Top 10 Asian Poker Players and Their Impressive Winnings

Gambling isn’t just for the West. It is also quite popular in Asia due to cultural traditions, causing most Asians to view it as a social activity and a means to bond with other people while showcasing their skills in the different games. In the past two decades, there’s been a growth in the number of professional gamblers emerging from Asia, with most of them dominating the different poker tournaments across the world. The Asian Poker Tour (APT), one of the most prominent poker brands in Asia, has largely contributed to the rise of some legendary Asian poker players. But for others, they made their names known in the industry by playing outside of Asia. Below are the top 10 Asian poker players and their impressive winnings thus far.

Marc Rivera – $3,145,266

megstack shot clock champion marc rivera 4 scaled
Marc Rivera

One outstanding poker player to emerge from Asia is Marc Rivera, who hails from the Philippines. Though he does not have as many career winnings as the other entries on this list, Rivera has paved the way for other aspiring poker players from his home country. He is currently no. 1 on the Philippines All-Time Money List and no. 704th on the All-Time Money List. He has recorded $3,145,266 in total live earnings thus far. His best live cash record is $2,168,000.

Johnny Chan – $8,781,704

johnny chan
Johnny Chan

Seasoned poker players know Johnny Chan very well. This legendary Asian poker player hails from Guangzhou, China. In an interview with ESPN, he revealed that his family moved to the US when he was 11 and fell in love with poker at 14. Two years later, he went to Las Vegas and had his first casino experience, and he has never looked back since. Chan now owns 10 WSOP bracelets. He has also recorded $8,781,704 in total live earnings.

Ren Lin – $11,299,625

Ren Lin at WPT World Championship 2023
Ren Lin – Photo by WPT

This Chinese-born professional poker player only started grinding in low-stakes events in Las Vegas in late 2015, but he is now considered among the legendary Asian poker players. Ren “Tony” Lin already has more than 130 live cashes to his name. His most impressive performance was in 2023 when he showcased his skills in tournaments outside Asia. Lin has claimed the Alpha8 title at the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship and bagged the biggest prize of $1,045,781. He has recorded $11,299,625 in total live earnings thus far, landing him in the 125th spot on the All-Time Money List.

Scotty Nguyễn – $12,726,992

Scotty Nguyen Poker
Scotty Nguyễn

Just like Chan, Scotty Nguyen also had to leave his home country when he was young. He left then-war-torn Vietnam when he was just 14, and his family settled in Los Angeles. In his early 20s, he played and dealt poker in card rooms before officially playing in small poker games sometime between 1988 and 1989. Today, he is considered one of the legendary Asian poker players with his impressive $12,726,992 total live earnings. His best live cash is $1,989,120. He is no. 101st on the All-Time Money List.

Richard Yong – $17,007,842

Richard Yong
Richard Yong, Photo Credit – Triton Poker

Another Malaysian who has made waves in the professional poker scene is Richard Yong, and he is considered one of the most successful Asian players with over $15 million in career earnings. He is well-known in the high-stakes tournament after winning $1,477,560 at the 2015 Aussie Millions $1,000,000 Challenge and $388,024 at the Triton Poker 6-Max Event in Montenegro in 2018. He has recorded $17,007,842 in total live earnings, while his best cash is $2,130,848. He is 67th on the All-Time Money List.

Aaron Shu Nu Zang – $21,889,249

Champion Aaron Zang 2023 Triton Vietnam SHRS EV13 100K Short Deck Main Event Final Table Giron 7JG2571
Aaron Zang, Photo Credit – Triton Poker

Currently ranked 42nd on the World All-Time Money List, Aaron Shu Nu Zang has an impressive track record in the professional poker scene. He only started his poker journey after receiving a small gift from his uncle. Aaron reportedly managed to turn his $150 cash gift into $63,000 in the same year by playing poker. He became a pro in 2007 and eventually engaged in high-stakes tournaments in Macau. His total live earnings thus far amount to $21,889,249, while his best cash is $16,775,820. He is currently no. 1 on the China All-Time Money List.

Elton Tsang – $24,243,099

Elton Tsang finally wins a title at Triton Poker Series Jeju
Elton Tsang

This next Asian poker player has a rather interesting story. Instead of moving out of his Asian home country, Elton Tsang left Canada, where he was born, to reconnect with his roots and pursue business opportunities in China. While he was in Hong Kong, he got into the professional poker scene, and his life has never been the same since. He now plays under the Chinese flag and has made quite a wealth in doing so. His total live earnings are valued at $24,243,099 and his best live cash is $12,248,912, which is the second-largest prize won by an Asian poker player. He is currently 34th on the All Time Money List and 2nd on Hong Kong’s All Time Money List.

John Juanda – $25,776,685

john juanda
John Juanda

This Indonesia-based poker player is considered one of the most successful poker pros in the world after securing $25,776,685 million in live tournament earnings and landing in the top 30 in the All-Time Money List. John Juanda‘s best live cash record is $2,870,092. He started his journey in the poker scene about 20 years ago, and he has since showcased impressive skills during tournaments, leading to consistent big cashes. It’s worth noting that he already has five World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets so far.

Daniel Chi Tang – $26,938,116

Daniel Tang
Daniel Tang

A respected figure in the professional poker scene, Daniel Chi Tang, simply known as Danny, currently occupies the 29th spot on the All-Time Money List. This legendary Asian poker player from Hong Kong has recorded $26,938,116 in total live earnings and a best live cash worth $1,796,498. Danny’s biggest score was when he finished 2nd in the HK$1,000,000 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Main Event in Montenegro for $1.8 million in May 2019. In the same year, he won his first WSOP bracelet in the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller event.

Paul Phua – $30,641,092

Paul Phua at Triton Jeju 2024
Paul Phua – Photo by Triton Poker

Ranked no. 1 on the Malaysia All-Time Money List, Paul Phua has definitely come a long way since first playing Texas Hold’em in 2010 and recording his first tournament cash in 2012. The Malaysian poker pro has accumulated $30,641,092 in live earnings and $3,113,429 in live cash. Given his impressive winnings throughout his career, it’s not surprising that Phua is 23rd on the All-Time Money List.

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Luigi Caler

Luigi Caler has been writing and editing for various news sites since 2013. He's been with International Business Times for almost a decade. Alongside this, he managed several online casino review sites, including Online Casino Critique and Online Casino Doctor, before joining Somuchpoker. He is well-versed in writing news stories related to casino events, poker tournaments, and sports betting. He also crafts informative and fun-to-read feature stories about poker pros and celebrity poker players.

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