Poker news | Aug 23, 2023
Top 12 Poker Pro Earnings
By RTR Alex
Have you ever wondered which poker pro banks the most cash from playing cards? Well, everyone has heard of Phil Hellmuth and Fedor Holz, but fame in the poker world doesn't necessarily equal the biggest bank account.
So, today we're going to break down the 12 highest earning poker pros of all time using data provided by The Hendon Mob, giving you an insight into just how these players made their multi-million dollar fortunes.
12. Cary Katz: $39,795,198
Although Cary Katz hasn't landed too many top prizes in major tournaments, he has gained significant recognition in the poker community due to his success in high-stakes events and is often associated with playing in super high roller tournaments, which feature buy-ins of $100,000 or more.
Katz famously had a string of first place finishes between 2014-2016 in the Aria High Roller and Super High Roller events in Las Vegas, where he began earning six-figure payouts quite regularly. He has recorded 9 seven-figure wins, with his highest ever being a $2,610,317 prize at the Super High Roller Bowl London in 2019.
11. Isaac Haxton: $39,970,514
Haxton gained early recognition for his success in online poker under the screen name "philivey2694." He quickly became one of the top players in the high-stakes online poker community, competing in games ranging from No-Limit Hold'em to Pot-Limit Omaha. But Haxton really burst onto the scene in 2007 with a second-place finish in a World Poker Tour Championship Event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, cashing in for $860,000.
Since then, he has amassed numerous million dollar cashes and final table appearances in some of the most prestigious events - including the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and various high roller tournaments around the world - bringing his total earnings to just shy of $40 million.
10. Phil Ivey: $40,760,044
Perhaps one of the most famous names in poker, Phil Ivey has been a dominant force at major tournaments for over two decades.
Ivey's career began back in 1998, where he quickly hit headlines as his second appearance in the pro circuit at the World Poker Open in Tunica landed a first place finish and a $53,297 cash out. Now, Ivey makes regular appearances at the most prestigious events and ranks 4th in all time World Series of Poker bracelet wins. His influence in the community is undeniable, and we only have to look at Haxton's online screen name to see it in action.
9. Mikita Bodyakovsky: $43,221,617
Mikita Bodyakovsky is the first of just 3 non-US players on this list. Hailing from Belarus, Bodyakovsky burst onto the international poker circuit back in 2016 with a quarter-million dollar win at the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
Since then, the Belarusian pro has built his impressive bankroll with wins at many major tournaments from the WSOP Europe to the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series. A first-place finish in the Triton Series in Jeju earned Bodyakovsky an immense $5,257,027, which tops the list of his winnings ahead of 12 other seven-figure paydays. He continues to place highly in Triton events, with his latest appearance in August 2023 adding another $283,000 to his all-time earnings.
8. Erik Seidel: $43,524,475
Seidel's poker career began in New York, where he started as a backgammon and chess player. He transitioned to poker during the late 1980s and quickly made a name for himself finishing as the runner-up in the 1988 WSOP Main Event. Today, Seidel has won nine WSOP bracelets, with the most recent coming in an online Hold’em event in 2021.
As someone who had dominated the international circuit for over twenty years, Seidel rightfully earned recognition for his ability with an induction into the Poker Hall of Fame back in 2010. The native New Yorker continues to attend major events to this day, with his most recent appearance being at an EPT Barcelona No Limit Hold em event in August 2023, where he earned a 6th place finish and $24,692 to bring his total earnings to a whopping $43,524,475.
7. David Peters: $43,776,443
Born on April 16, 1987, David Peters has been in the poker world for 16 years, making his first major tournament appearance in 2007. Peters said that his obsession with poker began after seeing the amateur player, Chris Moneymaker, shock the world by winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event.
Since then, Peters has logged a remarkable track record of cashing in and winning tournaments across various buy-in levels and formats, from high roller events to major poker series like WSOP and other prestigious tournaments. His biggest live cash was a staggering $2,699,752 at the World Poker Tour in 2016, but that is just 6% of his all time winnings.
6. Dan Smith: $45,325,216
Like many others on this list, Dan Smith's poker career is characterised by his remarkable consistency and dominance in major international events over many years.
After getting into college on a chess scholarship, Smith decided to leave his studies behind at the age of 18 to pursue a full-time poker career. His first cash and victory came just one year later in 2008, when he won the Heartland Poker Tour Main Event for $101,960.
2012 was the turning point of Smith's career that launched him onto a path of success. In just five days that year, he won three separate €5000 events for a combined €520,980. Since then, Smith has steamrolled the poker world and now has over 74 cashes in live poker tournaments with his biggest ever prize being a whopping $8,765,628.
5. Daniel Negreanu: $51,077,626
Daniel Negreanu has been one of the biggest names in poker for decades now, and it's not just down to his charm at the tables.
Negreanu began playing poker at a very young age and dropped out of high school to pursue his passion for the game. He moved to Las Vegas, where he honed his skills in cash games and tournaments and in 1998, he made his breakthrough by winning his first WSOP bracelet in a $2,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em event.
Today, the Canadian pro has six WSOP bracelets, numerous World Poker Tour titles, and plenty of high roller victories that bring his total winnings to over $50 million. He has also earned the title of "Player of the Year" on multiple occasions and has been an ambassador of major poker brands like Pokerstars and GG Poker over the years.
4. Jason Koon: $51,219,008
Born on August 14, 1985, in Weston, West Virginia, Koon has built a reputation over the last fifteen years as one of the top high-stakes players in the world.
Koon began playing poker online in 2006 during college under the alias JAKoon1985. Just three years later in April 2009, he won a tournament in the Spring Championship of Online Poker earning over $300,000 in prize money. From there, he quickly moved to live tournaments, playing in his first WSOP in 2009 where he cashed twice, followed up by a 4th place finish in the 2010 World Poker Tour main event for $225,000.
Today, Koon has 12 seven-figure cashes, with a top prize of $3,579,836 and he's still on the rise, most recently placing 1st in the 2023 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series London for $828,000.
3. Stephen Chidwick: $51,715,121
Stephen Chidwick began playing live poker tournaments in 2008 and quickly rose to fame as he finished runner-up in the Full Tilt FTOPS Event #17 winning $142,155.30 just one year later. Then in 2010, he made his first cash in the WSOP with three prizes.
Since then, Chidwick has dominated major events, notably winning a staggering $5,368,947 at the 2019 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series London in the £1,050,000 No Limit Hold'em event. He is the only English pro in the top 35 players in the world all time money list and continues to build on his $50+ million bankroll with recent cashes at the 2023 Triton series.
2. Justin Bonomo: $61,956,383
Justin Bonomo has previously been first in the list but has fallen short to huge winnings from Bryn Kenney in recent years.
Regardless, Bonomo has a lengthy career of impressive cashes including many at the World Series of Poker, with 55 cashes, 19 final tables, 3 bracelets and 1 circuit ring for $14,292,554 in total winnings.
The rest of Bonomo's giant tally comes mostly from high roller events, but the most notable moment in his career was back in 2018. His name hit headlines all over the world when he won the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop at the World Series of Poker. This victory earned him the largest single payout in poker history at the time, with a prize of over $10 million. It's no surprise to see a player of such calibre to be so high on this list, but there's just one player who beats him for the top spot...
1. Bryn Kenney: $65,036,892
Topping the all time money list is Bryn Kenney, with a staggering $65 million in poker tournament winnings. As the most successful poker player in the world it's no surprise to see him regularly land top spots and huge cashes at some of the biggest events but one key highlight of his career that pushed him way up the rankings, is his victory in the Triton Million for Charity event in 2019.
This tournament featured a historic £1,050,000 buy-in, making it one of the highest-stakes tournaments ever held. Kenney emerged victorious, earning a ridiculous and record-breaking payout of $20,563,324.
Kenney has always had an impressive ranking in the money list, but what pushed him to the top was a recent $6,860,000 cash at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series. His now $65,036,892 is the largest live earnings total in the world.
Will Bonomo catch up and reclaim the top spot in the world rankings? Or will Kenney continue his dominant run from the last few years?