Having a poker face is one of the most important parts of winning this card game, but it’s unlikely that the people who pocketed the biggest wins in the world managed to remain impassive. A quick Google search will bring up photos of victors hugging stacks of dollar bills, and for once it’s not posed stock photography: these players have really walked away from tournaments with millions of dollars.
The $10 Million Winners Tied For 6th Place
Players Hossein Ensan, Justin Bonomo and Martin Jacobson sit in a tied 6th place in terms of biggest wins, with takings of $10 million each. Ensan, of Iranian-German heritage, won the Main Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2019 while Bonomo, hailing from America, bagged his ten million at the Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship, winning Event #78. The Swede, Jacobson, won $10 million at the 2014 WSOP Main Event.
5th Place: Sam Trickett
If you thought $10 million was a lot, then brace yourselves: Sam Trickett, an English poker player, bagged $10,112,001 in 2012 in the very first Big One for One Drop. Trickett got into the game in 2005 when his plans of playing professional football were scuppered by an injury – a turn of events which worked out well for him!
4th Place: Jamie Gold
Jamie Gold inherited a passion for poker from his mother and cashed in on his talent in the 2006 WSOP Main Event, netting $12 million. Before this Gold wasn’t considered a professional player but his skills catapulted him to fame and success. He used some unique techniques to dominate the table, including showing his cards to opponents.
3rd Place: Elton Tsang
Elton Tsang, based in Hong Kong, triumphed over multiple opponents to win $12,248,912 in 2016 at the Big One for One Drop in Monte Carlo. Apart from this monumental achievement as a player, Tsang was one of the founders and coordinators of the very first live poker tournament in Macau, China.
2nd Place: Daniel Colman
The youngster in the top five, 30-year-old Daniel Colman beat out opponent Daniel Negreanu at the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop at the 2014 WSOP. He walked away with the first prize: $15,306,668. Unlike many other top poker players, he plays mostly online under the names “mrGR33N13” and “riyyc225”. Colman is American and lives in Holden, Massachusetts.
1st Place: Antonio Esfandiari
Coming out on top, with a single win of $18,346,67 – the highest in poker history – Esfandiari unsurprisingly holds the nickname of “The Magician” for his unbelievable mastery. Another fun fact about him: he used to be a professional magician, which no doubt helped him polish his skills. He earned his massive payout in the 2012 Big One for One Drop, in the process beating out Sam Trickett, who also walked away with a small fortune.
These poker winnings might seem high – and they are – but there’s no doubt that they will be surpassed before long with even bigger jackpots. The future of the game will be something to watch with interest.