Everything you wanted to know about Poker All Time Money List
Many players dream of winning big money playing poker. For some poker players such a dream has already become a reality, and poker tournaments – a way to multiply their earnings by a few million dollars.
Being a poker millionaire is not just being awash in luxury, allowing the most expensive mansions and cars, or enjoying expensive resorts – it is also like being a Hollywood star, whose life is watched by millions of fans and followers.
Who is the most successful poker player in the world? Various organizations make up the top lists of offline and online best poker players. Let's take a closer look at the Poker All Time Money List – that is, the list of players who made the most money in live tournaments of all time because that's where the biggest amounts of money are earned.
What is Poker All Time Money List?
Poker All Time Money List is a ranking list of the most profitable players in poker history, determined by the amount of money won in live tournaments. This ranking does not include results from regular monthly, weekly, or daily events.
The list only features results from major offline poker tourneys that have been carried out as part of large live poker series, for example, WSOP, WPT, EPT, Aussie Millions, Triton Poker Super High Roller, etс, as well as special one-off events to define the richest poker players.
The poker’s all time money list can be found on the Hendonmob poker site. It contains the position taken in the ranking – there are currently 522 215 players ranked, a flag of the player’s country, his/her total live earnings and results of the player compared to 6 months ago (moved up, moved down, a new entry, or no change).
Important! The Covid-19 pandemic has made serious adjustments to hosting live poker tournaments – a lot of them have moved online. In 2020, the biggest and most prestigious poker series (WPT and WSOP) took place online at PartyPoker and GGPoker, respectively.
The poker resource Hendonmob, in turn, started publishing results of online tournaments (marked with a blue symbol) in which poker players performed under their real names, however, the results of online events do not count towards the all time money list.
How is the list generated?
The all time money list is generated based on a player’s results that are stored in the Hendonmob database. If it happened that two (or even more poker players) have the same results in terms of earnings, then each player’s final position on the given list is determined in the following order: the amount of money won, recency of the last suitable (qualifying) result, place in the last offline tournament played. It should be noted that the list is regenerated every night.
Players who have ever topped All-Time Money List
Overall, there are 15 poker players who have topped the poker all-time money list at some point in their careers and therefore all of them can be called the best poker players. Let’s consider how the list has changed, starting with the earliest leaders.
- Johnny Moss (1971-1972, 1974-1976)
Every self-respecting poker player has heard something about Johnny Moss (known as «The Grand Old Man of Poker») – he belongs to the first generation of poker professionals who started it all. Moreover, Moss was the one to win the first poker tournament ever – the WSOP event in 1970. That victory naturally placed him on top of the all time money list.
It’s worth mentioning that Johnny Moss took part in every WSOP from 1970 to 1995. Throughout his poker career, Johnny won 9 WSOP bracelets, including 3 for winning the WSOP Main Event in 1970, 1971, 1974 and 4 for winning Seven Card Stud tournaments.
The player earned a total of $1 254 859 in live tournaments. His best live cash was $160 000 for winning the $10 000 NLH World Championship at the 5th World Series of Poker in 1974. In 1979, Johnny Moss entered the Poker Hall of Fame.
- Walter Pearson (1972-1974)
Walter "Puggy" Pearson managed to top the given list after he finished the $10K Main Event WSOP 1972 as a runner-up, pocketing $32 000. Despite the fact that he took second place, it was enough to take the top spot on the all time money ranking.
However, the biggest success came to the legendary Puggy in 1973 when he won the Main Event WSOP. He also competed in other Stud and NLH tournaments, which greatly increased his poker earnings.
Winning the WSOP ME 1973 brought Pearson a second bracelet – he had won his first bracelet two years earlier in the $1 000 Limit 7 Card Stud event. In total, Puggy won four gold bracelets and $473 680 in live events. He was the only poker player to play every WSOP series over 35 years (from 1970 to 2005).
In 1987, Puggy Pearson was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame for his incredible achievements in the gambling industry.
- Doyle Brunson (1976-1984)
Doyle Brunson remains one of the few players of the ‘70s who still play poker. Doyle can rightfully be called a poker legend because it was he who turned poker from a game of criminals into a high-class sport that the whole world was (and is still) fascinated with.
The player was number one on the poker all time money list for almost eight years. For the record, Brunson won six of his ten WSOP bracelets during that period of time.
In 1976, Doyle took down the $10K No Limit Hold'em World Championship at the 7th World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and earned a cool payout of $220 000. That helped him «depose» Johnny Moss and top the ranking.
Doyle Brunson was the first to earn $1 million playing poker. He is one of four players to win the WSOP Main Event multiple times. In addition, Doyle was the first to win both of the most prestigious poker titles – WSOP and WPT. His total live tournament earnings amount to $6 176 737 with the best live cash of $1 198 260.
Doyle Brunson was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988. This is the highest acknowledgment that a poker player can get.
- Stu Ungar (1984-1985, 1987-1988)
Stuart Errol Ungar is the greatest poker professional of all time. Stu managed to win the Main Event WSOP three times (in 1980, 1981, and 1997), but none of those victories helped him top the all-time money list.
Ungar first climbed up to the top of the list in 1984 when he won the $10 000 NLH Amarillo Slim's Superbowl of Poker, which brought him $275 000 in prize money. He was the leader in terms of live tournament earnings for about 12 months, which was followed by a one-year break. The player again managed to lead the ranking from 1987 to 1988.
During his career, Ungar took part in 30 expensive tournaments, but the most interesting thing is that he won 10 of them. It should be noted that in addition to the World Series of Poker, Stu also won the Amarillo Slim Super Bowl three times. His ultra-aggressive style and phenomenal talent for reading opponents was perfect for playing poker.
For all the years of career growth, he won not millions, but tens of millions of dollars. The rough estimate reveals that Stu Ungar won and lost about $30 million, which was a massive amount at that time. For the record, the Hendonmob website states that his total live tournament earnings amount to $3 677 961.
In 2001, the name of Stu Ungar was added to the list of stars of the Poker Hall of Fame. Many people still consider him the best player in poker history.
- Duane Tomko (1985-1986)
In 1985, Duane "Dewey" Tomko from the United States happened to become the most profitable poker player. Tomko shifted Ungar from the top spot after winning $355 000 for the first place in the $10 000 Grand Prix of Poker that was carried out in the format of no limit hold'em.
For a year, the player was ranked first on the poker all-time money list. What’s interesting is that the player who «deposed» him was Stu Ungar – he returned the title of the poker all time money earner in January of 1987.
Duane is among the most famous tournament poker players. The poker player is best known for winning three WSOP bracelets and losing two WSOP Main Event heads-ups in 1982 and 2001. By the way, in one of those decisive heads-ups, Tomko won as much as $1 098 925 – this is still his best live cash.
In addition to the World Series of Poker, Duane has also participated in the WPT several times as well as other well-known tournaments in various types of poker. In 2008, two names were inducted into the legendary list of the Poker Hall of Fame, and one of them was Duane Tomko.
- Jack Keller (1987-1988, 1993-1997)
Jack Keller was a professional poker player. The guy would jump in and out of the top spot a few times throughout his poker career. The first time Keller led the all time money list was in May of 1987. That year turned out to be successful for the player, so it’s not surprising that he became the number one.
Keller topped the poker all time money list for a total of four years. However, it’s worth mentioning that from 1987 to 1988, Jack Keller and Stu Ungar alternately exchanged the leading position five times.
Jack won the Main Event WSOP 1984, three gold bracelets (in 7 card stud, no limit hold’em, and limit omaha), and over $1 580 000 in World Series of Poker tournaments in his lifetime. He also won two major Super Bowl of Poker events when the SBOP was considered the second most prestigious event in the world.
Keller's total live tournament winnings amounted to $3 900 424. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Johnny Chan (1988-1994, 1997-1998)
Legendary poker player, 10 WSOP bracelet winner, two-time WSOP Main Event champion, Johnny Chan, is commonly known in the poker community by the following nicknames: "The Great Wall of China" and "The Orient Express".
The poker player managed to top the all time money ranking for a few years – from 1988 to 1994 and from 1997 to 1998. For the record, Johnny and Jack Keller replaced each other in taking the top spot for an entire decade.
In 1987 and 1988, the guy won the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, and then, in 1989, was close to winning the ME for the third time in a row but lost the heads-up to the future poker beast – Phil Hellmuth.
Alongside the WSOP events, Chen has achieved great results in less popular tournaments, earning a total of about $8.8 million throughout his poker career. In 2002, the Chinese entered the Poker Hall of Fame.
- Thomas Cloutier (1998-2006)
Thomas "T.J." Cloutier is a famous American poker player. The guy was a promising American football player, but, when the Vietnam War started, he decided to go to the frontline, where he got acquainted with poker. Having achieved good progress, Thomas decided to devote his life to playing poker at a professional level.
In 1998, the American poker player Thomas Cloutier managed to overcome the Chinese Johnny Chan in the all time money ranking, topping it. That happened after Cloutier finished third in the $10K Main Event WSOP 1998 and increased his total poker profit from live tournaments by $437 500.
T.J. was on the top of the list a little over 8 years – from 1998 to 2006, which is longer than any other player.
Cloutier became famous for finishing second in the Main Event WSOP twice – in 1985 and 2000. Thomas has never won the WSOP Main Event, but there are 6 WSOP bracelets and over $10 million in live tournament prize money on his record.
By the way, the player's main specialization was Texas Hold'em – he won gold bracelets in this form of poker twice (in 1994 and 2005). Cloutier also won three WSOP bracelet tournaments in Omaha (Limit Omaha, PLO, and Omaha 8 or Better) and one in Seven Card Razz.
In 1998 and 2002, he was named the player of the year by the famous magazine "Card Player". In 2006, Thomas Cloutier was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
- Jamie Gold (2006-2009)
Jamie Gold is an American tournament player who has repeatedly heard merciless criticism from his colleagues.
Gold currently takes 62nd place on the poker all time money list, however, he earlier held the title of the most profitable poker player in the world for three years. The guy topped the list after winning the 2006 WSOP Main Event. Back then, he became the owner of the largest single payout for winning an official tournament in the history of poker, namely $12 million (later, there were bigger payouts recorded).
A brilliant victory in one of the most prestigious poker tournaments has opened many doors for Gold. The American signed a contract with the sponsor of the WSOP and Bodog.com.
Jamie is one of the most controversial figures in the world of poker, around whom rumors constantly revolve. And although many do not consider the American a professional, this did not stop him from winning 6-figure amounts playing tournament poker.
- Phil Ivey (2010)
Phil Ivey has established himself as a versatile poker player. He has played well in both tournaments and cash games throughout his career. Most people consider him to be the best PLO player, and not only fans will agree with this statement, but also his colleagues.
Phil led the ranking for the shortest time of any other player on the list – just 12 months. He finally sat atop the list after taking second place in the $100 000 Challenge Aussie Millions 2010, where he earned $553 776.
The player is currently ranked second in terms of the most WSOP bracelets won in poker history. Ivey, along with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, holds ten gold bracelets, while Phil Hellmuth tops the mountain with fifteen WSOP trophies.
On July 21, 2017, during the 2017 WSOP Main Event, the World Series of Poker organizers announced the names of two new poker players to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame that year, and one of them was Phil Ivey.
As of March 2021, Phil’s overall live tournament earnings amount to $31 377 928, which grants him 9th place in the current Poker All Time Money List. His best live cash is $3 582 753 for winning the $250 000 NLH Challenge at the 2014 Aussie Millions.
- Erik Seidel (2011-2012)
The American professional poker player, Erik Seidel, has won over $37 million in live tournaments. He has recorded 8 bracelets of the World Series of Poker, and is currently the 4th best player in the world in terms of the amount of money won.
There was time, however, when Erik was number one on the all time money list. The year of 2011 was generally very successful for the player – he played a lot of high roller events that brought him significant winnings, but it all happened in March of 2011 when Seidel managed to take down the $25 000 NBC National Heads-Up Championship and increased his poker profit by $750 000. That helped Erik knocked Phil Ivey off the pedestal and became the richest poker player of all time in terms of live tournament earnings.
For the record, in 2010, he was also inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame for his achievements in poker.
- Antonio Esfandiari (2012-2014)
Antonio Esfandiari became an all-time live tournament earnings leader after he managed to win the $1 000 000 The Big One for One Drop at the WSOP 2012, pocketing as much as $18 346 673 in prize money. By the way, this is still his best live cash of all time.
Back then, the player outlasted a field of 48 players and beat another seasoned poker player Sam Trickett in the final heads-up to take down a massive $18.3 million. At that time, it was the biggest first-place prize in poker history.
Esfandiari is the second youngest player to ever top the all time money list, as he became the most profitable player at the age of 32 – the youngest was Stu Ungar (31 years old).
As of March 2021, Antonio Esfandiari takes the 15th line on the poker all-time money list with total live earnings of $27 810 802. He also has three WSOP bracelets on his record.
- Daniel Negreanu (2009, 2011, 2014-2018)
Daniel Negreanu, also known online as "KidPoker", is one of the most successful poker players of our time. He has a few World Poker Tour titles and six World Series of Poker gold bracelets.
Negreanu first climbed up to the top of the list in 2009, following his second place in the £10 000 WSOPE Main Event. That day, Daniel won $817 035 and it was enough to overcome Jamie Gold in the all time money ranking.
Over the next few years, Daniel would consistently exchange leading position with other seasoned poker pros – Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, and Antonio Esfandiari. He was number one on the list for a total of 4.5 years before finally fell behind Justin Bonomo in 2018.
During his distinguished career, which is far from over, Daniel has won $42 million in prize money in various live poker tournaments. Currently, the guy is ranked third in terms of total live earnings of all time.
As far as the Canada All Time Money List is concerned, Daniel Negreanu is the most profitable Canadian poker player by a wide margin.
Negreanu was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014. He continues to improve his game and impress us with his success at the poker tables.
- Justin Bonomo (2018-2019)
For many years, Daniel Negreanu led the Poker All Time Money List, but, as mentioned above, Justin Bonomo surpassed Negreanu in the list of the most profitable players in poker history in 2018.
Bonomo had an incredible 2018, as he won 10 titles and cashed for more than $25 million during that year. That amount marked the most money won by any poker player in a calendar year.
But Justin’s biggest success of 2018 was winning the Big One for One Drop that brought him as much as $10 million. That impressive victory allowed him to overtake the Canadian and include his name in poker history.
To date, Justin Bonomo has earned $53 263 234 in live tournaments, but he is no longer the leader on the all-time money list. The player now takes the second spot, as he was «deposed» by the real US poker beast – Bryn Kenney.
- Bryn Kenney (2019 – present)
As many know, the player won a massive $20.5 million for second place in the £1 050 000 No Limit Hold'em Triton Million that took place as part of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series London 2019. By doing so, the guy secured himself the top spot on the all time money list and is still the richest offline player.
Bryn Kenney has recorded $56.4 million in prize money during his offline career, which is $3 million more than the nearest pursuer, Justin Bonomo.
The Era of High Roller Tournaments
Poker’s All-Time Money List has changed considerably over the past 10 years. It happened because tournament poker has undergone profound transformations: expensive events, or the so-called high rollers and super high rollers, with a small field of players that provide massive payouts appeared on the poker arena. These tournaments have made a significant impact on the list of the most profitable live tournament players in recent years.
2013 All Time Money List vs. 2021 All Time Money List
Now, poker players are able to grab seven-figure prize money at an unthinkable rate, which was previously hard to achieve. In the early part of 2013, when the popularity of high roller events just started to grow, the top 10 on the live tournament earnings list was as follows:
|1||Antonio Esfandiari||$23 496 079|
|2||Sam Trickett||$17 473 275|
|3||Phil Ivey||$17 134 556|
|4||Erik Seidel||$17 129 977|
|5||Phil Hellmuth||$16 986 195|
|6||Daniel Negreanu||$16 178 001|
|7||John Juanda||$14 748 351|
|8||Michael Mizrachi||$14 094 124|
|9||Jamie Gold||$12 231 699|
|10||Scotty Nguyen||$11 730 690|
As you can see from the table above, over the course of time, the first 10 players on the all-time money list have been almost entirely changed: some players were shifted to a lower position, while others – improved their results and topped the list.
For the record, only 3 poker players from the top 10 documented on Jan. 1, 2013, remain there today: Daniel Negreanu (3rd position), Erik Seidel (4th position), and Phil Ivey (9th position). These players remain inside the top 10 as a result of having increased their total earnings by tens of millions of dollars since 2013.
At the same time, the newly defined names appeared on the list. Here’s a look at the current all-time money list (as of March 2021):
Only one poker player had crossed the line of $20 million in total live earnings by the start of 2013 – it was Antonio Esfandiari. To date, a total of 29 players have managed to surpass the given mark. A player who had earned $10 million in live tournament earnings by 2013 would only take 81st-94th place on the list in 2021. In addition, the leading earnings at the beginning of 2013, namely $23 496 079, would only be suitable for the 23rd position today.
Obviously, the All Time Money List does not show the real poker players’ profits since it does not count the money that players spend for buy-ins, but the ranking is still very indicative of what poker pros earn.
The list has significantly changed in recent years. It mainly happened due to the fact that super high roller became an important part of poker competitions, and it seems that these tournaments will continue to be carried out for years to come.
How long will Bryn Kenney maintain the top place? Will his talent keep him number one on the list for a long time? Or, maybe, Daniel Negreanu or Erik Seidel will be able to make an unbelievable comeback? It remains to be seen. And who do you think are the best poker players in history?