The Staggering Net Worth of the World’s Richest Poker Players
Ready to quit your day job? If so, learn poker, because the amount you can make overnight is insane. The amount you can lose is also mind-numbing. For the world’s best poker players, poker isn’t just a game reserved for a weekend outing to the casinos. It’s a way of life and a livelihood.
Without further ado, here are the world’s richest poker players, and be prepared to be overcome with jealousy.
Vanessa Rousso $4 Million
With a hat full of sponsors, how could Vanessa Rousso not be loaded? A child prodigy, Rousso has been playing poker since she was five, but unlike many of her contemporaries, Rousso finished college, and in record time. Rousso graduated from Duke University in just two and a half years.
From there, she went to the University of Miami School of Law where she paused her education to pursue her poker career; she did return to finish her degree in 2018 and graduated magna cum laude. Aside from poker, Rousso has appeared in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and is consistently ranked as one of the sexiest players in poker. To date, Rousso hasn’t won any WSOP bracelets.
Liv Boeree $4 Million
A native of England, Live Boeree is one of the brightest players in poker. Prior to poker, Boeree graduated from college with a degree in astrophysics. A heavy believer in stats, probability, and data, Boeree got her start in poker on a reality television show where she was coached by some of the world’s best players like Phil Hellmuth and Annie Duke.
From there, her unique skillset helped her career take off to new heights. Boeree has one WSOP bracelet and is one of the top female poker stars of all time. Outside of poker, Boeree has given TED Talks on probability, appeared on numerous television shows in England, and has published a number of articles for major publications such as Vox.com.
Jason Mercier $9 Million
Five-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Jason Mercier may just be the best poker player on planet earth today. In 2009, Bluff Magazine named Mercier the Player of the Year, and in 2016, Mercier received the prestigious honor of being named World Series of Poker Player of the Year. Mercier grew up in Hollywood, Florida, a fitting name for a man destined for the casinos.
In high school, Mercier was a four-year letterman in basketball, baseball, and soccer. As a senior, he was a 1st-team All-Broward County basketball player and attended Florida Atlantic University (for just one year). Today, Mercier is a father, husband, and one of the world’s top players.
Sam Trickett $9.4 Million
Englishman Sam Trickett has yet to capture one of poker’s greatest prizes, a Wolrd Series of Poker bracelet. Despite being bracelet-less, Trickett has done amazingly well at poker since getting into the game back in 2005. The reason Trickett got involved? An unfortunate injury ended his soccer career. Trading the green grass of the soccer pitch for the green felt of the poker tables, Trickett has been one of England’s most successful players.
In 2011, Trickett won the European Poker Player of the Year and was also named Britain’s Best Cash Player. One of the secrets to Trickett’s success? Eating healthy. Trickett is a firm believer that healthier food is easier for your body to digest, thus freeing up much-needed brain power to focus on poker.
Tom Dwan $10 Million
The pride of Edison, New Jersey, Tom Dwan has invented quite the career for himself at the tables. Dwan finished high school and matriculated to Boston University. But like many others on this list, getting a fancy piece of paper wasn’t worth it and Dwan dropped out to get the other kind of paper, cold, hard cash.
Dwan is a proud owner of zero bracelets, but don’t let that minor detail fool you. Dwan is one of the game’s rising young stars and has already made a small fortune in just a few years of playing competitively. To date, Dwan has earned $10 Million, and look for him in the coming years to win his first WSOP bracelet.
Doug Polk $10 Million
Doug Polk, as he states on his website, has always been a free thinker. Involved in strategy game since his childhood, it’s really no surprise that the game of poker stole Polk’s heart. Polk, prior to cards, was passionate about chess and video games, but neither of those industries can make you millions.
After high school, Polk went to college before dropping out to make poker a full-time career. Since that audacious move, Polk has won three WSOP bracelets, beat a robot in a highly-publicized match of Texas Hold ’em, and has been one of the most consistent earners in the world.
Gus Hansen $10.5 Million
Professional gambler Gus Hansen is no stranger to taking big losses. He also not a stranger when it comes to winning big. A native of Denmark, Hansen has one WSOP bracelet and has gained a certain level of fame for his betting antics and willing to gamble on just about anything. Hansen got his big poker break while he was a transfer student at UC Santa Cruz. Since then, Hansen has been known to blow millions of dollars in high-stakes games, both online and in person.
In 2004, People Magazine named Hansen one of the sexiest men on earth in 2004. Hansen also entered a celebrity boxing match against Theo Jorgensen, and yes, that fight between two people who make a living sitting down fiddling chips went just about as well as you’d expect it to go.
Scotty Nguyen $12 Million
Poker is full of exotic and eccentric personalities, but few can top the wild ways of Scotty Nguyen. Nguyen, born in Vietnam, moved to the U.S. at 14. From the outset, Scotty was trouble, and a nasty poker habit of playing underground poker led to Scotty’s expulsion from school. Well, that was a blessing in disguise, and as one door closes, another opens.
Scotty got involved with small casino games before elevating his status to bigger tournaments in California and Las Vegas. Despite blowing tons of money and battling a drug habit, Nguyen has been wildly successful, winning five WSOP bracelets and one Main Event.
Scott Seiver $15 Million
The pride of Long Island, Scott Seiver wasn’t always a poker star. After high school, Seiver attended the prestigious Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. It was there while Seiver majored in Computer Science that he got his start with poker.
Infatuated with the game, Seiver, a frat boy with an uncanny resemblance to Jonah Hill, began to get more involved with chips and less involved with the video games that occupied hours of his day. Today, Seiver has two WSOP bracelets and has been ranked as the No.1 poker player in the world. When he’s not at the tables, you can find him playing “Magic: The Gathering.”
Phil Laak $18 Million
Born in Dublin but raised in America, Phil Laak initially set out to become an engineer after graduating from the University of Massachusetts. However, Laak soon realized that he didn’t want to work in an office crunching numbers for the rest of his life, so he swapped his work briefcase for a poker briefcase full of chips and departed to California where he began playing the game full time.
To date, Laak has won one WSOP bracelet and is known on the tour as the “Unabomber” thanks to his resemblance (hooded sweatshirt and shades) to the original Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski. Laak is dating actress and poker player Jennifer Tilly.
Antonio Esfandiari $20 Million
Antonio Esfandiari probably has you all fooled. That’s because he’s a magician, and his name wasn’t always Antonio Esfandiari. Born Amir Esfandiary in Tehran, Iran, Amir and his family moved to San Jose, California, at the age of nine. Shortly after graduating from Del Mar High School in 1997, Amir, who was an aspiring magician, changed his name to the now-recognized Antonio Esfandiari.
But like most magicians, Esfandiari knew how to pull a good disappearing act and dropped magic for poker, a move that has dazzled his fans. Esfandiari has three WSOP bracelets, won the largest single payout in torment history when he took home $18.4 million at the 2012 Big One for One Drop, and is one of the best players in poker history.
Phil Hellmuth $20 Million
There isn’t a bigger diva in poker history than Phil Hellmuth. Phil’s record and skill set are second to none. With a record 15 WSOP bracelets and two Main Event victories, Hellmuth is in a league of his own. The problem is the 2007 Poker Hall of Fame inductee has the temperament of a child and is almost as well known for his tantrums and blow-ups than his gambling abilities.
Hellmuth dropped out of college to pursue a full-time poker career and has amassed an impressive $20 million. That being said, he is one of the most unlikable personalities in the poker circuit and can be unbearable to watch at times.
Brian Rast $22 Million
Stanford graduate. High school valedictorian. Brian Rast is one smart dude, and the smartest decision he ever made was to make poker a career. Before Rast ever made it to graduation, he dropped out of college and made the casino his second home.
Since doing so, Rast has won four World Series of Poker bracelets and has been one of the more consistent players on the poker tour. Rast has made 10 final tables and has 33 money finishes. In 2011, Rast married his wife Juliana, a Brazilian national. Rast, whose bank account is padded beyond belief, lives in Las Vegas.
Jake Schindler $23.8 Million
The all-time money leader from Pennsylvania is Jake Schindler. Schindler, a 26-year-old, looks like he is pushing 19. So the real question isn’t where he learned his skills or how he got involved in the game; it’s if he still gets carded when entering the casinos. And we are going to go out on a limb here and say yes.
Aside from the youthful face, Schindler’s skill set is that of a seasoned vet. Schindler has yet to win a bracelet, but he has appeared at three final tables and has 30 money finishes. In 2018, Schindler was named Card Player’s Player of the Year. With $23.8 million in career earnings, it’s no surprise Schindler made this list.
John Juanda $24.6 Million
John Juanda is a poker legend with five WSOP bracelets who found the game in the most unlikely of ways. Born in Indonesia to a father with a gambling addiction, Juanda was warned by family and friends to avoid the game, but he couldn’t help himself. As a child, Juanda started betting on trivial games such as marbles, and marbles slowly evolved into card games.
In 1990, Juanda left Indonesia to enroll at Oklahoma State University, and it was on that transcontinental flight where he learned the game of poker. In college, Juanda would play for hours per day, and that habit only increased as Juanda earned his M.B.A. from the University of Seattle. Following school, Juanda committed to playing poker full time and hasn’t looked back.
Isaac Haxton $24.7 Million
Mr. Isaac Haxton grew up in Westchester, a suburb of New York City. Like seemingly everyone else on this list, Haxton grew up playing strategy games and excelled at both chess and “Magic: The Gathering.” Following high school, Haxton attended Brown University where he was friends with other future poker stars mentioned on this list.
At Brown University, Haxton majored in computer science. While doing so, he began to transition from coding into competitive poker and has slowly amassed a fortune. Although he has no bracelets, Haxton has thoroughly dominated the online scene. He is happily married to his wife Zoe.
Daniel Colman $25 Million
Born in the small town of Holden, Massachusetts, Daniel Colman has come a long way from the suburbs. Colman, and no we are not forgetting the “e,” has won one World Series of Poker bracelet but has raked in millions of dollars through years of fervently playing online poker. In 2013, Colman managed to win $1,000,000 in hyper-turbo online tournaments in just nine months.
In 2014, Colman had a career year and won $15.4 million for taking first place at the Big One for One Drop tournament. For his 2014 efforts, Colman was named the Poker Player of the Year by numerous publications including Bluff Magazine and Card Player Magazine.
Jennifer Tilly $25 Million
Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Tilly is a star on the silver screen and a phenom at the poker tables. Tilly rose to fame for her role in Woody Allen’s 1994 film “Bullets over Broadway.” After that breakout performance, Tilly starred in plenty of big hits and even more B movies.
But her heart was with the betting chips, not making clips, and Tilly changed careers to become a professional poker player. In 2005, Tilly won her first and only WSOP bracelet in the Ladies’ No-Limit Texas hold ’em event where she decimated 600 other competitors. Tilly has been dating fellow poker star Phil Laak since 2004.
Steve O’Dwyer $26 Million
Steve O’Dwyer didn’t get into poker because he got bored of “Magic” or realized he couldn’t get girls by playing that game. Nor did he get into poker because college just wasn’t cutting it. In fact, O’Dwyer, who was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, finished school with a degree in broadcasting from East Carolina University, located in Greenville, North Carolina.
While in college, O’Dwyer stumbled upon a game of poker amongst friends, and the rest is history. To date, O’Dwyer hasn’t won any bracelets but he has been at one final table and has 15 money finishes. In 2011, O’Dwyer was hit by the Black Friday poker scandal and was forced to sleep on floors and borrow money.
Jason Koon $26 Million
Jason Koon hails from Weston, West Virginia, a small town most of you have probably never heard of. A star athlete growing up, Koon enrolled at West Virginia Wesleyan College where he hoped to run professionally. Well, an injury cut his running career short but opened up a new career with Koon running the tables at high stakes games around the globe.
Following graduation, Koon took a job working at an insurance company. Pedaling insurance isn’t really living the dream, and Koon quit to play poker, a game he learned while in college. Today, Koon lives in Canada and has yet to win a World Series of Poker bracelet.
Dan Smith $27 Million
Dan Smith grew up in New Jersey. Naturally, he wanted to get out of what most American’s refer to as the “armpit of America.” Initially, Dan tried to escape Jersey by enrolling in college, but that too wasn’t stimulating enough for him. Smith was dreaming of posing with fat stacks of Benjamins, not posing with his parents after graduation.
Since taking on poker full-time, Smith has had 23 money finishes but has failed to win a World Series of Poker bracelet. As of 2018, Smith has earned a whopping $29 million. Clearly, he made the prudent decision to go all in.
Bryn Kenney $30 Million
A Long Beach, New York, native, Bryn Kenney was originally a “Magic: The Gathering” player like Scott Seiver. Apparently, there’s something about being good at that fantasy game that translates well for poker. Maybe it’s the ability to stay composed while fending off your opponent’s endless onslaught of dragon attacks? After Kenney slew enough dragons, he swapped his “Magic” deck for a card deck and began playing poker.
The real reason he left “Magic” was there “wasn’t much money to be made with “Magic.” I was also ready to start chasing girls and I definitely couldn’t do that by playing cards with a bunch of nerds like myself every weekend.” At least he’s honest. Today, Kenney has one WSOP bracelet and has racked up over $30 million in winnings.
Patrik Antonius $32 Million
From posing to poker. A jack of all trades, Finish heartthrob Patrik Antonius has yet to win a WSOP bracelet, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t earned a hefty chunk of change playing poker, both online and in person. Antonius, like others here, got his breakthrough online.
Veiled by a bunch of eclectic usernames, Antonius was one of the highest-grossing players online, and in 2009 he won the biggest pot in online poker history, cashing in a cool $1.3 million. When he’s not at the tables, Antonius can be found playing tennis, his first passion. Prior to poker, Antonius modeled.
Fedor Holz $33 Million
When Mr. Fedor Holz gets seated at the poker table, the blitzkrieg begins. The young German prodigy has a pension for winning and winning big, regardless of the competition or stage. Holz got is start as an anonymous player dominating the online poker scene. However, in poker, the real money is made in person at high-stake tournaments broadcasted for the world to see.
Seeing an opportunity to earn more money, Holz distanced himself from the online world and went to the tables. At just 25 years old, Holz already has one bracelet and is one of the highest-earning players on the tour. When Holz isn’t playing poker, he enjoys traveling the world and mentoring young, up-and-coming poker players.
Justin Bonomo $40 Million
Like many others, Justin Bonomo got his start in poker after ditching the card game that so many others poker players jettisoned too, “Magic: The Gathering.” After ditching “Magic,” Bonomo went to Vegas to try his hand in poker, and the move was a royal flush. Bonomo is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and has made 16 final tables.
Outside of poker, Bonomo is known for being polyamorous and a big fan of the Burning Man festival held annually in Nevada. In 2018, Bonomo passed Daniel Negreanu for most all-time live earnings with a gargantuan $43 million. Safe to say he’ll be able to fund his passion for Burning Man for years to come.
Daniel Negreanu $50 Million
Hailing from the great, maple-syrup-producing state of Canada, Daniel Negreanu knew from the start that he’d be a poker player. School wasn’t for Negreanu, and the Toronto native decided to drop out of high school before graduation. He was pushing his luck, but the move panned out in spades.
Negreanu got heavily involved with the local poker scene and saved up enough money to move to the gambling capital of North America, Las Vegas. Often seen sporting his Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, Negreanu has won six WSOP bracelets, is a vegan, and has appeared in numerous television shows and movies. Talk about a full house.
Doyle Brunson $75 Million
Doyle Brunson is about as esteemed and celebrated as anyone in poker. A Texas native, Brunson got his start playing poker in college, but to him, the game was just that, a game. That is until Brunson made more than a month’s salary playing in a poker game with his coworkers. Shortly after, Brunson quit his job to play poker full time.
Ten WSOP bracelets and decades later, Brunson has cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players ever. His book, “Poker Systems,” is a best-seller and bible for pokers enthusiasts worldwide looking to learn the game from one of the greats. Brunson, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, has also won two Main Events at the WSOP.
Chris Ferguson $80 Million
He can cut fruit and vegetables with cards, has a Ph.D. in computer science, and has six World Series of Poker bracelets to his name. Simply put, Chris Ferguson is the most interesting man in poker. Nicknamed Jesus, Chris Ferguson earned his Ph.D. from UCLA, however, after nearly a decade of working to get that degree, Ferguson did a total 180 and followed his heart…to the poker table.
Known for his signature long hair, cowboy hat, and unmistakenly calm demeanor, Ferguson has raked in $80 million over the course of his career. One major blemish on Ferguson’s otherwise pristine resume was the Full Tilt Poker scandal that embroiled numerous poker stars including Ferguson.
Phil Ivey $100 Million
A phenom from a young age, Phil Ivey got the nickname “No Home Jerome” after the plethora of fake IDs he used to get into the casinos as a teenager. Unlike most teenage passions, which are fleeting, Ivey’s love of poker was real and deep.
He was all in on the game and made his hobby a career. Considered one of the greatest poker players of all time, Ivey has won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets and was elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017. After a lifetime of poker, Ivey’s net worth is a staggering $100 million.
Dan Bilzerian $150 Million
Where the truths stop and the lies begin remains unknown with the king of Instagram. Dan Bilzerian’s life remains a mystery, and the only details us plebeians can piece together come from his outlandish Instagram account and the questionable snippets we get from his interviews. Seriously, there are no real concrete facts surrounding this ubiquitous mystery. How long was he in the Navy for, did his money come from poker or his pops, and how much is he really worth?
The answers to these questions remain shrouded by disparate details, foggy accounts, and questionable stories. But one thing we are nearly certain of is Bilzerian has a lot of money and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. According to celebritynetworth.com, the site where we will be getting our financial figures from, Bilzerian has a net worth of $150 million, of which no one is exactly sure how much came from poker.