Top 3 Biggest Poker Tournament Cashes of 2019

With the top one hundred players cashing for at least $1.5million in live tournaments throughout the year, there was plenty of money flying around the poker world this past year, but the biggest cash of all did not even go to a tournament winner!

By: Andrew Burnett

1. Bryn Kenney $20,563,324

The massive Triton Poker Million for Charity event in London featured a £1,050,000 buy-in and managed to secure 54 entries, top-name pros invited by amateur partners to produce a £54million prizepool.

The final table saw three recs still standing, Thirst Lounge boss Bill Perkins, businessman Alfred DeCarolis and Chinese financier Aaron Shu Nu Zang.

When Dan Smith fell in 3rd for £7.2million, it left Zang and Bryn Kenney to fight it out for close to £30million – the pro with a 4:1 chip lead.

The deal they arranged was the biggest poker had ever seen – Kenney pocketing £16,890,509 to Zang’s £13,779,491 and securing the all-time number one spot for the New Yorker.

Remarkably, Zang fought back to win the title and trophy – leaving Kenney as the best-paid runner-up in the history of the game.

2. Hossein Ensan $10,000,000

Technically Zang should be in the number two spot, but Germany’s Hossein Ensan deserves better than bronze for his run to the WSOP Main Event gold bracelet.
It was the 50th celebration of the World Series of Poker in Vegas, and huge numbers descended on the Rio Casino, the Main Event attracting 8569 entries and guaranteeing the final nine $1million paydays.

There were only three men left when the final day’s play started, Ensan joined by Italy’s Dario Sammartino and Canada’s Alex Livingston.

The coveted WSOP gold could have been Livingston’s, but cracked kings and a dominated big ace showdown felled him in 3rd for $4million.

Sammartino had his chances too, but ultimately bowed out for $6million as runner-up when his draws failed to hit in what proved to be the final hand.

For Muenster man Ensan it was a $10million summer and a place in poker’s history – just reward for a most excellent run.

3. Ramon Collilas $5,100,000

The PokerStars Players Championship in the Bahamas at the start of the year saw several big names run deep in the chase for the biggest live cash on the red spade site’s live outings, but it was an unknown Spaniard who scooped the massive haul.

Kristen Bicknell, Griffin Benger and Talal Shakerchi all gave it a good go, but it was 30-year old former fitness trainer Ramon Collilas who took down the event for $5.1million.

Collilas turned a Platinum Pass into one of the biggest freeroll wins in poker history, seeing off Julien Martini heads-up for the trophy and stating afterwards: "A lot of players were saying this was the most important tournament in history, so now it's only about happiness and enjoying the moment."

A month later, Collilas was celebrating again, PokerStars offering him an ambassador role, proving that almost every poker player can chase a dream.


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