These Are The $1.5 Million Plus Top Prizes In WPT History
The World Poker Tour (WPT) is now in its 18th season, making it one of the longest-running live poker tours on the planet. While the numbers of the WPT Main Events have fallen since the end of the so-called “poker boom”, a WPT title is still one of the most prestigious awards in the game today.
Eleven of the tour’s Main Events have awarded their champions more than $1 million with four of the winners walking away with more than $2 million for their victory. Here are the biggest WPT Main Event champions of all time.
Eugene Katchalov: $2,482,605
Ukraine’s Eugene Katchalov holds the record for the largest win in a regular season WPT Main Event having taken down the 2007 Doyle Brunson Classic during Season 6.
The former Team PokerStars Pro outlasted 625-opponents in the $15,000 buy-in event at the Bellagio, Las Vegas to return home with $2,482,605, resigning runner-up Ted Kearly to the $1,252,640 consolation prize. The legendary late Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott was third for $674,500.
Eric Hershler: $2,429,970
Eric Hershler was crowned the 2007 L.A. Poker Classic champion during Season 5 and it was an accolade that came with a massive $2,429,970 prize. Hershler topped a field of 791-entries, including second-placed J.C. Tran ($1,177,010) to get his hands on what was then the biggest prize in WPT history.
Hershler has since cashed for approximately $900,000 more, although only one prize has exceeded $100,000.
Alan Goehring: $2,391,550
A brace of scores worth in excess of $2 million were awarded during Season 4 and it was Alan Goehring who secured the largest of this pair. Goehring was one of 692 entries in the 2006 L.A. Poker Classic and when his king-eight prevailed against Daniel Quach, Goehring banked the $2,391,550 top prize.
This huge win came only a couple of months after Nick Schulman had become the first WPT player to win a $2 million prize from a regular Main Event.
Nick Schulman: $2,167,500
Foxwoods in Connecticut was the venue for the $10,000 buy-in World Poker Finals in 2005 and it was packed with 783 players who were vying for the lion’s share of the $7,855,000 prize pool.
Nick Schulman was the man who came out on top, defeating a tough six-handed final table that was the home to the likes of Lyle Berman, Allen Cunningham, and Bill Gazes. Schulman beat Anthony Licastro heads-up to lock up $2,167,500.
Michael Mizrachi: $1,859,909
Coming in at number five is a name everyone is familiar with, that of Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. The Florida native triumphed over 537-opponents in the $10,000 buy-in L.A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in February 2005.
Mizrachi walked away with $1,859,909 after sending sports betting pro Haralabos Voulgaris to the rail in second place. Mizrachi has gone on to win an additional $15 million from live poker tournaments and is a legitimate star of poker.
Daniel Negreanu: $1,759,218
Daniel Negreanu, who left the PokerStars stable earlier this year, used to be a regular face on the WPT and 2004 will be a year for him to remember as he banked $1,770,218 after winning the $15,000 buy-in Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio.
Negreanu had to battle with Nam Le and his good friend Jennifer Harman at the final table before sending Humberto Brenes, who would later become Negreanu’s PokerStars teammate, to the showers in second place. The popular Canadian is currently second in the WPT all-time money list with $5,767,453.
Tuan Le: $1,549,588
Tuan Le is the only other player to win at least $1.5 million from a regular season WPT Main Event, doing so in 2004 at the $10,000 World Poker Finals. Le still competes on the WPT and is fourth in the tour’s all-time money list with $4,553,943 in winnings, an impressive sum helped by the $1,549,588 he picked up in this event.
The WPT ran its popular WPT Championship, later called the WPT World Championship, until the conclusion of Season 13. These were $25,000 buy-in affairs that attracted the very best in the business to the felt. Three players managed to bank prizes in excess of $3 million from these tournaments.
Joe Bartholdi Jr was the first of this trio, padding his bankroll with $3,760,165 in Season 4. The following season saw Carlos Mortensen return to Spain armed with $3,970,415, which is still the largest prize every awarded in any WPT event. Last, but certainly not least, is the $3,389,140 David Chiu locked up at the end of Season 6 after defeating Gus Hansen heads-up.