Poker’s charm isn’t just in playing the game; it’s about the tales of fortunes made and lost, of underdogs rising, and of veterans proving their mettle time and again. The most significant winnings often come with equally compelling stories of grit, determination, and sometimes, sheer luck. As the stakes get higher, the wins get even bigger. Here’s a detailed look at the top 10 poker wins in history, listed from the largest to the smallest pots.
- Winning: $20.5 million;
- Event: 2019 Triton Poker Super High Roller Series;
- Fact: Although he finished in 2nd place, a deal ensured that Kenney took home the largest portion of the prize pool.
In 2019, Bryn Kenney etched his name into poker history by securing one of the most significant prizes ever at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series. Although he technically finished in 2nd place, a pre-agreed deal ensured that Kenney walked away with a staggering $20.5 million, overshadowing the official winner. His monumental win underscores Kenney’s ability to navigate high-pressure situations, cementing his place among the elite of professional poker.
- Winning: $18.3 million;
- Event: 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop;
- Fact: Antonio, known as “The Magician,” turned his cards into gold in this charity event, securing one of the biggest wins ever.
In 2012, the poker world witnessed one of its most unforgettable moments when Antonio Esfandiari, affectionately known as “The Magician,” conjured up a record-breaking win of $18.3 million at the WSOP Big One for One Drop event. This tournament wasn’t just any other event; it was a charity initiative with a staggering $1 million buy-in. Esfandiari’s exceptional skill and poise were on full display throughout the competition. By the end of it, he not only secured one of the largest pots in poker history but also stamped his legacy as one of the game’s greats.
- Winning: $15.3 million;
- Event: 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop;
- Fact: As a relatively new face in the high-stakes scene, Colman shocked everyone with his outstanding performance.
In 2014, the poker world was stunned by Daniel Colman’s phenomenal triumph at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Big One for One Drop, securing a staggering $15.3 million pot. A relatively new face in the high-stakes scene, Colman’s outstanding performance at this prestigious event drew attention from every corner of the globe. At the tender age of 23, he showcased his impeccable skills and strategic acumen, defeating some of the most seasoned pros in the field.
- Winning: $12.2 million;
- Event: 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza;
- Fact: Tsang emerged victorious in a tournament that saw no professional poker players, proving that on the right day, anyone can win big.
Elton Tsang is a name that stands out in the world of poker, particularly for his victory at the 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza, where he secured a staggering $12.2 million. This event was unique in that it featured no professional poker players, emphasizing Tsang’s prowess and adaptability. Born in Canada and raised in Hong Kong, Tsang’s journey in poker is marked by consistent skillful play and strategic acumen. His Monte-Carlo win underscores his status as one of the game’s great talents, capable of triumphing in unconventional settings against diverse opponents.
- Winning: $12 million;
- Event: 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event;
- Fact: Known for his dominant game style, Gold’s massive win still stands as one of the most impressive in the WSOP’s rich history.
Jamie Gold is best known for his monumental victory in the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, where he pocketed an astounding $12 million, the largest prize ever won in a live poker tournament at that time. Gold’s charismatic presence at the table, combined with his exceptional strategic play, made his 2006 run legendary. He masterfully navigated a field of over 8,700 entrants, showcasing a unique blend of aggression and charm. Despite facing controversy over his table talk and play style, Gold’s triumph solidified his status as one of the iconic figures in poker history.
- Winning: $10 million;
- Event: 2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop;
- Fact: Bonomo’s win solidified his standing as one of the game’s best, adding to a spectacular year of earnings.
Justin Bonomo, often recognized for his distinctive pink hair, is not just a colorful personality but also one of poker’s elite. He made global headlines in 2018 when he clinched a whopping $10 million prize at the WSOP Big One for One Drop. This victory was just a highlight in a year filled with significant amounts of cash, further cementing his reputation as a dominant force in high-stakes tournaments. Beyond the poker tables, Bonomo is known for his advocacy of effective altruism, demonstrating a commitment to using his earnings for impactful philanthropic causes.
- Winning: $10 million;
- Event: 2014 WSOP Main Event;
- Fact: The Swedish professional defeated a tough final table, displaying a masterclass in tournament strategy.
Martin Jacobson is a prominent figure in the world of professional poker, hailing from Sweden. He etched his name into poker history by securing a monumental win at the 2014 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. With his calculated plays, unwavering focus, and strategic masterclass, Jacobson not only took home a staggering $10 million prize but also demonstrated the prowess and resilience required to outlast a field of thousands of players in the world’s most prestigious poker tournament.
- Winning: $9.1 million;
- Event: 2008 WSOP Main Event;
- Fact: At 22, the Danish player became the youngest ever to win the Main Event, a record he held for a year.
Peter Eastgate is a notable figure in the world of professional poker, hailing from Denmark. In 2008, he made a significant mark in poker history by becoming the youngest player ever to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event at the age of 22, a record previously held by Phil Hellmuth. Eastgate’s victory not only secured him a whopping $9.1 million prize but also firmly established his presence in the elite circle of poker champions. His youth and skill showcased that poker was no longer just a veteran’s game, introducing a new era of young poker prodigies ready to challenge the old guard.
- Winning: $8.9 million;
- Event: 2010 WSOP Main Event;
- Fact: Duhamel became the first Canadian to capture the prestigious title, making national headlines.
Jonathan Duhamel is a renowned Canadian poker professional who made global headlines in 2010 when he became the first Canadian to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, taking home an impressive prize of $8.9 million. Born in Boucherville, Quebec, Duhamel’s triumph at the WSOP not only solidified his position as one of poker’s elite players but also served as a significant moment in Canadian poker history. Over the years, he has continued to be a force on the poker tables, accumulating multiple titles and solidifying his reputation as a skilled opponent.
- Winning: $6 million
- Event: 2018 High Roller for One Drop.
- Fact: At just 24, the German prodigy showcased his top-tier skills and confirmed why he’s considered one of poker’s brightest young stars.
Fedor Holz is a German professional poker player known for his exceptional skills and a meteoric rise in the high-stakes poker scene. Born in 1993, Holz quickly cemented his reputation as one of the best tournament players in the world. By the age of 24, he had already amassed impressive victories, including a win at the 2018 High Roller for One Drop event, securing a hefty $6 million prize. His analytical approach, combined with a keen instinct for the game, has made him a formidable opponent at the table. Often referred to as one of poker’s brightest young stars, Holz’s achievements have inspired a new generation of poker enthusiasts.
It’s not all about Winning
Poker’s allure goes beyond just cards and chips; it’s about the narratives spun around each hand and the legends born from strategic plays. As we recount these top winnings, we don’t merely observe monetary figures; we salute the unparalleled moments of determination, skill, and victory.