Biggest Poker Tournament Prizes

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 Author:Adrian Sterne

poker tournament prizesPoker is a highly competitive game, so it should come as no surprise that the winnings are abundant.

You’ve probably heard of players winning millions of dollars in tournaments held all around the world. Needless to say, some tournaments are simply better than others for a variety of reasons.

But what is it that makes a tournament reputable? Is it the number of players that apply, the opportunity to gain fame, or the prizes? The answer is far from simple, but most of the time, it’s a combination of all three. Naturally, the greater the reward, the more people the tournament will attract.

Have you ever wondered how great the prizes in these tournaments are? Is it just the hype, or are players able to win substantial amounts of money? Continue reading to learn about the most renowned poker tournaments, the prize pool, and the biggest wins.

Biggest Poker Tournaments

Several tournaments have earned their place on our list for various factors:

  • They all host a large number of poker players regularly;
  • They are held at exclusive world-famous casinos;
  • They pose a challenge to all of the players, so only the most skillful ones in the industry can have a chance to win;
  • The prizes are worth millions.

WSOP (World Series of Poker)

World Series of PokerEven if you are a complete layman when it comes to poker, you’ve probably heard of WSOP.

Being able to participate in this tournament is a dream come true for all poker players. It’s not only about the winnings; it is a matter of prestige. WSOP was first held in 1970 and has continued to grow significantly over the years.

That growth is not only reflected in the popularity of the tournament but the prize pool as well.

As the number of participants continues to increase, they generate an impressive prize pool. In fact, in 2019, the Main Event prize pool amounted to a staggering $80,548,600, where the winner got to take $10 million home.

WPT (World Poker Tour)

World Poker TourThis internationally televised tournament also has events organized all over the world. The highlight of each tournament is the Main Event, where players get a prize and a WPT Champions Club membership.

Having been televised since 2002, WPT has garnered a good reputation, and we’re able to witness more and more players participating every year.

Since buy-ins for this tournament range from $3,500 to $25,000, it should come as no surprise that the prize pool is quite large. In 2019, the total prize pool was $1,302,000.

Big One for One Drop

Big One for One DropThis exclusive tournament is invitation-only. What’s also interesting is that it’s held at the same time as WSOP.

Although it only started in 2012, poker players worldwide are dying for a chance to participate in such a distinguished event. The poker variant played at this tournament is Texas Hold’em.

However, that is not the only fascinating thing about Big One for One Drop. The buy-ins for this tournament can go up to a mind-boggling $1,000,000, which means that the winner will go home with staggering amounts of money.

Biggest Tournament Wins

Now that you know the largest poker tournaments and their impressive prize pools, it should be pretty evident that the biggest poker tournament wins happened at these events. Without any more delay, here are the top five greatest tournament wins in the history of poker.

  1. 2012 Big One for One Drop

    We’ve already mentioned the buy-ins and the total prize pool for this illustrious tournament. Then, it should not be all that surprising that the biggest prize was taken during this event.

    Antonio EsfandiariThe lucky winner was Antonio Esfandiari, also known as “the Magician“.

    This nickname is very fitting because he got to take an impressive $18,346,673.

    There were around 48 entries, and the total prize pool was well over $42 million.

    It was a tense battle of talent and with between Esfandiari and Sam Trickett, who ended up winning around $10 million as runner-up.

  2. 2014 Big One for One Drop

    Dan ColmanThe winner of 2014’s Big One for One Drop was Dan Colman.

    Thanks to 42 buy-ins and the amazing total prize pool of over $37 million, Colman managed to win an astounding $15.3 million.

    Colman’s accomplishment is all the more remarkable because he succeeded in trumping one of the most prominent names in the world of poker. That year’s runner-up, Daniel Negreanu, failed to come out on top and left home with a modest $8 million.

  3. 2018 Big One for One Drop

    This tournament earns another high position on our list, albeit at a more recent date. This was a tense game between two of the best poker players in the world — Bonomo, and Holz. In the end, experience won, and Bonomo came out on top. Consequently, he took home $10 million in prize money.

    Justin BonomoThis was the year of Justin Bonomo as he went on to win his second WSOP bracelet as well. What’s more, Bononomo acquired 25$ million in cash that same year. 

    Holz managed to win $6 million as runner-up, which is not too shabby either if you ask us.

  4. 2006 WSOP Main Event

    This tournament is rumored to be one of the largest events yet, and with good reason. For starters, there was an impressive number of participants — as many as 8,773 poker players took part in this event. Consequently, the prize pool of $82.5 million was quite remarkable as well.

    Jamie GoldThe event’s champion was Jamie Gold, who managed to carve out a name for himself thanks to this win.

    As a world champion, Gold also won $12 million as the main prize. Paul Wasicka took second place and, as a result, collected $6.1 million.

  5. 2023 WSOP Main Event

    In keeping with the theme, WSOP’s main event also appears in the last two places on our biggest tournament wins list. The competition attracted a record-breaking number of players in 2023, with 1,270 more entries than the above-listed Main Event. As expected, such an extraordinary number of players accumulated an impressive prize pool — a staggering $93,399,900.

    Daniel WeinmanThe 10-day-long poker match ended with Daniel Weinman as the winner.

    Despite a long career and over 100 tournament cashes, this was Weinman’s best score. The showing bagged him an unprecedented $12.1 million in prize cash and his second gold bracelet.

  6. 2014 WSOP Main Event

    Our final spot is reserved for the the 2014 WSOP tourney. The event began on July 5th with a $62.8 million prize pool. With 6,683 participants, this means that the winner got to amass an extraordinary sum of $10 million.

    Martin JacobsonIn 2014, that person was the Swedish professional poker player, Martin Jacobson.

    Apart from the prize, he also got to win the iconic WSOP bracelet.

    Second place and $5 million went to Felix Stephensen.

Poker Tournament Fun Facts

Now that we’ve covered some of the biggest prizes, here are a couple of intriguing tidbits for poker tournament enthusiasts among us.

  • The World Series of Poker was born after the Texas Gamblers Reunion, a gathering of the best poker players in 1969. Benny Binion, one of the attendees, decided to organize his own poker event, leading to the development of the WSOP as we know it today.
  • The first World Tour of Poker was televised under Steven Lipscomb, the former CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc. (WPTE). American cable television broadcast the show’s first season on the Travel Channel.
  • The World Poker Tour teamed up with the One Drop foundation to bring back the iconic Big One for One Drop tournament in 2023. The event is scheduled as part of the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas at the end of the year.
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Hi, I am the Chief Editor of, this site is dedicated to all thing poker. I have been working around the poker industry for the last 15 years, with different brands. The main purpose of this site is to keep you uptodate with the industry and offer you the best deals around.

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