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Poker Leaderboard: Largest Payouts In WSOP Main Event History

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jan 27, 2021


Due to the unique hybrid online and live version of the 2020 $10,000 World Series of Poker main event, the winner of this year’s contest walked away with a total of $2,550,969. That’s good for no. 17 all-time.

The previous 16 champions of the World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event have all earned at least $5 million, a worthy prize for the highlight of the tournament calendar each year. 2003 WSOP world champion Chris Moneymaker was the last player to win less than that $5 million benchmark, having banked $2.5 million for the win that played a large part in sparking the poker boom of the early 2000s. Moneymaker also won the last main event to have fewer than 1,000 participants.

The largest first-place prize ever awarded in the ‘big dance’ was the $12 million paid out to 2006 champion Jamie Gold. He topped a record field of 8,773 entries that year to earn the massive eight-figure payday and the championship bracelet. Germany’s Hossein Ensan outlasted the second-largest field in the history of the event in 2019 to earn an even $10 million. In 2014 the event featured a guaranteed first-place payout of $10 million as well, which was awarded to Sweden’s Martin Jacobson after he overcame 6,683 entries.

From 1971 through 2019, more than $162 million in prize money has been awarded to WSOP main event champions. The winner of this storied event has earned at least $1 million every year since 1991 when Brad Daugherty became the first WSOP champ to earn seven figures for the win. In fact, all nine winners from 1991 to 1999 earned $1 million for their main event victory. Johnny Moss earned the smallest prize in history in the second main event, taking home just $30,000 for topping the field of six. The previous year he was elected winner by vote, and didn’t earn any additional prize money.