What Are the Biggest Wins in Poker From the Last Decade?

Mar 4, 2024

The past decade has been nothing short of spectacular in the world of poker, showcasing the skill and audacity of professional players like Maria Lampropulos and Bryn Kennedy and the enormous financial rewards out for the taking. Poker has evolved into a lucrative career path, with the world’s top players competing for prizes up to $20,000,000

The game’s appeal lies both in the strategic know-how required to play it and in the significant prize pools and sponsorship deals, from PokerStars to WPT, that have become synonymous with the big tournaments. If you are curious to know more about the biggest wins in the past 10 years, read the write-up till the end. 

The Profitability of Professional Poker

The way that poker has transformed from a mere hobby to a legitimate career option has been nothing short of remarkable. In the last decade, sponsorship deals have altered the landscape of professional players, turning top players into brand ambassadors and providing them with endorsements to add to their winnings.

Take Daniel Negreanu, a household name, who has now been a long-standing ambassador for PokerStars, aligning his brand with one of the biggest names in online battles. Through this deal, Negreanu adds to his considerable winnings a reported $2 to $4 million per year, including a base yearly salary and an assortment of online and “live” buy-ins​.

Similarly, Phil Ivey, another titan of the sport, has a partnership with the World Poker Tour (WPT) as an ambassador, forging a reputation as one of the greatest to secure deals that extend beyond the felt. Through this brand ambassadorship, Ivey has expanded his influence beyond the tables, becoming a key figure worldwide and demonstrating the potential of strategic partnerships between players and major organizations.

More and more in recent years, endorsements have provided professional players with a steady income, allowing them to focus on honing their skills without the financial pressures that come with high-stakes play.

Big Tournament Prize Pools in Recent Years

Big Tournament Prize Pools

In the last ten years, the poker world has witnessed some of the largest prize pools in history. Tournaments like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and the European Poker Tour have been stages for some of the most dramatic and rewarding gameplay in history – especially in the past decade. Here are just a few of the most significant tournament wins since 2018:

The Big One for One Drop 2014

Daniel Colman

In 2014, Daniel Colman made headlines in poker by winning the Big One for One Drop tournament – part of WSOP – and taking home a massive $15 million prize. Colman’s victory was a big talking point at the time, not only for the enormous sum of money but also for his reaction, or lack thereof. 

Colman chose not to speak to the media post-victory, expressing discomfort with promoting the game to achieve wealth and revealing a complex relationship with the fame and fortune he had so quickly gained.  

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2018

Maria Lampropulos

Maria Lampropulos became the first woman to win the PCA Main Event with a $1,081,100 prize, marking a significant achievement in history. Her victory came against a challenging field of 582 players, and she secured her win after a heads-up battle with Shawn Buchanan.

WSOP 2019 Main Event

Hossein Ensan

Hossein Ensan won a whopping $10,000,000 prize in the Main Event out of a field of 8,569 players, making it the second-largest WSOP Main Event in history. His victory was notable for his aggressive and confident play throughout the final table.

European Poker Tour Barcelona 2019

EPT Barcelona Main Event

The EPT Barcelona Main Event 2019 set a record for the largest EPT Main Event ever, with 1,988 entries. Simon Brandstrom’s €1,290,166 win was remarkable for his decision to make a deal at the final table with his opponent, Marton Czuczor. This guaranteed winnings for both players but still secured Brandstrom the title and a significant portion of the prize pool.

Bryn Kenney

Bryn Kenney

New Yorker Bryn Kenney earned world fame in August 2019 for his incredible performance at the Triton Million charity event in London, one of the most prestigious high-stakes tournaments globally. Kenney won the largest single payout in tournament history to date with a staggering $20,563,324

Aside from the prize, what’s even more impressive is that Kennedy technically finished second to his opponent, Aaron Zang. Due to a deal they agreed upon based on their chip counts, Kenney’s share of the prize pool exceeded that of Zang’s, sending him to the top of the all-time money list in poker.

Online Platforms For Poker Players

 Poker Players

If you’re a beginner or just looking to hone your skills, online sites are a great platform to practice the game. Online poker is accessible 24/7, allowing players to log in anytime, anywhere, with a variety of games from the classic Texas Hold ’em to Seven-Card Stud. 

One of the most popular online casinos, BetMGM Poker, offers a great welcome bonus, regular rewards, and tournaments like the BetMGM Championship and Sunday $30k, allowing players to practice their game at all levels. 

Conclusion: Poker’s Eternal Appeal

To summarize, the last decade in poker has been marked by extraordinary talent and equally extraordinary wins. From Daniel Colman’s $15 million prize to Maria Lampropulos’s groundbreaking win in 2018, the landscape continues to evolve, with serious money continuing to be won in this year’s tournaments. 

With both online and live tournaments contributing to the diversity of the game, players and enthusiasts alike have the chance to witness the ever-changing, dynamic world of poker, where fortunes are made or lost on the turn of a card.