Forbes has released its annual list of the world’s wealthiest people, and a name familiar to the poker community is among the richest Canadians. Mark Scheinberg’s $4.1 billion net worth gives him the number 10 spot in the nation and he is ranked 405th in the world.
The 41-year-old Israeli-born Canadian citizen and college dropout who currently lives in the Isle of Man made his fortune from online poker, an industry he started in when he was just 28. Together with his computer-programmer father, Isai Scheinberg, the two created PokerStars.
PokerStars opened its digital doors to online gambling in 2001 and has established itself as the leader of the industry ever since. With the largest player base (over 85 million) and biggest poker tournaments anywhere online, PokerStars made Scheinberg a wealthy man. But he didn’t join the billionaire club until last year when PokerStars’ parent company Rational Group and sister-company Full Tilt were sold to Montreal-based Amaya Gaming for $4.9 billion. With the sale, Scheinberg was said to be made $3.6 billion richer, making him an instant billionaire and one of the youngest in the world.
A little further down the list is another name that is familiar to the poker community. Cirque du Soleil cofounder and CEO Guy Laliberté has a net worth of $1.9 billion, making him the 22nd wealthiest Canadian.
The French Canadian got his start as a street performer in Quebec and went on to create one of the largest live entertainment companies in the world. He also founded the One Drop Foundation which helps provide access to clean water around the world.
Laliberté has been known to play in some of the most expensive poker games in the world, and he combined his charity with poker in 2012 with the Big One for One Drop tournament. The $1 million buy-in tournament was the first of its kind and $111,111 of each entry was donated to One Drop Foundation, raising $5,333,328 for the charity. The Big One for One Drop returned to Las Vegas in 2014 for the second-ever $1 million tournament and raised a further $4,666,662 for One Drop.
Laliberté’s net worth was listed as $2.6 billion in 2012, giving him 11th place on the list of Canada’s wealthiest people, but his net worth has decreased in the past three years.
* Photo courtesy of Forbes.