What is the all-time money list?
The all-time money list consists of the top 25 players in the world that have won the most money cumulatively from tournament poker in the history of the game, according to The Hendon Mob. The list does not take into account earnings won via cash games and other non-tournament formats, nor does it include online poker tournaments.
Therefore, our all-time money list shows the biggest poker winners in live tournament history.
What is the biggest ever win in a live poker tournament?
Antonio Esfandiari - $18.35 million
The biggest live tournament poker win in history is Antonio Esfandiari’s victory in the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop. Beating a total field of 48 entrants, Esfandiari won over $18 million from one single tournament.
Since Esfandiari’s win in the inaugural One Drop tournament, the buy-in has fluctuated between $1 million and $100,000. In 2016, the tournament was held in Monte-Carlo, meaning the buy-in was €1 million. The Big One for One Drop was held annually until 2018. After the WSOP’s return from COVID, it has been held in a smaller-buy-in format. It's been won by other notable players - Justin Bonomo for one, winning $10 million in 2018 that heavily contributed to his strong ranking in the all-time money list.
Are the biggest tournament winners the best poker players in the world?
The biggest poker tournament winners, those included on the all-time money list, are for the most part also some of the best poker players in the world.
However, being top of the all-time money list doesn’t always mean that that player is the best in the world. With the list being cumulative, the rankings purely take into account money won and not other relevant factors that might better measure the quality of the player, such as average money won per tournament entered. A billionaire could enter every high-roller possible and eventually be top of the all-time money list from this relentless buy-in strategy - even if they have a heavy disadvantage in every field.
That being said, the players you’ll see on this list are generally considered to be some of the best poker players in the world. The high-stakes-live tournament scene is an elite level of poker, and due to its exceptional competitiveness, only those few who are already infinitely rich or who are good enough to compete at the highest level play these stakes.
Find out more information on how to make money playing poker, who the richest poker players in the world are and how to get started and play real money poker yourself.
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