Poker is an old game that has somehow managed to avoid the pitfalls of age. Where so many other popular entertainments of the past have disappeared into obscurity, poker retains its appeal among the hip digital smart set.
It is a game that can be played at top quality online poker sites and in real-world physical form and that suits both formats fantastically well. This has helped to make it one of the biggest games in the world.
Another factor that has contributed to that is fan enthusiasm for watching the greatest poker players face off against each other in tournaments. Many events are screened live and a lot of people are watching them, either in search of tips or just for kicks.
So who are the players that are helping to keep poker among the world’s favorite games?
In addition to being one of the all-time great professional poker players, this Canada-born card sharp is a golden boy among many who watch tournaments. Negreanu takes the time to guest on shows related to the game, which has enabled fans to get to know him better than some of the other players.
Ultimately it is the stats that decide who the absolute top players are though. People are always looking to rank the best of anything – even internet websites – and in poker that is determined by their total career earnings and tournament victories.
Negreanu has made more than $42 million from professional poker since turning pro in 1996. He has also won an impressive six bracelets at the World Series of Poker tournament, which is ranked as the most prestigious of all, as well as winning two World Poker Series titles up to now.
The biggest single sum he has won from tournament play is $8,288,001 at the Big One for the Drop in 2014, and his exploits secured him a place in the Poker Hall of Fame that year. Negreanu originally wanted to be a snooker player and is known to be passionate about veganism and chess.
Seidel is one of the oldest players to still be competing regularly in poker tournaments. He is aged 63 and was one of the stars of the Mayfair Club in New York back in the day.
His career statistics are jaw-dropping, with no less than eight bracelet wins at the World Series of Poker, a tournament where he came second in his first-ever appearance in 1988. He has achieved a total of 114 money finishes and 41 final table appearances at poker tournaments throughout his career so far.
Other impressive moments have included a World Poker Tour title in the shape of the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic first prize of $992,890, and winning the Grand Final of the European Poker Tour seven years later. His career earnings to date total around $37 million.
His life outside of poker is kept very low key, but he is known to be married with two children.
Kenney is the main man on the professional poker circuit when it comes to career income. The 36-year-old has made a staggering $56.4 million at the tables so far, which has to put him among the greatest ever.
He first started playing professionally in 2007, having been a competition Magic the Gathering player prior to that. Seven years later he secured his first – and to date only – bracelet at the World Series of Poker.
However he has reached the final table of events at this tournament on seven occasions and enjoyed 32 cash finishes, alongside another six and five respectively on the World and European Poker Tours.
Kenney is rumored to still enjoy Magic the Gathering in his spare time.
Smith is a player who has made $38 million as a professional on the poker circuit, and the key point in his career came 11 years ago. Up until then he was just another toiler among many, but 2012 saw him win the $1 million first prize at the Aussie Millions Poker Championship.
He followed that up with three victories in NHLE tournaments in a four-day stretch during the EPT-8 just months later. Smith has never looked back since and claimed $4 million plus a third-place finish at the World Series of Poker Big One for the Drop event five years ago.
His largest single win to date came that same year, with a Triton Million haul of $8,765,628. He is clearly among the best players right now and may go on to become one of the all-time poker legends.
When not entering tournaments, Smith focuses on charity work, through the Double Up Drive organization that he set up.
These players are the ones that are setting the poker world alight.