Today’s high-roller poker tournament players are tough to beat. They play fundamentally sound poker and often seem unfazed when risking hundreds of thousands of dollars. As skilled as dozens of high-stakes pros are, some are better than others.
We put together a list of the 10 best live tournament high rollers in the game, based on their overall resumes. Twenty-three players were considered, including the likes of Fedor Holz, Justin Bonomo, Erik Seidel, and Daniel Negreanu.
Scoring System Used to Rank High-Roller Tournament Players
The point system used calculated results from the past three years, overall earnings, WSOP bracelets won in high-roller events ($10,000 buy-in and above), Super High Roller Bowl Las Vegas wins, GPI Player of the Year awards, and tournament titles in the US Poker Open and Poker Masters series.
This list is not an all-time ranking. So, you won’t find Phil Ivey or Doyle Brunson here, as they don’t have strong tournament resumes since 2017. Doyle’s tournament resume is non-existent for this period, considering he retired from tournament poker in 2018.
Holz, who may be the most feared player in the game, also missed the cut, but not by much. He scored 17.63 points, good for 15th overall. What kept him out of the top 10 was his lack of quantity the past few years. After his brilliant 2016 performance — $16 million in cashes — he stepped away from playing full-time. In 2019, he had exactly zero live tournament cashes.
High-Roller Poker Tournament Player Rankings Scoring System:
- Overall Hendon Mob Earnings: 3 points if ranked in top five all-time, 2 for top 15, 1 for top 25
- Earnings Since 2017: Total earnings from 2017-2019 divided by $1 million
- WSOP High Rollers: 3 points for bracelet wins in $10,000 buy-in and above events
- Super High Roller Bowl: 3 points for SHRB Las Vegas wins
- GPI Player of the Year Titles: 3 points for each time winning GPI POY
- Poker Masters/US Poker Open Wins: 2 points for each tournament win in either series
Notable players who missed the cut include Isaac Haxton (19.02 points), Brian Rast (15.42 points), Daniel Negreanu (18.43 points), and Nick Petrangelo (14.52 points).
10. Christoph Vogelsang (19.31 Points)
Christoph Vogelsang is part of the German invasion — along with Fedor Holz, Rainer Kempe, and others — who began dominating the high-roller scene a few years back. He proved his abilities at the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl, a $300,000 buy-in event, when he shipped it for $6 million. Vogelsang has more than $15 million in cashes over the past three years, and will be a mainstay as one of the best high rollers in the game for years to come.
9. Alex Foxen (20.7 Points)
Alex Foxen is a two-time GPI Player of the Year (2018, 2019), a clear indication that he’s one of the best in poker. The former college football tight end has been a consistent performer the past few years. His runner-up finish in the 2018 SHRB brought him a $2,160,000 score, the biggest of his career. In 2019, he shipped the prestigious $10,000 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas for $1.7 million, his first World Poker Tour title. Foxen’s long-time girlfriend, Kristen Bicknell, is also among the best high-stakes players in the game today.
8. Adrian Mateos (22.62 Points)
Adrian Mateos is often quiet at the poker table. That’s because he lets his chips do the talking for him. The Spaniard has more than $21.3 million in live tournament cashes, most of which have come in the past three years. He’s become one of the most feared poker tournament players in recent years, largely in part due to his consistent, yet unpredictable style of play. Mateos’ main claim to fame is winning the 2013 WSOP Europe Main Event. He also took down the $10,000 WSOP Heads-Up Championship in 2017.
7. Mikita Badziakouski (26.25 Points)
At just 28-years-old, Mikita Badziakouski already has $28.5 million in live poker tournament cashes, the 13th most in history. Chances are pretty good he’ll crack the top 10 shortly after the live tournament scene returns to action. Badziakouski’s biggest score — $5.52 million — came in 2018 when he won the Triton Super High Roller Main Event. Last year, he cashed for six-figures or better eight times. He started strong in 2020, cashing for $2.7 million in three tournaments before COVID-19 shut down live poker.
6. Jason Koon (26.61 Points)
Try and find a friendlier, tougher to read poker player than Jason Koon. We dare you. J-Koon already has more than $31 million in tourney earnings, good for 9th all-time, and he’s just getting started. At age 34, he still has many brilliant years ahead, and probably many millions more in winnings to come. The PartyPoker ambassador has two Triton Super High Roller Series short deck titles worth $10 million combined. And he finished third in the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, among numerous other massive scores.
5. Dan Smith (27.62 Points)
Dan Smith is one of the best players to have never won a WSOP bracelet. Actually, he’s one of the best players ever. Period. And he’s also one of poker’s top philanthropists, raising millions of dollars for various charities over the past few years. Smith ranks fifth all-time with $36.7 million in cashes, and was the 2012 GPI Player of the Year. He’s been a big winner since 2012, having cashed for more than $1 million every year since. 2019 was his best year ever, seeing him earn $10.7 million on the felt.
4. David Peters (31.48 Points)
David Peters is as tough to beat as they come. He’s one of today’s many high rollers with a quiet demeanor and a killer instinct. The Ohio native has $33.7 million in cashes, including three Poker Masters tournament wins and one US Poker Open title. In 2018, as a reward for being the overall series winner, he won the coveted Purple Jacket at the Poker Masters.
3. Stephen Chidwick (39.85 Points)
Stephen Chidwick is one of the high rollers you don’t ever want to see at your table. He’s consistently good, and the numbers back up that claim. He cashed for more than $10 million in both 2018 and 2019, improving on his 2017 breakout year of $3.5 million in cashes. Chidwick is a No-Limit Hold’em specialist, but don’t let that fool you. He can crush other forms of poker, as evidenced by his bracelet title in the $25,000 WSOP Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller last summer for $1.61 million.
2. Justin Bonomo (49.62 Points)
Justin Bonomo cashed for $25 million in 2018, a single-year record at the time. But here’s the crazy thing: his earnings that year were only half of his career cashes ($49.1 million). During that memorable year, he won the $1 million buy-in WSOP Big One for One Drop for $10 million, the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl Las Vegas for $5 million, and the SHRB in Macau for $4.8 million. Bonomo has been crushing it on the high-roller circuit for a decade, both online and live. He’s a lock for the Poker Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible at age 40 (2025).
1. Bryn Kenney (51.1 Points)
Few will dispute Bryn Kenney’s inclusion on this list. But some may take issue with the New York native landing in the top spot. But the ultimate goal of poker is to win as much money as possible, which he’s done for much of his career. Kenney won a record $20.5 million in the £1,050,000 Triton Million for Charity event last year. But even if you take that crazy large score away, he still has an additional $36.4 million in cashes, which would be good for 6th all-time on its own.