From Magic: The Gathering to Poker Stardom
Magic: The Gathering is one of the most popular collectible card games in the world, played by millions of people. The mixture of luck and skill help players draw similarities to poker and some of today’s top poker players cut their teeth playing Magic: The Gathering.
Bryn Kenney is perhaps the most notable poker player who made the switch from Magic. Born in Long Beach, New York 32-years ago, Kenney has gone from an online poker grinder to an elite live poker tournament grinder.
Earlier this week, Kenney finished second in poker’s largest-ever buy-in tournament, the £1,050,000 Triton Million in London, walking away with an incredible £16,890,509 ($20,563,324) prize after a heads-up deal with Aaron Zang. It was by far the biggest prize of Kenney’s career and took his lifetime winnings to an almost unbelievable $55,505,630.
Now Kenney tops the all-time money listings from Justin Bonomo by more than $7 million and is going to take some catching. Kenney has cashed 178 times in live poker events, securing six-figure prizes in 65 of those and at least seven-figures in eight. Quite incredible.
Former Team PokerStars Pro David Williams is another former Magic player who made it to the top in poker. Williams went on record to state he learned more from playing Magic than he ever did at school and it seems to have stood him in good stead judging by his $8,769,934 life poker tournament winnings.
Williams was the runner-up at the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event, banking $3.500,000 after losing out heads-up to Greg Raymer. His other seven-figure prize was worth $1,530,537, his reward for winning the $25,500 buy-in Eighth Annual Five Star World Poker Classic in Las Vegas in April 2010.
Foodies among you may have seen Williams on MasterChef as he reached the finals in Season 7 only to lose out to Shaun O’Neale. Williams won six challenges during the show.
Maryland’s Brock Parker is the poker player credited as being the first to successfully make the switch from Magic to poker and he has done more than OK for himself to date.
Parker has accumulated $3,788,368 in live poker tournament winnings, an impressive sum helped by Parker winning three WSOP bracelets. His first bracelet came in 2009 when he won the $2,500 Limit Hold’em Short Handed event for $223,688 and he won a second bracelet at the same WSOP when he triumphed in the $2,500 N0-Limit Hold’em Short Handed event for an additional $552,745. Bracelet number three came in 2014 when Parker topped a stellar field in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship for $443,407.
Justin Bonomo was the man at the top of the all-time money listings until Kenney’s recent eight-figure haul, but it is hard to feel sorry for Bonomo as he has $48,508,778 in winnings to his name. He also seems to continually add to this gargantuan sum by having an almost unnatural ability to cash in the highest buy-in tournaments across the planet.
Bonomo was a highly skilled Magic player and those skills transferred to the poker world. The Las Vegas native has six seven-figure scores and one weighing in at $10,000,000 which he banked after winning the $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop at the 2018 WSOP.
That massive prize came with Bonomo’s third WSOP bracelet. He won the first in 2014 in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Six Handed event plus $449,980 and Bonomo got his hands on his second bracelet in 2018 when he claimed the $185,965 top prize in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads Up Championship.
Last but certainly not least is Scott Seiver. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Seiver was a prominent Magic player before discovering poker from Brock Parker. Seiver has gone from strength to strength in the poker world, and is a big winner in both online and live poker tournaments.
Live, Seiver has won $23,828,659 with his largest prize being worth $5,160,000. Seiver banked this sum when he finished second to Brian Rast in the inaugural $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl at Aria, Las Vegas in July 2015.
Seiver has one World Poker Tour (WPT) title, having triumphed in the $25,500 Ninth Annual Five Star World Poker Classic in 2014 for $1,680,000 alongside three WSOP bracelets. He won the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event in 2008 for $755,891, the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship in 2018 for $296,222 and the $10,000 Razz Championship at the 2019 WSOP.