Isaac Haxton is an American professional poker player known for his exploits in high-stakes tournaments. With over $35 million in live tournament earnings, he’s widely regarded as one of the best modern-day high-stakes players. 

Haxton is also a formidable opponent online. In contrast to his live career, his online focus is more on cash games than tournaments. He has earned millions of dollars online, playing under the aliases ‘philivey2694’ and ‘Ike_Haxton’. 

Despite Haxton’s impressive career, he’s had a surprising shortage of World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and World Poker Tour titles. Instead, he crushes the notorious Super High Roller tournaments, racking up massive scores from events like the Triton Poker Series, Super High Roller Bowl, and more.

Early Life

Isaac Haxton was born in 1985 in New York, and grew up in Syracuse, where his father worked as an English professor. From an early age, Haxton was interested in competitive games. He picked up chess at age four, moving on to Magic: the Gathering by ten. 

In school, Haxton was an exemplary student. Due to his excellent performance, he was able to skip the fifth grade. As a senior, he noticed many friends were transitioning from Magic to poker. This was no coincidence; the card game is often touted as a gateway game to poker, evidenced by other notable pros like Justin Bonomo and Brock Parker.

Thankfully for Haxton, the legal gambling age in New York was 18 and by the time he came of age, he was traveling to casinos to play $3/$6 Limit Hold’em. He became enthralled by the game, using his smarts to learn more about its strategy through reading.

Transition to Pro

Haxton was studying at Brown University as a computer science major but continued his poker hobby through home games on campus. The turning point for him was during winter break. After earning $1,500 from sessions at the Turning Stone Casino, he took his game online. 

With one $50 deposit online, Haxton wisely stuck to low-stakes games, playing only $0.25/0.50 Limit Hold’em. He initially divided his time between school and poker, playing up to 20 hours a week in his freshman year, switching to poker full-time the following summer. 

Haxton moved up to incredibly high stakes, going from $3/$6 to $30/$60 games over the brief span of three months. He made a massive $40,000 that summer and double that the following year. These outrageous earnings led to Haxton taking a year off from school. Seeing his talent and accompanying six-figure bankroll, his parents were supportive, to his benefit.

Poker Career

Haxton’s explosive tournament debut saw him cash for $861,789 with second place at the 2007 PCA. With such a massive win at his first live tournament, you’d think Haxton’s luck was at least above average. The universe wanted to prove this assumption wrong.

Haxton had moved about $800,000 of his winnings to a digital money transfer service. As fate would have it, the founders were arrested and the funds seized by the U.S. Department of Justice. The money Haxton had deposited was in limbo, unable to be collected. Thankfully, Haxton’s funds were released a few months later, just in time for the 2007 World Series of Poker. That year, he had a decent showing, cashing three times and making it to the final table of the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event, earning $96,798.

Haxton cashed in five WSOP events the following year, his best result was a ninth-place finish in a $5,000 Limit/No Limit Hold’em event. He concluded 2008 with a 6th-place finish at the European Poker Tour in London, earning another $188,603. Then in May 2009, Haxton claimed his first seven-figure score. He took second at the 40th WSOP’s $40,000 No Limit Hold’em Anniversary event for $1,168,565.

After winning $581,806 for third in the 2011 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Haxton tore through High Roller tournaments. Some notable finishes include $1,313,879 at the 2013 GuangDong Asia Millions, $2,525,841 at the 2014 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, and $3,672,000 for winning the $300,000 No Limit Hold’em event of the Las Vegas Super High Roller Bowl. 

Haxton has numerous big scores from the Triton Poker Series, including over $1.1 million from the 2019 Triton Series Jeju, $1.2 million at the 2019 Triton Series London, and over $1.5 million total from three events in the 2022 Triton Series Madrid.

2023 and Still Going

Haxton’s career in 2023 is already off to a tremendously good start. In January, he started the year with a $1,082,230 win at the PCA and added $1,555,360 from the February edition of the same event. 

After a slew of winnings from the Triton Poker Series Vietnam totaling $764,000, he won another $432,000 at the PokerGO Tour in March.

Haxton’s career seems to be far from slowing down, and his 2023 streak shows him to be one of the best players to follow in the world of modern-day poker.