The Biggest Winnings in the History of Poker

One of the most common misconceptions of people, at least by non-pros, is that poker is nothing more than a game of luck, and so it would be foolish to attempt to make a living playing it. But in reality, poker is a game of skill in the long run–and that luck shouldn’t be something you should rely upon especially if you want to make a living out of it. 

Think of poker as a game that requires making the soundest mathematical decisions to increase your chances of winning and mitigate the possibility of failure. 

Here, we list the names of pros who earned the biggest poker wins in history. 

Antonio Esfandiari

In 2012 WSOP’s Big One for One Drop, Antonio Esfandiari won the biggest single payout in poker history by amassing $18,346,67, a worthy price considering that the buy-in was priced at $1,000,000, which was the largest at the time. 

While the prize pool reached $111,111, a huge portion of it went to charities.

Esfandiari was born in Iran but spent the majority of his life in San Jose, California. In recent years, he has become one of ESPN broadcasters and remains a prominent pro player that everyone looks up to. 

Daniel Colman 

This American online pro poker player won around $15,307,000 in WSOP’s 2014 The Big One for One Drop.

Colman surprised many when he reached the hyper-turbo live tournaments within nine months and amassed a million dollars even though he started as an online poker player, using the nickname “mrGR33N13.”

Many people would describe Colman as an aggressive but very calculated player who knows how to read the table well and understand the probability game. 

Elton Tsang

In 2016 WSOP’s Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza, Canada-born pro poker player and businessman Elton Tsang won $12,248,912 in a game that required €1 million buy-in. The event was attended by 28 pros who competed for the prize pool amounting to more than $27 million. 

The tournament lasted three days, with Tsang coming out on top. This event, along with other high roller tournaments hosted by WSOP at the same time, raised money for charities. 

While Tsang was born and raised in Canada, he currently lives in Hong Kong where he runs multiple businesses. 

Jamie Gold 

In the Legendary 2006 WSOP Main Event, Jamie Gold amassed $12,000,000 amidst the height of the poker boom. This win had turned him from a nameless non-professional player to one of the world’s poker winners in history almost overnight, even though some people have criticized his strategy for being too unconventional, such as frequently exposing some of his cards. 

The American poker player was also purportedly seen talking to opponents into folding their better hands. 

Aside from his unorthodox approach, another thing that surprises people is that he is not really a full-time poker player. 

Sam Trickett

In WSOP’s 2021 The Big One for One Drop $1 million buy-in, this English pro poker player won $10,112,001 when he placed second before Esfandiari.

Trickett used to be a football player but was forced to leave the sport to become a professional poker player after a serious knee injury. As of this writing, he has amassed more than $20,000,000 in different tournaments.