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The best European poker players of all time

It’s no surprise that the advent of the Internet and the rise in popularity of poker have coincided. But nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in Europe.

In the United States, people take poker for granted, but it’s not (or wasn’t) the typical card game played around the card tables in Minsk or Vienna. The internet has changed that. So it was hard NOT to play poker in Europe.

And apparently not many people objected to this new game. In fact, they embraced it smoothly and effortlessly. So smooth that my job of finding the top five European poker players in history is incredibly easy.

Let’s follow the money, shall we? Let’s see what the top five European poker stars have done with themselves in recent years.

5. Christoph Vogelsang ($27,225,584)

First on our list of top European poker players is Christoph Vogelsang. Currently living in London, Vogelsang was born in 1985 in Sassenberg, Germany and grew up on a small farm there.

Vogelsang studied economics at Witten/Herdecke University, then traveled to England to continue his studies at the London School of Economics. This is where he started playing online poker.

Vogelsang says he started playing online poker in 2010 with a few $10 deposits and within weeks was playing $5,000 NL cash games online.

In 2013, he was competent enough to finish third in the EPT London £50,000 Super High Roller ($621,321). A year later, he entered the WSOP Big One for the One Drop Foundation— and finished third (net salary: $4,480,001).

He surpassed that score in 2017 with a $6 million paycheck for winning the PokerGo Super High Roller Bowl. Surprisingly, Vogelsang attributes his first online success to luck.

Incidentally, remember that even the best doesn’t start there. They acquire basic skills and develop them. If you’re new to poker (or want to improve), take a deep dive into the art of poker psychology.

4. Adrian Mateos Diaz ($28,990,981)

Speaking of child prodigy, Adrian Mateos was barely out of high school when he won his first WSOP bracelet. The year was 2013; Mateos was 19 when he won the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for €1,000,000 (about $1.2 million at 2013 exchange rates).

Pretty impressive for a teenager from Madrid, Spain. But even before that WSOP victory, Mateos pocketed €103,000 with a victory in his hometown on the PokerStars Estrellas Poker Tour.

And that was just to start.

In 2017 he became the youngest poker player in history to win three WSOP bracelets and in 2021 he added a fourth. It was the WSOP Super High Roller No Limit Hold’em tournament, for which he won $3,265,362.

Shortly after picking up his third WSOP bracelet, Mateos told reporters, “I’m a really competitive person. I really like competition, especially in the bigger stakes with the best opponents.

He also noted, “I really like the game, so tomorrow will probably be the same. For the moment, I like the game, so I will continue to play.

3. Fedor Holz ($33,655,810)

Third on our list of the best European poker players is Fedor Holz, who happens to be one of the richest poker players in the world. Fedor was born in Saarbrücken, Germany, and currently resides in Vienna, Austria.

Raised in a single parent family with his two sisters, Holz attended college to study computer science (a new field of study that examines how data can be transformed/translated into information that human beings can use).

At the age of 18, Holz started playing online poker and discovered MTTs (multi-table tournaments).

Holz dropped out of college to move to Vienna, Austria, and pursue poker full time. In 2014, he won the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event, taking home $1.3 million.

CrownUpGuy (Holz’s longtime online nickname) was on the way.

PocketFives ranked him as the best online multi-table tournament player in 2014 and 2015, and in 2016 he picked up his first WSOP bracelet with a Big Drop for One Drop win.

After this victory, he “retired” for several months, but the lure of the felt set him back, and at the beginning of 2017 he was again competing at the highest level and that is why he appears on our list of poker players from Europe.

He is also the founder and one of the instructors of PokerCode, an online community working to improve the skills and love of poker among its members.

2. Mikita Badziakouski ($37,690,621)

Born in 1992 in Belarus (landlocked country between Russia and Ukraine), Mikita Badziakouski (often spelled “Bodyakovsky”) already dreamed of winning a World Series of Poker bracelet. He started playing live games online with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

At PokerStars, he used the username nick fish2013 because, he would later say, 2013 was the year he would be old enough to compete in one of the WSOP events.

True to his dream, he took part in world-class poker tournaments at the age of 21, and although the WSOP bracelet remained elusive, he consistently placed money, finished at final tables and scored in WSOP and EPT events.

Although he had long been recognized as one of the best poker players in Europe, it wasn’t until 2021 that he clinched his first (and so far, only) WSOP bracelet with a win. at the 2021 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em (Event #85). His payout for this win was $1,462,043.

By the way, Mikita is mentioned in the title of this blog because he has always been clear about his goal: to win the World Series of Poker.

He did everything to make this dream come true. You could even imagine that he used his smartphone to practice poker on mobile poker sites.

1. Stephen Chidwick ($43,637,324)

Number one on our list of top European born poker players is Stephen Chidwick, born in 1989 in Deal, Kent.

Stephen James Chidwick started playing in live poker tournaments in 2008. He has also played online poker under the screen names stevie444 and TylersDad64.

Chidwick has spent the better part of two decades becoming one of the best European poker players of all time and certainly the most earning player in Europe.

As early as 2009, he was winning big name tournaments, including the Full Tilt FTOPS Event #17, winning over $140,000. He cashed in three events at the 2010 WSOP.

And that was in 2019, at the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller event, Chidwick won his first WSOP bracelet and the cash prize of over $1.6 million.

His poker winnings in 2022 put him No. 1 on the list of top poker players in England and No. 4 in poker winnings in the world.

Note that Chidwick excels in all poker games, not just Texas Hold’em. If you’re unsure of the differences between Hold’em and Omaha, check out our Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo rules.

bet on european poker

Just looking at the earnings of Europe’s top poker players tells us quite starkly that Europe is not the minor leagues of poker, and that the United States being “The Show” is more due to better public relations (cough * Hollywood * cough) than to his bench (to mix sports metaphors).

The United States is full of stars, but a weird accent or an unspellable last name doesn’t mean much at the poker table.

What it takes to succeed is drive, skill and courage. If you think you have what it takes, you can start playing at the best online casinos.

Need to take a step back before risking your hard-earned money online? Use our detailed guide to playing poker.