The Biggest Poker Wins in History

In the world of poker, there have been some massive wins over the years. Some players have walked away with millions of dollars in their pocket, while others have taken down huge tournaments. This article will look at some of the biggest poker tournament wins in history!

Antonio Esfandiari: $18.3 million

In 2012, Antonio Esfandiari won the Big One for One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker. This event had a buy-in of $1 million, making it the most expensive tournament in poker history. Esfandiari took home a massive prize of $18.3 million for his first-place finish. This is still the largest single tournament payout in poker history.

Jamie Gold: $12 million

In 2006, Jamie Gold won the World Series of Poker Main Event. This was one of the biggest fields in poker history, with over 8,000 players competing for a prize pool of over $60 million. Gold took home the top prize of $12 million, which was the largest payout in WSOP history.

Sam Trickett: $10 million

In 2012, Sam Trickett won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Super High Roller. This event had a buy-in of $100,000 and attracted some of the biggest names in poker. Trickett took down the tournament for the first-place prize of $10 million.

Daniel Negreanu: $8.3 million

In 2014, Daniel Negreanu won the Big One for One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker. This event had a buy-in of $1 million and attracted some of the best players in the world. Negreanu took home the top prize of $8.3 million.

Christoph Vogelsang: $8 million

In 2016, Christoph Vogelsang won the Super High Roller Bowl. This event had a buy-in of $300,000 and attracted some of the best players in the world. Vogelsang took home the top prize of $8 million.

Fedor Holz: $7.5 million

In 2016, Fedor Holz won the Super High Roller Bowl in China. This event had a buy-in of $250,000 and attracted some of the best players in Asia. Holz took home the top prize of $7.5 million.

Brian Rast: $7.5 million

In 2015, Brian Rast won the Super High Roller Bowl. This event had a buy-in of $300,000 and attracted some of the best players in the world. Rast took home the top prize of $7.5 million.

These are just a few of the biggest poker tournament wins in history. As you can see, there have been some massive payouts over the years. If you’re looking to make a big score in poker, these are the players to watch!

World Series of Poker During the Pandemic

The World Series of Poker Tournament was recently held from September 30, 2021, to November 23, 2021. They complied with an emergency directive from the state of Nevada that allowed them to allow players to take off masks while seated at the player tables if they could show proof of a complete vaccination. They stated in an article that they’d be complying with the state of Nevada’s directives for immunization, and they did a relatively good job, considering the circumstances.

Their website says that it’s mandatory for players to be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days prior to their participation date, so for the players who had signed up to start on the 30th of September, their vaccination needed to be complete by Thursday, September 16th. They disallowed negative COVID-19 tests as substitutes for vaccination and said that medical or religious exemption weren’t allowed as well.

That’s also not to say that they weren’t allowing masks at all. If they made you feel comfortable, they were also complying with the CDC’s guidelines to the appropriate face masks.

They also had guidelines that they followed, saying that if you answered yes to any of these questions, to please refrain from attending: 

  • Within 14 days before attending WSOP, you have tested positive or been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Within 48 hours before attending WSOP, you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., a fever of 100.4F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking muscle pain/achiness, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
  • Within 14 days before attending WSOP, you have traveled to any international territory identified by federal or applicable state or local governments as subject to travel or quarantine advisories due to COVID-19.

The tables are the only place they’ll be allowed to take masks off in the presence of other patrons. Nevada is currently under a mask order, so if you’re spectating or walking around, you would be required to wear a face mask.

Summer Borgata Poker Open

Sarang Ahuja Borgata Poker Open

Last month I played in the Summer Borgata Poker Open. As with my run at the WSOP Millionaire Maker event, I cashed again, but once again missed the big money. That said, it was certainly a learning experience, as each tournament is. I got some pretty good coverage from the Borgata’s blogger during the tournament this time around, and I’ve included a couple of links below.

http://summerpokeropen.blog.theborgata.com/2015/07/16/event-1-day-1d-poker-room-leaders-2/

http://summerpokeropen.blog.theborgata.com/2015/07/16/event-1-day-2-abuja-triples-to-save-tournament-life/

WSOP Millionaire Maker

sarang ahuja gold bracelet

The other weekend I played in the Millionaire Maker event at the World Series of Poker, in what turned out to be the 6th largest tournament field in history – I guess a lot of people find the idea of becoming a millionaire appealing. Go figure. Unlike some of the other WSOP events, like Monster Stack and The Colossus, the title of Millionaire Maker is not hyperbole. The winner, Adrian Buckley, took home $1,277,193, so the event lived up to its name.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that this was Buckley’s first in-the-money finish, and his debut on the world poker stage. Having arrived as a complete unknown, he’s certainly in the limelight now. Not only did Buckley take down some serious heavy hitters at the final table, including Erick Lindgren, Mike Sexton, Justin Pechie, and David Miscikowski, all previous gold bracelet winners, he also faced long odds several times. From the WSOP website: “Indeed, this win was unlikely as they come, especially given the pedigree of competition later in the tournament.”

While a lot of players, myself included, can only imagine how Adrian Buckley must have felt right after he won, he did clue everyone in with some comments. “This is one-hundred percent surreal,” he was, unsurprisingly, quoted as saying. “This has been a crazy few days. It was the run of the century.” Just 15 years into this century, I suppose it might have been.

I wound up coming in 435th out of the 7,275 entrants, and cashing for $4,517. While I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t me giving the quote about how surreal it was to win the bracelet, it is definitely bitter sweet. Reflecting back, I am proud of my play and my ability to navigate through and ultimately finish in the top 6%. It may not have been the run of the century, but I guess it wasn’t too shabby either.

2015 World Series of Poker Dates Announced

sarang ahuja wsopThe dates for the 2015 World Series of Poker, which will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, have been announced. It will begin on May 27th, with the final table set for July 14th, after which the competitors will have been whittled down to the top 9 players who will compete for the title the following November. As poker seems to gain more and more popularity every year, and plenty of financial incentive with millions in prizes up for grabs, the WSOP plans to host the largest tournament field in their history this year.

This will be the 46th World Series of Poker. In that time the tournament and poker playing in the US in general has expanded exponentially. There is an interesting statistic listed on the Word Series of Poker website: when the tournament began in 1970, there were fewer than 50 poker tables in the entire city of Las Vegas, and only 70 in the entire state of Nevada. Hilariously, the final round of that first tournament was held in a room about the size of a hotel room with about thirty fellow poker players watching. What a far cry from the huge poker rooms in casinos and national television coverage that is the norm today.

One other thing that has expanded since the early days of the tournament: the size of the pot. The WSOP website doesn’t say what the prize for the first year was, but the second year included 7 players posting $5,000 in a winner-take-all event. That means the total prize was $35,000. This coming year, the WSOP is again guaranteeing a $10,000,000 prize for the winner of the main event.

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