The global poker market expanded significantly during the last decade as more poker players from around the world were drawn towards the game. One of the main reasons for the popularity of poker and the increase in global market size is because the prize money on offer during the last decade has been rather significant.
Live poker operators and online poker operators have significantly upped their guaranteed prize pools in an effort to capture a bigger share of the market. This has helped poker pros win bigger pots and increase their winnings significantly. In the past, players would take years to win and boost their earnings past the $10 million mark.
Things changed from 2010 as there were a number of poker tournaments on offer that gave the winner the opportunity to walk away with a cash prize of more than $10 million in prize winnings. As we enter 2020, we look back at the top five players who won the biggest cash prizes between 2020 and 2019.
Number 5: Elton Tsang – $12,248,912
Poker is banned in mainland China which is why Chinese poker players have to travel to different parts of the world to take part poker games. Elton Tsang entered the Big One for One Drop event that took place in Europe. The event had a € 11,111,111 buy-in and had some of the top poker players in the world in attendance. Tsang competed against the likes of Rick Salomon and Cary Katz to come out on top and win a whopping $12,248,912.
Number 4: Dan Colman – $15,306,668
Dan Colman took a break from playing poker in 2013 but came back with a bang in 2014 when he won the Big One for One Drop event. The young American poker pro had to battle Daniel Negreanu for the first place and got the better of Negreanu who was then the number one ranked player on the Hendon Mob’s All Time Money List. Colman defeated Negreanu to win $15,306,668.
Colman’s win was controversial not because of what took place on the felt but because of his comments after his win. He downplayed his achievement and said he did not want to promote poker as it was a game where most players came out on the losing side. Colman has close to $29 million in prize money but he has not won a poker event since December 2017.
Number 3: Aaron Zhang – $16,775,820
The Triton Poker Series made a name for itself during the last decade and has established itself as the number one high stakes poker tournament in the world. Aaron Zang from China took part in the Triton Million – A Helping Hand for Charity in London where a total of 54 players participated in high stakes poker action.
He had a tough playing field as he had to compete against Bryn Kenney, Dan Smith and Stephen Chidwick. The Chinese poker pro was not the favourite but he ended up coming out on top and taking home $16,754,497.
Number 2: Antonio Esfandiari – $18,346,673
Antonio Esfandiari held the record of having the highest payout in live poker winnings for a long time. The American poker pro won the $250,000 Challenge which was held at the 2011 Aussie Millions. At that point in time, this was the biggest buy-in poker tournament in the history of the game.
Esfandiari showed why he is considered one of the best players in the world as he had to get past Phil Hellmuth, Sam Trickett and Brian Rast to take the number one spot. He won $18,346,673 in prize money for his efforts.
Number 1: Bryn Kenney – $20,563,324
The biggest win in poker winnings during the last decade goes to American poker pro Bryn Kenney who won $20,563,324 after he took second place at the Triton Million event that took place in August 2019. The winner Andrew Zhang got lesser prize money than Kenney as the two had worked out a deal. Kenney now holds the number one position on the Hendon Mob’s All Time Money list.