Money has always been a way of keeping score in poker, the ultimate measuring stick in a game where each dollar is both a tally and ammunition, which is why we decide to ask our readers, “Have the WSOP Main event and high roller tourneys like one drop ruined the all-time money list?”
Leading the vote, 75 percent of our readers said Yes and 25 percent said No.
Here is the The Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money List Top 10 generated on Aug 14, 2014
1. Daniel Negreanu – $29,796,381
2. Antonio Esfandiari – $26,247, 007
3. Phil Ivey – $21,457, 074
4. Erik Seidel – $20,811,659
5. Sam Trickett – $20,100,947
6. Daniel Colman – $18,997,663
7. Phil Hellmuth – $18,193,407
8. John Juanda – $16,086,638
9. Michael Mizrachi – $14,516,754
10. Scott Seiver – $12,581,648
Looking at the list, most of the winnings were artificially enhanced by WSOP Main Event, which has been skewing the all-time money list since 1991 and The Big One for One Drop who arrived in the scene in 2012. And these tournaments have contributed to massive increase in some poker players’ earnings. Six of the current top 10 players on the all-time money list—Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Trickett, Daniel Colman, Phil Hellmuth, and Scott Seiver—were among the 17 who have cashed in the Big One.
Sure, poker is a game played for money. Most would agree that money is indeed a means of keeping score in poker. Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as the World Series of Poker to track entries go a long way towards determining ROI—a truer test of success. That and ranking systems like GPI.
For many reasons, we cannot use the list as an unambiguous indicator of poker ability or greatness. It only tracks live tourney winnings, not buy-ins, number of cashes or who the most consistently successful have been over a fifteen-year period that started in the poker equivalent of the Stone Age. As good as most of these guys are, for the majority of them, their place on this list is in part a case of right place, right time than a true testament to skill, or at least, skill above and beyond all others.