Poker has an interesting history in its professional scene. The game has had its ebbs and flows, but over the years the prize money that has come from the scene has grown tremendously. However, as interesting as the scene is as a whole, the players are far more interesting. Some of them have come from pretty crazy backgrounds, and many of them have an interesting history in how they mastered their craft. You may be familiar with some of these players, but not all of them are household names. Here we will be looking at some of the wildest poker players to ever grace the felt.
You cannot have a list of the wildest poker players without talking about Daniel Negreanu. Also known as Kid Poker, Negreanu has been the face of poker for over 20 years. He is second on the all time money list, having amassed nearly $40 million in tournament winnings.
What makes Negreanu so interesting is his unique ability to figure out which cards his opponents have. You can go out and search some of the clips of him on YouTube where he guesses his opponent's exact hand. It really is uncanny how good he is at reading people in poker. With that skill and his natural talent for the game, Negreanu has won five WSOP bracelets and two WPT titles.
However, it is not just his ability as a poker player that makes him one of the wildest poker players in the world. He is one of the most prominent voices in the game, and he is not afraid to share his opinions. Naturally, he has a massive presence on social media, YouTube, podcasts, and on other forms of media.
Phil Ivey is one of the only players that can rival Daniel Negreanu in notoriety. However, he is not nearly as loved as his Canadian counterpart. Part of what makes him one of the wildest poker players in history is that he does not have a golden boy persona like Negreanu. Instead, he has a history of casino owners not being a fan of him. That is because he has allegedly spent years doing little things to get an edge at casinos. Now, these things do not diminish his ability as a poker player. In fact, most of the things he is rumored to have done have nothing to do with poker.
As a poker player, Ivey is one of the most successful players of all time. He has live earnings of over $23 million, and he has won 10 WSOP bracelets. This ties him for second place all time in WSOP bracelets won. He is the youngest player to reach double figures in bracelets, having done so by the age of 38.
Phil Hellmuth is one of the wildest poker players in history, and he is also one of the most polarizing. He is so polarizing that there are many people who refuse to admit he is a good player. New players do not respect his game because he does not believe in GTO principles.
However, despite younger players not respecting how he plays, there is no denying how impressive his record is. He is the only player with more than 10 WSOP bracelets, and he has 15. He also has the most cashes in history with 151.Finally, Hellmuth has drawn a lot of criticism over the years for his outbursts at poker tables. He is notorious for getting extremely frustrated when he gets bad beats. He often times will go as far a cursing out his opponents for making bad calls that happened to work out for them.
You cannot have a list of the wildest poker players of all time without including Doyle Brunson. Called the grandfather of Texas Hold'em, Brunson's longevity is unrivaled. His career spanned over 50 years, and he represents a generation of players that played before you could become a millionaire playing poker.
Brunson has won 10 WSOP bracelets and has finished in the money 36 times. His live earnings are lower than some other legends at just $6 million, but that is largely because he is from a different era. Brunson officially announced his retirement in 2018 at the age of 85.
To close out our list of the wildest poker players of all time, we will discuss Justin Bonomo. Bonomo is the all time tournament winnings leader, with $44.6 million in cashes. What makes his winnings more impressive is that the vast majority came from high roller tournaments against the best players in the world.
What makes Bonomo so interesting is not that he is the all time money leader, it is that he has accumulated so much money in such a short period of time. He is only 35 years old and did not win his first WSOP bracelet until 2018 when he won the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $5 million.
Bonomo is one of the most feared players in the world of poker. He seems invincible heads up, having won 18 major tournaments since 2016. Bonomo also has several other final table finishes in that time.