The highest that players would stake on poker a few years back was $10,000, but now high-stakes players think nothing about spending incredibly large sums of money on the game. Here are a few little-known facts about poker high rollers.
In July 2012, a poker tournament with the largest buy-in the history of poker was held by the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in partnership with Guy Laliberte, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. The field had 48 high-rollers, who had each spend $1 million to buy into the event, called Big One for One Drop. It was Antonio Esfandiari who ended up winning the biggest prize ever given away for sports other than boxing—$18,346,673. The runner-up of the event Sam Trickett won a huge sum of $10,112,001. The player who finished third was David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager, who collected a prize of $4,352,000 and gave it all away to charitable organizations.
The five largest prizes given away in super high roller events equal $44,202,738, which makes poker more lucrative than the world’s major sports. The high rollers who won these prizes are Antonio Esfandiari, who won $18,346,673 in the WSOP 2012 One Drop Tournament; Sam Trickett, who won $10,112,001 in the WSOP 2012 One Drop Tournament; Stanley Choi, who won $6,456,560 in the Macau High Stakes $258k in 2012; Anthony Gregg, who won $4,830,619 in the WSOP 2013 One Drop Tournament; and Niklas Heinecker, who won $4,456,885 in the GuangDong Asia Millions.
High roller events have been held by all the three major live poker tours—the European Poker Tour (EPT), the World Series of Poker (WSOP), and the World Poker Tour (WPT). As many as 12 high roller tournaments have been hosted at Las Vegas, considered to be one of the major gambling hubs of the world. The Aussie Millions hosted 11 high roller events and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) hosted three. The Monte Carlo, the Macau, and the Barcelona legs of the EPT have included a couple of high roller events each, while the London, Florida, Cannes, and Manila legs have included one high roller event each.
Although super high roller events do not attract many entries, the WSOP 2013 $111,111 Big One for One Drop high roller tournament had a field of 166 entries. Recently, super high roller tournaments have been dominated by high-stakes German players, such as Philipp Gruissem, Tobias Reinkemeier, Fabian Quoss, Max Altergott, and Niklas Heinecker.