8 Popular Poker Players Who Hail From The Big Apple
December 21, 2021
Although online poker is yet to become legal in New York, the state has managed to produce some of the best poker players in the country.
We all know that poker is one of the most popular casino games and definitely the most popular table game, so it should come as no surprise that New Yorkers thrive at poker.
If you’re an avid poker fan, you’ve probably watched tons of televised poker tournaments. In case you didn’t know which poker players came from the Empire State, this is your chance to find out. Read on for the most popular poker players from NY.
Poker’s Highest Achievers In New York
#8 Olivier Busquet
Live tournament winnings: > $9 million
Olivier Busquet from New York City worked on Wall Street before becoming a professional poker player, and he even has a degree in philosophy from Cornell University.
Even with that in mind, Busquet is known as a poker player with an aggressive approach.
The beginning of his professional poker career was not as successful as one might hope because he lost his bankroll quite a few times.
However, he found his calling in heads-up sit-and-go games, where he managed to earn $2 million before any other player won $1 million. Unfortunately, Busquet has yet to win a WSOP bracelet, but many poker fans love watching him play, both online or in live poker tournaments. He has earned more than $9 million as of 2021.
#7 Elio Fox
Live tournament winnings: > $10,292,467
One can say that this New Yorker was born under a lucky star as his first WSOP appearance was Europe’s Main Event in 2011 that he won.
He walked away with a staggering $1,927,660 in cash.
Fox played online poker before appearing in live events and deemed himself a high-stakes No-limit Texas Hold‘em rebuy specialist. He won another WSOP bracelet in 2018.
Before winning big at WSOP events, Elio Fox made notable results at world-known poker tournaments like the Bellagio Cup and more. His total online earnings exceed $4.5 million, while his total live profits exceed $10 million.
#6 Vanessa Selbst
Live tournament winnings: > $11,906,246
The only woman on our list of most popular poker players for New York, Vanessa Selbst, is the only woman to ever reach the number one ranking in the world on the Global Poker Index. Selbst works for Jane Street Capital and is a member of Team Pokerstars Pro.
Selbst has three WSOP bracelets (won in 2008, 2012, and 2014) and is the only woman to win three in the open field events. She started playing at the World of Series events in 2006 in Las Vegas and reached eight finals in her professional career.
Not only that, but Vanessa Selbst also received her J.D. degree from Yale University in 2012. As of 2021, her total net earnings exceed $11 million.
#5 Nick Schulman
Live tournament winnings: > $13 million
This New Yorker’s primary interest was pool, and he was even coached by some of the best pool players in the state until he switched to poker at the age of 18.
Nick Schulman quickly became a professional, one year after he gained an interest in poker and started accumulating titles straight away.
Schulman won his first big title when he was only 21 — the fourth season World Poker Tour (WPT) World Poker Finals poker tournament. For that achievement, he took home $2,167,500, which was a record for a regular WPT season at the time. That win also made him the youngest winner of a WPT event.
Over time, Schulman managed to win three WSOP bracelets in 2009, 2012, and 2019. He is also a commentator for PokerGO and ESPN, most notably at the 2019 WSOP Main Event. As of 2021, his live tournament winnings exceed $13 million.
#4 William Alex Foxen
Live tournament winnings: > $20,028,855
Alex Foxen might not be your typical poker player as he prioritized other things before becoming a professional. Namely, although Foxen played poker in college, he did not immerse into the competitive world of poker until he graduated from Boston College in 2014. However, he won the first World Series of Poker circuit event in 2012.
He transitioned to poker tournaments from online poker in 2016, starting with small tournaments and buy-ins. Although he is pretty successful in the world of poker, he is yet to win a bracelet. This NY native won a few high roller events, with $2,160,000 he made at the Super High Roller Bowl being his largest career prize.
Interestingly, Foxen is engaged to a fellow professional poker player, Kristen Bicknell. As of 2021, Foxen has more than $20 million in earnings from live poker tournaments.
#3 Isaac Haxton
Live tournament winnings: > $27,670,939
Isaac Haxton was only 18 years old when he started his competitive poker career at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. Although Haxton was born in New York City, he was raised in Westchester. This NY native is another professional poker player who started his career playing Magic: The Gathering competitively.
Four years later, in 2007, Haxton cashed in his first tournament at the WPT Championship Event. He won $861,789 as a runner-up and is yet to win any bracelets. Recently, Haxton has created a successful online poker career, where he earned more than $2 million. His live poker tournament winnings exceed $27,670,939 as of December 2021.
#2 Erik Seidel
Live tournament winnings: > $38,445,633
One of the most popular poker players on this list was born in New York City but resides in Las Vegas due to his highly successful poker career. Erik Seidel won nine WSOP bracelets and a World Poker Tour title.
Seidel’s career goes a long way, but his first major victory happened at the 1992 WSOP, where he won his first bracelet. Although he lost the 1998 WSOP Main Event to Johnny Chan, the movie Rounders featured that final hand. He won his last WSOP bracelet in 2021 at the World Series of Poker Online.
You might be surprised that his nine bracelets are only the fifth most bracelets won by a poker player of all time. Seidel is also quite busy with charitable poker events when not playing professional poker, but he also starred in a few movies over the years.
#1 Bryn Kenney
Live tournament winnings: > $57,108,861
Before Bryn Kenney started his career as a professional poker player, he played Magic: The Gathering competitively. The Long Beach native’s first live cash event was in 2007 at the East Coast Poker Championship. It took him seven years to win his first and only bracelet. He won the $1,500 10-Game Mix Six-Handed event and took $153,220 home.
However, Kenney continued to dominate the world of poker in the US by defeating Joe McKeehen, the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion in 2016 at the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure $100K Super High Roller event. That triumph brought him $1,687,800. His live poker tournament winnings exceed $57 million as of December 2021.