The global poker market has changed significantly in the last decade as both live poker tournaments and online poker tournaments now have massive prize pools where millions of dollars in prize money are regularly rewarded.
PokerStars, partypoker and Triton Poker are some of the poker operators that have transformed the poker landscape by hosting poker tournaments that give ordinary poker players the chance to become millionaires overnight. However, the biggest player in the market in terms of awarding the biggest payouts consistently continues to be the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
The WSOP Main Event takes the cake as the Main Event winner is guaranteed to win millions of dollars every year. Winning the WSOP Main Event not only changes a poker players life because of big prize day but also because it creates multiple opportunities and boosts a players brand image as the WSOP Main Event is considered by many to be most prestigious poker event to win.
It is difficult to talk about a WSOP Main Event win without referring to the Chris Moneymaker Main Event win in 2003. However, there are a number of top WSOP Main Events that have paid out enormous amounts of prize money in the recent past. We list a few of them below.
WSOP Main Event 2020
We start with the WSOP Main Event 2020 for a couple of reasons even though it did not payout the highest prize money. This was the first WSOP Main Event that was held online which was due to COVID-19. It turned into the largest ever online poker tournament in terms of prize money as it broke its guaranteed $25 million prize pool and went all the way up to $27.5 million.
Bulgarian poker pro Stoyan Madanzhiev became a multi-millionaire overnight after he took down the Main Event and won his first WSOP gold bracelet and $3.9 million. He can call himself the latest online millionaire.
WSOP Main Event 2014
The 2014 WSOP Main Event took place in July and received a massive response as 6,683 players signed up to create a whopping $62.8 million prize pool. The WSOP followed a format back then when the final 9 players would have to wait till September to battle it out. When it was all said and done, Swedish poker player Martin Jacobson came out on top and took home $10 million in prize money. The runner-up Felix Stephensen did not do too bad as he pocketed $5.15 million.
WSOP Main Event 2006
The 2006 WSOP Main Event was an unforgettable Main Event for the tournament organizers as the response was so strong that a total of 8,773 players signed up to create a guaranteed prize pool of $82.5 million. Poker pros had to put in long hours and work hard at the table to narrow down the playing field. Poker pro Jamie Gold made it to the final table and played some fantastic poker all the way through to take the first place. Gold ended up winning $12 million in prize money and the runner-up Paul Wasicka  took home $6.1 million for his efforts.
While the WSOP Main Event continues to award millions of dollars to the winner and runner-up, there are other WSOP events that have also paid out millions of dollars. The most popular high stakes WSOP event is undoubtedly the Big One for One Drop event. The 2014 event saw a guaranteed prize pool of young Dan Colman take home a whopping $15.3 million in in prize money making it the second biggest payout in live poker history till date.
The 2018 Big One for One Drop also made headlines when Justin Bonomo won the event and took home over $10 million in prize money. However, the biggest tournament payout to date has to be the Big One for One Drop in 2012 which Antonio Esfandiari won and resulted in him taking home $18.3 million.

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