The best player in the world you have never heard about - meet Ben Tollerene

Although his name might not ring a bell for every poker fan, Ben Tollerene is considered to be one of the best players in the world.

All he does is win

Ben is an American player who specializes in online high-stakes cash games. Despite not being a regular in the high-roller circuit he already has $4,692,902 in live tournament earnings, which by itself could earn him a place amongst the most accomplished players in the world. In addition to this he also has $2,591,686 in online tournament winnings.

However, Ben has a bit more to add to his resume. He's been a steady winner in the past decade in the toughest online games. He's cash game winnings on Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker combined account for more than $11,000,000. Considering his cash game winnings on other sites and the amount he likely collected in huge stakes live games, it's safe to say he's made more than $20 million playing poker.

Ben started playing in 2005 in home games with friends but only started to take the game seriously in 2006 where he found the world of online poker forums. He started playing online focusing on micro stakes NL games. In less than a year he managed to move up to stakes as high as $2/$4 with occasional shots at $5/$10. 2008 was the year he became a regular participant in the $10/$20-$25/$50 NLHE games.

Ben is the proof poker is a game of skill

He was one of the early birds of the online scene to discover pot-limit Omaha, started to focus on the game in 2009. The relationship with the game had a rough beginning as Ben quickly dropped $100k while taking shots at $5/$10-$25/$50 PLO tables. However Ben's stubbornness paid off. After the downswing he went on a huge heater which earned him $550k. The crazy swings continued but Ben kept on working hard on his game and by 2010 he was playing as high as $200/$400-$500/$1000 against players like Gus Hansen or Phil Ivey.

After Black Friday happened in 2011 many of the online grinders decided to turn to the live poker scene, but Ben had other plans in mind. He moved to Canada to be able to keep on playing and stayed at the top of the online ecosystem. Ben is still a regular in the highest online games and also plays some stops of the live tour circuit - he earned almost $3 million in MTT's this year but seems to have found the right balance between life and poker. Certainly a smart enough guy to figure out optimal ratios.

photo credit: highstakesdb