Top 10 Best Poker Players

In the intricate game of poker, good players are distinguished by several key traits. They possess an acute understanding of the game’s myriad complexities, maintain impeccable discipline, and have the capacity to make optimal decisions under pressure. These aficionados exhibit exceptional logical and analytical skills, demonstrating an ability to think multiple steps ahead while navigating the convoluted landscape of bluffs and bets. But the exceptional ones, the maestros of the card table, pair this with an unerring instinct, an ability to discern the subtlest tells, and a temperament that remains unflappable in the face of high stakes and higher tensions.

Who, then, are the best among the best? Who are the magicians of the felt, seamlessly weaving together knowledge, strategy, intuition, and daring?
The Top Ten
1 Stu Ungar Stu Ungar, born on September 8, 1953, was a professional poker player known for winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event three times. Despite his achievements, Ungar struggled with substance abuse, which ultimately contributed to his early death in 1998.

Phil Ivey is without question the greatest player in the world today, but Unger would have crushed him without much effort. You just can't compete with that level of natural ability. There are some people in human history with minds light years ahead of everyone else: Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Plato, Aristotle. Stu Unger was one of those people.

Simply the best poker player ever. If he played with these world-class players today, he would earn some real money instead of the small amount he was winning before the internet. If anyone should've been better than Ungar, it would be that young guy from Sweden.

Stu Unger had a mind like no other player in history. He had a photographic memory and an IQ over 200. Had he lived, there is no question that he would dominate the poker world like no other player. You just can't compete with his kind of gift.

2 Daniel Negreanu Daniel Negreanu is one of the most recognized and accomplished poker players in the world, renowned for his ability to read opponents and his six WSOP bracelets. Born in 1974 in Toronto, Canada, he is also a two-time World Poker Tour champion and a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.

A wrecking ball on the felt, but so likable and friendly. It's frightening when he breaks your game down and tells you your hand. He is the most dedicated to perfecting his game among other pro players who think their game is the pinnacle of poker. The number of cashes and titles in tournaments are unbelievable. Time will show his relentlessness to be the best. When all this is added up, you end up with the greatest representative for poker of the poker boom generation.

He is born to play poker! You know the poker machine. You can fix it 100% to not pay. Daniel Negreanu is so good he can defeat the machine... the human brain is just too weak for him...

My favorite player to watch, period! Plays the odds and the player! Knows strategy and handles the stress of a big game very well.

3 Phil Ivey Phil Ivey is considered by many to be one of the best all-around poker players in the world, boasting ten WSOP bracelets and one World Poker Tour title. Born on February 1, 1977, in California, he is known for his versatile playing style and his proficiency in various poker formats.

I think he will go down as the greatest of all time. It's a shame Durrrr is not on this list because, as of today, he is without a doubt a top 7 player. I have read the stories about Stu Ungar, but I think it's like comparing Wilt Chamberlain to Michael Jordan (positions aside).

Just see Phil playing, and you can have an idea of how solid he is. He is a complete poker player with great results in cash games. Daniel is great, and so is Doyle, but Phil is clearly the best in the world.

A cool-headed player. You can't read his expression whether he got 4 A's or nothing. It's all the same expression. Solid with his calls, a bit cocky though!

4 Phil Hellmuth Phil Hellmuth holds the record for the most WSOP bracelets won by a poker player, with a total of 15. Born on July 16, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, he is renowned for his unique and often controversial table presence, earning him the nickname "The Poker Brat."

Come on now, you may not like him, but he is the best. The only way to beat him is to outflop him. By far, the best with the bracelets to prove it!

He called me with Queen 10, honey!

Phil should be #3.

5 Erik Seidel Erik Seidel, born on November 6, 1959, is one of the most successful poker players of all time, securing numerous titles across WSOP and WPT. He has amassed millions in tournament earnings and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2010.

Best and smartest player.

6 Doyle Brunson Doyle Brunson, born on August 10, 1933, is a legendary figure in the poker world, having won ten WSOP bracelets, including two Main Events. He has been a prominent figure in the poker community for decades and authored "Super/System," a seminal poker strategy book.

Is he the best player currently? Of course not, but when talking hall of fame and the best overall poker player in the world over time, there can be no other pick. He played ahead of his time, and everybody else played to catch up. Poker has the same connotation as martial arts. It's a lot of different games, and for martial arts, it's a lot of different styles, but when it came to poker, Doyle was able to play all the games and win.

The Godfather of Poker. Has been successful over 5 decades and in all kinds of situations. He has been successful as a true road gambler throughout Texas and Exchange Avenue, into Vegas, and throughout the internet craze. The man is Country Cool.

Doyle Brunson has revolutionized the Poker Game. He wrote books and has played poker for more than 50 years with an estimated bankroll over 100 million. He is a great tournament player and teacher with gentlemanly behavior.

7 Jason Mercier Jason Mercier, born on November 12, 1986, is a professional poker player known for his achievements in live tournament poker, including five WSOP bracelets. He has consistently been one of the top-ranked players in the world in both live and online tournaments.

Very good consistent tournament player and has the results to show it.

8 Howard Lederer Howard Lederer, born on October 30, 1964, is a professional poker player and former president of Full Tilt Poker. His involvement in the Full Tilt Poker scandal tarnished his reputation, but he is still known for his two WSOP bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles.

Howard is the mathematician of poker! Very technical and rarely makes a mistake. Great mind.

9 Gus Hansen Gus Hansen, born on February 13, 1974, in Denmark, is a professional poker player known for his aggressive and unpredictable playstyle. He has won three World Poker Tour open titles and has made final tables at both WPT and WSOP events.

Love to watch him play the player, not the hand.

10 Patrik Antonius Patrik Antonius, born on December 13, 1980, in Finland, is a former professional tennis player and model turned poker pro. He is renowned for his success in high-stakes online poker games and has won millions in live poker tournaments.

He was a model. Body and brains. Unreadable too. Like a Renaissance statue.

The Contenders
11 Barry Greenstein Barry Greenstein, born on December 30, 1954, has earned several WSOP and WPT titles and is known for donating his tournament winnings to charity. He has authored a book titled "Ace on the River," providing insights into professional poker playing and strategy.
12 Antonio Esfandiari Antonio Esfandiari, born on December 8, 1978, in Iran, has won three WSOP bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles. He is known for his charismatic and entertaining personality at the poker table and once held the record for the largest single payout in poker tournament history.

The Magician has some great tricks. Again, plays the player and beats the table.

Great player. Thinks through every hand.

Just the best. Most winnings ever, 20M+.

13 Johnny Chan Johnny Chan, born in Guangzhou, China, on July 10, 1957, is a professional poker player known for winning consecutive WSOP Main Events in 1987 and 1988. With ten WSOP bracelets, he is one of the most successful and respected players in the history of the game.
14 Justin Bonomo Justin Bonomo, born on September 30, 1985, is one of the most successful poker players, holding numerous titles and having amassed millions in winnings. He has excelled in high roller events and has three WSOP bracelets to his name, demonstrating his prowess in both live and online poker arenas.
15 Tom Dwan Tom Dwan, born on July 30, 1986, in Edison, New Jersey, became famous for his high-stakes play in online poker rooms under the moniker "durrrr." He is known for participating in some of the highest-stakes cash games in the world, both live and online.

One of the most, if not the most, underrated players. Can bluff anyone off and is smart about the hands he plays.

One of the best bluffers and readers of poker. Also, arguably the best internet player in the world.

Insanely ballsy with a good spirit and the ability to bluff an opponent off virtually any holding.

16 John Juanda John Juanda, born on July 8, 1971, in Indonesia, is a professional poker player known for his calm demeanor and competitive spirit. He has won five WSOP bracelets and has made numerous final tables, earning millions in live tournament winnings.

Scary player. Would not want to be at the table with him.

17 Annie Duke Annie Duke, born on September 13, 1965, is a former professional poker player and the author of several books on poker and decision-making. She has a WSOP bracelet and used to be the leading money winner among women in WSOP history.
18 Vanessa Selbst Vanessa Selbst, born on July 9, 1984, is a former professional poker player known for her aggressive style and is the only woman to reach the number one ranking on the Global Poker Index. She has three WSOP bracelets and has earned millions in live tournament winnings before retiring to pursue a career in finance and consulting.
19 Chris Moneymaker Chris Moneymaker, born on November 21, 1975, in Atlanta, Georgia, played a significant role in popularizing online poker after winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event. His victory is considered the catalyst for the "Moneymaker Effect," which led to a surge in poker's popularity.
20 Scotty Nguyen Scotty Nguyen, born on October 28, 1962, in Vietnam, is a five-time WSOP bracelet winner, including one Main Event title. His catchphrase, "baby," and his flamboyant style have made him one of the most entertaining and recognizable figures in the poker world.

He is the best poker player in the world I have ever seen, and you know he got rich. He wears a god on his neck to get luck. That's what I like about Scotty Nguyen!

He has a lot of fame. He was very poor, and now he is very rich because he always wished to be rich when he was a little kid. Now he got his wish. He is very happy now that his wish has come true. That's why he has things that can help you, and that's what I think too!

21 Tony Guoga Tony Guoga, born on December 17, 1973, in Lithuania, is a professional poker player, businessman, and politician known for his brash and confrontational style at the poker table. He has had success in several high-profile tournaments and is known for his philanthropic efforts in Lithuania.

He's the best, forever.

22 Carlos Mortensen Carlos Mortensen, born on April 13, 1972, in Ecuador, is the only Hispanic poker player to win the WSOP Main Event. Known for his creative and unpredictable play, he has earned several million dollars in tournament winnings over his career.

Knows when to fold. His selective aggression wins him huge pots. Why Dwan and Antonius are so low in this chart, I don't know. Esfandiari should not be within the top 20. He’s just a lucky guy who hits every draw, every time.

23 Ted Forrest Ted Forrest, a renowned professional poker player, has won six WSOP bracelets across several poker variants, highlighting his versatile skill set. Born on September 24, 1964, he is recognized for his cool demeanor at the tables and has had numerous cashes, totaling in millions in earnings.
24 Viktor Blom Viktor Blom, known online as "Isildur1," was born on September 26, 1990, and gained fame for his high-stakes online poker play. The Swedish pro is recognized for his hyper-aggressive playstyle and has been involved in some of the largest pots in online poker history.
25 Bertrand Grospellier Bertrand Grospellier, better known in the poker world as “ElkY,” was born on February 8, 1981, in France and is a former professional StarCraft player. He has transitioned successfully to poker, earning one WSOP bracelet and two World Poker Tour titles, and is known for his aggressive and analytical playstyle.
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