The Biggest Poker Winners From Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada is the home to some of poker's biggest superstars

Las Vegas, Nevada is a poker player’s Mecca. Every poker player worth their salt wants to play in Las Vegas casino. Some of the world’s best players in poker’s history call and have called the state of Nevada home.

“Sin City” has created some legends of the game. Fame and fortune has been secured. Dreams have been dashed, also. It’s no surprise some of the world’s biggest winning poker players hail from Nevada. Here are the five biggest live poker tournament winners from the state.

Dan Smith Is The Biggest Poker Winner Living In Nevada

Dan Smith is one of the biggest live poker tournament winners of all time. He’s ranked fifth in the world thanks to $36,742,719 in earnings.

Smith was born in Manalapan, New Jersey but now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He broke onto the live poker scene in 2012 where he won $3,739,794. The following eight years have seen Smith’s earnings increase by at least $1 million, which is an incredible achievement.

More than $21 million of Smith’s massive total stem from his play over the last three years. Smith won $4,132,737 in 2017, $6,712,334 in 2018, and $1,770,469 last year, his best-ever tally.

It was his third-place finish in the £1,050,000 buy-in Triton million for Charity that yielded Smith’s biggest prize. He banked £7,200,000 ($8,765,628) from that finish alone.

Antonio Esfandiari Won Poker’s Biggest-Ever Prize In Nevada

Antonio Esfandiari now calls Las Vegas home after being born in Tehran, Iran. Esfandiari has accumulated $27,810,802 in his career, enough for 15th place in the all-time money charts.

He is a former professional magician, hence his nickname of “The Magician.” He certainly performs some trickery at the poker tables. Esfandiari has won three WSOP bracelets in Nevada and a brace of World Poker Tour Main Events.

His largest single haul is also the biggest prize ever awarded in a poker tournament. Esfandiari won the inaugural Big One For One Drop in 2014 for a gargantuan $18,346,673!

The popular superstar doesn’t play as much poker as he once did but is still quite active on social media.

Joseph Cheong Is Third In The Nevada All-Time Money Listings

Sanghyon “Joseph” Cheong in another Nevada resident who is immense at poker. Cheong moved to the United States from South Korea when he was six-years-old. He’s highly intelligent with a degree in psychology, math, and economics.

Cheong uses his math ability to full effect at the poker table. His loose-aggressive style of play can seem reckless at times, but there’s always solid reasoning behind every move. It certainly works with Cheong winning more than $4 million from online poker and more than $14 million live.

Amazingly, it was only last year that Cheong won his first WSOP bracelet. He triumphed in a $1,000 NLHE Double Stack. He’s reached six WSOP final table, including three second-place finishes. Cheong also finished third in the 2010 WSOP Main Event, which netted him $4,130,049.

”The Prince of Poker” Scotty Nguyen

Modern poker lacks the characters of yesteryear but one of them is still on the scene. Scotty Nguyen is one of the most popular players the game has ever seen. He was born in Vietnam but came to the USA aged 14 and now calls Nevada home.

Nguyen was a professional dealer employed by Harrah’s, but he regularly blew his wages playing $3/$6 stud. He started dealing no-limit hold’em tournaments at Lake Tahoe in 1985 and played cash games after his shift finished. This allowed Nguyen to build a $7,000 bankroll, which he returned to Las Vegas with.

Nguyen went on an incredible heater and built a $1 million bankroll. He lived the high life but his recreational drug use developed into addictions and he lost everything. Several highs and lows followed before he won the 1998 WSOP Main Event.

That gave Nguyen the platform and bankroll to become a global superstar. He’s now won five bracelets, a WPT Main Event, and has $12,626,067 in winnings.

Five Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Allen Cunningham

Allen Cunningham, the former full member of Team Full Tilt, has $11,835,176 in live tournament winnings. Cunningham spends his time in Nevada and California and is a regular at every WSOP.

Almost $8 million of Cunningham’s winnings come from WSOP events in Nevada. It’s here where he’s won five bracelets, although he hasn’t banked one since 2007. Cunningham is famous for his analytical approach to poker; it’s done his career no harm at all.

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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