From Poker to Baloot – The Biggest Tourney Wins of All

The biggest card tournaments in history [Infographic]

The popularity of card games is undeniable – across the globe millions of people take part in games ranging from the well-known classics like poker and blackjack to more off-the-beaten path modern games like Pokémon or Magic: The Gathering. Wherever you go in the world, you’re sure to find people taking part in this classic pastime as a way to relax and have fun with friends. Of course, as poker players, we know that card games aren’t just all about fun and relaxation, but also about competition and making money. With the World Series of Poker currently in full swing it’s a reminder that hordes of people love playing tournament poker, but crowds aren’t just limited to poker.

Just how big can card tournaments become, and what do they involve? The infographic above, entitled “High Card: The 10 Biggest Card Tournaments of All Time” takes a look at some of the biggest and most exciting ones to have ever taken lace across the world.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t start out with poker. The Big One For One Drop tournament has always attracted the world’s best players and it’s set to take place once again at the conclusion of this summer’s festivities at the Rio in Las Vegas. This tournament features a million-dollar buy-in and awards a HUGE cash prize to the winner, with a sizable chunk of the proceeds – namely, $111,111 per entry – being donated to charity. In 2012 Antonio Esfandiari won a staggering $18,346,673, the biggest live tournament poker prize ever.

Of course, it’s not just the high rollers who can cash big in Vegas, as hundreds of thousands of people participate in the dozens of events held during the World Series each year. This results in hundreds of millions of dollars in prize monies being awarded to card players of all stripes, whether professionals or amateurs.

While not technically a card game, Mahjong’s similarity to Gin Rummy and its long-held position as a central part of Chinese culture has earned its top tournament a place amongst our list. The 2007 World Series in Mahjong saw 265 avid players fight it out for the $500,000 cash prize, with Li Li winning out against his competitors.

While Pokemon enjoys vast popularity across all forms of media, let’s not forget the card game that once succeeded in sweeping the world. In particular, the Pokemon U.S. National Championships has featured over 1,000 players. While the popularity of this game has waned since its prime, there are still thousands upon thousands of fans who enjoy it to this day. In 2016, Nick Robinson was the one to take the crown for this tournament, winning a considerable prize of $10,000.

So, now you know about some of the biggest card tournaments out there! While most card games serve as a kind of casual hobby or even a way to kill time, it’s clear to see there are some truly big players out there who have managed to make their living through professionally playing cards. The opportunities are endless for keen players, and the stakes are high. Whether it’s blackjack, baccarat, bridge, or baloot, there’s always something to love about a good card game, and we’ll forever see popular games like these attracting millions of eager players the world over.



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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]


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