The 5 Richest Poker Players in History

Antonio-Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari

Total Career Winnings: $25,400,000

Born in Tehran (where it is illegal to own playing cards), Antonio Esfandiari moved to the United States at age 9 where he became obsessed with magic. In his desire to become a magician he even changed his name to Antonio because “Antonio the magician” sounded a lot better than “Amir the Magician.” While working magic in a casino, his friends introduced him to the game of poker and Esfandiari hasn’t looked back since with over $25 million in career winnings.

Playing Style

Hyper aggressive and bold, Esfandiari’s playing style make his opponents sick, leading him to success in tournament-style games and no-limit games. Esfandiari says, “(I) put the pressure on the other guy to make a decision. (I) push and push and push. With someone like me, I’m either out on the first day of a tournament or I’m at the final table. There is nothing in between.” Despite his style of play, Esfandiari is never foolishly overaggressive. He relies on his keen ability to read his opponents and uses positioning to attack any weaknesses he sees with massive raises.

Lifestyle

Living in Las Vegas, Esfandiari’s lifestyle as a party animal is legendary. “I believe that you only live once and you’re only young once. One day I’m going to have a wife and kids and, when that happens, I’m not going to be able to just pick up on a whim and go do whatever I want; and so, living in Las Vegas, in my twenties, and having financial freedom, I was really fortunate to be able to do things that your average guy can’t do. I pretty much maximised the life-vig out of that. And so I pretty much got it all out of my system.”

Trivia. Did you know…?

Esfandiari is good friends and a former roommate of professional poker player Phil “the Unabomber” Laak.
Daniel-Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu

Total Career Winnings: $19,900,000

One of the most recognized faces in poker, Daniel Negreanu’s list of poker accomplishments is legendary and only continues to grow. In 2004 alone, he was the Card Player Magazine Player of the Year, Champion Player of the Year, 2004-2005 WPT Player of the Year, and ESPN Player of the Year. With a long list of wins and an open easy-going personality, Negreanu is one of the most famous poker players of all-time.

Playing Style

Very aggressive in tournament play, if Negreanu can catch any cards, you should expect him to be at the final table. Negreanu has no weaknesses in his game, and he is always in control of his emotions, playing the game with a steady demeanor. His best games are no- limit hold ‘em and omaha 8.

Lifestyle

Extremely friendly and down-to-earth, Negreanu is proud of his Canadian roots and enjoys video games, hanging out with his friends, and watching MTV. In short, Negreanu is just a regular guy like you and me but with incredible poker talent.

Trivia. Did you know…?

Negreanu is a huge hockey fan. He nearly declined appearing at the dream table of the Poker After Dark tournament because it was in the middle of the NHL season.
Erik-Seidel

Erik Seidel

Total Career Winnings: $19,000,000

Erik Seidel’s humble beginnings started out with casual games of poker during his trips to Las Vegas. Eventually he turned professional but the grind wore on him and he worked a 9 to 5 job for a steady paycheck.

He returned to poker in 1988, and with the help of friends who helped him buy into the WSOP he finished second to Johnny Chan at the Main Event.

Playing Style

Seidel is an aggressive player, but he can also play rather loose at times to confuse and trap his opponents. No-limit tournaments are his preferred format and where his abilities to read and analyze other players are best utilized.

Lifestyle

Seidel is happily married with children. In his recreational time, he enjoys tennis and independent films. A well-known music fanatic, his personal site includes a music tab with hundreds of albums that he has on his iPod.

Trivia. Did you know…?

Seidel was tournament backgammon player for 8 years and a stockbroker until the stock market crashed in 1987 and he was out of work.
Sam-Trickett

Sam Trickett

Total Career Winnings: $18,700,000

Sam Trickett is a relative newcomer to the game, he only got introduced to poker in 2005 when he was invited to a game at a friend’s bar, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the most successful poker players of all-time. After routinely winning games with his friends and realizing he could win more in one night than he could working in one week, he went in search of bigger prey and eventually won his first big tournament in Sheffield, U.K.’s biggest casino.

Playing Style

Fearlessness and aggressive by nature, Trickett’s natural abilities are key for his rise and success in poker. Live poker tournaments and cash games are where he shines because of his aggression and lack of fear. Trickett also has an innate ability to read other players and is well focused with what’s going on at his table. All this adds up in giving him a reputation as one of the best players in the world.

Lifestyle

An ex-plumber once living the normal life, Trickett now has a gleaming red Ferrari, a shiny new Audi and a decked-out Range Rover sitting in the driveway of his gated mansion thanks to his poker winnings. But the dearest thing in his life is his fiancee and high school sweetheart, Natasha Sandhu, with whom he has had to repair his relationship because of his gambling addiction.

Trivia. Did you know…?

Since discovering that high limit tournaments and cash games are where he shines best, he often spends time in Macau playing cash games with a group of Asian businessmen for millions of dollars. He enjoys it so much that he has started to learn Mandarin.
Phil-Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth

Total Career Winnings: $15,852,878

Phil Hellmuth is known as the “Poker Brat” for his volatile temper and bad behavior at the table. The all-time World Series of Poker bracelet leader with 13 wins and a holder of numerous other WSOP records, Hellmuth was just 24 years of age when he defeated Johnny Chan in the 1989 World Series to becomes to youngest Main Event winner at the time.

Playing Style

Hellmuth plays a conventional, yet unpredictable, tight-aggressive style that makes him one of the best Texas Hold’em tournament players ever and allows him to dominate large fields. Known to be extremely tight at times, he will wait for the strong hands like AA, AK, AQ, AJ, KK, KQ, KJ, QQ, QJ, JJ and some suited connectors. The downside is that he leaves himself with very few hands to play with and opens himself up to getting crushed by smaller sets connecting on draws and sets.

Lifestyle

On typical day, Hellmuth will get up at noon and be on the phone for an hour doing interviews or taking care of business matters. Afterwards he’ll grab some food and pick up his kids from school. When he gets back, he starts to work again, writing articles, new chapters of his book, and discussing his ongoing business deals. Every second or third day he works out from 1 to 2 PM and grabs a coffee after hitting the gym.

Trivia. Did you know…?

Hellmuth arrived at the 2007 WSOP Main Event in grand style–in a race car accompanied by 11 models. Unfortunately, he lost control of the vehicle and hit a concrete light fixture in the casino parking lot.