The Worlds Top Poker Players

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There are many ways to rate poker players, from the amount of prize money collected to the number of bracelets won and the most recent major tournament victories. But some players seem to show up on just about every list of Poker’s Best. Following is an introduction to eight of the biggest names in the business.

Phil Ivey is sometimes referred to as the “Tiger Woods of Poker.” At 34 years of age, he is ranked #1 among the world’s top money winners as of 2010 with just over $13.6 million in overall earnings. He grew up in New Jersey and learned the game in Atlantic City. By the time he was 23, Ivey had already won three World Series of Poker bracelets. Most recently, he took First Place in the 41st WSOP 2010 H.O.R.S.E. Finals, winning $329,840 and bragging rights as the top all-round player, bar none.

Daniel Negreanu hails from Toronto, Canada. The 36-yearold is never more than a step behind Phil Ivey in anything. Having won three WSOP bracelets, he is currently ranked #2 in overall earnings at just under $12.8 million. Considered a “scientific player,” Negreanu teaches at his own Poker School Online and has authored several books, including “Hold’em Wisdom for All Players” and “Power Hold`em Strategy.” His favourite game is No-Limit Omaha 8.

Jamie Gold may have only one major bracelet in his trophy collection at present, but it was a huge one—the 2006 WSOP Main Event. The 41-yearold from Malibu, California is one of the game’s most proficient up-and-comers. His overall earnings of $12.2 million rank Gold #3 in the world. A talent agent by trade, he is regarded by professionals as an aggressive and skillful bluffer, capable of intimidating even the strongest players.

Peter Eastgate is arguably the best Poker player in the world outside North America. Just ahead of his 25th birthday in December 2010, he has already piled up $11.3 million in winnings and can still claim to be the youngest winner ever of the WSOP Main Event, the title he took in 2008. Eastgate is a frequent presence at final tables in Europe, including the most recent EPT London Main Event and EPT Deauville. He came fifth at the 2010 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, too.

T.J. Cloutier is living proof that old Poker players never die. He’s been playing the game since 1956, amassing six WSOP bracelets, 60 total championships, over $9.4 million in winnings, and four top-5 finishes in the WSOP Main Event. Still very active, the native of Richardson, Texas is currently ranked #1 in the world among participants in Senior tournaments and #11 overall—so as they say, “don’t mess with Texas.”

Annette Obrestad was born in Norway in 1988 and did not start playing poker until 2005, which makes her rise to #1 in the world among female players exceptional beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Her breakthrough came at age 18 when she won an online Full Tilt Poker Sunday Mulligan. That success propelled her toward live games and ultimate victory at the 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event. With more than $3 million in winnings to date, Obrestad looks to be the darling of Poker for a long time to come.

Annie Duke won her first WSOP bracelet in an Omaha Hi-Lo event in 2004 when she was 39 years old. She held the record as the highest paid female in Poker till Annette Obrestad came along, but with a cool $2.1 million in winnings, she is doing more than all right. Duke currently holds the #2 spot among women who sit at the tables.

Doyle Brunson must have his name mentioned on any list of Top Poker Players. It is not because at age 77 he’s still #36 in world earnings with almost $5.5 million, nor because he has won 10 WSOP bracelets, including back-to-back Main Events in 1976-77. It’s not even because he has a Texas Hold’em hand named after him (the off-suit 10-2) or for his induction to the Poker Hall of Fame. No, it is because of his ambition, “To play poker until I`m 85 years old.” That means eight more years of intimidating the “youngsters” at the table, who will know they are seated with a true legend of the game.

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