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Most Famous Poker Players From Nevada

Home » Most Famous Poker Players From Nevada

Most Famous Poker Players From Nevada

A ‘Welcome to Nevada’ sign against a blue sky.

When you think of Nevada, you can’t help but think of bright lights, a thriving nightlife and, whether or not you’re a fan of online casino games, the world of casinos and gaming. So, it should come as no surprise that this US state ranks among the top states for producing some of the best poker players.

Nevada is indeed home to many of the world’s most respected poker pros — some of whom were born there, although most of these individuals relocated to the state to live and play in such a critically-acclaimed global gambling destination. Read on to discover some of the most famous and top poker players from Nevada, along with a few reasons why it’s one of the most sought-after bases for professionals looking to hone their online poker tournament strategy and skills.

Why Is Nevada So Popular Among Poker Players?

With the advent of technology and digital access to everything, more people are starting to explore how to play poker online — some hoping to one day participate in a major poker tournament and ultimately be named one of the world’s greats.

In fact, poker online (and along with it, poker tournaments,) have contributed hugely to the growing interest in poker in recent years. Whether you’re playing poker or live or online, the game’s basic rules remain the same. Poker enthusiasts argue that to truly establish a name for yourself within the online community, you need to know how to play online poker in Nevada, a place that some of the best poker players in the world call home. 

Yes, Nevada certainly comes with a long-standing reputation for being glitzy, glamorous and gambling-friendly, but that’s definitely not the only reason why poker players tend to flock there. Living in Nevada obviously provides professionals with plenty of opportunities to practice and play against a multitude of other gifted and experienced players. It’s also the hosting state for several of the world’s biggest poker tournaments, including the World Series of Poker (WSOP.) Las Vegas provides some of the best things to do for poker players. Professionals also love the freedom of living in Nevada since it’s considered the most open-minded state when it comes to all forms of gambling on any platform. The competitive atmosphere, great casino hotspots and less restrictive laws definitely help to attract more poker players who wish to enhance their poker skills and compete with the best.

Now that you know what draws them in, take a closer look at a handful of the best-known poker players currently residing in The Silver State.

Famous Poker Players From Nevada, Ranked

Below are some of the poker industry’s most coveted pros who all call Nevada home, ranked in order of when they were first inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Smiling poker player shows double aces.

1. Doyle Brunson

Inducted: 1988

Regarded as one of the most widely-recognized poker legends, Doyle Brunson initially wanted to become a professional basketball player. As fate would have it, an injury led him to the poker table, although he had already started to play the game sometime before the incident. Now retired, he boasts multiple titles to his name and has been dubbed the “Godfather of Poker.” Brunson’s career at the felt spans more than five decades. He tightened his grip on the game well before the Texas Hold’em poker table asserted its popularity.

To share his expertise, Brunson has written several books on poker, including the bestseller “Super System.” Now, with the popularity of the likes of MGM casinos — which give players the platform to showcase their Texas Hold’em poker skills and participate in poker tournaments — many others are looking to follow in his footsteps. Brunson was among the first seven players to participate in the inaugural WSOP event and has won 10 WSOP bracelets. He was also the first player to win $1 million in poker tournaments.

2. Billy Baxter

Inducted: 2006

Billy Baxter was introduced to poker before it was possible to play the game online. Initially, he was set to go into dentistry, which was the career path his parents desired for him, but he dropped out to follow his passion for poker (his love of the game was ignited when he was 18.)

After tying the knot in 1975, he and his wife made a detour through Nevada, resulting in them staying in the state for nine months while he played poker. 

In 2008, he won two World Poker Tour (WPT) tournaments in one month and has seven WSOP gold bracelets to his name. According to reports, Baxter has amassed well over $2 million in live poker tournament earnings in a career that spans more than four decades. Baxter remains resolutely “old-school” regarding where and how to play the game, seemingly steering clear of playing poker games online — at least, officially, there is no record of any poker account belonging to him online.

3. Erik Seidel

Inducted: 2010

Although born and raised in New York, Erik Seidel moved to Nevada to be closer to the action and to further hone his skills. During the earlier years of his impressive career, Seidel was a member of the legendary New York Mayfair Club, an underground game hall that trained many of the US’ best-known professional poker players, including Dan Harrington and Stu Ungar, until its forced closure in 2000.

Seidel started out as a stock exchange trader before feeling confident enough to take his poker to pro-level — a very profitable decision on his part. A master of the felt, he went on to win a total of nine WSOP bracelets and a WPT title. With 121 cashes, he’s also ranked sixth on the WSOP all-time cashes list. He has managed to rake in over $39,200,000 in live poker tournament winnings over the course of his career, putting him in fourth place on the all-time money list.

4. Phil Ivey

Inducted: 2017

A true rags-to-riches story, Phil Ivey’s journey to the top had a relatively rocky start, although he now owns property in Las Vegas. He started playing with a fake ID because he was underage at the time, occasionally sleeping along Atlantic City’s boardwalk, the famous promenade that boasts a multitude of casinos, hotels and restaurants. His success can be partially attributed to the guidance he received from Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu, who are also legends in their own right.

Like Brunson, Ivey also has 10 WSOP gold bracelets to his name. He has bagged over $26 million in live poker tournament earnings and won a WPT title. He described being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame as an honor because of the inductees who came before him, such as Chip Reese and Brunson himself. To pay it forward, Ivey launched his Ivey League poker training site in 2014, which, until it closed down in 2017, provided poker strategy videos narrated by respected poker pros, accessible through a monthly or annual subscription.

5. Jeremy Ausmus

Inducted: 2023 nominee

Jeremy Ausmus is a six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. His most recent win came at the 2023 WSOP Main Event. Ausmus’s lifetime winnings have reached over $15,000,000. He received his first Poker Hall of Fame nomination in 2023. Cashing in five times, making three final tables and winning his sixth WSOP bracelet in the $3,200 online high-roller event, Ausmus sure is on his way to making his mark in the poker world. 

Explore Online Poker at BetMGM

Whether you’re looking to find out about the best online poker in Nevada or even how to play online poker, you’ve got several references and people to learn from. The state is home to poker legends and those on the come-up. 

Luckily, while it’s sure to be the trip of a lifetime, you don’t have to travel there to experience the action for yourself. Register with BetMGM to play online poker for real money in online games and tournaments, as well as many other online casino games. Whenever you need a mental breather from poker after a particularly bad beat, give online slots a spin or dive into the long list of live dealer casino games. 

Looking for poker tournament tips or information on how to play casino games, such as short deck poker? Go ahead and explore the blog further.

Nevada is a top gambling destination. Discover the most famous poker players living in Nevada and their incredible achievements.