The Five Biggest Cashes of the Last Decade

These are the five biggest live poker tournament cashes of the past decade

A new decade is upon us. We said goodbye to 2019 and welcomed 2020 into our lives with open arms. Poker tournaments have changed during the past decade. More emphasis is on the Super High Roller element of live events. Sure, there are still plenty of low stakes tournaments to get stuck into, but the focus of the poker community is on the biggest buy-in events.

Four of the 10 biggest cashes of the past decade happened during 2019. All of the top five cashes stemmed from Super High Rollers.

WSOP Main Event Creates Three of the Top 10 Cashes of the Decade

The year’s biggest tournament, the World Series of Poker Main Event, created three of the 10 biggest cashes of the past decade. Jonathan Duhamel’s $8,944,310 prize for winning it in 2010 comes in tenth-place. Martin Jacobson and Hossein Ensan, winners in 2014 and 2019 respectively, are tied in seventh-place with a $10 million score. So which were the biggest cashes of the last decade? Let’s find out.

Elton Tsang – 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza (1st place: $12,248,912)

Elton Tsang

Canada-born Hong Kong businessman Elton Tsang won the first largest prize of the decade. Tsang was a relative unknown in the poker tournament world until this massive prize. Cash game players knew him, however, as he is a regular in the biggest Macau games.

Tsang was won of 26 players invited to compete in the €1 million Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza. The entrants were a mixture of rich recreational players and a handful of invited professionals.

A massive €24,888,892 ($27,437,564) prize pool was created and Tsang got his hands on €11,111,111 ($12,248,912) of it. He defeated Russia’s Anatoly Gurtovy heads-up for the title. The Russian banked €5,427,781 ($5,983,597) which is, strangely, the last tournament he cashed in. Perhaps he quit while he was ahead?

Daniel Colman – 2014 Big One for One Drop (1st place: $15,306,668)

A rare photograph of Dan Colman after his Big one for One Drop victory

The second-ever Big One for One Drop, a $1 million buy-in event, took place in 2014. Forty-two players bought in and created a $37,333,338 prize that was shared among the top eight finishers.

Daniel Colman and Daniel Negreanu found themselves heads-up for the title. Second-place weighed in at $8,288,001 with the champion securing $15,306,668 and a place in poker’s history books. The poker world watched in with interest as it was a battle of the online poker world versus the live old school pro. Colman was a hugely respected heads-up sit & go player so many thought he had an edge over Negreanu.

That proved correct as Colman defeated Negreanu to secure what is the fourth-largest cash of the last decade. Most people would be delighted with such a gigantic score. Not Colman. He shunned all interviews and publicity because he didn’t want to promote poker as most people lose.

He continued playing poker into 2017 but hasn’t cashed in a live event since December 2017.

Aaron Zang – 2019 Triton Million for Charity (1st place: $16,775,820)

Aaron Zang's cash was massive, but it was only the third-largest of the decade

Aaron Zang is the only player in this top five to win a tournament and receive less money than second-place. China’s Zang triumphed in the Triton Million for Charity, a £1,050,000 buy-in event held in London, United Kingdom.

Zang topped a unique field of 54 entrants, unique because each recreational player had to invite a professional. Those 54 entrants created a gargantuan £54 million ($65,742,217) prize pool and Zang banked £13,779,491 ($16,775,820) of it. It would have been more had he not struck a deal with Bryn Kenney when heads-up; more on that later!

Antonio Esfandiari – 2012 Big One for One Drop (1st place: $18,346,673)

Antonio Esfandiari

It’s amazing to think that a tournament victory in 2012 was the largest of the decade up to only a couple of months ago. Antonio Esfandiari scooped $18,346,673 when he topped a field of 48 in the inaugural Big One for One Drop.

The $1 million buy-in event happened at the 2012 WSOP and saw Esfandiari and Sam Trickett heads-up for the title. Esfandiari came out on top and resigned Trickett to a $10,112,001 consolation prize. Incidentally, Trickett’s prize is the sixth-largest of the past decade.

Biggest cash of the decade: Bryn Kenney – 2019 Triton Million for Charity (2nd place: $20,563,324)

Bryn Kenney has the biggest tournament cash of the decade and of all-time

Remember we said Aaron Zang would have won more money had he not dealt with Bryn Kenney? Well, Kenney secured £16,890,509 ($20,563,324), which is the largest score of the past decade and of all-time.

Kenney held a substantial lead over Zang in the latter stages, but took a low variance route and struck a deal. This massive win propelled Kenney to the number one spot in the all-time money listings; he now has $56,004,281 in cashes!

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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