As one of the most popular games in the world, poker attracts fans from all walks of life, from hobby players that just like to get together with friends to those that take the game pretty seriously. Although the rules are relatively simple, experienced players develop skills and strategies that make them much more likely to win.
There are several international poker tournaments that allow players to test their mettle against others, and players come from all over the world and different cultures to compete for the top titles. Some familiar faces have been on the scene for years, whereas others are relatively new to the world of competitive poker.
The best players currently on the scene include:
Espen Uhlen Jørstad
Having worked as a brewer in Copenhagen for several years, Espen Jørstad burst onto the poker scene when he won the $10,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Alongside his WSOP bracelet, he also won ten million dollars, putting him around the top of the highest earning players of the year.
Jørstad began his poker career playing online, learning his craft and developing his understanding of poker rules, strategy, and statistics from the comfort of his own home. He began to compete in the big league contests, demonstrating how effective his training had been with a number of wins that suggest he is here to stay.
Having learnt how to play in the casinos of London, Sam Grafton also put the hours into his poker career by practising online. He competed in the $2,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em event in Las Vegas, but he hasn’t managed to win himself one of the highly sought-after WSOP bracelets quite yet.
However, he is up among the top earners for the last year, having won the $200,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em event at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series that was held in Kyrenia in Cyprus. As a member of PokerStars Pro, he has a high profile and won around $8.1 million last year, but it seems likely that he will continue to pursue a WSOP title in the year to come.
Schindler has been playing since he was only twenty when he joined the scene after winning at the Superstack Hold ‘Em Series in New York in 2009. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, playing at a number of events and winning the Top Poker Player of the Year award in 2018.
After more than a decade of playing competitive poker, Schindler landed a WSOP bracelet in 2022. He played in the $50,000 No-Limit Hold ‘Em contest at the Rio in Las Vegas. With annual winnings of $7 million in 2022, Jake Schindler is set to continue his winning streak in the coming year.
Originally from Belarus, Mikita Bodyakovsky is a big name in the worlds of both live and online poker. He began appearing in live tournaments in 2010, and it wasn’t long before he was earning big bucks from his wins.
In 2018 he landed payouts of $2.5 million in the Triton Super High Roller Series and $1.9 million at the tables in the Barcelona Super High Roller contest.
William Alex Foxen
He may have started his competitive career as a tight end in his college football team, but William Alex Foxen has been much more successful at the poker tables than on the football field. He won his first WSOP gold ring in 2012 when he entered the Six-Handed No -Limit Hold ‘Em contest at Harrah’s in New Orleans.
At this point, Foxen was only twenty-one, but he didn’t start playing professionally until he was twenty-three. By 2017, Foxen was competing in the most hotly contested competitions, coming second in the Five Diamond World Poker Classic and earning himself more than $1 million.
2023 saw Foxen compete in the $250,000 Super High Roller WSOP, earning $4.5 million, his first bracelet and the second position on the Global Poker Index.
Another successful British player, Stephen Chidwick has several online aliases that he uses to smash the competition from his home in Kent. He began competing in poker tournaments in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2010 that he had his first WSOP win which saw him cashing in three separate events.
In 2015, Chidwick was runner-up in the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Championship, winning nearly $200,000 in the process. In 2019, he started his season at the top of the Global Poker Index, earning himself a WSOP bracelet and combined winnings that are thought to have exceeded $32 million.
There are so many talented players on the scene at the moment that poker fans can enjoy watching fun games played between experts that really know what they are doing.