and flair for reading opponents. The World Series of Poker-Player of the year, twice, has also been named Negreanu.

The parents of Daniel Negreanu emigrated from Romania to Toronto, Canada, seven years before Daniel’s birth, on July 26, 1974. They wished for their children to provide a better future. He started to play poker at the age of 15.

In 1998, Daniel, 24 years old, won the $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em at the Poker World Series. The win added an impressive $169,460 prize to his increasing bankroll and his first bracelet, which in the poker world is sort of a big deal. He became the youngest player to win a bracelet ever.

The best victory for Negreanu came in 2014 when he finished second in the $1 million buy-in event for the Major One for One Fell. For the $37,333,338 prize pot, Kid Poker fought against 41 other poker players.

Tom Dwan

Tom Dwan

Since the “poker boom”, Dwan started as many poker players-a few bucks on an internet forum, studying the rules of the game and how it is played. Dwan had a thirst for the game that pushed him to endless millions of dollars from an original bankroll of just $50.

The best cash for Dwan came at the 2014 Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge, where he finished with $447,844 in 6th place.

Liv Boeree

Liv Boeree

“Olivia” Liv “Boeree (born 18 July 1984) is an English poker player, TV host, and model who won the 2010 Sanremo European Poker Tour. Born in Kent, before receiving a First Class Honors Degree in Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, Boeree studied at Ashford College. As of November 2015, she was the # 1 ranked female player on the Global Poker Ranking, and # 6 on the list of female all-time live poker winnings.

When she was chosen as one of five contestants for the Ultimatepoker.com Showdown reality TV show, which aired on Five in autumn 2005, Boeree was introduced to the poker industry. She was coached during the show by Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, and Dave Ulliott, the top poker players.

Awards: In both 2014 and 2015, Boeree received the European Poker Awards for Female Player of the Year, as determined by the Global Poker Index points she accumulated during those years. In 2010, at the European Poker Awards, she was also awarded “Europe’s Leading Lady.”

Since September 2010, Boeree has been part of Team Poker Stars Pro. Her cumulative winnings in live tournaments are over $3,000,000.

She was named as the team manager of the London Royals Global Poker League team in February 2016.

Maria Ho

Maria Ho

At the 2007 World Series of Poker, where she was the last woman left in the Championship Game, finishing 38th out of 6,358 players and winning a $237,865 payoff, Ho’s first major tournament performance arrived. In 2014, when she was in 77th place out of 6,683 players, she repeated this achievement. Her 27th place finish at the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event “Last Woman Standing” along with a 2017 6th place final table finish makes Maria the only player ever to hold the Last Woman Standing title four times over and at both the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events.

Ho was the Most-Cashing Female of the series at the 2012 World Series of Poker, with six individual tournament cash. At the 2014 WSOP, with a limit of eight amounts of cash, she repeated this feat.

In March 2019, she finally entered the $25,000 High Roller LA Poker Classic tournament for the second year in a row and earned 1st place, earning her second-highest live tournament score of $276,690. She made the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event’s six-handed TV final table the following month and placed 3rd for $344,960, which was her tournament career’s second-highest cash.

Chris Ferguson

Chris Ferguson

At the age of 10, Ferguson started playing poker. In college, he developed his ability to play online IRC poker to play cash in chat rooms. He started playing in California tournaments in 1994, joining his first World Series of Poker in 1995. He is a relatively quiet player who often adopts a distinctive motionless pose to avoid supplying his opponents with details. 

He consciously adopted his trademark wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to point to a table image that does not fully demonstrate the fact that he was a college student. Because of his signature long brown hair and moustache, Ferguson is called Jesus. To improve his understanding of the game, his style is highly mathematical, using a strong knowledge of game theory and developing computer simulations.

At the 2017 WSOP, Ferguson set a record with 23 amounts of cash. He also won his sixth bracelet, and first in 14 years, at the WSOP Europe in the €1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event. Ferguson won the WSOP Player of the Year Prize with these results.

His total live tournament winnings exceed $8,900,000 as of 2017. Over $6,000,000 of those winnings accounted for his 90 WSOP cash.

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth

At twenty-four years of age, Phil Hellmuth became the youngest person ever to win the 1989 World Series of Poker Main Event by defeating Johnny Chan, the two-time defending champion. For twenty years, Hellmuth held this record until Peter East gate took his place in 2008.

Hellmuth is probably best known for his WSOP performances and we have provided an overview of his 13 World Series of Poker Tournaments below and have broken them down by the year he won, the tournament he competed in, and how much prize money he got. In total, from WSOP cash outs alone, Hellmuth has won over 12.5 million dollars.

In the €10,450 WSOPE No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, Hellmuth earned his 13th World Series of Poker bracelet on October 4, 2012, winning €1,022,376 ($1,333,841) and becoming the first player ever to win both the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events. In three separate decades (1993 (3), 2003 (2), and 2012 (2)), this victory has made Hellmuth the first player in WSOP history to win multiple bracelets. Also, for a record third time (2006, 2011, and 2012), Hellmuth finished runner-up in the WSOP Player of the Year race.

Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson

Brunson started by playing illicit games with his friend Dwayne Hamilton on Exchange Street in Fort Worth. They gradually started to fly across Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, to play bigger sports, and to meet professional colleagues Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. 

During this era, the illicit games Brunson participated in were typically run by offenders who were also organized crime figures, so laws were not often followed. Brunson admitted that many times he had a pistol pulled on him and that he had been robbed and beaten.

He played the world’s largest poker games, including a $4,000/$8,000 mixed limit poker game at the Bellagio in “Bobby’s Place.” He participates in many of the world’s largest poker tournaments as well. 

In a mixed games tournament in 2003, he won his ninth gold bracelet, and in 2004, he finished 53rd in the No-Limit Texas Hold’em Championship event (in a field of 2,576). In 2004, he won the Legends of Poker World Poker Tour (WPT) event (winning him a $1.1 million prize) and placed fourth in the first championship event of the WPT. 

Less than a week after Chan won his 10th gold bracelet (presented to each WSOP tournament winner) early in the morning on July 1, 2005-setting a new record-Brunson tied him at the 2005 WSOP. 

Phil Hellmuth, who won his 15th bracelet at the 2018 World Series of Poker, is currently five bracelets behind him. He cashed in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship game of the 2013 World Series of Poker, marking the fifth decade he cashed in the event.

Phil Laak

Phil Laak

As a teenager, Laak learned to play poker. His first major tournament victory was in February 2004 at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Celebrity Invitational. Since his win, he has had two other WPT final tables: sixth place in both the Battle of Champions season two and the 2005 Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

In the $2,500 pot-limit Hold’em tournament at the 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP), Laak placed second to Johnny Chan. To win the inaugural William Hill Poker Grand Prix, Laak beat Ram Vaswani, taking home the £150,000 first draw. He has played in various Poker Royale series as well. Laak appeared on GSN’s High Stakes Poker in seasons two through seven and acted as the dealer on the short-lived television series E! Hold’em from Hollywood.

Laak has crowned the PartyPoker.com World Open V champion in October 2009, winning $250,000 in the process. He overcame a final table that included long-term girlfriend, actress, and poker pro-Jennifer Tilly of Luke ‘Full Flush’ Schwartz and Laak.

By winning the ~2,500 buy-ins Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em championship at the 2010 World Series of Poker Europe, Laak won his first career WSOP bracelet on September 16, 2010. His victory came after an all-terrain vehicle crash in August, where, among other accidents, he sustained a fractured elbow.

Fedor Holz

Fedor Holz

A German professional poker player, originally from Saarbrucken, Fedor Holz (born 25 July 1993) focuses on high roller tournaments.

In 2014 and 2015, he was ranked by Pocketfives.com as the best online MTT player. Holz won his first WSOP bracelet in July 2016, winning $4,981,775 with the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop.

At the €500 No-Limit Hold’em GPT II Deep stack Series Main Event, where he finished second for €15,320, Holz had his first live cash in 2012. Holz performs under the pseudonym CrownUpGuy online. He won the World Championship of Online Poker for $1.3 million in September 2014. Holz finished 25th in the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2015, winning $262,574 in cash.

In 2016, in January, Fedor won the Triton Super High Roller for $3,463,500 and was runner-up in the Super High Roller Bowl later that year for $3,500,000. In the $111.111 High Roller for One-Drop event, Holz won his first WSOP bracelet and gained $4,981,775 for the award. The best cash for Holz was the $1,000,000 No-Limit Hold’em-The Big One for One Fell for $6,000,000 in 2018.

Gus Hansen

Gus Hansen

Gustav Hansen, also known as Gus Hansen, is a pro poker player from Denmark. He was born in Copenhagen on the 13th of February, 1974.

Gus Hansen is popular for his highly aggressive playing style, playing almost every side he is dealing with. Since his debut in early 2002, Gus has won the World Poker Tour (WPT) four times. He won his first WPT in May of the same year, which earned him $556.460 in winnings. This unfolded in the poker town of Las Vegas, USA.

A year back, in a $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament (L.A. Poker Classics), Gus Hansen won his 2nd WPT in Los Angeles, taking in $532,490. After that, at the ‘Bad Boys of Poker’ special event, he won $25,000. He bagged $276,426 the same year to come in 3rd in the 2003 Hold’em WPT Championship Event.

In 2004, we ended up winning $455,780 in a heads-up game against Hoyt Corkins, Gus’ 4th and last World Poker Tour victory. There was a poker tournament in the Caribbean. The tournament was also attended by big stars such as Daniel Negreanu, Bill Gazes, and Chris Ferguson.

Gus Hansen’s biggest win occurred in 2008. Gus was in the final table heads-up versus David Chiu at the $25,000 WPT World Championship Game in Las Vegas, USA. Hansen had a comfortable chip lead, but against Chiu, he somehow ended up losing. Gus Hansen also won $1,714,800 to take second place.

Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey

Phillip Dennis Ivey Jr. ( born February 1, 1977) is an American professional poker player who has won a World Poker Tour title, ten World Series of Poker bracelets and played at nine final tables of the World Poker Tour. Ivey was once considered by many poker analysts and peers as the world’s greatest all-around player. He was named to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017.

Ivey is also considered, not only by enthusiasts of the game but also by his peers, as the best all-around poker player in the world. You can’t even disagree with this claim when you look at his performances-he has enjoyed an enormous amount of success in both tournaments and cash games. In cash games, a very good tournament player is most likely not going to do well, and vice versa. Ivey is one of the few players who, while experiencing tournament success at the same time, has regularly defeated the “Main Game”.

Phil Ivey was born in Riverside, California, on February 1st, 1976. When he was just three months old, his family moved to New Jersey. This is where Phil Ivey is going to grow up and learn to play poker.

Levy’s saga in live poker tournaments began with a bracelet at WSOP 2000, where he became the first poker player at a WSOP final table to beat Amarillo Slim heads up. At the 2002 WSOP, Ivey won three bracelets. In 2005, he won his fifth WSOP bracelet. Before his 30th birthday, all five bracelets were won. 

The only poker player to have made it to eight final WPT tables is Ivey. In the last of these, his only WPT victory came at the Los Angeles poker Classic. At the Bellagio and Commerce casinos, Ivey has also achieved success in other prestigious poker tournaments. 

Ivey was named Player of the Year by All in Magazine, Bluff Magazine, and the UK Gaming Awards for his excellent results in 2005. The overall live tournament earnings of Ivey are about $9.2 million. He had 16 finishes in the first place and 95 cash.

Ivey is a member of the elite poker players’ team at the Full Tilt Poker online poker room and plays there exclusively. At the High Stakes Tables, he is a favorite. The stakes go as high as $500-$1000 in no-limit games and as high as $2000-$4000 in the cash games limit. Wins or losses of over half a million dollars are common for a session. Ivey is estimated to have earned $1.99 million in 2007 and $7.34 million in 2008 for online poker.

World-class top Poker Players

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