Five Biggest Winning Californian Poker Tournament Players

These are the five biggest tournament winners from the Californian poker scene

California has produced some incredible poker players over the years. Many cut their teeth in the bustling Californian poker scene before becoming global stars.

Faraz Jaka, Barry Greenstein, the legendary Johnny Chan, and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson are among the more famous Californian poker players. This quartet of grinders have won $33,427,833 between them but still don’t rank in the top five biggest winners!

An incredible $69,487,446 is the total won by the five biggest Californian poker players! Let’s discover who those five players are and how much they’ve gotten their hands on.

Brian Rast Has More Winnings Than Any Other Californian Poker Player

Brian Rast is th Californian poker player with the most live MTT winnings

Brian Rast is the Californian poker player with the most live poker tournament winnings, a cool $21,562,431. This not only places Rast top of the California all-time money list, but puts him 25th in the world.

A massive $7,525,000 of Rast’s winnings stem from his impressive victory in the 2015 Super High Roller Bowl. That tournament cost $500,000 to enter and saw Rast outlast 42-opponents.

Rast has four WSOP bracelets to his name, two coming from victories in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.

JC Tran The Hyper Loose-Aggressive Californian Poker Star

JC Tran built his bankroll grinding cash games on the Californian poker scene

JC Tran is based in Sacramento and is the second-winningest Californian poker player. Tran was born in Vietnam but moved to the United States when he was only two-years-old.

Tran started his poker career playing cash games and built his bankroll in a $9/$18 game at Capitol Casino. He switched to tournament poker and enjoyed instant success. His best years came between 2004-2013 where he won the majority of his $13,169,979 earnings.

Two WSOP bracelets and a pair of World Poker Tour titles are among Tran’s achievement. Tran won these events using his trademark hyper loose-aggressive style of play. Many have grown wise of this style, which could explain Tran being unable to replicate the success of his early career.

Former WSOP Main Event Winner Jamie Gold

Jaime Gold, 2006 WSOP Main Event winner

Jaime Gold is third in the Californian poker all-time money rankings despite not being a professional player. Gold has $12,592,641 in winnings, almost all of with coming from his WSOP Main Event victory.

The 2006 WSOP Main Event was the biggest ever in the history of the series. It’s 8,773-entrants still holds the record. Gold got his hand on the huge $12 million top prize and place in poker’s history books.

Gold played an unorthodox style at the final table, forcing his opponents to risk their entire stack if they took him on. It worked and Gold took down the Main Event for a record-breaking prize.

David “Chino” Rheem Is Never Far From Controversy

Chino Rheem

David Rheem, better known by his nickname “Chino”, is a controversial Californian poker player. Rheem has undoubted ability but is a character that never seems far away from negativity.

He’s won $11,244,245 in his live poker career and several more millions from online poker. Rheem has scammed fellow poker players despite his impressive skills and winnings total. Several high profile players outed Rheem when he either refused to pay his backers what they were due, and for lying about how he bust from events.

Here’s hoping Rheem gets back to allowing his poker prowess do the talking. Those he owes money to hope so too.

Men “The Master” Nguyen


Men Nguyen has been part of the Californian poker scene for almost four decades! He arrived in the United States from Vietnam in 1978 and recorded his first live MTT cash nine-years later.

Nguyen has the second-most live event cashes ever with 498, including seven WSOP bracelets. He was given the nickname “The Master” and he has been masterful at points in his career. You don’t win $11,068,171 without knowing your way around a poker table.

Nguyen, like Rheem mentioned above, has often found himself in controversial situations. Several of his opponents have accused Nguyen and those he staked of cheating. Nguyen denies all these allegations, but there is something to the stories.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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