The Richest Poker Player Is..
Q: Who is the Richest Poker Player?
A: Who is the world's richest poker player?
When people ask this question, they can sometimes be asking different things without realizing it.
Who has made the most money directly from playing poker? Who has made the most money from poker-related ventures? Who is the richest person that plays poker?
These are three completely different questions.
Who has made the most money directly from playing poker? That person would likely be Phil Ivey.
To start, Phil Ivey has made roughly $20 million playing online poker. On top of that, he has roughly $14 million in lifetime tournament cashes. Given that Ivey doesn't play in that many "live" poker tournament, I think that it's safe to say that his ROI in tournaments is very high.
On top of that, Ivey is one of the biggest lifetime winners in the "Big Game" - I think it's safe to say that Phil Ivey has made over $10 million in "live" cash games over the course of his career, maybe even more.
It's hard to imagine that any other player has made that much money playing poker over the course of their careers.
Who has made the most money from poker-related ventures? Well, Isai Scheinberg and his family own a reported 75% of Pokerstars. Ruth Parasol and Russ DeLeon were two of the founders of PartyGaming and subsequently made fortunes for their stakes.
These are just a few of the names that have made fortunes from poker-related ventures.
Lastly - who is the richest person who plays poker?
It's impossible to know exactly who the richest poker player in the world is. After all, there are Chinese businessmen who are worth many hundreds of millions of dollars (and more) who regularly play in the biggest cash games in Macau.
If you are looking for the richest people in the world who play poker at least semi-regularly in public events such as the World Series of Poker, here is a good list to start with:
David Einhorn - Einhorn is the founder and president of Greenlight Capital, which is a hedge fund that is known for its short-side bias. Einhorn is one of the most feared short-sellers in the world and was one of the first people to point out the problems at Lehman Brothers.
According to published reports, Einhorn has a net worth that far exceeds $1 billion.
David Einhorn has over $5 million in total lifetime tournament cashes, including a $4,352,000 score in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop.
Guy Laliberte - Laliberte, co-founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil, is an avid poker player.
Laliberte is likely best known in the poker world as the guy who reportedly dropped many millions of dollars playing in the biggest games on Full Tilt Poker 1.0. Laliberte reportedly played under a number of different aliases on FTP, but that fact has never been confirmed.
Laliberte was also the man behind the Big One for One Drop tournament, which was eventually won by Antonio Esfandiari for many millions of dollars.
Laliberte reportedly has a net worth of well over $2 billion.
Guy Laliberte has over $2.5 million in total lifetime tournament cashes, including a 5th place finish in the 2012 Big One for One Drop ($1,834,666) and a 4th place finish in the 2007 WPT World Championship ($696,220).
Both Laliberte and Einhorn are billionaires who enjoy the game of poker immensely. It's safe to say that they would be at or near the top of the world's richest poker players.
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