The riveting casino game of poker is one that has truly stood the test of time. Now, with the option to play poker online at a reputable online casino, more and more people from all parts of the world are trying their luck at it. While many only ever dream of being named among the greatest poker players, some have gone on to cement themselves in the history books by raking up as many wins and titles as possible.
With New Jersey being one of the US states that have legalized online poker, it’s no wonder that young players are looking to follow in the footsteps of NJ poker stars. Let’s take a closer look at the careers and winnings of 10 poker players from the Garden State.
Top Poker Players From New Jersey
The names on this list have not only inspired up-and-coming poker players, but they’ve also sparked much conversation among those with an interest in gambling. While some may be intrigued by their total winnings to date, others are interested in their journey to the top and how they compare to other famous poker players.
1. Phil Ivey
Amassing a whopping $38,529,659 in his career from poker tournaments and games, Ivey is undoubtedly one of the best. Given that he developed a love for card games from a very young age, at about eight years old, it’s no wonder that he’s honed his skills to razor-sharpness over the years. His grandfather introduced him to Five-Card Stud and he went on to prove his natural capabilities. Ivey has 10 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets to his name, more than anyone alive. The year 2002 was a notable one for him, as he won three bracelets in that year alone. He was also inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017.
2. Thomas Marchese
With approximately $19,106,531 in winnings, Marchese’s poker career is often traced back to 2010. Poker enthusiasts refer to 2010 as his breakout year as he was named the 2010 Card Player of the Year, with No Limit Texas Hold’em being his claim to fame. His career has grown in leaps and bounds since his college days when he started playing in his early 20s. Although he doesn’t have a WSOP bracelet, he’s amassed enough titles and winnings to secure his spot on this list.
3. Darren Elias
Claiming the third spot is BetMGM ambassador Darren Elias, with an estimated $11,944,907 in winnings. His transition from lifeguard to professional poker player has been a remarkable one to witness. Elias’ poker career spans approximately 20 years and he currently holds a record four World Poker Tour Main Event titles.
4. Chris Klodnicki
With an estimated $10,853,017 in winnings, Klodnicki recently secured his second career WSOP gold bracelet in June 2023, with his first one being from six years ago in 2017. His introduction to poker was through his brother in high school, where he started learning the fundamentals of Texas Hold’em. He started out with online tournaments and then went on to pursue live games to establish a name for himself. This was in 2007, when he was still in college. It’s clear that this New Jersey native’s poker career is set to continue soaring to new heights.
5. Scott Blumstein
With an approximate $8,597,241 in total winnings, Blumstein won the WSOP Main Event in 2017. Before pursuing poker professionally, he graduated with an accounting degree. One of Blumstein’s first notable wins was in July 2016 at the Borgata Summer Poker Open.
6. Tom Dwan
Dwan boasts an admirable $6,450,105 in winnings. He first gained acclaim through online games, as his interest in this classic casino game was evident even during his school years. The year 2008 is said to have been a pivotal one in his career since having lost millions prior to that. However, 2008 saw his luck turn and he was able to recoup his losses. Although he’s experienced his fair share of ebbs and flows, May 2023 marked another highlight for him. Dwan won a $3 million pot that is still being marveled at.
7. Joshua Beckley
Beckley, with an estimated $5,390,204 in total winnings, has had a rather illustrious poker career. He started playing poker in high school with friends, which paved the way for the path he would take later. Through continued practice, he eventually managed to secure a runner-up position at the 2015 WSOP Main Event, a feat some only dream of.
8. Michael Wang
Wang has amassed approximately $5,315,792 in poker winnings and his interest in poker dates as far back as his teenage years. He improved his gameplay online before venturing into live games in 2009. His professional poker career is said to have started shortly thereafter, in the early 2010s. He has participated in four WSOP tournaments and boasts two bracelets to his name.
9. Matthew Stout
Stout’s professional poker career dates to 2006 and he has won an estimated $4,352,912 at the poker table over the last 18 years. He has participated in several televised World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker final tables and has also branched out into training other poker players who have gone on to achieve their own successes. Despite not having a WSOP bracelet to his name, Stout is undoubtedly one of the most respected players of poker from New Jersey.
10. Michael Ruane
Wrapping up this list is Ruane, with an estimated $3,577,889 to his name from poker winnings. Although he has yet to secure a WSOP win, he came close in 2016 when he claimed the fourth spot. Ruane has achieved much in his poker career, with his initial anonymity having once been a topic of interest among poker enthusiasts.
Claim the Top Spot at BetMGM
It goes without saying that to be listed as one of the poker greats, a lot of strategizing, learning and practice is required. Of course, no poker career is ever a success-only story, you have to weather the storm and bounce back from setbacks and losses when they do occur.
Whether you’re a novice player or well on your way to being one of the leading professional poker players, there’s no harm in constantly working to get better at this much-loved game. So, why not put your skills to the test at an online casino? Register at BetMGM to access a world of thrilling casino games.