Hold’em is one of the most exhilarating card games there is today. There’s a whole industry around it, fueled by the intricacies of the game, and mastery one needs to reign supreme on the table. To exemplify the interest the game generates, we’ll just point out that the 30 richest poker tournaments, those with the largest prize pools, are all played in No Limit Hold’em.
The Main Event of the World Series of Poker has been the richest tournament of the year in 9 of the top 10 instances. The trend is broken by the 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series. But let’s see who won what and imagine for a moment what we all could do with this money.
10. 2014 WSOP Main Event
The total pool prize of the tournament reached $62,820,200. Martin Jacobson, the Swedish professional poker player, bagged the guaranteed $10,000,000 first-place prize.
But how big this actually is? Today, he could put down a deposit for 100,000 Cybertrucks or pay in cash for 142 of the tri-motor version when the truck goes on sale in 2021.
9. 2016 WSOP Main Event
In 2016, the Main Event had a prize pool of $63,327,800. The Vietnamese-American poker player Qui Nguyen bagged an $8,005,310 first prize. Most of his poker winnings exceeding $8.050 million in 2017 are from that win! He even wrote a book about it – an autobiography following his life from Vietnam to the pinnacle at the 2016 WSOP.
Nguyen’s hefty prize could buy the whopping 229,050 paperback copies of his book! A digital copy is preferred? No worries! If you had this money and wanted to read his story and the hand-by-hand analysis of the game on your Kindle, you would’ve been able to afford 267,378 digital copies!
8. 2008 WSOP Main Event
The total pool prize of the Main Event in 2008 reached $64,333,600. Danish poker player Peter Eastgate became the youngest Main Event winner back then, scoring $9,152,416 at the age of 22. He quit poker for a while after that tremendous success.
In 2010, Eastgate put his Main Event bracelet up for auction. It sold for $147,500, and Eastgate donated the money to UNICEF. His first-place prize could’ve bought that bracelet 62 times!
7. 2011 WSOP Main Event
In 2011, the Main Event garnered a prize pool totaling $64,531,000. The first German player to win the Main Event bracelet – Pius Heinz, took off with $8,711,956. Not much? Given he didn’t have much live poker experience at the time, being an online regular, and virtually finding live poker boring, that’s something.
Heinz registered for day 1-A of the main event, hoping to ‘get out of there and go home as soon as possible’ if eliminated. With his prize, he could’ve taken off in the Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 motor yacht. Not one, but in 2 and a half of those!
6. 2019 Triton Super High Roller Series – Triton Million
The only non-WSOP event in the top ten is the Triton Super High Roller Series. In the 2019 tournament, the pool prize reached $65,660,000, and the first prize was won by Aaron Zang, totaling the staggering $23,100,000!
Zang is the first Chinese player to have won the Triton Series, overcoming a nerve-wracking game against his final opponent Bryn Kenney. The unknown financier from Shanghai caused a sensation! How much is his prize worth? At Bitcoin’s current prices, Zang could afford to buy 2,509.73 Bitcoins, and who knows, as a financier, he’d know if it’s worth it!
5. 2017 WSOP Main Event
In 2017, the tournament achieved $67,877,400 for the pool prize. The winner, Scott Blumstein, took home $8,150,000, which to 2019, still comprise a larger part of his tournament winnings, currently exceeding $8,500,000.
Scott Blumstein became the producer of the For Love or Money? A Poker Documentary, following two professional poker players as they attempt to win the WSOP bracelet. The movie can be bought for $9.99, which means Blumstein’s prize money can buy the movie 815,815.816 times on Amazon Prime Video!
4. 2010 WSOP Main Event
The fourth richest poker tournament is the 2010 WSOP Main Even, totaling a $68,799,059 prize pool. The Main Event bracelet was conquered by Jonathan Duhamel – the first Canadian player to achieve that, and he won $8,944,310.
But it’s not all roses and butterflies in the champ’s life. In 2011, he was beaten and robbed in his own home, losing not only a Rolex watch and a hefty sum in cash, but also his bracelet. While the bracelet is irreplaceable, Duhamel could easily afford more than 300 Day-Date Rolex watches if he’d decided to spend his 2010 WSOP prize money on this.
3. 2018 WSOP Main Event
The pool prize in 2018 reached $74,015,600, and the winner, John Cynn, walked away with $8,800,000 after making a crucial decision at the end of the 10-hour game. If he were to celebrate extravagantly, he could’ve done it bathing in 7,928 liters of champagne. Armand de Brignac Brut Gold champagne!
2. 2019 WSOP Main Event
Last year’s Main Event garnered a total of $80,548,600 as a pool prize. Iranian-German professional poker player Hossein Ensan walked away with $10,000,000 in prize money. He became the second oldest person to have won the Main Event.
Hossein definitely came a long way from his taxi business in 2002. Today, instead of starting with three cars, he probably could afford more than 200 cars, model Mercedes-Benz Vito, to establish a taxi empire.
1. 2006 WSOP Main Event
The tournament, to date, that registered the largest prize pool was the WSOP Main Event of 2006. Jamie Gold walked away with $12,000,000. There have been some controversies around him after the final game, with six million dollars getting put under a restraining order and frozen.
Gold also left an impression with his ‘table talk’ and with eating blueberries at the final table. He did seem to love his ‘brain food’. With those $12,000,000 and at today’s average global price per kilo, he could afford 1,325,967 kilograms of blueberries! That brain would never go hungry again!