The PokerNews Top 10: All-Time Money Earners
Welcome to a new feature here on PokerNews.com — the PokerNews Top 10. Each week we'll be anointing a "top ten" in various areas of the poker world, from the top breakout performances, to the top ten prop bets, to the top poker fashionistas. To start off we'll strike right at the heart of what matters in poker — who's got the cheddar? Take a look at poker's Top 10 All-Time Tournament Money Winners:
10. Erik Seidel — $9,344,841
His runner-up finish to Johnny Chan immortalized on celluloid in the film Rounders, Erik Seidel has sustained a successful poker career for over two decades. The winner of eight WSOP bracelets, Seidel also earned a WPT title last year when he took down the Foxwoods Poker Classic for nearly $1 million. Seidel also has two runner-up finishes at the Aussie Millions, finishing second to Alexander Kostritsyn in last year's Main Event and second to Erick Lindgren in the 2007 $100,000 buy-in high roller tournament. Cool and measured at the table, Seidel is a calm presence and an extremely well-rounded player for someone who focuses on tournaments rather than cash game action, having won bracelets in pot-limit Omaha, limit hold'em, no-limit hold'em, Omaha 8 or better and no-limit deuce-to-seven single draw.
9. T.J. Cloutier — $9,373,135
Many like to joke about how most of T.J. Cloutier's tournament earnings have ended up in the craps pit, but this Texas rounder's tournament prowess is undeniable. Cloutier is the proud owner of six WSOP bracelets, has made 55 WSOP cashes over the course of his career (good for fifth place on that list) and has dozens of final-table appearances at the series, including a fifth-place finish at the inaugural $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the 2006 WSOP. He came within a whisper of winning the 2000 WSOP Main Event, getting all in with A-Q vs. Chris Ferguson's A-9, but the cards did not fall his way that night. Cloutier is also a successful poker author, having penned a number of excellent strategy titles.
8. Peter Eastgate — $9,714,111
Denmark's Peter Eastgate arrived on this list after winning the 2008 WSOP Main Event for a mind-boggling $9.1 million and becoming the youngest player in history to win the Main Event, breaking the record that Phil Hellmuth held since 1989. Since then, he's proven to be no flash in the pan, making deep finishes in the EPT London and the Party Poker Premier League, and just last week, he took down a $5,000 buy-in side event at the PokerStars Carribean Adventure, good for another $343,000. Though Eastgate comes in at #8 on this list, he is Denmark's #1 tournament money earner, the WSOP's #2 all-time money earner, and the top European money earner at the WSOP. All this, and he has yet to celebrate his 23rd birthday.
7. Scotty Nguyen — $10,009,934
This year's $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. champion arrives at #7 on our list. The five-time WSOP bracelet winner has also made five televised final tables on the World Poker Tour, finally notching a victory with his win at the 2006 Gold Strike World Poker Open in Tunica. Perpetually decked out in gold chains, tinted sunglasses, and more often than not, swigging one of his beloved Michelob Ultra Lights, Nguyen also one of five players in this top ten to win the WSOP Main Event, a feat he accomplished in 1998. He very nearly did it again in 2007, but famously imploded, exiting in 11th place despite seizing the chip lead when the tournament was down to its final 12 players.
6. Phil Ivey — $10,034,351
For a man who doesn't play too many tournaments, Phil Ivey has certainly done well for himself. The high-stakes cash gamer and sports-betting enthusiast has five WSOP bracelets to his name and over the last two years at the series, has placed millions of dollars in side bets on winning his sixth. A consummate professional considered by many of his peers to be the world's greatest living poker player, Ivey has won titles in virtually every discipline of poker, from pot-limit Omaha and seven-card stud to no-limit hold'em. After making a record eight televised final tables on the World Poker Tour, Ivey finally notched a win in 2008, earning nearly $1.6 million for his first-place finish at the L.A. Poker Classic. If there was a way to track all-time cash game earnings, there is little doubt that Ivey would top that list handily.
5. Allen Cunningham — $10,341,752
Quiet, focused, and determined, Allen Cunningham banked his first $9 million in tournament earnings before turning 30 and arrives at #5 on this list without winning the WSOP Main Event—though he came oh so close in 2006 when he finished fourth for a $3.6 million score. Since then, he's continued to rack up the cashes, winning his fifth WSOP bracelet, capturing a WSOP Circuit ring, and winning the $15,000 buy-in NPL Vegas Open at the Venetian.
4. Joe Hachem — $10,744,616
Some might call him the luckiest man in poker—he won the 2005 WSOP Main Event for $7.5 million and didn't have to pay a dime to the tax man in his native Australia. Formerly a cash game specialist at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Hachem now travels the world as a member of Team PokerStars Pro and has racked up deep finishes on the APPT, the EPT, and at the Victorian Poker Championships. Hachem also has a WPT title to his name, earned at the 2006 Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic at Bellagio, for which he earned over $2.2 million. Pass the sugar, indeed.
3. Phil Hellmuth — $10,744,988
He's the one you love to hate (or, in some cases, actually hate) but Phil Hellmuth's tournament resume is perhaps the most impressive one in poker. At the WSOP, Hellmuth has the most cashes (69) of any player, the most bracelets of any player (11), and has made 40 final-table appearances. Though the WSOP is Hellmuth's primary tournament stomping grounds, he has also made three final-table appearances on the WPT, but has yet to notch the win. In addition to playing poker and hamming up his bad beats for the cameras, the "Poker Brat" has a lucrative speaking career, has authored a number of poker books, appears in video games, and yes, even has a clothing line.
2. Daniel Negreanu — $11,203,152
If Phil Hellmuth is the one you love to hate, then Daniel Negreanu is the one you love to love. The affable Canadian broke out into bona fide poker superstardom in 2004, winning his third WSOP bracelet, taking down his first WPT title at the Borgata Poker Open, and only two months later winning his second with a $1.7 million victory at the Bellagio Five Diamond Classic. Oh, and there was that little matter of winning both WSOP Player of the Year and WPT Player of the Year in the same year. Negreanu hasn't slowed down a lick—he won his fourth WSOP bracelet this past summer, made the final table of the WSOP-Europe Main Event, finishing fifth, and only last month, won the British Columbia Poker Championships in his native Canada. He's also the top tournament money earner of all time who has not won the WSOP Main Event.
1. Jamie Gold — $12,170,024
Still coming in first on the all-time money list is the man who won the largest WSOP Main Event ever played (or perhaps ever will be played). Jamie Gold topped a field of 8,773 to earn the $12 million champion's prize at the 2006 Main Event, by employing an inventive, talkative style where he always told his opponents the truth about his hand. Clearly, most of them refused to believe Gold, who prior to that summer had earned about $100,000 in local Los Angeles-area tournaments. Though he tops this highly decorated list, Gold is still loathe to consider himself a full-time pro, and still has a "real job" developing and producing reality television series.