Poker Players

Daniel Colman

daniel-colman-300x300Massachusetts-born Daniel Colman currently ranks seventh on the all-time money list, with live earnings of just shy of $29 million. His position is thanks, in no small part, to the second largest payout in poker tournament history, $15,306,668, which Colman took home after winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) ‘Big Drop for One Drop’ tournament in 2014. In fact, 2014 proved to be a seminal year for the 23-year-old Colman, who collected four titles, including the European Poker Tour (EPT) Super High Roller event in Monte Carlo and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood. Nevertheless, Colman caused controversy by flatly refusing to give interviews after Big Drop for One Drop and later calling poker ‘a harmful game’.

Colman began playing poker as a 17-year-old, in online heads-up sit-and-go tournaments, where he attracted the attention of former hedge fund manager Olivier Busquet, nowadays heralded as one of the best players of that form of poker in the world, who became his sponsor. By his own admission, in 2012, Colman was on the verge of abandoning poker to return to his college studies but, having ‘messed up’ his applications, decided to give the game one last try. The following year, he became the first player of hyper-turbo poker – in which blind levels increase every three minutes or so – in online history to win over $1 million in single calendar year; in fact, in just nine months, Colman amassed a total $1,018,708, before rakeback, on the Pokerstars network.

Biggest poker wins of all-time

big-poker-wins-antonio-esfandiariEveryone knows that playing poker can provide a punter who is successful with some of the biggest wins possible, although you would have to be a professional if you were to ever compete with some of the biggest jackpots to have ever been claimed.

Whilst some might be looking to learn their craft and hone their skills by using platforms like Sloto Stars, those that wish to win the biggest possible amounts will perhaps need to go to one of the major poker tournaments that continue to take place in person all around the world.

What are the biggest wins to have ever been recorded, though?


  1. 2012 saw Antonio Esfandiari win $18.35 million

The 2012 edition of the Big One for One Drop competition that is hosted at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) was the inaugural competition that had 48 people participate in a $1,000,000 buy-in No Limit Texas hold ’em tournament.

Antonio Esfandiari was the man to take the largest prize on the day and one that still remains the biggest amount to have ever been won as he took home $18.35 million!


  1. Big One for One Drop’s 2014 edition saw another huge

The 2014 edition of the Big One for One Drop tournament also makes an appearance on this list as Dan Coleman managed to claim the second-biggest prize pot in poker to have ever been made available.

A predominantly online player, Coleman had managed to end up going home with the $15.3 million that was on offer to the winner. The win thrust him into the limelight and saw his reputation within the game sky-rocket, as he widely became known as one of the best poker players in the world.


  1. Elton Tsang won big at 2016 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza

Widely regarded as the best Asian poker player, Elton Tsang shot to fame in 2016 when he won at the €1,000,000 Monte-Carlo One Drop Extravaganza of 2016 where he was able to beat 25 other players to win $12.2 million; the third-largest prize to have ever been won.

Based out of Hong Kong, he is a professional poker player by night, whilst he is a successful businessman during the day. We guess you’ve got to have a successful hustle if you are to sit at a poker table that requires a $1 million buy-in, right?


  1. Jamie Gold won $12 million at 2006 WSOP Main Event

The 2006 World Series of Poker competition is one that has gone down in history as being the largest tournament to have ever taken place, as 8,773 had decided to try their luck, thus amassing a subsequent prize pool worth up to $82.5 million!

Once the competition reached the final after a few days worth of action, Jamie Gold was the man to come out victorious and he was justly rewarded with a prize of $12 million! Paul Wasicka did not do too badly himself despite finishing second, as he managed to walk away with $6.1 million!

Amarillo Slim

amarillo_slim-300x198A Brief Introduction

Amarillo Slim, was born in 1928 and known as Thomas Austin Preston Jr. He played Poker professionally and was notorious for his larger than life character and witty remarks during gameplay. His visual trademark was the wearing of a giant Stetson hat.

Amarillo Slim’s career as a gambler.

Amarillo Slim became famous in 1970 with the advent of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, featuring his favourite game, Texas Hold’em. As a result of both his initial interest but also his dedication and ability, he won millions.  Not only did poker bring him riches, but also the opportunity of play it against President Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Pablo Escobar, the notorious Columbian drug lord. Quite a mix!

In addition to that,  the famous country singer Willie Nelson was defeated by him in dominoes where he won $300,000, proving that he could turn his hand to other games. It doesn’t end there – as the colourful character also won a table tennis match where he used frying pans and coke bottles for paddles. To call Slim a non-conventional gambler would be an understatement. Larry Flynt, the publisher of a well known adult magazine, played against Amarillo Slim too. Perhaps predictably Flynt went on to lose  $2,000,000 in a poker game against Slim.

It’s certainly fascinating by modern standards that someone in every day life made such an impression and worked their way into positions where they were playing poker  (and dominoes!) against celebrities, politicians and drug lords. There are aspects of course of it being a different era. In modern times the likes of often make playing casino games such as poker and blackjack something that is instantly available on any electronic device going, rather than a ‘place’ you have to go. I suppose that’s the modern age distilled really; the option to either have the experience of old, or fast track it in the here and now.

Amarillo Slim was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1992 and has competed in tournaments worldwide. This five-time Poker World Series winner also appeared in a movie called “All In”, a Poker Movie which was released in 2012 – also the year he passed away at the age of 83.

Final thoughts

Amarillo Slim is regarded as the greatest gambler of all time. He won bets in pool halls and on rivers, jail cells, and golf courses during his rich (in all senses of the word) gambling career. The man insisted he was not a compulsive gambler but a professional Poker player. According to his words in a book he published, he said that he didn’t specifically look for suckers. “Whenever I see a champion, I make a sucker out of him.”  Slim consistently argued that knowing the odds is the key to winning. To him this applied both to casino games and also to sports betting, where of course there can be numerous variables at play at any given time.  “It helps to know something other people don’t know.” he once said in an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon.

Phil Ivey

phil-ivey-300x200Phillip ‘Phil’ Ivey Jr. started playing poker, illegally, in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a teenager. In fact, one of his nicknames, ‘No Home Jerome’, derives from the fake identification he used to play live poker in those early days. Nevertheless, Ivey, who turned 42 in 2019, has blossomed into, arguably, the best all-round poker player in the world. He currently lies twelfth in the all-time money list, with $26.4 million in live earnings.

In the World Series of Poker (WSOP), Ivey has won ten bracelets, the same number as Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson and five fewer than all-time leader Phil Hellmuth, who has fifteen bracelets to his name. Ivey won his first WSOP bracelet in 2000, when he defeated the late Thomas Preston Jr., better known as ‘Amarillo Slim’, heads-up in a Pot Limit Omaha event at Binion’s, Las Vegas; it was, in fact, the first time his illustrious opponent had been beaten heads-up at a final table in the WSOP.

In 2017, Ivey admitted to ‘edge sorting’ – that is, exploiting subtle defects on the back of playing cards to identify them as beneficial or otherwise – at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic Jersey. Consequently, he and his playing partner, Cheung Yin ‘Kelly’ Sun, were found in breach of the casino contract and ordered to repay $10.1 million in winnings They did not and, in early 2019, a federal judge granted permission for the Borgata to pursue assets belonging to Ivey in Nevada, having discovered that he holds non such assets in New Jersey.