2019 marks the 50th annual World Series of Poker. The most prestigious poker festival in history has played a pivotal role in creating many of the legends and superstars of the game. To commemorate the occasion, PocketFives editorial staff each ranked the top 50 players in WSOP history in an effort to define and rank the most important, influential, and greatest WSOP players of all time.
This list details the players who made spots #21 – #30 on our list. If you haven’t yet caught up on the other names we’ve announced so far you can check out #41 – #50 here and #31 – #40 here.
#30 – Barry Greenstein
Barry Greenstein has one of the most recognizable faces in poker, plus plenty of accolades to go along with it. He has three WSOP gold bracelets with the first coming in 2004 when he won the $5,000 No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw event to the tune of $296,200. Greenstein went on to win his second gold bracelet in 2005 before landing his third in 2008. Interestingly, each of Greenstein’s three bracelets has come in different variants. In addition to the No Limit 2-7 Single Draw bracelets he has, Greenstein won one in pot-limit Omaha and razz.
When poker exploded in the early- to mid-2000s, Greenstein’s face was one of those that was everywhere. He was a high-stakes cash game player who constantly found himself in the money in WSOP events. To date, Greenstein has racked up 102 cashes and 24 top 10 finishes in World Series of Poker events. At the WSOP in 2017 and 2018, Greenstein cashed 13 times each year.
“Dubbed ‘The Robin Hood of Poker’, Barry Greenstein is one of the games all-time great grinders. His 101 summer series cashes is good for fifth on the all-time WSOP cashes list and his three bracelets have come in three different disciplines, proving that he’s a master of all the games. But Barry has brought more than results, being one of the most approachable of the poker boom superstars while in the halls of the Rio. Between his results, his philanthropy, and his ability to connect with his fans Greenstein is an all-time great.” – PocketFives Senior Writer Jeff Walsh
#29 – Huck Seed
Huck Seed is very much known for his 1996 WSOP Main Event victory that saw him win the $1 million top prize when he topped a field of 295 entries in the world championship tournament. What many don’t know is that Seed had actually already won a WSOP gold bracelet. Seed earned his first bracelet in 2004 when he won the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event for $167,000. That first win seemed inevitable for Seed, who prior to it had six WSOP cashes and all of them were top 10 finishes.
Seed returned to the WSOP Main Event final table in 1999 and won bracelets three and four in 2000 and 2003, both of which came in razz.
#28 – Berry Johnston
In similar fashion to Huck Seed, many don’t know that Berry Johnston had already won a WSOP gold bracelet before he won the WSOP Main Event. He first claimed gold in 1983 before going on to win the granddaddy of them all in 1986. Interestingly, Johnston’s first-ever recorded cash came when he placed third in the WSOP Main Event in 1982. In 1985, he took third again in the event and then finally won it the following year. Further adding to Johnston’s WSOP standing, he finished fifth in the WSOP Main Event in 1990 and has several other deep runs in the event.
#27 – Shaun Deeb
Shaun Deeb came up in poker as an online player, but he’s transitioned to the live realm very well and has been quite the WSOP performer over the years. Since his first WSOP cash in 2007, Deeb has won four bracelets, finished in the top 10 17 times, and cashed 66 times.
Deeb’s first taste of WSOP gold came in 2015, when he won the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship for $318,857. He added his second bracelet in 2016, and then two more in 2018 en route to winning the 2018 WSOP Player of the Year title. His two bracelets in 2018, were worth $1.402 million and $814,000. Deeb cashed 16 times at the 2018 WSOP and then four more times at the 2018 WSOP Europe.
“Not many players who came up in the world of online poker have been able to move to the live felt with as much success as Shaun Deeb. His talents make him one of the top poker players in the world and we’re really starting to see him carve out his place in poker history over more recent years. Deeb appears to be as all in as possible when it comes to the WSOP. Deeb first hit the WSOP winner’s circle in 2015 and won four gold bracelets and one Player of the Year title in the four-year span from 2015-2018. Plus, he had 10 additional cashes in the top 10 of events over that span. If the volume is there in any sort of way, Deeb is a threat to win WSOP Player of the Year and multiple bracelets every summer, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him challenge Phil Hellmuth for most bracelets all time if he keeps playing these events at such a high frequency over the next decade or two.” – PocketFives Managing Editor Donnie Peters
In today’s poker world, Deeb is considered to be as tough a competitor as any. He’s a threat to win a WSOP bracelet, or two or three, every single year, and a strong contender for WSOP Player of the Year.
#26 – Daniel Alaei
Daniel Alaei may not make a lot of noise at the table, but the game he brings to the WSOP each and every year speaks volumes. Alaei has five WSOP gold bracelets, with the first coming in 2006 when he won the $5,000 NL 2-7 Single Draw event. He later added bracelets two, three, four, and five in 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2015.
Each time he won his way to the WSOP winner’s circle, Alaei did it facing some of the toughest competition around. His first gold bracelet in the $5,000 NL 2-7 Single Draw tournament saw Alaei battle through a final table that included David Williams, Men Nguyen, Greg Raymer, and Allen Cunningham. His other four bracelets were all in Omaha tournaments and each of those events had a buy-in of $10,000. His wins in 2010 and 2013 were in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, when he took home $780,599 and $852,692, respectively.
“Daniel Alaei is an incredible poker talent, and his skills have led to WSOP success several times, especially when it comes to Omaha. Personally, I wish Alaei would play more WSOP events every summer because I don’t feel his actual results are anywhere near the potential he has. If there was ever a player to be called a “silent killer” on the felt, it’s Alaei. He doesn’t say much, he’s quiet when he does talk, and his demeanor is unassuming, but his poker prowess is as loud as they come. When it comes to Omaha, the WSOP’s second most popular variant, Alaei is one of the best, if not the absolute best, in the world and his four bracelets in the game are clear evidence of that.” – Donnie Peters
#25 – Chris Moneymaker
Chris Moneymaker is as important a player in WSOP history as anyone. His storybook win in the 2003 WSOP Main Event played a part in igniting the poker boom and the ambassadorship he’s served in since rivals anyone in the game. But for as important a figure as Moneymaker is when it comes to WSOP history, his results since his moment of glory in 2003 have been minimal and it’s the reason he’s not higher on this list. Of his $2,532,041 in WSOP earnings, $2,500,000 of that is from his 2003 WSOP Main Event victory, and he only has three other cashes and one other top 10 finish. Moneymaker’s last WSOP cash was more than a decade ago in 2007.
“An argument can be made that the most famous accountant from Tennessee to ever play poker simply doesn’t have the numbers needed to be on this list. However, if Chris Moneymaker is not in the field in 2003, if he did not bluff Sammy Farha and he never took home the Main Event title – poker may not be where it is today. The man that sparked the poker boom influenced a generation of poker players who saw what he did on ESPN and thought to themselves ‘I can do that too.’ Moneymaker is the poker icon that the industry needed and his being where he was, when he was has helped the World Series of Poker become the series that it is today.” – Jeff Walsh
#24 – David Chiu
Another WSOP stalwart to find his way to PocketFives’ Top 50 Greatest WSOP Players list is David Chiu, with 71 cashes, 26 top 10 finishes, and five gold bracelets. Chiu’s first WSOP cash came in 1996, and it also turned out to be his first WSOP gold bracelet win when he took down the $2,000 Limit Hold’em tournament for $396,000. Future bracelets wins for Chiu came in 1998, 2000, 2005, and 2013. Chiu’s skills have been on display at the WSOP ever since he started playing there, and he’s a player well-versed in all games. His bracelets have come in hold’em, seven-card stud, and Omaha. Additionally, Chiu has four runner-up finishes in gold bracelet tournaments.
“Many of his colleagues will make the argument that David Chiu could be the most underappreciated player of his generation. His WSOP record is impressive. He’s one of just 25 players to have won five or more bracelets. He also has four runner-up finishes and two thirds. Had a hand or two (or six) gone differently during those events, we could be talking about him as pushing to join the double-digit bracelet club.” – PocketFives Editor in Chief Lance Bradley.
#23 – Barbara Enright
Barbara Enright is a three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner best known for being the only woman to date to ever reach the WSOP Main Event final table. That came in 1995 when she placed fifth in the big one. In 1986 and 1994, Enright won the WSOP Women’s Event, and then she took down the 1996 $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament for $180,000. In a male-dominated industry, especially in the 1990s, Enright helped pave the way for female poker players around the world.
#22 – Jeff Lisandro
Not too many players can claim to have won three WSOP bracelets. Even fewer can claim to have won three in the same year. Jeff Lisandro has six WSOP gold bracelets in all, and three of those came in 2009 when he absolutely crushed seven-card stud at the WSOP, winning the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud, $2,500 Razz, and $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low. He won his first bracelet back in 2007, also in seven-card stud, and won his other two in pot-limit Omaha. Further adding to the chapter Lisandro wrote in the WSOP history books, he won one of his bracelets at WSOP Europe and another at WSOP Asia-Pacific.
“Half of Lisandro’s six bracelet wins came in 2009 when he was clearly a dominant force on his way to winning WSOP Player of the Year. It would be a shame to let that performance overshadow the other things Lisandro has done in his career. He’s won at least one bracelet in all three variants of Seven Card Stud and is part of an elite group of players who have won a bracelet on three different continents. You could easily make the argument that at #22, he gets the short end of the stick.” – Lance Bradley
#21 – Ted Forrest
Ted Forrest also has six WSOP gold bracelets and he is also a player who can claim to have won three gold bracelets in a single year. Forrest achieved the feat in 1993, when he stormed onto the poker scene with three gold bracelet wins in three different games. First, he won the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud tournament. Then, he won the $1,500 Razz event. He followed that up with a victory in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Low tournament. In 2004, Forrest was back winning multiple bracelets in the same summer, taking home two that year. He’d add his sixth in 2014.
Forrest has always been a feared player at the table, and when he reaches the money he’s playing to win, as evidenced by his 38 WSOP cashes resulting in 23 top 10s. In addition to his six gold bracelets, Forrest has reached the top three of a gold bracelet event on five other occasions.