Biggest Poker Wins of All Time – a Card Game That Pays a Lot of Money

Biggest poker wins of all time

It is known that the prestigious World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament started in 1970, and since then, it has been highly regarded by many as the best competitive event of its kind. The initial editions of WSOP gained incredible social exposure, and became renowned for both their operational scale and the remarkable size of their prize pools. The game’s popularity soared so much, that different gambling organizations wanted to emulate its effect in an Internet environment; which happened, with the creation of online poker tournaments. Both offline and online events offered huge wins to the players, some of which established records that are unbroken to this day! In today’s interesting post, you will learn more about the biggest Poker wins and more about the players that achieved them.

The Largest Single Poker Win in the World – Bryn Kenney

Bryn Kenney is an American professional player who won second prize in the 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series tournament. The prize had a value of $20,536,324 (or £16,890,509), and it was considered to be the largest, single payout in the history of the game. Although Mr Kenny ranked in second place, the reason why he scored the bigger amount than his first-place counterpart is that before sitting down in the heads-up event, he had five times more chips, and the deal that was negotiated guaranteed him a better value for second place. For that reason, this particular Poker win is considered to be not only the largest one but also the most historically-significant one in the history of Poker tournament wins.

Bryn Kenney

Antonio Esfandiari Was in the Lead for a Long Time

Often referred to as “the Magician”, Antonio Esfandiari is a professional card game player that held the record for the largest Poker win in the world, before the appearance of Bryn Kenney. In the 2012 World Series of Poker Tournament, Antonio came on top of all other participants, and won the massive prize of $18,346,673. Noted for his banter with other players, Esfandiari’s playstyle has long been considered to be both “calm and aggressive”, which gave him a considerable edge over other tournament participants.

Antonio Esfandiari

The Third in Our List, but a Number One in the Ranks – Aaron Zang

This professional card player from China was the number one place winner in the 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series, where he played his final game against the number one earner in this blog – Bryn Kenney. After emerging victorious from the bout, Aaron Zang pocketed $16,775,820 (£13,779,491). The reason why he got a smaller amount of money when compared to the tournament’s second place holder, is because Zang entered the final event as an underdog with a smaller stack, and the pre-game deal he initiated guaranteed him a good prize for either first or second place, although it was significantly less than the sum that was taken by the chip leader (Bryn Kenney).

Aaron Zang

Online Poker Wins Rival Those of the Standard Offline Competition

Perhaps the only major similarity between online and offline tournaments is the relatively large amount of money in each separate event. Just like the WSOP tournament has been accepted by the public to be the most “official” event for competitive play offline, so has the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) by PokerStars become the most prestigious series of competitive events for online players. With that being said, here are the three top three biggest wins in online poker history.

Tyson Marks Sits at the Top Spot for Online Poker Wins

Back in the 2010 edition of WCOOP, Tyson “POTTERPOKER” Marks rose among all other 2,443 participants and received a prize of $2,278,097.50. This particular edition of the tournament was also the one that featured the biggest prize pools in the history of online tournaments, which was approximately $12 million. Since then, the record for the biggest online Poker win has not been broken by any other player.


Yevgeni Timoshenko Comes in Second

This Ukrainian-American player managed to win the $1,715,200 first-place prize in the WCOOP tournament held in 2009. This tournament edition featured 2,144 participants, and it managed to accumulate a prize pool of $10,720,000. Going by the moniker “Jovial Gent”, Timoshenko is a player that continues to participate in offline tournaments as well.

Yevgeni Timoshenko

Zadelhoff Has the Third-Highest Online Poker Win

Steven van Zadelhoff is a professional player from the Netherlands that ranked first at the 2017 edition of WCOOP. He received the admiration of his peers and a sum of $1,624,502.27 for being the best among 2,183 participants. Ranked to be among the top 20 poker players in his country, Steven is also a regular participant in offline tournaments.

Steven van Zadelhoff

What Is the Most Popular Type of Poker for Big Tournaments?

The Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is considered to be the most famous and popular form of the genre in the entire world. With that being said, the headline event in the World Series of Poker (the most famous poker tournament in the world) is the competition that involved a buy-in of $1,000,000 for each player. While the most popular poker versions that are played in tournaments are Omaha and Texas Hold ‘Em, it is the latter that is considered to be a favourite for both online and offline competitive events.

The Biggest Prize Pools in Poker Tournaments History

It is only natural that the biggest single poker wins in history will also result from tournaments that have amassed the largest prize pots ever; however, in the world of the game, even this is considered to be a relative term. The fact is that the first five places of the tournaments with the largest prize pools all belong to the famous World Series of Poker.

The final tournament prize pool depends on many factors such as the organization of the event, the number of players, allowing specific game rules, etc., but it will be the win-rate status of an individual player that will determine their final prize. With that being said, here are the sums (rounded down) of the five largest tournament prize pools in the history of the game:

  1. 2006 WSOP – $82 million
  2. 2019 WSOP – $80 million
  3. 2018 WSOP – $74 million
  4. 2010 WSOP – $68 million
  5. 2017 WSOP – $67 million

We should mention that while online tournaments also feature prize pots in the millions, they are rarely as bountiful as the ones mentioned above. On the other hand, it was one particular event that not only made history with a record-breaking prize pool, but was also given the Guinness World Record certificate for “largest prize pool for an online Poker tournament” in 2020. This was achieved by GGPoker at the WSOP Online Tournament, with a prize pool of $27,559,500 (£20,638,300).

There Might Be Private Games That Net Even More Money

It is a public secret that there are private games that have been held (and are held) by some of the most famous people in the world. While there is no empirical data that says how much players gamble and win, we can only guess that the prize pot might be in the tenths of millions, or even more! Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is a game that has been enjoyed by a lot of players worldwide, which include regular players as well as world-famous celebrities who are fans of the game. Even you might like it!

Morgan Bartlett
Dedicated to keeping the spirit of casino alive. I think casino sites translate tradition into a modern context and I aim to provide our readers with the latest from the world of online casino, including industry news, launches, and promotions.
Author: Morgan Bartlett