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The Best Black Poker Players of All Time


It may seem a strange statement, but the activity of professional poker players is one of the most demanding mental jobs of our time. They have to process enormous amounts of data while being in the thick of the action and under tremendous stress.

Not all amateur poker players manage to become professional players. Many get “stuck” in one place and play poker only when they manage to get no deposit casino bonuses for free play.

The poker industry has been influenced by many black players, the most famous of whom we will discuss below.

Phil Ivey

This player isn’t nicknamed “poker’s Tiger Woods” for nothing. Firstly, they do have some similarities, and secondly, they are both outstanding professionals.

Phil was born in California, but then before he was a year old, he moved with his family to New Jersey, where he was introduced to poker. His fascination with the game began in early adulthood when Ivey played with his peers and then moved into the high-stakes scene.

In 2017, Ivey was inducted into the World Poker Hall of Fame, and deservedly so: his winnings in real tournaments amounted to $26 million and, combined with online, exceeded $100 million.

Phil is a founding member of the Budding Ivey Foundation, a charity that raises money for charities worldwide, and also works with Make-a-Wish. Ivey currently resides in Las Vegas, where he continues to play poker professionally.

David Williams

Born in Texas in 1980, David Williams is a relatively young player compared to the rest of the poker mastodons. He first developed a taste for card games through Magic: The Gathering, which has also become a popular game among many professional poker players.

His skills at the poker table proved very lucrative, with his live winnings exceeding $8 million. He gained notoriety after finishing second behind poker superstar Greg Reimer at the 2004 World Series of Poker (WSOP) and subsequently became a sponsored professional player. Williams won a gold bracelet at the 2006 WSOP and the 2010 World Poker Tour Championship.

Williams also participated in the seventh season of the show MasterChef, reaching the final round and almost contemplating a career change. Eventually, however, he decided to stay in poker and moved to Las Vegas to focus on the game. Although he still enjoys playing Magic and online games, poker remains his main passion.

Paul Darden

In 1968, another outstanding player was born, Paul Darden. At the age of 15, he was accused of a murder he didn’t actually commit, which greatly affected his later life, but didn’t stop him from becoming a great professional. He won a WSOP bracelet in 2001 and then the WPT a year later.

In all, Paul has earned more than $2 million on the live tables – a figure that increases every year. His mentor was his friend and fellow player Phil Ivey, and he was instrumental in mentoring pro Amnon Filippi, passing on his poker knowledge. Despite his multiple sclerosis, Darden still plays both live and online, and his last major accomplishment was winning the 2015 WPT.