The Best Poker Players of 2015


So again here we are with the hardest of tasks to define who the best players of the year were. We couldn’t do that with the great precision without gigabytes of statistics and army of specialists. So we’ve got some data to build an adequate rating of the best poker players of 2015.

Let’s use our logic. We’ll start with the definition of the term ‘best’. What does it take to be the best player? The biggest earner or the most frequent ITMer? Maybe the one who played the biggest number of tournaments or the biggest number of cash tables? What is the main criteria to define world best poker player?

Yeah, we have to forget about cash games, unfortunately. There are many top poker players playing cash only. But cash games always stay aside. Nobody knows who won the biggest money playing cash. No exact, no approximate figures. And we won’t try to think out all the numbers.

So the criteria for being the best players is here:

a) To be ITM in major tournament more often than others;

b) To win the biggest amount of money possible.

Here are some other ratings, which partly show skill. For starters, the most successful players of the year (the biggest earners). Top poker players in the world are in the list.

  1. Brian Rast (USA) – $8,618,663
  2. Scott Seiver (USA) – $7,920,590
  3. Joseph Mckeehen (USA) – $7,867,631
  4. Erik Seidel (USA) – $5,093,703
  5. Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) – $4,970,513
  6. Steve O’Dwyer (USA) – $4,879,828
  7. Connor Drinan (USA) – $4,793,794
  8. Joshua Beckley (USA) – $4,612,957
  9. Dzmitry Urbanovich (Poland) – $4,033,170
  10. Anthony Zinno (USA) – $3,778,904.

This is a typical rating, built on absolute numbers. It is usually headed by the winner of World Series Main Event, however first places in recent years are occupied by those who often take part $500,000+ buy-in tournaments, therefore these are filled with pros with the biggest bankrolls and nice connections.

American Brian Rast took it here because he won $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl and earned $7,525,000 with a single payment. The second place was taken by Scott Seiver, who won $5,160,000 there.


Brian Rast

Most of the players won one single tournament and that allowed them to get this high. Jonathan Duhamel, for instance, won$111,111 High Roller for One-Drop title ($3,989,985), Erik Seidel was first in EPT Monte Carlo €100,000 Super High Roller($2,222,222).

There are exceptions to that – those who earned a lot without winning something big – that’s what we’re interested in.

Let’s see the other side of this. Here is the list of those who got ITM in tournaments more often than others:

  1. DJ Mackinnon (USA) – 42
  2. Iori Yogo (Japan) – 40
  3. Joe Kuether (USA) – 40
  4. Michael Wang (USA) – 39
  5. Alexander Lakhov (Russia) – 39
  6. John Holly (USA) – 38
  7. Je Wuk O (USA) – 36
  8. Atanas Kavrakov (Bulgaria) – 35
  9. Dominique Terzian (France) – 33
  10. Nickolas Palma (USA) – 33
  11. Alan Angel (USA) – 33
  12. Anthony Nguen (USA) – 33.

Quite a list: we have Japanese player here, Russian Alexander Lakhov, very few people know them. Let’s compare winnings of DJ Mackinnon ($161,302 in prize money) or Joe Kuether ($2,274,965 in prize money!) – the latter has 2 ITM less.


Joe Kuether

This proves ratings are very doubtful.

10 best players according to GPI

Global Poker Index rating is considered the closest to real course of events in today’s poker world. Everything’s taken into account – field size, buy-ins (all the tournaments with buy-ins over $20,000 is equal to $20,000 High Roller), precious results. Win in tournaments with $100,000, $500,000 or even $1,000,000 change picture insignificantly.

So here are the players we’ve been searching for with a surprising number one:

  1. Byron Kaverman – 4,736.90 очков
  2. Anthony Zinno – 4,649.05
  3. Steve O’Dwyer – 4,640.17
  4. Nicholas Petrangelo – 4,605.26
  5. Fedor Holz – 4,260.13
  6. Dzmitry Urbanovich – 4,233.71
  7. Jason Mercier – 4,175.44
  8. Connor Drinan – 3,996.08
  9. Scott Seiver – 3,887.88
  10. Erik Seidel – 3,875.60.


Byron Kaverman

While all the news portals were praising Dzmitry Urbanovich and Anthony Zinno, American Byron Kaverman took the first place; here are some of his results:

October, Malta: EPT €10,000 High Roller – 1st place, $475,355

October, Malta: EPT €25,000 High Roller – 5th place, $159,298

October, USA: Aria $25,000 High Roller – 3rd place, $175,641

August, Spain: EPT €50,000 Super High Roller – 9th place, $139,531

July, USA: $10,000 Bellagio Cup – 3rd place, $409,219

June, USA: WSOP $111,111 High Roller for One-Drop – 12th place, $332,593

June, USA: WSOP $10,000, Event #37 – 1st place, $657,351

March, USA: Aria $25,000 High Roller – 1st place, $243,240

March, USA: Aria $25,000 High Roller – 1st place, $282,948

January, USA: Aria $25,000 High Roller – 2nd place, $282,435

January, USA: Aria $25,000 High Roller – 4th place, $80,360.

$3,481,463 total, not the biggest amount, Byron isn’t even in Top-10 of the most successful players of the year. But there is an impressive number of final tables. And all his wins are in $10,000 and more expensive tournaments.

All the other players in the rating are high rollers and super high rollers, no exceptions.


Anthony Zinno

Anthony Zinno, as well as Urbanovich has breakthrough year. He won three WPT tournaments in a row, played at five World Series events winning one of them; He earned almost $4 million.

There are lot’s of categories uncovered, such as “best female poker player”, or “best online tournament poker players”. We’ll try to find the solutions to how define it in the nearest future. Figures and facts speak for itself. GPI rating is perfect for our purpose – to find the best of the best in 2015. They are high rollers who performed well in the tournaments fighting against the best professionals on the planet.


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