6 Professional Gamblers Who Are Known Entrepreneurs

Professional players have different backgrounds. Some came from the bottom by receiving unprecedented money with luck or skills. And some came to gambling after reaching their career heights.

Let’s take a look at the list of business people who became famous players. Players who launched their businesses thanks to their gambling skills.


David Einhorn

If anyone claims that they don’t play poker for the sake of money, let’s take a look at this billionaire David Einhorn, the founder of the hedge fund Greenlight Capital and a regular participant in the most expensive tournaments. Nowadays, he is eager to talk about preparing for the games, his attitude towards professionals, and converting experience.

Hedge fund manager David Einhorn started from 18th place in the WSOP Main Event in 2006 and then finished third (and won $ 4.3 million) in the Big One for One Drop tournament with a buy-in of $ 1,000,000 in WSOP framework in 2012. Throughout his career, he won about $ 5.1 million, losing the lead among hedge fund managers only to Dan Shack, whose winnings since 2004 have been $ 7.4 million.

Douglas Polk

Douglas Polk is not only an outstanding poker player but also a businessman who founded Upswing poker. After making $10,000 in the Bankroll Challenge from $100, Polk unexpectedly announced that he was leaving poker. According to him, he used to take great pleasure in the game, but recently, he has not experienced any positive emotions, and now poker seems to him nothing more than a job.

Andy Frankenberger

According to WikiVisually, Andy Frankenberger worked in Wall Street trading for full fourteen years until he became a WPT’s Season IX player of the year and won two WSOP bracelets and $ 2.7 million. Thus, he is a great example of a banker who has become a professional player.

However, for Andy Frankenberger, poker is just a game, and he finds banking to be a much more serious task. After successfully speaking at various poker competitions for a long time, Frankenberger has now returned to his initial work and became a banker again.

Phil Ivey

In poler, Phil Ivey can be compared to Maradona in football or Tiger Woods in golf. He is successful, rich, titled, charming, and equally loved by the public and fellow rivals. Ask anyone even remotely familiar with poker who is the best player in the world, and most likely, you will hear the name of Phil Ivey.

Ivey has been playing poker since he was eight years old. His grandfather taught him the game, and as a teenager, he played with fake documents in a casino in Atlantic City and achieved significant success. According to Forbes, Phil Ivey has established himself as an outstanding tournament player during his career, gaining 10 WSOP bracelets, but his main specialization is high-roller tables, both online and offline.

For many years, he has been a regular at the poker room at Bellagio in Las Vegas, known for its highest-stakes cash games. In 2013, Phil opened his “The Ivery Room,” and in a year, he launched the poker school, Ivey League. The trainers were professional poker players, including Andrew Lichtenberger, Dan Smith, and Tony Dunst, as well as Ivey’s partner Aaron Jones. In April 2017, Ivey said that there wouldn’t be new video content on the school website.

Doyle Brunson

There are many legendary poker players, but only a few are still living these days. One of them is Doyle Brunson, a remarkable representative of the first generation of poker players.

He has a lot of merit in the world of poker, including ten WSOP gold bracelets, an honorable place in the Poker Hall of Fame, and a huge number of other titles and awards.

Besides, Brunson is the author of one of the most entertaining and useful poker books on the Super System. The book has the sequel “Super System 2.” He is considered the godfather of poker, and game experts gave him the nickname “Texas Dolly.”

Doyle Brunson’s books have become the desktop literature of almost every poker player. The first “Super System” was released in 1978. For some time, Doyle regretted that he wrote it because his book led to an increased number of opponents.

However, in 2004, he released the next book “Super System 2,” which he wrote with Mike Caro, Johnny Chan, Jennifer Harman, and his son Todd. Doyle Brunson is also the author of “The Wisdom of the Poker Champion,” which was published in 1984. At the peak of popularity, Brunson launched “The Doyle’s Room” in 2004, embarking on the wave of online games popularity at that time and gaining a profitable business.

Phil Galfond

Phil Galfond finds a balance between three main values. He is an exemplary family man, a successful businessman, and a great player. And each of his new projects, whether it be a training site, a poker room, or a game challenge, attracts the attention of the entire poker world.

Having achieved success in poker and personal life, Phil Galfond needed only one thing, his own business. A project that he would enjoy doing and with which he could be useful. The training site Run It Once became his work.

First, Phil cooperated with his poker friends and well-known players, such as Ben Sulsky, the Dang brothers, and several others. Their video where they played and voiced their thoughts became the first material on the site.

Run It Once has grown rapidly and become the most popular poker-learning portal. Now, on the website, you can find more than five thousand videos from one hundred and thirty trainers, and the collection is updated daily.

In 2016, Phil decided not to stop on this and announced the launch of his own poker room. It took three years to develop it, and in February 2019, the first beta version of Run It Once Poker (RIO Poker) became available to everyone, as seen on Medium.

Like the owners of many other rooms, Phil tried to return the element of poker-to-poker and equalize the situation of professionals and beginners. Moreover, his name, which is highly respected and trusted in the industry, allowed RIO Poker not to get lost in the face of competitors.

Final Thoughts

Not surprisingly, the skills of poker players and business people are largely similar. Lucian Marinescu, a partner at OnlineCasinoGems, noted, “You won’t be able to play poker without understanding the finance world. No one knows more about money than someone who works in the field of large financial transactions. Poker educates a person in analysis, patience, and discipline – the very features that form great businessmen.”

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan