Who Will Be the First Player to Cash For $100 Million?

4 years ago
Who Will Be the First Poker Player to Cash For $100 Million?
03 Jun

It feels like poker has been on steroids over the past couple of decades. Previous to that $10,000 was the buy in for WSOP championship events, WPT’s and a couple of others and it was considered huge back then.

Fast forward to now and it feels like we see a €25k every over week in Europe… Although that is a slight overreaction most stops on the EPT now have a high roller of at least €25k, we see super high rollers in Vegas at the Aria regularly, Aussie Millions hosts a huge tournament each year, heck PokerStars have held a $50k online tournament.

The largest buy in we have seen is the Big One For One Drop, which carried a colossal $1,000,000 buy in, it has been held at the WSOP in 2012, 2014 and is rumored to be back in 2016, but not in Vegas, which leaves the likes of WSOP Europe or WSOP Asia Pacific.

We may not get to the stage with a $1,000,000 buy in every month, but high rollers and super high rollers are clearly hear to stay. With buy ins of this size happening more and more regularly the prize pools generated are huge, surely it is only a matter of time before somebody eclipses $100,000,000 in earnings from tournament poker?

Predicting who will get there first is no easy task considering nobody is even close right now, let’s start by assessing the top 5 from Hendon Mob’s all time money list.

#1 Daniel ‘Kid Poker’ Negreanu - $32,412,486

Despite age not being on his side Daniel is my favourite to make it to $100 million. He plays a decent amount of tournaments each year and will be one of the first on the list for every high buy in event all over the world.

He plays all the games really well having vast experience playing high stakes cash in Vegas. Of all the top pro’s he is one of the best at playing against amateurs, which gives him great opportunities to get serious scores at WSOP. He went very deep in the 2015 main event - eventually finishing in 11th for over $500,000.

Daniel is also still very hungry, he wants to break records and leave a legacy, so he will likely be playing a lot of poker for many years to come.

#2 Antonio Esfandiari - $26,730,571

The Magician might just need some magic to make it to $100 million before anyone else. He is without doubt a great player, but when you factor in he is predominantly a holdem player and he does not travel the circuit too often he will likely not get too many opportunities to rack up a lot of cashes.

His biggest score to date is an enormous $18,346,673 from the $1,000,000 Big One For One Drop, which is 75% of his total earnings, take that one result away and he would not even be in the conversation which is not the case for anyone else on this list.

#3 Erik Seidel - $23,683,817

Erik Seidel is an old school pro who proves time and time again that he has still got it. If he was motivated and playing a lot of tournaments it would be hard not to make a case for him to make it to $100 million. However at 56 years of age and the fact he just plays as and when he pleases he is very unlikely to notch up another $73 million in cashes.

#4 Daniel ‘mrGr33N13’ Colman - $25,239,801

Colman is extremely young, extremely talented and already quarter of the way to $100 million. His biggest score was for winning the 2014 Big One For One Drop for which he received just over $15,000,00. He has cashed for $10million outside of that which is no joke.

Based on all of this he is a great shout, however after winning the big one Colman wanted nothing to do with the spotlight, so I feel he is only going to come out for the really big stuff, which means unless he runs hotter than the sun he is unlikely to beat others to $100 million.

#5 Phil Ivey - $23,856,034

Phil Ivey is arguably the greatest ever to play the game. He has racked up close to $24 million yet his biggest score is just over $3.5 million, obviously no one trick pony. He plays all forms of poker extremely well. The only person stopping Ivey making a run at this is Ivey.

He turns up for less and less tournaments year on year and he seems to have lost interest in eclipsing Phil Hellmuth for the most WSOP bracelets. Ivey is much more likely to punt in a 60 hour stint at a good cash game rather than turn up mid morning for a poker tournament.

In With A Shot

There are some people outside of the top five that have a good shot at making a run to $100 million too. These guys are definitely in the conversation and probably a favorite to pass a lot of the top five.

With the end goal so far away for everybody right now it is as much about desire as it is skill. The favorites to make this list have to be motivated and likely to have very long careers ahead of them.

Scott Seiver

Seiver has been one of the most successful ‘internet kids’ to transition to play live poker. He is a very affable guy at the felt but make no mistake he is an absolute predator. Currently on $21,209,508, Scott plays all of the games extremely well and at 31 years of age he has a lot of years left in him.

Despite all of his success he has showed no signs of slowing down, he is always smiling and enjoying himself at the table which bodes well for the longevity of his career.

Jason Mercier

The Floridian pro has been killing it at the poker tables for almost all of his adult life. He started out crushing online tournaments under the alias treysfull21 before being snapped up by PokerStars where he remains a Team Pro.

Jason is only 29 years old and plays pretty much everything. All the mixed games, all the championship events at WSOP and due to contractual obligations with PokerStars he plays an intensive European schedule every year.

Jason currently has just over $16 million in earnings, which is a long way off $100 million, but I for one aren’t writing him off just yet.

Brian Rast

Brian is another player with an outside chance at making a run at $100 million. Based on skill he would be one of the first on the list. Rast has proved time and time again that he is a great poker player.

Last summer he took down the biggest score of his career, he outlasted 42 of his peers in the $500,000 buy in ‘Aria Bowl’ and claimed $7.5 million for his trouble. He has final tabled the $1,000,000 Big One For One Drop and perhaps his most impressive result was back in 2011 when Brian took down the $50,000 buy in Poker Players Championship. The prize was a relatively small $1,720,328, but the poker players championship is widely regarded as the toughest tournament in the world. It is a 10 game mix, which means one has to be very skilled in all formats, relying on a Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha simply won’t cut it.

The only thing working against Rast is his desire he doesn’t play all that much and very rarely travels out of the states for poker, it seems that he is happy playing as and when he pleases and earning millions in the process and who can blame him.

So, there you have it, that’s my list. I know I will have missed off many great players. Please do chime in with your picks in the comments section and let’s see if we can add a few more names into the mix.

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Sam is a freelance sports writer from the North East of England and Co-Host of weekly sports podcast, the IAWSportsCastHe is a lover of all sports and regularly tries and fails to beat the bookies.Read more


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