The Five Biggest WSOP Main Event Prizes In History

WSOP Main Event final table

The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, the 50th such tournament in the WSOP’s history, shuffles up for the first time on July 3rd and runs through to July 16th when a new world champion is crowned. Attendances at the 2019 WSOP are way up on previous years, pointing towards the 50th-anniversary edition of the WSOP Main Event being one of the biggest ever held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Johnny Moss won the inaugural WSOP Main Event back in 1970. Only seven players entered and the winner was chosen by a vote. Moss won the 1971 WSOP Main Event, which saw six players enter the $5,000 buy-in Main Event. The buy-in for the WSOP Main Event has been $10,000 from 1972 onwards.

It was the 1982 WSOP Main Event that was the first to break through the 100 entrants barrier, attracting a field of 104 who were all outlasted by Jack “Tree Top” Straus who was down to a single chip before marching onto victory, thus coining the poker term “a chip and a chair.”

The Moneymaker Effect

Chris Moneymaker won the last WSOP Main Event not to have four-figures worth of players competing in it. Moneymaker triumphed over 839 players to scoop the $2.5 million first-place prize after winning his $10,000 seat in an $86 buy-in online satellite at PokerStars.

This created what is affectionately known as the “Moneymaker Effect” and thousands of poker wannabes flocked to Las Vegas the following year for the 2004 WSOP Main Event that saw a then-record 2,576 field and a $5 million top prize secured by Greg Raymer.

While impressive, these figures are nothing compared to the five biggest WSOP Main Event prizes in history. Lets us take a look at those gargantuan winners.

1.) Jamie Gold: $12,000,000

Jamie Gold: 2006 WSOP Main Event champion

Jamie Gold: 2006 WSOP Main Event champion

Jamie Gold won the 2006 WSOP Main Event which still holds the record attendance with 8,773 players buying in. Gold defeated Paul Wasicka heads-up for the title, his queen-nine prevailing against Wasicka’s pocket tens. Wasicka walked away with $6,102,499 for his second-place finish.

2.) Martin Jacobson: $10,000,000

Martin Jacobson: 2014 WSOP Main Event champion

Martin Jacobson: 2014 WSOP Main Event champion

Swedish superstar Martin Jacobson is second on our list with his 2014 WSOP Main Event victory netting him a cool $10 million. You may be surprised to learn that Jacobson’s win was over one of the smallest field in recent times with 6,683 players battling it out to become world champion.

The reason Jacobson’s haul is the second-largest is the WSOP ran a promotion in 2014 that guaranteed $10 million to first-place, much to Jacobson’s delight as any other year he would have returned home with approximately $1.5 million less.

3.) Peter Eastgate: $9,152,416

Peter Eastgate: 2008 WSOP Main Event champion

Peter Eastgate: 2008 WSOP Main Event champion

Peter Eastgate occupies third-place in the biggest ever WSOP Main Event prizes after he banked $9,152,416 for his victory in 2008. Primarily an online poker cash game player, Denmark’s Eastgate defeated Russia’s Ivan Demidov heads-up to lock up the huge prize.

While Demidov went onto become a Team PokerStars Pro for several years, Eastgate quit playing poker and even put his WSOP Main Event bracelet up for sale on the auction site ebay.

4.) Jonathan Duhamel: $8,944,310

Jonathan Duhamel: 2010 WSOP Main Event champion

Jonathan Duhamel: 2010 WSOP Main Event champion

Canadian pro Jonathan Duhamel won $8,944,310 when he outlasted 7,318 opponents in the 2010 WSOP Main Event. The final table was a pro-heavy affair with the likes of Matthew Jarvis, Michael Mizrachi and Joseph Cheong present and correct. It was Duhamel, however, who emerged victorious, defeating John Racener one-on-one for poker’s most prestigious title.

Duhamel has gone on to win more than $9 million in additional cashes since that victory, although has been a notable absentee at the 2019 WSOP so far.

5.) John Cynn: $8,800,000

John Cynn: 2018 WSOP Main Event champion

John Cynn: 2018 WSOP Main Event champion

Rounding off our leaderboard is the reigning WSOP Main Event champion John Cynn whose 2018 victory netted him $8,800,000. All eyes were on Joe Cada at the final table because he won the 2009 WSOP Main Event and would have become the first player to win two such tournaments in the modern era.

Cada fell in fifth-place and Cynn went on to take the title and the life-changing sum of money after defeating Tony Miles on what was the 442nd hand of the final table action.

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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