The game of poker has seen its fair share of great players who left their mark on poker’s history. Trying to name the best players who have ever lived is a difficult task because there are so many great characters who, in their own way, could be considered the best. However, there are a few names that really stick out when discussing this topic.
Born in 1933, Doyle Brunson is one of the best-known and most influential players in the game. Although Doyle is semi-retired these days, he’s left the kind of mark that is hard to match. The member of the Poker Hall of Fame and a 10-time WSOP bracelet winner, Brunson is also known as the author of Super System, a book that’s considered the poker bible, which helped many players learn the ropes of the game.
Often referred to as Tiger Woods of Poker, Ivey is easily one of the most accomplished players still actively playing. Ivey was recently introduced into the Poker Hall of Fame, which was a nice feather in the cap for the guy who has won 10 WSOP bracelets, amassed well over $26,000,000 in tournament winnings, and has been crushing the highest stakes cash games for several decades.
Although he’s often scorned for his less-than-pristine table manners, Phil Hellmuth is certainly one of the best poker players who have ever lived. Hellmuth holds the absolute record in terms of WSOP bracelets won (15 and counting) and he’s also been one of the best known names in the game. While he may not be as good in high stakes cash games as some of the others on this list, Hellmuth is certainly the king in his own area.
Ungar lived during the time when poker wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today and his career was brought to an abrupt end due to his reckless lifestyle. However, Stu ‘The Kid’ Ungar definitely belongs to the list of the best poker players to have ever lived. With five WSOP bracelets to his name, Ungar was held in high esteem by his fellow pros and fans of the game alike for his natural ability to play great poker.
Of course, this list of the best poker players could be much longer. There are players like Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, and many others who all have the qualities of the best players.