Do want to know what megabucks these top poker pros are winning?
I’ll let you into their grand victories, outrageous cash-ins and some interesting bits of their lives.
The money is crazy!
Let’s start off from the 50th going up.
Total Winnings: $11,846,61
Sorel Mizzi is a Canadian professional poker player who’s played under the aliases “Imper1um” and “Zangbezan24” in online poker.
His biggest one-time payout win was worth $2 million when he finished 3rd at the 2013 GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions NLH Main Event.
Mizzi topped the FTOPS XX leaderboard in 2011.
His online tournament earnings have reached $3.6 million as of January 2015 – and that’s just online.
Total Winnings: $11,899,778
This American high stakes poker pro is famous for his 2013 WSOP victory, which earned him $4.8 million and his first and only bracelet to date.
As a kid, Gregg played Magic: The Gathering.
The Hendon Mob ranks him 1st on Maryland, USA All-Time Money List.
Total Winnings: $11,929,969
Carlos Mortensen is the only South American winner of the WSOP Main Event. He is an Ecuadorian poker master of Danish descent.
He has won two WSOP bracelets and is a three-time WPT champion.
Mortensen moved from Spain to the US to pursue poker.
He is known for his nickname “El Matador” and he sure can stack chips in an interesting way!
Total Winnings: $12,067,804
The years 2005 and 2006 were extremely generous to Lebanese Australian poker champ Joe Hachem.
In 2005, Hachem became the first Australian to win the WSOP Main Event which awarded him $7.5 million – the biggest tournament prize at that time.
The following year, he won his first WPT title, adding another $2.2 million to his poker winnings.
Hachem worked as a chiropractor for 13 years.
He has four kids and they also play poker. He believes poker teaches them discipline and the ability to handle adversity.
Matt Damon is a fan of Hachem and has played poker with him.
Total Winnings: $12,574,596
Gold gets a crock of gold!
This American poker player was the luckiest in the 2006 WSOP NLH championship, topping the event and winning the fourth largest single payout in poker tournament history worth $12 million.
Gold is also a television producer and a talent agent.
He is the production president for Buzznation.
He was criticized for auctioning off his WSOP gold bracelet for $65k.
Though their names closely rhyme, He is NOT the Chinese counterpart of that British musician, I swear! Elton Tsang is successful in a totally different field.
This Chinese Canadian is both a poker player and an entrepreneur.
He defeated 25 other players and bagged a whopping $12.1 million – the third largest single payout in poker history – at the NLH Big One for One 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza.
Chang currently resides in Hong Kong and has investments in IT, travel agencies, and internet firms.
He was the 2010 Asian Poker King Tournament champion.
Total Winnings: $12,628,658
Sanghyon “Joseph” Cheong is an American professional poker player.
He was born in South Korea and he and his family moved to the US when he was six.
His biggest win was a life-changing $4.1 million at the 2010 WSOP Main Event where he finished 3rd.
Cheong has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Joint BA degree (Math/Economics)
He started his poker career by playing online, like many others. He goes under the alias “sublime.”
“I just think I’m the best player in the world!” Riess boldly exclaims in his post-victory interview with ESPN.
This 28-year old American professional poker pro is best known for his sweet victory on the 2013 WSOP Main Event collecting the $8.3 million grand prize.
Riess has a Hospitality Business degree.
He is also known as “Riess the Beast.”
Total Winnings: $12,676,300
Five-time WSOP bracelet winner Thuận B. “Scotty” Nguyễn has seen highs and lows throughout the course of his poker career.
He’s also known as the “Prince of Poker.”
This Vietnamese-American poker master is a resident of Las Vegas and is the first and only player to win both the WSOP Main Event and $50,000 Players’ Championship to date.
His most famous quote was telling opponent McBride on the final hand, “You call, it’s gonna be all over baby!” McBride called and Nguyen won the title in 1998. (He likes using the word “baby.”)
He has a 2012 e-book entitled “That’s Poker Baby! Volume 1.” (There he goes with that “baby” again!)
Total Winnings: $12,852,011
“I play poker, write about movies and root for sports teams that lose,” says the astute poker player’s Twitter profile.
The 2015 WSOP NLH Canadian champ is considered one of the most outspoken poker pros in the community as of late. His tweets are quite direct and interesting.
Greenwood has his own blog and writes movie reviews. (It’s refreshing to know that these high rollers also have lives and passions outside of the poker room.)
Total Winnings: $12,962,466
Justin Cuong Van “J.C.” Tran is a Vietnamese-American poker shark based in Sacramento, California.
He is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner and also a WCOOP Main Event champion.
His biggest cash winning was at the 2013 WSOP Main Event where he finished fifth with $2.1 million.
Tran was born to Vietnamese parents in Vietnam and is the youngest of eight children.
He was the WPT fifth season POY.
Total Winnings: $13,265,948
Mike McDonald is a Canadian poker player who is the youngest to ever win an EPT event.
He won over $1.3 million on that main event in 2008 when he was only 18.
He is also the youngest person to win an event on the EPL.
McDonald ranked 5th on the GPI in April 2014.
Total Winnings: $13,294,936
Popularly known as “ElkY” in the online gaming world, this French poker player seems to stop at nothing.
Grospellier has topped all three prestigious tournaments in poker – the WSOP, EPT, and WPT – giving him the Triple Crown.
This guy was born to set records!
Before making a career in poker, Grospellier was one of the top Starcraft players in the world.
He set the Guinness World Record for most Single Table Sit & Go’s in an hour (62).
He was also the first to reach “Supernova Elite” on Pokerstars.
Total Winnings: $13,542,975
World Champion Joseph “Joe/The Kid” Cada is an American professional poker player from Michigan.
He is best known for becoming the youngest winner of the WSOP Main Event back in 2009. He was only 21 when he seized the $8.5 million prize.
On Sundays, Cada would host friends to play poker online at his house.
While Cada plays poker, his mother is a blackjack card dealer at the MotorCity Casino.
Total Winnings: $14,500,545
This German professional poker player plays mainly in Europe.
His successes include topping the GPI with 4083.21 points in January 2015.
He was also the highest ranked player in open events for 2013 and 2014.
Scheimon currently resides in Vienna, Austria.
He’s had some enormous feats on online MTTs under the alias “wizowizo” as well.
Adding into the large pool of top professional American poker pros is Kaverman.
Hailing from Ohio, this 2015 WSOP NLH Six Max champ wears his poker face well.
Occasionally with earphones on, he looks very chill at the tables.
Kaverman has held the record for cashing in the most WPTs in one season – 7 times.
He finished 2015 as the GPI POY, ranking first in the leaderboard, eight weeks in a row.
Total Winnings: $15,181,016
Now residing in Scotland, this German poker pro has finished on top of 4,620 players in 2012, earning him his first WSOP bracelet.
In the same year, he won a WPT title in South Africa.
His aliases are “Bounatirou” in PokerStars and “JustLuck1337” in Full Tilt.
Total Winnings: $15,468,203
Joseph “Joe” McKeehen is a professional poker player from Pennsylvania.
He won the WSOP Main Event in 2015 worth $7.6 million.
He has won two bracelets to date. Not an easy feat.
McKeehan has a degree in math.
He’s been heavily criticized for his seemingly inept social skills when he joined Chip Leader Coaching. A lot of poker enthusiasts took it to Twitter to voice their displeasure. (This tells me there’s more to poker than just being good at the game.)
Total Winnings: $15,618,039
This 24-year old Spanish poker star has proven himself early, being the youngest player to have won three WSOP bracelets when he was only 22.
He currently holds 4th rank on Card Player’s POY.
Mateos first took interest in poker when he was around 16, watching it on TV.
Three years later, he was the 2013 WSOP Europe champion at 19 years old. (That went rather fast!)
“Poker is the ultimate riddle,” says Russian Team PokerStars pro, Igor Kurganov, being a confessed lover of math, puzzles and strategy games.
Though the poker enthusiast has already won a WSOP bracelet and earned himself a fortune winning poker tournaments, he sure isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Kurganov and British poker player, Liv Boeree have been dating since 2014.
They co-founded “Raising for Effective Giving,” an altruistic organization.
Total Winnings: $15,901,277
Nicholas “Nick” Petrangelo is an elite American poker player and a two-time WSOP bracelet winner.
Card Player ranks him 11th in the 2018 POY.
He plays on PokerStars under the alias “caecilius.”
Petrangelo graduated with a degree in Economics and Finance from Skidmore College in New York.
He used to play hockey and golf but had to stop after several concussions.
This is what we call a blessing in disguise because after the injuries, he dedicated his time to online poker.
Total Winnings: $16,531,812
Ranier Kempe is a German Super High Roller Bowl Champion who bagged $5 million in the 2016 NLH Seven Max, beating poker pro, Fedor Holz.
Kempe started playing poker while he was attending college in Potsdam.
It didn’t occur to him that he would be playing and winning millions later.
He recalls being happy winning five or ten euros back then.
Total Winnings: $16,768,439
Michael David Mizrachi, AKA “The Grinder,” is an American professional poker player who’s got two WPT titles and conquered the WSOP four times.
In January 2013, Mizrachi signed on with Lock Poker.
Mizrachi wanted to become a doctor but dropped out of college to pursue his poker career.
He has a twin brother (Eric) who also plays poker.
He’s fluent in Hebrew.
When you think Swedish, you automatically think massage right? I do. Well, now you don’t because this guy from Stockholm has once again placed Sweden in the map for poker – after Blom, Bjorin, and Ylitalo.
After winning his bracelet at the NLH 2014 WSOP and a substantial $10 million, he was named Player of the Year by the Swedish publication Poker.se.
Jacobson currently resides in London.
He joined 888poker as brand ambassador in December 2017.
He’s a member of “Raising for Effective Giving.”
Total Winnings: $17,200,824
Talk about hooking up business and pleasure together. This 48-year old American businessman is also a semi-professional poker player.
This busy bee founded the College Loan Corporation, which was the seventh biggest student loan company in the US.
In 2015 he also founded Poker Central. When he’s not at the poker table, he’s either busy with his tasks as president of the St. Gabriel Catholic School or as chairman of Stop Child Predators.
Katz learned poker from his grandmother.
He started playing live tournaments in 2004.
He sued his own company for $20 million.
Total Winnings: $17,297,276
Thomas “Tom” Marchese AKA “kingsofcards” is an American poker master.
He won the Card Player POY back in 2010, made 11 final tables and won the NAPT event in the same year.
He has no WSOP bracelets so far, but his live tournament winnings exceed $15.7 million. No reason to complain.
He’s one of the two contributors to “The No-Limit Holdem Workbook: Exploiting Regulars” book.
Jonathan Duhamel is a poker professional from Quebec.
He’s won a total of three WSOP bracelets in his career. He’s best known for making a killing in the 2010 41st Annual World Series of Poker Main Event, winning a staggering $8.9 million.
Duhamel is the first Canadian poker player to win the Main Event bracelet.
Duhamel was a victim of burglary. In 2011 two men broke into his house, beat and tied him up, and stole his WSOP bracelet and other valuables.
He’s into ice-hockey, soccer, baseball and other sports as well.
Stephen James Chidwick is a 29-year old British poker pro who’s famous for his outstanding performance on poker tournaments.
He’s topped the GPI for many consecutive weeks since April 2018 and is currently doing well at second place.
Chidwick was born in a town called Deal in the county of Kent, having a population of only over 30,000 according to a 2011 census.
He‘s very competitive and he intentionally chased after topping the GPI.
Total Winnings: $18,551,891
Don’t be deceived by his youthful face. And surely his game will be as difficult to read as his name.
This young player from Belarus has just won back-to-back Triton Poker Main Event titles in May and August of this year amounting to over $7.8 million.
That’s not counting the two other seven-figure winnings of the same year.
Badziakouski ranks 11th on the current GPI ranking.
He plays poker online under the aliases “fish2013” in PokerStars and “HelicopterBen82” in Full Tilt Poker.
Total Winnings: $18,623,085
Most conservative people consider being a gambler and being a Christian quite a contradiction. Apparently, this high roller from Germany doesn’t have a problem with being both.
Vogelsang hit jackpot worth $6 million last year at the $300k NLH Super High Roller Bowl, and two more seven-figure winnings this year.
Vogelsang currently lives in London.
He was “Tight-Man1” on Full Tilt Poker.
If you see someone sporting either a scarf, glasses, a sweater – or all three together in a high stakes game, that’s probably him, or Mikita Badziakouski.
Total Winnings: $18,726,054
Winning a total of five WSOP bracelets and an EPT title, this professional poker player from Florida was named the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year for 2009 and WSOP Player of the Year in 2016.
He has also ranked number one in the world by the GPI and ESPN.
In January 2018, Mercier wrote a blog saying goodbye to PokerStars Pro to focus on his role of becoming a full-time father and husband.
He holds the record for being number 1 for the most number of weeks (84) on the GPI.
Total Winnings: $19,317,335
Isaac Haxton ranks number 15 on this year’s Card Player POY.
Haxton is noted for his victories in high-roller poker tournaments and high-stakes online cash games.
Haxton’s father wrote a book featuring his life entitled “Fading Hearts on the River: My Son’s Life in Poker.”
This genius played chess at the early age of 4 and Magic: The Gathering when he was only 10.
Total Winnings: $20,816,481
Winning second place is not so bad, if that meant $10 million, right?
Trickett is an English professional poker player, known for finishing second to Antonio Esfandiari at the 2012 NLH Big One for One Drop event.
Trickett was a professional football player before he went into poker. In 2005 he had a knee injury that ended his football career.
Trickett currently resides in the countryside in East Retford, Nottinghamshire, England.
Total Winnings: $21,039,969
Do you know how it feels to win a payout of $7.5 million after playing a game that you love? Brian Rast does.
In addition, this Las Vegas resident has four WSOP bracelets.
Rast met his wife, Juliana whilst on a trip to Brazil. He learned Portuguese, tried to get her a US visa multiple times, and flew to Brazil numerous times to keep the relationship until they were finally married. (Talk about determination!)
In 2011, Brian missed the WSOP Main Event – where he won two of his WSOP bracelets – in order to accompany Juliana to her fiance visa interview. (Talk about true love!) Of course, she got the visa this time.
Total Winnings: $21,483,910
With a grand total of 8,089 POY points, Card Player 2018 Player of the Year goes to – Jake Schindler!
Known for his bold bluffs, this 29-year old American high roller has earned $3.6 million in last year’s $300k buy-in NLH Super High Roller Bowl, placing 2nd.
Schindler ranks 16th on the All-Time Money List as of September 2018.
His PokerStars screen name was “CaLLitARUSH.”
Total Winnings: $22,070,927
Apart from ranking 5th on 2018 Card Player’s POY, Koon is famous for his feats in live and online poker tournaments.
This American professional poker player started playing poker in 2006 during his college years under the alias “JAKoon1985” and “NovaSky.”
Koon loves going to the gym and fishing.
He has a Masters in Business Administration and Finance.
Total Winnings: $22,145,540
He’s not nicknamed “The Poker Brat” for nothing. This guy’s known for his hot temper at the games and even walking out of sets!
But it’s probably doing him well if not annoying his competitors because this guy’s won the most number of WSOP bracelets to date.
A total of 15 – yes 15 WSOP freaking bracelets!
He once walked off the set of Poker After Dark on NBC.
He had growing-up issues with school and friends.
Total Winnings: $23,492,690
“Anyone who says, ‘bracelets don’t matter’ is lying.” I think Seiver knows what he’s talking about.
He got his first WSOP bracelet in 2008, and the next one 10 years later.
Seiver hit number 1 on the GPI Ranking in May 2015 and he’s had some insane wins on the felt three years in a row since 2013.
His biggest victory was worth $5.1 million.
Sevier’s screen names are “gunning4you and “mastrblastr.”
His favorite online poker site is PokerStars.
He was born in Ohio, moved to New York, and now living in Las Vegas.
Total Winnings: $23,613,065
Johnson “John” Juanda is an Indonesian-born American poker pro who now resides in California.
He’s made his mark in the poker industry garnering a total of five WSOP bracelets.
He’s gotta have some serious skills to be Card Player Magazine’s tournament Player of the Year for two consecutive years (2001 and 2002).
His biggest win so far was at last year’s HKD 1 million NLH 2017 Triton Super High Roller Series – bagging $2.9 million.
Before becoming a star in poker, Juanda was a track star at school.
He used to sell Bibles and religion is one of his interests.
Total Winnings: $23,823,300
When we hear Las Vegas, we think gambling and casinos. But not everyone there loves to gamble, of course.
Yet some do and become masters of it. Just like poker pro, O’Dwyer who’s collected huge bucks in his career.
Last month, he’s just turned a $70k buy-in into a hefty $760k win.
That fateful Black Friday greatly affected O’Dwyer that he had to sleep on Scott Seiver’s floor and borrow money for food in the 2011 WSOP.
He was into broadcasting before poker changed his life.
Total Winnings: $24,700,867
Hailing from Ohio, Peters is ranked 6th POY this year.
His largest cash to date is $2.3 million in the 2016 WPT National – Philippines $200k buy-in event, on which he was runner-up.
He’s made final tables in the WSOP, EPT, and WPT and got one bracelet in the 2016 WSOP $1,500 NLH.
His nickname is “silent assassin” in the major poker tournament circuit.
Peters dropped out of school to focus on online poker tournaments.
Total Winnings: $25,725,046
This swag poker pro from Long Beach is oozing with confidence and is one of the most accomplished in the world of poker today.
Kenney was ranked 4th on the GPI as of May 2017.
He got his first WSOP bracelet in 2014 and he travels all over the world to play high stakes in many different tournaments and events.
He’s a big fan of Japan and has once shown up in a kimono during a $300k Super High Roller Bowl.
His attire turned a lot of heads and became a hot issue.
He’s the face of GGPoker, an online poker room on one of the largest online poker networks in Asia.
Total Winnings: $25,906,008
This American high roller though called by many names – King Dan, Truck Dan, Cowboy Dan – is the same guy who’s won over $10 million in live poker tournaments.
No WSOP bracelets so far, but he’s doing pretty well for himself without it.
Smith‘s got a big heart raising $1.7 million for various charity donations in 2016.
Total Winnings: $25,924,184
Guess who’s got 10 WSOP bracelets and one WPT title? This guy!
Phillip Dennis “Phil” Ivey Jr., is an American poker ninja who’s appeared at nine World Poker Tour final tables.
He was elected to the prestigious Poker Hall of Fame in 2017.
He was introduced to poker by his grandfather.
He’s also called the “Tiger Woods of Poker.”
Total Winnings: $27,166,934
Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is of Iranian descent. He and his family moved to California when he was nine.
This poker pro won the largest single payout in tournament poker history, topping the 2012 WSOP worth over $18 million!
He was born as Amir Esfandiary. He changed his name to a more “mystical” Antonio for his dream to become a magician – which he did before poker.
He is the author of “The Magician’s Secrets for Winning Tournaments” on Insta Poker, a strategy game about poker.
Total Winnings: $28,743,713
Colman totally swept the board winning more than $15 million dollars at the 2014 WSOP $1 Million NLH Big One for One drop event – his largest winnings so far.
This young American poker pro beat Daniel Negreanu and earned his first WSOP bracelet.
Colman doesn’t like giving interviews and getting his photos taken, so back off paparazzi.
He was the first player to win $1 million in hyper-turbo tournaments, doing it in less than a year.
Total Winnings: $32,987,103
He’s young and bold focusing only on high roller tournaments.
This 25-year old German pro was ranked “Best Online MTT Player” by Pocketfives two years in a row.
His recent winnings were $6 million last July, placing 2nd on a $1 Million NLH Big One for One drop event.
He currently resides in Vienna, Austria.
Total Winnings: $34,635,757
This 58-year old American professional poker player has eight WSOP bracelets and a WPT title to his name.
Seidel was runner-up to Johnny Chan in the World Series of Poker main event in 1988.
This final hand was featured in the 1998 film Rounders. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, what are you waiting for?
Before poker, he was a Pro backgammon player and a trader on the American stock exchange stock market.
He’s the only WSOP player to earn titles in three consecutive years.
Total Winnings: $38,661,710
AKA “Kid Poker,” Negreanu is a Canadian native who acquired his US citizenship in 2016.
Negreanu holds 38 career titles to date and is known to be one of the most vocal poker personalities.
Negreanu was 23 when he won his first WSOP bracelet.
He is known as one of the friendliest players in poker.
He turned vegan in 2006.
Total Winnings: $43,106,927
Topping the list is Los Angeles resident, Justin Bonomo AKA “ZeeJusin” online.
With a whopping $43.1 million in total winnings, Bonomo’s raked in more than most people could in a lifetime.
He’s also ranked 3rd in 2018 Card Player POY, just inches behind Jake Schindler and Stephen Chidwick.
At 19, Bonomo became the youngest player to be featured on TV at a final table in 2005, landing fourth place on EPT’s first year in France.
Bonomo sold his MMORPG character for $500 for his first online poker deposit.
A lot of the masters of the game swear that poker is not just a game of luck, but it mainly involves skill.
Maybe you wouldn’t ever make it to the Top 50 (or maybe you would), but if poker is what they say it is – a game of skill – surely it can be learned and the skill can be honed.
These poker pros didn’t play for money in the beginning.
It’s the pleasure of the game that made them play, and it’s the constant playing that developed their skill and made them big winners.