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Biggest Tournament Cashes of the Decade

WSOP Heads-up money and bracelet 2019 Main Event

It's been a phenomenal decade of poker, one full of some of the brightest poker stars and the biggest tournament victories. Before 2010, only one player had cashed for eight figures playing tournament poker. Since then, nine of the ten biggest cashes were more than $10m.

All ten of the biggest cashes from 2000-2009 came in the WSOP Main Event, but this year that number drops to just three as bigger buy-in tournaments came to the fore.

Here we take a look back at the ten biggest poker cashes of the decade:

10. Jonathan Duhamel - 2010 WSOP Main Event (1st: $8,944,310)

In 2010, Jonathan Duhamel defeated John Racener heads-up to become the very first Canadian WSOP Main Event champion. From a field of 7,319, Duhamel led the 'November Nine' with almost a 3:1 chip lead over his nearest competitor Joseph Cheong, and after Cheong was eliminated in third place he took just 43 hands to wrap up the victory to take home almost $9m.

The final table also featured a certain Michael Mizrachi. In 2010, he won his first WSOP bracelet in the Poker Players Championship and followed that up with a fifth-place finish in the Main Event. He has since gone on to win four more WSOP bracelets, including two more Poker Players Championships.

PlaceWinnerCountryPayout (USD)
1Jonathan DuhamelCanada$8,944,310
2John RacenerUnited States$5,545,955
3Joseph CheongUnited States$4,130,049
4Filippo CandioItaly$3,092,545
5Michael MizrachiUnited States$2,332,992
6John DolanUnited States$1,772,959
7Jason SentiUnited States$1,356,720
8Matthew JarvisCanada$1,045,743
9Soi NguyenUnited States$811,823
Jonathan Duhamel Wins 2010 WSOP Main Event

=7. Justin Bonomo - 2018 Big One for One Drop (1st: $10,000,000)

If any result was to signify the increasing poker prize pools and event buy-ins, along with the calibre of the players entering them over the past decade, it would be this one. Just 27 players entered the most recent iteration of the Big One for One Drop at the 2018 World Series of Poker.

Eventually, Justin Bonomo defeated Fedor Holz heads-up to move to the top of the all-time money list with just under $43m in lifetime earnings. Bonomo would cash for an astronomical $25m in 2018 alone, a feat that was named the number one story in PokerNews' Top 10 Stories of 2018.

PlacePlayerCountryPayout (USD)
1stJustin BonomoUnited States$10,000,000
2ndFedor HolzGermany$6,000,000
3rdDan SmithUnited States$4,000,000
4thRick SalomonUnited States$2,840,000
5thByron KavermanUnited States$2,000,000
Justin Bonomo Wins 2018 WSOP Big One for One Drop

=7. Martin Jacobson - 2014 WSOP Main Event (1st: $10,000,000)

In 2014, the WSOP took the unprecedented step to guarantee $10,000,000 to the winner of the Main Event. Eventually, it was Martin Jacobson who defeated 6,683 players - at the time the fifth-biggest Main event in history - to become the first Swede to win the WSOP Main Event. He also became the third non-American of the decade to win the WSOP Main Event (after Jonathan Duhamel and Pius Heinz).

The top three players were all Europeans as Jacobson saw off both long-time chip leader Jorryt van Hoof and Felix Stephensen.

Arguably an even bigger story was the back-to-back Main Event final tables of Mark Newhouse. After a ninth-place finish in 2013, he famously tweeted that he was "Not fucking finishing 9th again." However, the poker gods don't take requests, and Newhouse went from third in chips to out first.

PlacePlayerCountryPayout (USD)
1Martin JacobsonSweden$10,000,000
2Felix StephensenNorway$5,145,968
3Jorryt van HoofNetherlands$3,806,402
4William TonkingUnited States$2,848,833
5Billy PappasUnited States$2,143,174
6Andoni LarrabeSpain$1,622,080
7Dan SindelarUnited States$1,235,862
8Bruno PolitanoBrazil$947,077
9Mark NewhouseUnited States$730,725
Martin Jacobson Wins 2014 WSOP Main Event

=7. Hossein Ensan - 2019 WSOP Main Event (1st: $10,000,000)

Just like in 2014, the top two players battling it out for poker's biggest prize in 2019 were European. The charismatic suit-wearing Italian Dario Sammartino faced off against German-Iranian Hossein Ensan who subsequently became the oldest WSOP Main Event winner in 20 years.

The 55-year-old regular on the European poker scene took home the joint-second biggest WSOP Main Event cash in what was the second-biggest Main Event in history, with 8,569 entries. Will the 2006 field of 8,773 players and Jamie Gold's $12m ever be surpassed?

PlaceWinnerCountryPayout (USD)
1Hossein EnsanGermany$10,000,000
2Dario SammartinoItaly$6,000,000
3Alex LivingstonCanada$4,000,000
4Garry GatesUnited States$3,000,000
5Kevin MaahsUnited States$2,200,000
6Zhen CaiUnited States$1,850,000
7Nick MarchingtonUnited Kingdom$1,525,000
8Timothy SuUnited States$1,250,000
9Milos SkrbicSerbia$1,000,000
Hossein Ensan Wins 2019 WSOP Main Event

6. Sam Trickett - 2012 Big One for One Drop (2nd: $10,112,001)

In the very first Big One for One Drop, Englishman Sam Trickett secured what was then only the third eight-figure cash in poker history. His second-place behind eventual winner Antonio Esfandiari - more on him later - saw him move well clear at the top of the English all-time money list up until the start of 2019 when he was finally overtaken by Stephen Chidwick.

Since 2012, Trickett has been sporadic on the tournament scene. He followed up is One Drop success with victory in the 2013 Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge for $2.1m, but that accounts for almost half of the $4.8m cashes he's achieved since then.

PlaceCountryNamePayout (USD)
1United StatesAntonio Esfandiari$18,346,673
2United KingdomSam Trickett$10,112,001
3United StatesDavid Einhorn$4,352,000
4United StatesPhil Hellmuth$2,645,333
5CanadaGuy Laliberté$1,834,666
6United StatesBrian Rast$1,621,333
7United StatesBobby Baldwin$1,408,000
8MalaysiaRichard Yong$1,237,333
Sam Trickett - 2012 Big One for One Drop Runner-Up

5. Elton Tsang - 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza (1st: $12,248,912)

After two successful tournaments in 2012 and 2014, for 2016 the World Series of Poker opted to set their sights abroad and moved the Big One for One Drop to Europe. The buy-in was set at a cool €1,000,000 with rules dictating that the tournament was for recreational players and invitational only.

These rules were relaxed somewhat, with poker regulars Talal Shakerchi and Paul Newey in the field alongside former poker pros Andrew Pantling, Mark Teltscher and Jason Strasser.

In the end, it was Canadian born but Hong Kong-based Elton Tsang who defeated Anatoly Gurtovy heads-up, for an eye-catching if not eye-watering €11,111,111 ($12,248,912)

PlaceCountryNamePayout (EUR)Payout (USD)
1ChinaElton Tsang€ 11,111,111$12,248,912
2RussiaAnatoly Gurtovy€ 5,427,781$5,983,597
3United StatesRick Salomon€ 3,000,000$3,307,206
4EnglandJames Bord€ 2,100,000$2,315,044
5United StatesCary Katz€ 1,750,000$1,929,203
6CanadaAndrew Pantling€ 1,500,000$1,653,603
Elton Tsang Wins 2016 Monte Carlo One Drop Extravaganza

4. Dan Colman - 2014 Big One for One Drop (1st: $15,306,668)

After taking a year off in 2013, the Big One for One Drop returned in 2014 again with a $1,000,000 buy-in as the biggest buy-in event in poker history returned to Vegas as part of the World Series of Poker Festival.

In the end, there were no repeat scenes of joyous celebrations with a huge pile of money, as Dan Colman quietly went about defeating Daniel Negreanu heads-up, and proceeded to refuse any media interviews or attention.

According to Negreanu, Colman refused to promote poker because "most people lose." Colman continued to play poker after his One Drop victory but is yet to record a poker cash since December 2017. He currently sits with $28,925,058 in lifetime cashes, still good enough for 11th on the all-time money list.

PlaceCountryPlayerPayout (USD)
1United StatesDan Colman$15,306,668
2CanadaDaniel Negreanu$8,288,001
3GermanyChristoph Vogelsang$4,480,001
4United StatesRick Salomon$2,800,000
5GermanyTobias Reinkemeier$2,053,334
6United StatesScott Seiver$1,680,000
7United KingdomPaul Newey$1,418,667
8United StatesCary Katz$1,306,667
Dan Colman Wins 2014 Big One for One Drop

3. Aaron Zang - 2019 Triton Million for Charity (1st: $16,775,820)

This year saw the continued emergence of Triton as a tournament operator and tour spreading five- and six-figure buy-ins across the world. The Triton Million - A Helping Hand for Charity, was their latest new initiative, taking place at the Hilton London. The £1,050,000 buy-in was the biggest buy-in tournament in history, helping to raise £2.7m for charity.

In the end, Aaron Zang emerged as the winner after defeating a 54-player field and securing victory over Bryn Kenney after a heads-up deal.

PositionPlayerCountryPayout (GBP)Payout (USD)
1Aaron ZangChina£13,779,491$16,754,497
2Bryn KenneyUnited States£16,890,509$20,537,187
3Dan SmithUnited States£7,200,000$8,719,164
4Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom£4,410,000$5,340,488
5Vivek RajkumarIndia£3,000,000$3,632,985
6Bill PerkinsUnited States£2,200,000$2,664,189
7Alfred DeCarolisUnited States£1,720,000$2,082,911
8Timothy AdamsCanada£1,400,000$1,695,393
Aaron Zang Wins Triton Million for Charity

2. Antonio Esfandiari - 2012 Big One for One Drop (1st: $18,346,673)

In 2011, the Aussie Millions introduced the $250,000 Challenge, which was the largest buy-in tournament in history. However, just over a year later the WSOP went several times better with the first-ever seven-figure buy-in tournament in the shape of the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop.

In July 2012, Antonio 'The Magician' Esfandiari defeated a 48-player field for over $18m which, seven years later, still holds the number two spot in the biggest poker cashes ever.

PlaceCountryNamePayout (USD)
1United StatesAntonio Esfandiari$18,346,673
2United KingdomSam Trickett$10,112,001
3United StatesDavid Einhorn$4,352,000
4United StatesPhil Hellmuth$2,645,333
5CanadaGuy Laliberté$1,834,666
6United StatesBrian Rast$1,621,333
7United StatesBobby Baldwin$1,408,000
8MalaysiaRichard Yong$1,237,333
Antonio Esfandiari Wins 2012 Big One for One Drop

1. Bryn Kenney - 2019 Triton Million for Charity (2nd: $20,563,324)

Twenty million dollars. More than that. That's how much Bryn Kenney won for finishing second in the Triton Million in August 2019. Heading into heads-up against eventual winner Aaron Zang, Kenney held a more than 5:1 chip lead over his opponent and struck up a deal that would secure him $20.5m.

A historic moment, not just for Kenney, who now tops the all-time money list, but for poker. 2019 was surely the richest year in poker history, and if the next decade starts how this one finished, then maybe $20m will be pocket change to compared to 2029!

PositionPlayerCountryPayout (GBP)Payout (USD)
1Aaron ZangChina£13,779,491$16,754,497
2Bryn KenneyUnited States£16,890,509$20,537,187
3Dan SmithUnited States£7,200,000$8,719,164
4Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom£4,410,000$5,340,488
5Vivek RajkumarIndia£3,000,000$3,632,985
6Bill PerkinsUnited States£2,200,000$2,664,189
7Alfred DeCarolisUnited States£1,720,000$2,082,911
8Timothy AdamsCanada£1,400,000$1,695,393
Bryn Kenney - Triton Million for Charity Runner-Up
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