With the holiday season upon us, many of the game’s top pros are shutting it down for the years. This past year saw the rise of many new poker stars and other pros reestablish their dominance in the game.
We decided to look back at a few of the pros who had a stellar 2015 poker campaign. With a couple of exceptions, we have excluded most pros where the majority of their earnings for 2015 (75% or more) came from a single victory.
Erik Seidel found new life as a poker player thanks to High Roller events. Since 2011, he has earned over $15 million with most of those earnings coming from High Roller tournaments. Seidel enjoyed his second best year as a pro in 2015, earning just over $5 million.
My kids are telling me they hope my poker game is better than my emoji game today— Erik Seidel (@Erik_Seidel) August 3, 2015
He kicked off the year with a 6th place finish in the $100k Challenge at Aussie Millions and followed that up with a 5th place finish in the $250k Challenge. In April, he won the €100,000 Super High Roller at the EPT Grand Final at Monte Carlo, good for $2.22 million.
After cashing four times at the 2015 WSOP, he finished 7th in the $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $860,000. Last month, he finished 7th in the WSOP-Europe Main Event, earning $113,429. Earlier this month, Seidel finished 6th in the Super High Roller of APPT Asia Championship of Poker, earning another $218,848.
We r down to 3 tables in the 500k. I have 1.385m, average is 900k. This would be a good time to get some cooperation from the poker gods— Erik Seidel (@Erik_Seidel) July 3, 2015
The World Series of Poker Main Event Champion definitely deserves a spot on this list. Joe McKeehen survived a field of 6,420 players to win the bracelet and $7.68 million. This capped off a solid 2015 WSOP for McKeehen as he cashed four times.
Leading up to the Main Event, McKeehen won the $1,500 NL Event at the Wynn Fall Classic, earning $90,125. For the year, McKeehen earned $7.81 million and etched his name into the record books.
The 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion had his best year since becoming a world champion. Jonathan Duhamel earned $4.96 million in 2015 along with two WSOP bracelets. He started the year by going deep in the PCA Main Event and winning a side event at the same series.
Then during the 2015 WSOP, he had his first seven-figure score since winning the 2010 Main Event. He won the $111,111 ONE DROP High Roller event for $3.98 million. This capped a summer that saw him cash six times.
In September, he won a side event at the Borgata Poker Open and followed that up with a pair of final table appearances at WSOP-Europe. Duhamel took down the €25,600 High Roller Event for $628,915 and his second bracelet of 2015.
The current frontrunner for CardPlayer Player of the Year has been absolutely on fire in 2015. Anthony Zinno started the year by winning back-to-back WPT titles at the Fallsview Poker Classic and the L.A. Poker Classic.
He then went to the 2015 World Series of Poker where he made five final tables. He took down the first-ever $25,000 PLO High Roller Event for his first career bracelet and $1.12 million. This came just a day after finishing 7th in the ONE DROP High Roller for $565,864.
The BEST bracelet acceptance speech I've ever heard thus far. @AntZinno Heartfelt. Authentic. Inspiring. Genuine. Very classy. CONGRATS!!!— Antonio Esfandiari (@MagicAntonio) July 3, 2015
After the WSOP, he took down a heads-up event at the Borgata Poker Open for over $74,000. Last month, he took down an 8-Handed PLO Event and finished 2nd in the Six-Handed “Spooky Stack” Turbo at the EPT Malta. Earlier this month, he just missed his third WPT final table of 2015, finishing 12th in the WPT bestbet Bounty Scramble in Jacksonville.
This has been Zinno’s best year as a live tournament pro. He has $3.75 million in earnings and will likely finish as CardPlayer’s Player of the Year.
Dzmitry Urbanovich has been a machine in 2015. He has cashed in 22 events, making 17 final tables and winning seven times, earning $3.87 million in the process. His most impressive performances came at the EPT/IPT Malta, Portomaso. He made six final tables during that series, winning four events including the EPT High Roller for $605,929.
At the end of April, he finished second behind Erik Seidel at the €100,000 Super High Roller at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, earning $1.59 million. In August, he finished runner-up in the €50,000 Super High Roller Eight-Max at EPT Barcelona for $949,967. His performances in 2015 have propelled him to the top of Poland’s All-Time Money List in just his third year as a live tournament pro.
Byron Kaverman won $1.44 million in 2014 and more than doubled that figure in 2015. He presently has $3.48 million in earnings heading into December and finally broke through for his first major poker title.
After a runner-up finish in a $25,000 Aria High Roller in January, he took down a pair of $25k High Rollers in March for a combined $525,000 in earnings. He then went to the 2015 World Series of Poker where he cashed four times, making two final tables and winning his first bracelet.
After finishing 9th in the $5,000 NL Event and 12th in the $10k NL Heads-Up Championship, Kaverman won the $10k Six-Handed Championship for his first bracelet and $657,351. He capped off his series with a 12th place finish in the ONE DROP High Roller.
Following the 2015 WSOP, he made the final table of the Bellagio Cup XI Main Event, finishing 3rd for $409k. Following the Bellagio Cup, he posted four more six-figure scores including a victory in the EPT Malta €10,000 High Roller for $475,355.
Loni Harwood had the best year among female players in terms of overall performance. She has her second best year as a pro with $516,910 in earnings and earned her second career WSOP bracelet.
Harwood began the year with a deep run in the WPT Borgata Winter Open and then took down the Big Stax Championship at Parx Casino Big Stax X for $81,312. At the 2015 WSOP, Harwood cashed three times and bubbled the final table of the $3,000 NL Hold’em Shootout.
Let the games begin pic.twitter.com/9uxEBPnlDW— Loni Harwood (@Luscious_Lon) July 7, 2015
Following the Main Event, Harwood traveled down to the WSOP National Championship in Cherokee, NC and became the first (and last) female WSOP Circuit National Champion. The victory earned her a second career WSOP bracelet and $341,599.
Steve O’Dwyer enjoyed his best year ever as a pro in 2015 thanks to strong performances in High Roller events. He started 2015 by winning the $100,000 Super High Roller 8-Handed Event at the PCA, earning $1.87 million. He followed that performance with a sixth place finish in the $25,000 Challenge at Aussie Millions.
successful sneak attack on today's 5k in Helsinki. top 3 in live mtts should always get flowers imo. pic.twitter.com/u8dcVdXNGQ— steveodwyer (@steveodwyer) August 5, 2015
O’Dwyer continued to post six figure scores throughout 2015. Here’s a quick list:
- Macau Poker Cup HK$20,000 NL Event – 1st – $127,925
- EPT Grand Final, Monte Carlo €25,500 Super High Roller – 3rd – $589,297
- EPT Barcelona – €50,000 Super High Roller 8-Max – 7th – $249,486
- EPT Malta – €10,200 Super High Roller – 1st – $360,000
- APPT Asia Championship of Poker – HK$500,000 Super High Roller – 4th, $343,974
O’Dwyer has $3.99 million in earnings heading into the last month of 2015.
Viktor Blom, aka Isildur1, is presently the only player with more than $1 million in online cash game earnings in 2015. He has $2.35 million in earnings between PokerStars and Full Tilt.
Taking a closer look at his stats, you can see that they are skewed towards PokerStars. He is presently up over $3.7 million on the site through November 15. Adversely, he is down $1.36 million on Full Tilt Poker.
No other player presently tracked by HighStakesDb showing earnings of at least $1 million. What’s most impressive about Blom’s earnings is the volume he’s put in. Between the two sites, he has played over 300,000 hands. The next closest player in terms of volume is Phil Ivey but he’s down over $3.4 million in 2015.