Poker has never been more popular, thanks to ease of access playing online and the huge prizes available at big money tournaments. Most of the household names are from the USA, but there are a number of highly successful European players, including the five highlighted below.
Fedor Holz is one of the youngest big money poker players out there, as this German (from Saarbrücken) was only born in 1993. But don’t be fooled, in 2014 and 2015 the then twentysomething Holz was considered to be the best online MTT (multi-table tournament) player by Pocketfives.com. He’s won himself a fetching pair of WSOP bracelets during his time at the poker table, and his first was a doozy. In 2016, Holz won the $111,111 High Roller for One-Drop Hold’em and got his hands on prize money of $4,981,775. Nor was this his only seven-figure payday, with another coming in 2020 when he won the $25,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em event and claimed $1,077,025. And yet he has won even more than that on a single occasion: making $6m at the $1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em – The Big One for One Drop.
Phil Ivey is just one of the big earning American players, but this skilled German proves Europeans are perfectly capable of winning big too. Holz’s live tournament winnings are north of $32m, and he’s believed to be worth around the $35m mark today.
Great European Online Casinos
Even the sharpest card shark needs somewhere to play, and poker aficionados can find both solo (regular) poker games and live dealer tables at the best European online casinos. Find the brands appreciated by players, with a great array of games, slick navigation, and a variety of payment systems to suit every wallet. The proliferation of online casinos can make it hard to decide where to play, so spend more time playing and less time browsing by consulting our handy link.
Born in Dublin, Phil Laak is one of the most successful poker players that Europe has ever produced. His unorthodox nickname of the Unabomber is due to his habitual attire of sunglasses and hoodie, it should be stressed. On no fewer than six occasions has Laak made the final tables of WSOP events and has once won an associated bracelet. He moved to America as a child, and is thus a true Irish-American, and enjoyed his first major success in 2004 when he won the World Poker Tour (WPT) Celebrity Invitational.
Beyond the poker table, Laak has appeared in the 2008 Knight Rider film and spent a decade writing a column for Bluff Magazine, only stopping in 2015 when the magazine ended. Estimates as to his total wealth vary but the majority put him at $18m to $20m.
Hailing from Denmark, Gus Hansen is a poker pro who was given the probably inevitable nickname of the Great Dane. He was born in 1974 and has achieved a variety of great milestones in his poker career, including winning a trio of World Poker Tour open titles. Hansen’s a stylish fellow and has earned himself a WSOP bracelet, as well as proving victorious in the inaugural Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament.
Estimates of his net worth range from $11.5m to $15m. His poker career is not the only impressive thing about the Great Dane, who was a world-class backgammon player before turning to cards, and in 2004 he was named as one of the 50 Sexiest Men by People magazine.
Another talented Scandinavian on our list of leading European poker players is Patrik Antonius, from Finland. Las Vegas is not the only city producing poker champions, as his Helsinki birthplace proves. His nickname of the Black Lotus is pretty cool (although he’s also known by the rather blander PA, and as the Finn), and perhaps fits a man who has made a fortune as a poker player when he isn’t working as a model.
As always with net worth figures it is difficult to be precise but Patrik Antonius is believed to be worth in the region of $25m. During his career, he finished on the final table at the World Poker Tour once, and twice in the European Poker Tour (claiming a single title). In addition to playing in person, Black Lotus is also a highly successful online poker player.
You might know him as Tony G, but the Lithuanian poker star is really named Antanas Guoga. Poker is just one of the strings to his bow, with philanthropy and politics (as well as business) helping him spend his time and earn his money. He started playing poker at 18, and one of his biggest wins was scooping over $450,000 when he won the £5,000 no-limit Texas hold ’em Main Event of the European Poker Championships. That said, Tony G is also known for cutting words and ended his regular pro career in 2014 (although he has occasionally played since). Estimates of his net worth vary significantly but the upper limit is around the $36m mark, though it’s worth noting this primarily comes from his business dealings rather than the poker table.
While the majority of big-name poker players come from the USA there are plenty from the other side of the Pond, as proven by the talented quintet above.