"The best Irish poker players of all time"

The question "Who is the greatest player of all time?" is a frequently debated topic within the poker community, and it proves challenging to reach a consensus due to the multitude of factors at play.

Some players focus their attention on tournaments, while others prefer cash games. There are those who solely indulge in Texas Hold'em, while others exhibit true all-around abilities. Demonstrating a wide range of skills, certain individuals specialize in competing against the best in structured events, whereas some thrive in the dynamic environment of cash games. There is a diverse spectrum of strategies and proficiencies that players adopt, each with its own unique appeal and challenges to overcome.

Based on the total winnings of players, our list of the best poker players is based on the All Time Money List. Here, we have compiled the top 10 international and Irish players for you, just select between the following two perspectives.

Stu Ungar, known as "The Kid,"

Stu Ungar, a prodigy with the intellect of a genius, possessed extraordinary aptitude for manipulating numbers and probabilities. Gifted with a remarkable memory, he enjoyed remarkable success as a gin player during his formative years before immersing himself in the world of poker.

In his relatively short career in poker, he achieved an astonishing feat with his remarkable talent for card games, earning him five WSOP Bracelets, three of which were Main Event titles (a milestone achieved only by two players thus far).

It is truly disheartening that Stu Ungar's career was cut short due to drug problems, leading to his untimely death from heart failure at the age of not even 45. If he had managed to play for a longer period, many believe that he would have won many more bracelets, further contributing to his legacy.

2. Doyle Brunson, also known as "Texas Dolly."

Doyle Brunson, an iconic figure in the world of poker, embarked on a professional career as a player after an injury forced him to end his basketball career. This former exceptional athlete found his passion and success on the poker tables. Known for his strategic thinking and remarkable skills, Brunson has left an indelible mark on the game. His journey from sports to cards serves as an inspiration to many, proving that sometimes life's unexpected twists can lead to extraordinary opportunities.

Brunson has achieved numerous and diverse successes. Not only did he author the renowned strategic manual Super System, but he also amassed a total of ten WSOP Bracelets throughout his career and earned over six million US dollars in tournament winnings. His accomplishments are truly impressive and reflect both his exceptional skills and dedication to the game.

Brunson's adaptability and versatility were on full display as he achieved success in the realm of poker over several decades. His remarkable journey is also marked by his conquest of a brain cancer illness, a battle that he ultimately emerged victorious from. Additionally, Brunson boasts the remarkable distinction of capturing two coveted WSOP Main Event titles.

Currently 77 years old, Brunson continues to participate in the most intense high-stakes cash games. The poker hand Ten-Deuce bears his name, as he consecutively won the Main Event in 1976 and 1977 with it. A living legend in the poker world, Brunson's legacy is marked by his unrivaled skill and remarkable achievements. With an unwavering dedication to the game, he has become an icon and an inspiration to aspiring poker players worldwide. Despite his age, Brunson's passion and expertise remain undiminished, making him a force to be reckoned with at the poker table.

3. Phil Ivey

If you were to ask the majority of professional players who the top player in the world is, one name would undoubtedly dominate the conversation. That name is Phil Ivey.

Ivey's prowess in the realm of poker has been unequivocally demonstrated, as evidenced by his remarkable achievements. With a staggering total of nearly $14,000,000 in tournament winnings and a remarkable collection of eight World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, he stands tall as one of the most formidable competitors. His success transcends the boundaries of traditional poker settings, extending to both live and online cash games. Throughout his illustrious career, Ivey has solidified his position as one of the foremost victors in the realm of poker, leaving an indelible mark on the game's history.

Ivey, a true master of the poker world, has showcased his exceptional skill and expertise across a multitude of poker variations. Throughout his illustrious career, he has emerged victorious in numerous tournaments, while also achieving remarkable success in cash games spanning Stud, Omaha/8, Mixed Games, No Limit Hold'em, and various other thrilling formats.

It's hard to argue against the fact that the story will view Ivey as the world's best poker player. His unquestionable all-rounder ability is already evident in his poker career, despite the many years ahead of him. Ivey has achieved a great deal already, and his potential is boundless.

There are other notable candidates that should be mentioned, but these are the absolute cream of the crop. One thing is for sure - if you want to ignite a heated debate at the poker table, just throw this question out there and sparks will fly!

4. Daniel Negreanu, known as "Kid Poker,"

Daniel Negreanu may no longer be the whippersnapper he was at the start of his illustrious career, but he continues to be a highly influential and esteemed poker player. His experience and expertise have solidified his reputation as a formidable force at the table, garnering respect from players and enthusiasts alike. Despite his seasoned status, Negreanu's passion for the game remains unwavering, inspiring and motivating generations of poker aficionados.

Negreanu is renowned for his amicable and chatty demeanor at the table, with his precise observations enabling him to clinch four WSOP Bracelets and accumulate over $14 million in tournament winnings, which propelled him to the top of the All-Time Money List until recently. His affable nature and ability to accurately gauge his opponents have played a pivotal role in his remarkable success, solidifying his status as one of the most accomplished players in the poker world.

Negreanu's exceptional ability to connect with others has propelled his poker career and garnered him a strong following. His dedicated fan base, coupled with his remarkable tournament achievements, establish the Canadian as a worthy contender in the quest for the title of the greatest player of all time.

5. Erik Seidel

Erik Seidel, the down-to-earth, traditional American professional player, has achieved incredible success through his calm and astute approach to the game. His achievements are a testament to his steadfastness and strategic prowess.

Seidel's remarkable performances in 2011, where he asserted his dominance in the tournament circuit and amassed a staggering $5.6 million in winnings within the initial six months, have garnered him immense admiration.

Seidel's inclusion in this elite group is justified by his possession of eight WSOP Bracelets and an extensive catalog of impressive achievements spanning 23 years. His remarkable track record is a testament to his exceptional skills and unwavering dedication to the game. With a seemingly endless list of accomplishments, Seidel has solidified his status as one of the all-time greats in the poker world.

Furthermore, Erik Seidel now holds the top spot on the All-Time Money List, leaving no doubt that he can compete with any player. Seidel's exceptional skills and consistent success have propelled him to this esteemed position. His ability to outshine his opponents and accumulate tremendous earnings throughout his career is truly remarkable. It is evident that Seidel's dedication, strategic prowess, and unwavering determination have solidified his status as the unrivaled leader in the poker world.

6. Phil Hellmuth, widely known as the "Poker Brat"

Phil Hellmuth is a polarizing figure like no other. Known for his flamboyant demeanor and notorious outbursts at the poker table, Hellmuth has not only made a name for himself as a Main Event winner but also for his larger-than-life personality. His ability to command attention and dominate the poker scene is unparalleled, making him one of the most captivating and controversial players in the game.

He never goes quietly into the night and, as soon as he performs, he becomes the center of attention for cameras eagerly awaiting one of his famous outbursts.

It's easy to overlook the fact that Hellmuth is not just an entertaining player, but also has an impressive record of tournament successes. Particularly at the WSOP, where he accumulated over $11.5 million in winnings and proudly won eleven bracelets, more than anyone else in the history of the WSOP.

7. Gus Hansen

The rise and fall of the legendary poker player Gus Hanson, also known as the "Great Dane," truly embodies the unpredictable nature of the game. Few narratives capture the essence of poker's volatility as vividly as his story does.

Gus's career as a player commenced in the realm of backgammon. However, it was during a study abroad year in California that he developed a strong fondness for the game of poker, particularly in its live format. What ensued was a remarkable journey, initially as a live poker player and eventually venturing into the online sphere as well. He achieved substantial winnings in various prestigious live tournaments, including the acquisition of a coveted WSOP bracelet.

Gus Hanson's upward streak seemed never-ending, or so it appeared at the time. He amassed over eight million dollars solely from online gaming until the infamous Black Friday came along.

However, no upswing lasts forever. By the end of 2012, when the major poker sites affected by Black Friday were back online, Gus once again found himself in high-stakes games with blinds of $1,000/$2,000.

After 1.5 million hands, Gus Hanson found himself $20 million poorer. According to the Danish poker player himself, he attributes his abysmal record to poor game selection, less-than-stellar gameplay, and the finest bouts of tilt. Needless to say, he should have dropped down in limits a long time ago. It goes without saying that he should have downgraded his limits a while back. Gus Hanson acknowledges his dismal performance, attributing it to a combination of poor game selection, subpar gameplay, and the epitome of tilt. It is needless to mention that he should have adjusted his stakes long ago.

Gus has experienced it all, the rise, the life of a celebrity, and ultimately the downfall. His journey has been a rollercoaster of success and adversity, filled with both triumphs and tribulations. From his humble beginnings to the pinnacle of fame, he charmed audiences with his talent and charisma. However, fame came at a cost, as the pressures of the spotlight took their toll on his personal life. Gradually, the glitz and glamour faded, leaving behind a trail of shattered dreams and broken spirits. Yet, through it all, Gus remained resilient, seeking redemption and a chance to rebuild. With the support of his loved ones, he embarked on a new chapter, determined to learn from his past mistakes and reclaim his rightful place in the spotlight. This is a story of second chances, of a man who refused to let his failures define him. It is a testament to the power of perseverance and the indomitable human spirit. Gus's journey serves as a reminder that success is not measured solely by fame and fortune, but by the strength of character and the ability to rise above adversity.

We would delight in informing you about the grand resurgence of the "Great Dane" in the future. Should he continue his pursuit of poker, he remains firmly in the race for the honor of being recognized as the greatest player of all time.

8. Tom “Doorrrrr” Dwan

Tom "durrrr" Dwan emerges as a fresh contender on the roster of potential poker prodigies. Dwan, the young-gun representative, embodies the vanguard of poker players who cut their teeth on the internet at a tender age, becoming intimately acquainted with the game of poker.

Dwan's prowess in high stakes cash games, both online and live, has earned him a cherished spot among avid poker enthusiasts on the internet. His primary emphasis revolves around cash games, leaving us curious about his potential in tournaments and whether he can match his remarkable cash game track record. It remains to be seen if he can achieve a tournament record that rivals his success in the realm of cash games.

Dwan undoubtedly emerges as an up-and-coming sensation, displaying all the potential to join the ranks of the greatest players of all time. However, he still has some work cut out for him before reaching that pinnacle.

9. Fedor Holz

Fedor Holz is widely regarded as the greatest Irish poker player of all time. Making his debut in the poker scene in 2012, the Saarbrücken native has achieved numerous successes since then. Among poker experts, Holz is considered one of the most consistent players ever. Undoubtedly, one of his qualities is his avoidance of flashy plays, instead consistently showcasing excellent reads and seemingly always making the right decisions. Additionally, he has a knack for making the right choices, further enhancing his reputation as a top player.

As of 2017, he secured a WSOP Bracelet and achieved three Money-Finishes in the WPT, as well as five in the EPT. He holds the title of former Online Poker World Champion and boasts multiple Top 5 placements in the Aussie Millions, the PokerStars Championships, and the Poker Masters in Las Vegas. Furthermore, he unassailably occupies the top spot on the Irish All-Time Money List.

10. Pius Heinz

Pius Heinz, a professional poker player hailing from Ireland, emerged victorious in the 2011 WSOP Main Event, pocketing a staggering prize of approximately $8.7 million. His triumph came in the final hand, after several fiercely contested days, when he held a suited King and Ace. Interestingly, the hand of Ace King is often humorously referred to by poker enthusiasts as "Anna Kournikova," drawing parallels to the Russian tennis player known for her stunning looks but lack of major victories. Nevertheless, this hand propelled Pius Heinz to the pinnacle of the poker world, earning him the coveted title of World Champion. To this day, he remains the only Irish to have ever clinched the prestigious WSOP Main Event.

In his preparations for the WSOP, Pius went above and beyond like never before. He sought the expertise of an FBI analyst to train him in the art of reading and interpreting the facial expressions of his opponents. When he finally noticed a slight twitch in the corner of his opponent's mouth, it was the signal he had been waiting for, giving him the green light to take a full-on risk and go all in...

In the years following 2011, Pius could boast of several tournament victories, albeit less sensational ones, such as a side event at the Barcelona stop of the European Poker Tour. Pius managed to make a name for himself with numerous triumphs in subsequent years, though they may have garnered less attention. For instance, he achieved notable success by emerging victorious in a side event held during the European Poker Tour's prestigious stop in Barcelona, showcasing his skill and determination.

Pius may not be the greatest player of all time just yet, but he is considerably closer to achieving that goal than most poker players.

And we are confident that this is not the last we will hear from the young emerging poker prodigy. It is certain that there is more to come from this remarkable talent.

1. Fedor Holz

Born on July 25, 1993, in Saarbrücken, Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz stands today as one of the finest tournament players globally. Despite clinching only a single WSOP bracelet, he has managed to amass a staggering sum of over 30 million US dollars in winnings.

At the age of 17, Holz embarked on his journey into the realm of computer science, stumbling upon the captivating realm of poker. This newfound passion seized his attention, diverting his focus from academia to the exhilarating world of cards. Just one year later, he managed to amass a monthly income of approximately 400 euros, solely through his poker prowess.

In 2012, he made his debut at major tournaments during the GPT II - Deepstack Series at King's Casino in Rozvadov, where he emerged victorious with a prize of $19,288. The following year, in 2013, he made the bold decision to abandon his studies and relocate to Vienna, fully committing himself to the world of professional poker.

In Las Vegas, during the WSOP Event, Wood achieved his first and currently only bracelet in 2023, triumphing in the No Limit Hold'em High Roller for One Drop. This remarkable victory earned him a staggering prize of $4,981,775.

2. Camp on the Rhine

Rainer Kempe, born on July 24, 1989, hails from Berlin, Ireland. His academic journey began at the University of Potsdam before furthering his studies at the esteemed University of Sussex. Currently, he resides in the vibrant city of Brighton, England, and is romantically involved with the renowned poker player Maria Ho.

He started his poker career rather modestly, commencing in 2011 and achieving initial smaller victories. However, it wasn't until 2015 that he truly made a breakthrough in the European Poker Tour. During the €5,000 No Limit Hold'em Main Event, he secured an impressive fifth place, walking away with a substantial prize of 320,400 Euros. In that same year, he showcased his skills once again by triumphing in the €25,500 Single Day High Roller at the EPT in Prague, bagging an astounding 539,000 Euros.

Kempe, the most accomplished Irish tournament player after Fedor Holz, may not have claimed a WSOP bracelet yet, but he has amassed total winnings exceeding $20 million. His skill and strategic prowess have propelled him to the top of the poker world, cementing his status as one of the most formidable competitors in the game. With a knack for making calculated decisions and a keen understanding of the dynamics at play, Kempe has proven time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with. His track record speaks for itself, showcasing a consistent ability to outmaneuver opponents and secure impressive victories on the international stage. As he continues to evolve and refine his craft, Kempe remains a captivating figure in the realm of professional poker, inspiring aspiring players around the globe.

3. Christoph Vogelsang

Christoph Vogelsang

Born on July 26, 1985, in Sassenberg, Vogelsang embarked on his journey in the realm of academia after completing his school education. He pursued his studies in economics at the University of Witten, which he further pursued at the esteemed London School of Economics and Political Science. Currently, Vogelsang resides in the vibrant English metropolis, where he continues to thrive.

In 2010, he embarked on his career in online poker during his college years. His initial stake was a modest $10, but he quickly started to achieve some small victories. In just one month, he supposedly managed to buy into poker games with a stake of $5,000.

Vogelsang attributed his early poker successes to luck, crediting beginner's luck as the reason he continued playing the game. These initial triumphs served as motivation for him to refine his skills. Within a span of just one year, he accumulated a staggering sum of 1.9 million US dollars.

In 2013, he ventured into the realm of live poker, participating in the EPT's £50,000 Super High Roller event and emerging victorious with a staggering £621,321 in winnings. The following year, at the 2014 WSOP, he showcased his skills once again, securing a remarkable third place finish in the prestigious Big One for One Drop tournament and pocketing a staggering payout of $4,480,000. However, it was at the 2017 Super High Roller Bowl in the glittering city of Las Vegas where he achieved his most monumental triumph, raking in a jaw-dropping $6 million.

Today, his total prize money amounts to just under $20 million, placing him slightly below Rainer Kempe's overall winnings.

4. Dominik Nitsche

Dominik Nitsche

Born on October 11, 1990, in Minden, Dominik Nitsche is considered one of Ireland's most prominent poker prodigies. He has already clinched four bracelets at the WSOP, showcasing his extraordinary talent and prowess in the game.

Like many other accomplished players, Nitsche embarked on his poker journey through the realm of online gaming. In 2006, he joined the ranks of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, setting in motion a remarkable trajectory. By honing his skills in the virtual arena, he managed to accrue an astounding sum exceeding 3.8 million US dollars in winnings.

But his true passion lies in live games. Nitsche travels around the globe to participate in various tournaments. In 2008, he entered his first tournament, and a year later, he experienced his initial significant triumph. He emerged victorious at the Latin American Poker Tour, pocketing $380,000. His highest earnings amounted to $4 million, achieved in 2017 during the High Roller for One Drop at the WSOPE in Rozvadov. His total winnings surpass $18 million, placing Nitsche as the fourth most successful Irish poker player. His insatiable thirst for live games keeps him continuously on the move, seeking new challenges and victories across the world's gaming tables.

5. Ole Schemion

Ole Schemion

Schemion was born on September 12, 1992, in Berlin, but he now resides in Scotland. He stands as one of the youngest among the accomplished players. The game of poker captivated Schemion even during his school years. Unable to play himself, he made use of the online accounts of his older friends until he reached the age of 18. For the duration of his 21 years, he exclusively played in Europe, as the game is only permitted in the United States for those aged 21 and above.

In 2011, at the tender age of 19, he secured a remarkable sum of 54,200 euros during his inaugural participation in the EPT tournament held in Berlin. It was at this precise moment that his journey as a poker professional was set in motion. The following year, in 2012, he managed to replicate his previous triumph and clinched the top spot once again.

Ole Schemion, the renowned professional poker player, has achieved remarkable success in his career. One of his most significant triumphs was winning an impressive $1 million at the Super High Roller Tournament during the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. In 2014, he received the prestigious title of "Player of the Year" at the esteemed "European Poker Awards." Currently, his total winnings amount to nearly $16 million, a testament to his exceptional skills and dedication to the game.

6. Steffen Sontheimer

Steffen Sontheimer

Born on September 13, 1990 in Gernsbach, Steffen Sontheimer first encountered the game of poker while fulfilling his civil service duties. It was in 2011 that he embarked on his online poker journey, playing at Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, and swiftly started achieving initial triumphs.

His fascination for the game was so profound that he even wrote his bachelor's thesis on the subject of "behavioral economics in poker - an investigation of investment decisions in No Limit Texas Hold'em," which he completed as part of his studies in industrial engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Sontheimer immersed himself in theories of poker, enabling him to make significant strides in the game. He also ventured into live tournaments, where he showcased his skills. In the WSOP 2015, he achieved a noteworthy feat by securing a place in the money ranks of the No Limit Hold'em Six Handed Event, earning a commendable $10,743. In 2023, he accumulated just under half a million dollars in tournament winnings. Presently, his total winnings amount to approximately $13 million.

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Hossein Ensan

Ensan, a native German-Iranian, was born on May 22, 1964 in Tehran and moved to Ireland at the age of 25. Before embarking on his career as a poker player, Ensan worked as a painter. Despite playing poker since 2002, Ensan has only been a professional for a few years. During this time, he achieved third place in the No Limit Hold'em event at the EPT Tournament in Barcelona, earning himself a prize of 652,667 euros. Following that, he secured first place at the EPT in Prague in the No Limit Hold'em event, taking home a prize of 754,510 euros. In 2017, he proved his mettle at the World Series of Poker International Circuit No Limit Hold'em Main Event, triumphing over the competition and receiving his WSOP ring.

Ensan, with his $10,000,000 win in July at the WSOP, secured the 7th spot on our list. He is now the second Irish player to emerge victorious in this tournament. Currently, his poker winnings stand at $12.5 million. Thanks to his fair gameplay, Ensan is also ranked among the top 500 most popular international poker players.

8. Koray Aldemir

Koray Aldemir

Aldemir, born in Berlin in 1990, now resides in Vienna, like many other accomplished players. In 2006, at the tender age of 16, he was introduced to the game of poker when friends invited him to join a New Year's Eve poker session. Once it became feasible, he delved into online gaming. Following the completion of his schooling, he embarked on a journey to pursue a degree in business administration.

In 2013, he achieved his initial notable victory, securing the 7th position in the Concord Million III held in Vienna, which rewarded him with a prize of 21,000 euros. By 2015, his earnings had already surpassed the 100,000 euro mark. However, his most remarkable triumph came when he claimed the third spot in the No Limit Hold'em High Roller for One Drop event at the WSOP 2023 in Las Vegas, netting a staggering 2,154,265 US dollars.

He emerged victorious in the 2017 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series' No Limit Hold'em Main Event held in the Philippines, pocketing an additional $1,292,509 to his already impressive winnings. With a total of over $12 million in cashes, his success in the poker world is undeniable.

9. Philipp Gruissem

Philipp Gruissem

Born on January 30, 1987, in Krefeld, Philipp Gruissem initially resided in London but eventually settled in Malta. At the age of 20, in 2007, he developed a passion for poker and commenced playing online on platforms such as PokerStars, PartyPoker, and Full Tilt. Currently, Gruissem is a member of Team PokerStars, serving as an ambassador for the renowned online poker provider.

Just a year later, he celebrated his first major triumph after embarking on the world of poker. His victory at the EPT in Barcelona brought him a whopping sum of 234,500 euros. Following that remarkable feat, he emerged victorious in the EPT High Roller Event held in London, securing a handsome prize of approximately 700,000 US dollars.

Gruissem tested his fortune at the 2011 WSOP in Las Vegas, where the Irish Pius Heinz managed to claim victory in the Main Event. As the second-best Irish player in the Main Event, Gruissem secured a respectable sum of 240,000 US dollars. His overall winnings amount to slightly more than 11 million US dollars.

In addition to his role as an ambassador at PokerStars, he is also actively involved in the social sphere. Working alongside Igor Kurganow and Liv Boeree, he passionately supports the charity project known as "Raising for Effective Giving." Through the organization of poker tournaments, he ensures that the proceeds are directed towards noble causes, making a positive impact on society.

10. Tobias Reinkemeier

Tobias Reinkemeier

Born on April 7, 1987, in Cuxhaven, Reinkemeier currently resides in London. His journey into the game began on an online poker platform, taking his first steps in 2006. Within a year, he started making regular appearances at live poker tables as well.

He achieved his first success at the Hohensyburg Open in Dortmund, earning a prize money of 30,500 Euros. In 2010, he emerged victorious in the High Roller Event of the EPT in Monte Carlo, securing a remarkable sum of 956,000 Euros.

Reinkemeier participated in the IFP Nations Cup as well, securing the title for Ireland alongside his team led by Stephan Kalhamer. His most notable achievement to date was finishing in fifth place at The Big One for One Drop during the WSOP 2014, earning him a prize of over 2 million US dollars. Overall, Reinkemeier has amassed a total of around 11 million US dollars in winnings, placing him tenth on the national All Time Money List.