The year 2020 challenged the world in many ways, but one thing stayed constant. Poker continued.
As 2020 progressed, the pandemic put an end to live tournaments in most parts of the world, and suddenly online poker became the biggest game in (any) town. Poker fans stayed glued to their screens as some of the world’s most skilled and cool-headed players raised the stakes and grew the game they love.
Some old guard and some new - here are the 4 greatest American players from 2020.
Justin Bonomo announced himself to the world of poker at the age of 16, and at 21, became the youngest player to take part at a televised final table when he participated in the European Poker Tour French Open in Deauville, France. In June 2020, Bonomo took home $1,775,000 and became the first player to win three SHRB titles. Now second on the all-time money list for live tournament winnings, this bonafide poker idol is a likely contender for Global Poker Index Player of the Year.
Alex Foxen kicked off his poker career by winning the first World Series of Poker event he entered at age 21. He only started playing seriously two years later, transitioning from online to the live game in 2016. Foxen ended 2019 on a high note by defeating Toby Joyce at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic for a $1.7 million payday and his first WPT title. Foxen’s form continued: 2020 likewise ended in winning style for the 29-year-old from Cold Spring Harbor, New York. He crushed the final weekend high-roller events – in the flesh – at the Wynn Poker Room in Las Vegas in December. Winning one and finishing runner-up twice (while wearing a mask!) made him the indisputable star of the three-day, real-life event.
With a net worth of around $42 million, there’s no question “Kid Poker” is one of the world’s most famous poker players. The legendary ability of the Canadian pro to read his opponents and adapt his playing style is one of the reasons he’s the only one who has claimed World Series bracelets in Australia, Europe, and Las Vegas combined.
Negreanu entered the Hall of Fame in 2014, which saw the start of a long-running feud with fellow pro Doug Polk. In 2020, Negreanu publicly accepted Polk’s invitation to a high-stakes grudge match, agreeing to square off at $200/$400 for at least 12,500 hands. The games began with a live session on November 4, with the remainder of the challenge currently going down online at the time of this writing.
A long-time poker pro with an estimated $30 million in live tournament winnings, Phil Ivey stayed in the game in 2020 playing poker online, adding to his estimated $20 million-plus in online winnings and reminding fans he can succeed on any stage.
He tasted sweet success to the tune of $1.4 million, which included a win and runner-up finish in two $50,000 events in Sochi, Russia. Often referred to as the “Tiger Woods of poker,” the Riverside, California-born 44-year-old now calls Las Vegas home and is considered by some as the best competitor in the history of poker (quite an accolade). Ivey is famous for keeping his cool when things become rough, and his remarkable capacity for self-control is said to intimidate other players.