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Biggest Poker Prize Pools Of All-Time
One of the first things players look at when they examine which poker tournaments to play is the prize pool. Of course, everyone wants a piece of the pie as the winning amounts can be life-changing. We decided to take a look back and see what the 10 biggest prize pools of all-time were, so here’s a countdown of the prize pools, events and winners from 10 to 1.
Total Prize Pool: $62,820,200
Winning Prize: $10,000,000
Winner: Martin Jacobson
Americans have crushed it at the World Series of Poker Main Event. Between 1970 and 1998, all but two of the winners were American. Europeans have started to turn the tide of late as now four have won in the last 11 years. One of the big winners was Sweden’s Martin Jacobson, who took the bracelet in 2014.
Jacobson’s final winning hand was a pair of 10’s, which led to him collecting a $10 million prize. There were a total of 6,683 entrants in the field with 693 players finishing in the money.
Total Prize Pool: $63,327,800
Winning Prize: $8,005,310
Winner: Qui Nguyen
Nguyen won his invitation to the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event through a $1,100 satellite and from there, the rest was history. He’s mostly a Cinderella story as the only other time he cashed at a WSOP event was in 2009 when he picked up $9,029.
It’s an interesting story as Nguyen qualified for the November Nine (final table) and then Steve Blay, the founder of a poker software, kept running projections on who’d win the final table. Using bots and predictive algorithms, it was Nguyen who kept winning. When Nguyen caught wind of this, he flew Blay out to Las Vegas to help him train for the final table. The strategy worked as Nguyen eventually won.
Total Prize Pool: $64,333,600
Winning Prize: $9,152,416
Winner: Peter Eastgate
Peter Eastgate registered a number of firsts when he won the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event. He has to survive a field of 6,844 players to reach the November Nine and then the bracelet and in doing so, became the first-ever player from Denmark to win the Main Event. He’s the second ever European to win the event and the first from the Nordic part. Eastgate also became the youngest player ever to win the event, although that’s subsequently been topped by Joe Cada the following year.
He’s got nothing to complain about, though, as Eastgate took home $9.15 million for his troubles.
Total Prize Pool: $64,531,000
Winning Prize: $8,711,956
Winner: Pius Heinz
Pius Heinz became the first German player ever to win a World Series of Poker Main Event when he captured the top spot in 2011. He had to navigate his way through the field of 6,865 players, who created a humongous prize pool just shy of $65 million, but it was the final table that really tested his endurance. There were a whopping 301 hands played at the final table, including 119 in heads-up play. That’s the most ever in a WSOP Main Event. Heinz really had to work for this win but in the end, he came away with the bracelet and nearly $9 million.
Total Prize Pool: $65,660,000
Winning Prize: $23,100,000
Winner: Aaron Zang
The 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series Triton Million event was the sixth-biggest prize pool in poker history. There was just over $82.5 million on the line at the London event, which had a buy-in of 1 million pounds (roughly $1.34 million USD). These types of events obviously don’t attract fields in the hundreds but there were 54 participants, which is what brought the prize pool to $65,660,000.
It was China’s Aaron Zang who won the event but it was Bryn Kenney who took home the biggest prize. When the two players got down to heads-up play, they struck a deal: Zang would get the trophy and the win, Kenney would take home the bigger prize. He ended up taking home £16,890,509, which translated to roughly $22,617,573.
Total Prize Pool: $67,877,400
Winning Prize: $8,150,000
Winner: Scott Blumstein
The 2017 World Series of Poker was a memorable event because that was the first time since 2008 that we didn’t see the November Nine. Remember, how the WSOP ran things in those years was they would get down to the final table (nine players) in July and then they’d meet to determine the winner in November. In 2017, they just played it out right after to find out who won.
The Main Event saw a total of 7,221 players, which was the largest field since 2010. The winner was Scott Blumstein, who earned $8,150,000.
Total Prize Pool: $68,799,059
Winning Prize: $8,944,310
Winner: Jonathan Duhamel
A Canadian has only won the World Series of Poker Main Event just one time but he made it count. The 2010 event was the fourth-biggest, so that meant that Jonathan Duhamel took home a sizable prize.
There were a number of celebrities in the field as we saw Ray Romano, Bruce Buffer, Shannon Elizabeth and Emmitt Smith in the field, to name a few. In total, there were 7,319 players participating.
Total Prize Pool: $74,015,600
Winning Prize: $8,800,000
Winner: John Cynn
For a while, they had said that the popularity in the World Series of Poker had been waning a little bit. For a while, they were right. However, we saw some big fields in 2016, 2017 and 2018 after a bit of a lull in the early 2010’s.
In 2016, the tournament had to have three starting flights followed by five more days of action before we reached the final table. That’s because there were 7,874 players in the field, which is the second-biggest field in tournament history. A whopping 1,182 finished in the money with John Cynn taking home the biggest prize for top spot.
Total Prize Pool: $80,548,600
Winning Prize: $10,000,000
Winner: Hossein Ensan
The 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event was the second-biggest prize pool in poker history. What’s crazy is that there was over $80.5 million on the line not because it was some random event with a massive buy-in; this was merely an incredibly crowded field with 8,569 looking to score a big win. A whopping 1,286 players finished in the money.
The event itself started on July 3rd and required until July 16th to determine a winner. Hossein Ensan collected the top prize as he outlasted the final table of nine, which took about three days to whittle down.
Total Prize Pool: $82,512,162
Winning Prize: $12,000,000
Winner: Jamie Gold
To this day, the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event is the largest tournament in poker history. As with all of the WSOP Main Events, the buy-in was $10,000 but what made this such a massive prize pool was the fact that 8,773 players entered the field. It was such a behemoth of an event that they had to have four starting days, each time cutting the field down to 800 players. From there, they went into two separate days before they could merge it down to one group.
In the end, it was American Jamie Gold who claimed the biggest prize while Paul Wasicka earned $6.1 million for second place and Michael Binger picked up $4.1 million for third.