3 of the biggest poker players in history—and how much they’ve won

February 28, 2024
Clinton Jacob Machoka

Poker has been around for quite some time now, ever since the 1800s, when French colonists brought along their much-loved game “poque” to the States. Since then, we have seen one of the casino's favorites go on from in-house gaming to a wild new universe in the online poker space. In fact, by 2030, the online poker market is set to hit a total market value of over 170 billion dollars, and it really is only just getting started - we can assure you! People play for many reasons, and although entertainment is at the forefront of most players' minds, there are other enticements that keep you hanging around — the money and the challenge. Every year, poker brings in great new stories and events.

Some love the sweet taste of victory over their competitor, but many poker players just generally love being challenged and having to work hard to succeed. Of course, with every sport available to play, there are winners and losers — and some of those winners have managed to cement themselves into the lists that brush shoulders with millionaires. From humble beginnings to making it big as a high roller, let's take a look at some of the richest poker stars in history, and find out where they are now.

We can list poker stars based on two different categories - their winnings and their titles - and this list is made up of these two factors combined. Let’s check out those stars!

1. Justin Bonomo

Justin Bonomo is only 38 years old and has won 62 million dollars playing this age-old sport. That’s right, 62 MILLION. He was actually the youngest player to be seen in a live poker tournament back in 2005, and that’s exactly why he's made it as far as he has - he started young and hit the ground running. He’s really “done it all” when it comes to poker, and many fans are trying to follow in his footsteps and emulate his success, whether that’s by going to their local casino and playing every day, checking out an online casino in Canada, or organizing informal games nights with friends to practice their skills. Who wouldn’t want to do what he’s done?

His lengthy record sheet included the World Series of Poker (WSOP), Triton, and EPT honors, so he’s earned his stripes and is reveling in the success. If there is a tournament out there, chances are, Justin’s done it. His biggest prize in poker history is the Big One for One Drop, where he managed to take the win and secure over 10 million dollars in one go. Adding to his less-than-measly earnings thus far, the multimillionaire, also called ZeeJustin in his past, has made a fortune playing online poker. A true poker star, he’s a winner whether you look at the rankings or at his wallet!

2. Bryn Kenney

Also called BKD, Bryn Kenney is a beast on the tables and has managed to accrue the funds to match. Never short of appearances in the tabloids, BKD goes through lengthy stints of proving his name against cheating allegations, but we feel there is no denying that he is the best of the best. Although he divides opinions (because of the allegations), this doesn’t take away from the 59 million dollar winnings he’s amassed during his time as a poker player — so really, who's the winner there?

All of this money has managed to stack since his first-ever win in 2007 at the East Coast Poker tournament, and he’s only seen green since. The American pro from Long Beach didn’t always have poker running through his veins, though. BKD originated as a Magic: The Gathering gamer guy before he ventured into the world of poker, in what you’d call a brilliant move — we can’t deny we’re envious of his success. He’s a true pro.

3. Daniel Negreanu

Also called Kid Poker, Daniel Negreanu is a 49-year-old poker player who earned this nickname back in 1997, when he won his first ever tournament — at just 23 years old. Having played since he was 15 years old (at home), the Canadian poker star is now one of the biggest names on the block. Renowned for taking the gambling scene by storm throughout the ‘90s, he’s the most famous person on this list, and he’s got the record to back up his fame.

He has won a total of six World Series of Poker tournaments and a plethora of extra titles that have all amassed his 52 million dollar fortune. He was known as the best poker player of this decade, and although his winnings aren’t at the top of the list, his scorecard is.

Many, many poker superstars have seen success that puts them on a par with the rich and famous, but these three are definitely among the biggest. Coming from nothing to competing at tournaments that are live-streamed across the world, these players' names will stand the test of time – and their love of poker will continue forever. As we see ever-more exciting, record-breaking World Series of Poker tournaments taking place and competitions heating up, it’s going to be fascinating to see how these champions continue to fare.

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