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It’s hard to pinpoint the origins of poker. It developed sometime in the XIX century, in the United States. According to American author Robert F. Foster, poker originated from the Persian As-Nas. But it’s also possible that poker took inspiration from the French game poque or the British game brag. Things get even more confusing when you learn that poque originated from the German game pochen, while brag was clearly inspired by the French game brelan.
Knowing the history of the game can make you a great historian, but it’s unlikely that it turns you into the world’s best poker player. Succeeding in the game requires knowing the rules of poker. After all, this card game demands focus, calculation, and being great in poker face, no puns intended. And, like all games of chance, poker requires having luck on your side. Knowledge and calculation can come in handy, but they never guarantee a win.
With $8,080,012, Vivek Rajkumar is currently the richest poker player in India. The amount is already impressive, but it pales in comparison to the earnings of world poker players. Previously, Nipun Java held the title of the richest poker player in India, but despite being #1 in his homeland, he peaked at #688 on the list of the richest poker players in the world.
So, if Rajkumar and Java are definitely not in the top 100, it’s obvious that the game can lead to insane fortunes. Without any further ado, let’s check out the top 10 richest poker players in the world.
Sometimes magic can help you make a fortune. Well, that’s not exactly how Antonio Esfandiari earned his fortune. The point is that before becoming a professional poker player, Esfandiari was a professional magician.
Antonio Esfandiari was born in Tehran, Iran, as Amir Esfandiary. In the late 1980s, his family moved to the United States. Esfandiari became a professional magician. And he could’ve continued his career if he wasn’t once invited to play Texas Hold’Em. Since then, he began a career as a professional poker player.
Considering the probability that poker originated from the Persian game As-Nas, it makes no surprise that Esfandiari joined the group of rich poker players. His total earnings from the game stand at $27 million.
In the world of poker he’s known as Tony G. But winning insane amounts of money in this card game is kinda like a hobby for him. Tony G or Antanas Guoga is not only a legendary poker player but also a businessman and a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. From 2014 to 2019, Antanas Guoga was a member of the European Parliament.
He started playing poker in his late teens. His tactics of intimidating opponents helped him to score multi-million wins, which helped him to become the best poker player from Lithuania. His total earnings from poker stand at over $36 million.
Being a Magic: the Gathering competitor quickly led Bryn to get interested in poker. Unlike the two previous entries on the list, Bryn Kenney is a professional poker player with no side careers. And his sheer devotion to the game brought him decent rewards. Although he got only one World Series of Poker bracelet, his total earnings from the game of chance are over $55 million.
Aside from his success in the offline gambling world, Justin Bonomo is one of the richest online poker players. Just like Bryn Kenney, Justin transitioned to poker from Magic: the Gathering. At the age of nineteen, Bonomo became the youngest poker player to be featured in the televised tournament.
His total earnings from various tournaments he has participated in throughout his career as a professional poker player are over $57 million.
Daniel Negreanu is probably the best-known name among the richest poker players. Being the only player who was named the World Series of Poker Player of the Year twice. Moreover, Global Poker Index identified Negreanu as the best player of the 2010s.
A Canadian of Romanian origin, Negreanu dropped from high school, just several credits from graduation, to focus on playing at charitable casinos. Building a sustainable bankroll, Daniel Negreanu proceeded to make his dream of becoming a professional poker player come true. And in 2004 he was named the World Series of Poker Player of the Year for the first time. Ten years later, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. And as a nice bonus to all that accomplishments, Negreanu's total career earnings stand at $60 million.
Doyle F. Brunson is one of the oldest poker players on the list. Born in Longworth, Texas on August 10, 1933, Brunson would become the first poker player in the world to win $1 million. He’s a Poker Hall of Fame inductee. Aside from that, Brunson was twice the Main Event Champion in the World Series of Poker.
Since 2018, when Brunson announced his retirement from his professional career in poker, which lasted for over five decades, he wrote several books on poker, while enjoying his total career earnings of over $75 million.
Chris Ferguson is a rich poker player with not the best reputation out there. On the one hand, he won six World Series of Poker events, which definitely earns him a place on the list. On the other hand, he was charged for participating in a fraud scheme that allowed paying over $400 million money of Full Tilt Poker’s users to the site’s owners.
Gladly for Ferguson, the case was dismissed, which probably helped him save his total career earnings of over $80 million.
Sam Farha has quite an interesting biography. Born in Beirut, Lebanon in the late 1950s, his family moved to the United States when the civil war in Farha’s homeland erupted. He earned a degree in business administration at the University of Kansas. And he made his first capital by playing Pac-Man against other players for cash.
In the 1980s, Sam Farha made a trip to Las Vegas, and with constant wins, he realized that he can make a career of playing poker. Since then, Farha had earned three World Series of Poker bracelets and has total career earnings of $100 million, which could’ve made him the richest poker player, but the next two entries earned more.
Earning ten World Series of Poker bracelets easily explains why Phil Ivey is nicknamed “Tiger Woods of Poker”. His other nickname is “No Home Jerome”, which comes from the fake ID that he used to play poker while still in his teens.
He participated in numerous tournaments, almost exclusively ending up in the top tens, and frequently at #1. All in Magazine named him Poker Player of the Year twice, in 2005 and 2009. And all that led to a net worth of $125 million, which makes him the richest poker player in the world.
Wait, what? Didn’t it say that Phil Ivey is the world's richest poker player? While it does, when it comes to net worth, Dan Bilzerian tops him. The American businessman once was voted the funniest poker player on Twitter. He’s mainly known for leading a lavish lifestyle, for several controversies, and for playing poker.
Speaking of controversies, Dan Bilzerian made several unconfirmed claims about winning from $10 to $50 million. And here we come to the fun part, while Dan Bilzerian has a net worth of over $200 million, which explains his placement on the list, his total earnings from playing the famous card game is just $36,000.