Top 5 Pot Limit Omaha Players of All Time
Pot Limit Omaha or PLO, is the second most popular poker variation, right after No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE). PLO has been around land-based casinos and cardrooms for decades before it gained online exposure and skyrocketed in popularity. Phil Ivey, Phil Galfond, and Patrik Antonius popularized the game by competing in high-stakes games on Full Tilt Poker in the mid-2000s.
Although there are many variations of Omaha, PLO is the most popular of all. Players are attracted by its action-packed gameplay and the high variance of winning combinations of cards. For that reason, many pros have made a name for themselves playing this poker variant. That said, let’s discuss the top five professional Pot Limit Omaha players of all time.
#5 Phil Galfond
As one of the top poker professionals, Phil Galfond has dominated the offline and online poker scene for over a decade. This poker superstar started playing card games when he was 12 but did not develop an interest in poker until the 2003 WSOP. He first took it up at PartyPoker in Sit ‘N’ Go cash games, slowly progressing from $20 and $30 to $100 and $200 tournaments.
Then, he transitioned into the $5–$10 No Limit online and hired professional poker coaches to improve his skills. One of them, Tom Dwan, introduced him to the world of Pot Limit Omaha. Afterward, he primarily played $200–$400 PLO and NLH tables at Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.
Galfond achieved major success in the WSOP live tournaments, winning three bracelets. The 2008 WSOP earned him his first bracelet and a whopping $817,000 when he triumphed at the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha. Seven years later, he snatched his second bracelet, winning the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit 2–7 Single Draw Championship. Aside from the bracelet, he took home a $224,383 prize.
Lastly, Galfond won his third bracelet in 2018, when he secured a superb first-place finish in the $10K Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better tournament and collected a prize of $567,788. Notably, he also attended WSOPs in 2014 and 2015.
Because of his successful poker career, he became an in-demand professional poker coach. After years of being a mentor on two of his websites, he finally launched a poker site Run It Once Poker, in 2019. Players are welcome to join real money tournaments and cash games on the site and participate in the Galfond Challenge. Aside from this, he has been invited to numerous poker TV shows and runs a successful YouTube channel.
Galfond is not a flashy person, so it’s hard to tell how much he makes online. However, his earnings must be pretty high since he has amassed millions in the past and frequently plays high-stakes games. Highstakesdb.com listed him as the sixth biggest winner of all time, while according to hendonmob.com, he has made $2,966,023 in live tournaments.
#4 Jason Mercier
Mercier is another successful poker player and a PokerStars Team Pro. The American is known for his many WSOP bracelets and tournament earnings.
Although he began playing poker at 15, he decided to go pro years later after witnessing Chris Moneymaker’s iconic WSOP victory.
Thanks to his father, who shaped his work ethic, Jason started practicing poker tirelessly at cash tables on numerous online poker sites but rarely joined any tournaments.
His dedication was apparent when he tried to become Supernova Elite at PokerStars.com. Mercier played at No-Limit Full Ring in 2006, and, at this point, he developed an interest in Pot Limit Omaha.
His major achievement took place in 2008 when he participated in the EPT Main Event at the San Remo Tournament and took home a mind-boggling $1.3 million.
Jason Mercier is a proud owner of five WSOP bracelets, two of which he won playing Pot Limit Omaha. The $1,500 PLO tournament earned him his first bracelet and over $237,000 in 2009. Another bracelet and a hefty award of $619,000 came his way in 2011 when he triumphed in the $5,000 PLO Six-Handed event.
Mercier appeared on a popular TV show during his career, was selected as Bluff Magazine’s 2009 player of the year, and was invited to be a PokerStars ambassador. Among other accolades, he was named the best hand played in PokerStars tournaments in 2013 and won the WSOP player of the year award in 2016.
In 2018, he announced his retirement from a position on PokerStars Team Pro. However, he didn’t stop playing poker as he won his first WPT Online title at PartyPoker. This triumphant performance at the $10,300 PLO High Roller netted him $250,000.
According to hendonmob.com, he ranks 36th in the All Time Money List with $20,178,060 of total live earnings.
#3 Patrik Antonius
Patrik Antonius is a Finnish professional poker player known for frequent high-roller tournament appearances. Although his coaches predicted a brilliant tennis career, Antonius decided to take another path in life.
He took up poker at 12 and started playing it with his friends.
Later, he began visiting the only legal casino in Helsinki — Helsinki Casino, where he continued honing his skills with Pot Limit Omaha.
His journey kicked off in 2002 when he discovered online poker, won a satellite, and got a chance to participate in the WSOP Main Event. Since then, his career has progressed upward. He earned his first money ($3,480) after winning fourth place in the 2003 live event at the $220 PLO tournament at St. Maarten Open. Moreover, he continued playing online poker successfully, which eventually made him one of the top European poker players.
In the next few years, Antonius appeared at numerous online poker competitions, earned more than one million dollars at Five Diamond World Poker Classic, won an EPT title, and signed a sponsorship contract with Full Tilt Poker. Unfortunately, he has failed to win a WSOP trophy.
In 2009, he was victorious in the $500/$1,000 PLO heads up match at Full Tilt Poker against Swedish player Viktor Blom. The two fought over the biggest pot amount in poker history — $1.35 million where Antonius’ wheel won over Blom’s higher straight draw.
It is estimated that Antonius’ total live earnings exceed $13 million, and he is listed 61st according to the All Time Money List. Additionally, he is second on the list of the biggest poker winners on highstakesdb.com.
#2 Ilari Sahamies
Ilari is another Scandinavian player who specializes in playing high-stakes PLO cash games. He started playing home poker at 15 with his friend Patrik Antonius, another PLO pro.
Once he turned 18, he started visiting Helsinki Casino and became a professional poker player in only two years, after which he switched to online poker.
In 2003, the Finnish player started playing on popular sites, such as PokerStars and 24Poker. In 2006, he registered at Full Tilt Poker under the nickname Ziigmund. It turned out to be a very successful year since he earned over $1,600,000 playing at NLH, Omaha, and HORSE tables.
Over the years, he became a real online poker shark, and his bankroll rapidly increased, reaching 6-figure sums. Sahamies participated in $500/$1,000 PLO and NLH games and played against other prominent poker players at Full Tilt Poker.
However, he hasn’t won a WSOP bracelet, WPT or EPT title or made any other serious offline poker achievements. The only notable one was the EPT Barcelona in 2012, when he topped the chart and earned $773,682.
Sahamies was also sponsored by PokerStars.com, appeared on a TV show High Stakes Poker, and co-founded an online poker club — coinflip.com. Nevertheless, his drinking problem almost ruined his career. Due to a habit of playing intoxicated, Sahamies lost $700,000 in a day and more than $3 million over three years.
Hendonmob.com shows he is ranked 1,036th on the All Time Money List, with total live earnings of $2,040,264.
#1 Phil Ivey
Aside from being among the best NLTH players worldwide, Phil Ivey is also an accomplished online Omaha player. He has been successful in both live and online tournaments throughout his career, winning one WPT title and 10 WSOP bracelets. The California native frequently plays high-limit online cash games.
He began dabbling in poker in the late 90s and was given many nicknames throughout his career, such as the Tiger Woods of poker. Out of 10 WSOP bracelets, he won two playing PLO.
In 2000, Ivey secured the title of the $2,500 PLO w/Rebuys champion and defeated the famous Amarillo Slim. He also took home a prize of $195,000 and his first WSOP bracelet. The American poker player won another bracelet in 2005 at the $5,000 PLO Main Event and claimed a $635,603 prize.
Other Ivey’s notable achievements include three Aussie Millions Poker Championship trophies and nine WPT final table appearances. He was also part of the design team for Full Tilt Poker and entered the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017.
As of October 2022, Ivey’s total live earnings exceed $38 million, and he is ranked ninth on the All Time Money List on hendonmob.com. He also won millions playing online, but the exact amount is unknown (over $6,600,000 came just from his WSOP winnings). Additionally, Ivey tops the charts on highstakesdb.com as the leading poker winner.
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