Have you ever wondered who the best poker players of all-time are? Well, one way of trying to figure that out is by using the Hendon Mob’s all-time tournament poker money earnings list.
Now, this list is a bit problematic because it only counts tournament winnings and does not (to my knowledge) include tournament losses. This is not even to mention stuff like travel expenses!
Also, even more glaringly, this list will only include tournament poker players. And this is because winnings from cash games (which are often much bigger over time) are not publicly known.
Most of the biggest cash games in the world in Las Vegas or Macau for example are invite only and winnings or losses are very rarely ever published.
Anyways, all of these issues aside, here is are the top 50 best poker players of all time according to the all time tournament money winnings list.
By the way, if you haven’t made at least $12 million dollars in career poker tournament winnings, you can’t even get on this list!
1st – Justin Bonomo (United States) $ 44,626,825
2nd – Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $ 39,830,195
3rd – Erik Seidel (United States) $ 34,782,419
4th – David Peters (United States) $ 32,628,532
5th – Fedor Holz (Germany) $ 32,556,379
6th – Bryn Kenney (United States) $ 30,654,182
7th – Daniel Colman (United States) $ 28,925,059
8th – Jason Koon (United States) $ 27,911,824
9th – Antonio Esfandiari (United States) $ 27,728,437
10th – Dan Smith (United States) $ 27,704,822
11th – Steve O’Dwyer (United States) $ 26,902,444
12th – Phil Ivey (United States) $ 26,267,283
13th – Isaac Haxton (United States) $ 24,795,909
14th – John Juanda (Indonesia) $ 24,639,913
15th – Jake Schindler (United States) $ 23,849,706
16th – Scott Seiver (United States) $ 23,502,071
17th – Stephen Chidwick (England) $ 23,130,813
18th – Phil Hellmuth Jr (United States) $ 22,866,828
19th – Brian Rast (United States) $ 21,506,086
20th – Nikita Bodyakovskiy (Belarus) $ 21,039,341
21st – Sam Trickett (England) $ 20,840,004
22nd – Rainer Kempe (Germany) $ 19,700,171
23rd – Christoph Vogelsang (Germany) $ 19,544,999
24th – Cary Katz (United States) $ 19,016,307
25th – Jason Mercier (United States) $ 18,852,157
26th – Dominik Nitsche (Germany) $ 18,016,135
27th – Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) $ 18,012,110
28th – Thomas Marchese (United States) $ 17,932,969
29th – Adrian Mateos (Spain) $ 17,301,912
30th – Igor Kurganov (Russia) $ 17,294,921
31st – Michael Mizrachi (United States) $ 16,938,806
32nd – Martin Jacobson (Sweden) $ 16,866,100
33rd – Nick Petrangelo (United States) $ 16,839,657
34th – Joseph McKeehen (United States) $ 15,750,225
35th – Sam Greenwood (Canada) $ 15,731,080
36th – Ole Schemion (Germany) $ 15,218,949
37th – Byron Kaverman (United States) $ 14,860,477
38th – Ryan Riess (United States) $ 14,213,173
39th – Timothy Adams (Canada) $ 14,132,442
40th – Joe Cada (United States) $ 13,662,042
41st – Bertrand Grospellier (France) $ 13,613,614
42nd – Mike McDonald (Canada) $ 13,267,686
43rd – Joseph Cheong (United States) $ 13,260,809
44th – Steffen Sontheimer (Germany) $ 13,205,686
45th – Justin Cuong Van Tran (United States) $ 13,028,138
46th – Elton Tsang (China) $ 12,752,988
47th – Sorel Mizzi (Canada) $ 12,649,187
48th – Scotty Nguyen (United States) $ 12,594,346
49th – Jamie Gold (United States) $ 12,588,364
50th – Joe Hachem (Australia) $ 12,386,078
So drawing from the list above, let’s also see how the biggest winning tournament poker players of all time stack up according to their respective countries.
United States – 28
Canada – 6
Germany – 6
England – 2
Australia – 1
Sweden – 1
France – 1
Spain – 1
Russia – 1
Belarus – 1
China – 1
Indonesia – 1
Now I must say that I am not overly shocked to see that players from the USA represent over half of this list!
After all, a lot of the biggest poker tournaments in the world including the World Series of Poker are held there.
However, the United States is also the birthplace of poker and there is no question that many of the best poker players in the world are from America.
I am proud to see that my country of Canada came in tied for 2nd place with another poker powerhouse, Germany.
I was a bit surprised to see that there is only one Russian on this list and that Asia as a whole is not very well represented.
However, I think in future years, with the growth of the game in Asia in particular and more big time tournaments being hosted there, this will change.
Another thing that you might have noticed about this list of the top 50 best tournament poker players of all time is that many of them are young, 20’s or 30’s.
On the list above, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th are all below 40 years of age. In some cases like Fedor Holz, mid 20’s.
This is a huge change from say 10 or 20 years ago when this list would have been dominated by much older live poker pros.
The reason why so many of the best poker players in the world are in their 20’s or 30’s now is because tournament fields are much bigger these days and therefore the biggest events often stretch days or even a week in length .
Let me tell you as a hardcore grinder myself, concentrating intently for 10+ hours a day on poker for upwards of a week is something that is much easier to do when you are younger.
The other major reason why so many of the best poker players of all time are younger now is very simple, online poker.
As I have contended for many years now on this blog, nearly all of the highest level thinking and the hardest games to beat these days are online.
And this is absolutely no secret to anyone in the know. Many of the biggest names from the past in poker for example get absolutely wrecked when they decide to play high stakes poker online.
Also, with the speed and the ability to multi-table online poker, many of the younger players of today have simply played far more hands of poker in their short lifetime than the older live pros of the past.
So who are the best poker players of all time? Well, unfortunately the best guess we can get is by looking at the Hendon Mob all time tournament poker winnings list.
In my opinion there are many well known (and not very well known) cash game players who would actually be on my personal list of the best poker players of all time.
However, this tournament list is dominated by American poker players and there is a very youthful flavour to it these days as well.
As the game grows I think we will see more players on this list from Europe and Asia. However, I think the all time poker tournament winnings list will continue to be dominated by younger poker players in the future.
When Justin Bonomo overtook Daniel Negreanu for first place last year (after Daniel held #1 for close to 10 years), I think this really signaled a changing of the guard.
And as mentioned, the top 10 now is absolutely dominated by poker players in their 20’s or 30’s. This was absolutely not the case even just 10 years ago.
If you want to know how I became a poker pro traveling the world (although nowhere near making the list above yet!), make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.