The Seven Biggest Prize Pools in Poker History

There have been some massive prize pools fought over in poker tournaments over the years, some awarding life-changing money to those fortunate enough (and lucky enough) to finish with all of the chips in front of them.

With seven being the number of minutes, on average, it takes for a Sit & Go Hero tournament from its start to finish, the partypoker blog takes a look at the seven biggest prize pools in poker history.

1.) 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 8,773
  • Prize pool: $82,512,162
  • Champion: Jamie Gold
  • 1st place prize: $12,000,000


The largest-ever poker prize pool was created at the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event when 8,773 players exchanged $10,000 for a chance to be crowned world champion. That honour, and a massive $12,000,000 first place prize, went to Jamie Gold.

Gold doesn’t travel the poker circuit as much as many of the WSOP Main Event winners, although he did finish second in a $1,675 buy-in event in March 2016 for a $139,820 score.

2.) 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 7,319
  • Prize pool: $68,798,600
  • Champion: Jonathan Duhamel
  • 1st place prize: $8,944,310


Canada’s Jonathan Duhamel was the recipient of $8,944,310 when he topped a field of 7,319 players in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, the second largest WSOP Main Event in history and the second largest prize pool at almost $69,000,000.

Duhamel has since gone on to win almost double his cash in this event, but his fame did bring him trouble as he was robbed of his Main Event bracelet in 2012 with Duhamel’s ex-girlfriend being found guilty of masterminding the plot.

3.) 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 6,865
  • Prize pool: $64,531,000
  • Champion: Pius Heinz
  • 1st place prize: $8,715,368


Germany’s Pius Heinz may not be a name you’re familiar with, but he was once awarded the $8,715,368 first place prize of the 2011 WSOP Main Event. Heinz has all but disappeared from the live poker world since his victory, but he does dabble in the occasional tournament; in March 2016 he won a €5,200 buy-in event for €44,814.

Image courtesy of WSOP.com

4.) 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 6,844
  • Prize pool: $64,333,600
  • Champion: Peter Eastgate
  • 1st place prize: $9,152,416

However, Eastgate, now financially secure for life, decided poker was not for him and stepped away from the game that made him a household name. In November 2010, Eastgate sold his WSOP bracelet on ebay for $147,500.

Eastgate’s last cash came in May 2013 when he finished in the money at the ISPT London Main Event at Wembley Stadium.

Lead image courtesy of Asso Poker

5.) 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 6,737
  • Prize pool: $63,327,800
  • Champion: TBD
  • 1st place prize: $8,000,000


Coming in at number five on our list is the 2016 WSOP Main Event, which is yet to crown its champion. Each of the nine players who have reached the final table have locked up $1,000,000 for their efforts so far, but whoever wins this year’s “Big Dance” will leave Las Vegas with $8,000,000 and the coveted WSOP bracelet.

6.) 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 6,683
  • Prize pool: $62,820,200
  • Champion: Martin Jacobson
  • 1st place prize: $10,000,000


In 2014, Sweden’s Martin Jacobson navigated his way through a 6,683-strong field to get his hands on the $10,000,000 top prize of the WSOP Main Event. The WSOP decided to make the first place prize a rounded $10 million, making Jacobson’s haul the second-largest prize awarded by a WSOP Main Event.

Jacobson is considered to be one of the best tournament players in the world and has total live tournament winnings of almost $15,200,000.

7.) 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Buy-in: $10,000
  • Entrants: 6,598
  • Prize pool: $62,021,200
  • Champion: Greg Merson
  • 1st place prize: $8,527,982


Last, but certainly not least, is Greg Merson who was the winner of the 2012 WSOP Main Event. Merson became a popular champion not only because of his undoubted skills, but because he had overcome a drug addiction and continues to this day to be one of the humblest champions of a WSOP Main Event.

Win Big in Seven Minutes

The number seven keep popping up everywhere, including at partypoker where seven is the number of minutes that a typical Sit & Go Hero tournament lasts from start to finish. During this time, you have the chance to play for a share of a prize pool that is up to 10,000 times your initial buy-in, allowing you to win up to a massive $170,000 for only a $20 buy-in. Interested? Of course you are, head to the partypoker lobby on your computer or mobile device and see how much fun you can have in seven minutes.

Peter Eastgate of Denmark won the 2008 WSOP Main Event for a cool $9,152,416 and continued to play poker for the next two years as part of his sponsorship package that he signed on the way to his victory.

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