What’s the largest amount won in a single poker tournament?

The Main Event of the World Series of Poker, held annually in Las Vegas, is considered the unofficial ‘world championship’ of poker and, since its inception, has produced some of the largest payouts in poker tournament history. However, the distinction of the largest single payout ever belongs to another World Series of Poker event, known as The Big One for One Drop.

Staged in aid of the One Drop Foundation – an international non-profit organisation that provides access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation – The Big One for One Drop is a $1 million buy-in, no limit Texas hold ‘em poker tournament. In 2012, The Big One for One Drop was contested by 48 players, competing for total prize money of $42.67 million. The winner that year was Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, who took home $18.35 million.

Esfandiari was chip leader, by some way, heading into the final table and confidently predicted that he would win the tournament. His confidence was not displaced, because he quickly dispatched six of the eight finalists and, although he briefly lost the chip lead to British poker professional Sam Trickett during heads-up play, finally triumphed in the eighty-fifth hand of the final table. On the button and holding 7, 5 off suit, Esfandiari made trip fives on the flop and, after a series of raises and re-raises, raised all in against Trickett, who had Q,6 suited in the hole and flopped a flush draw. Trickett called, but failed to fill his flush draw and had to be content with $10.1 million, the biggest consolation prize in poker tournament history.