Highest paying online poker tournaments


The advent of the internet has given poker aficionados, and even novice players, the ability to play poker with anybody anywhere in the world at a click of a button from the comfort of their own home - and this opportunity has led to a huge rise in big money online poker tournaments being hosted, with revenues in online poker growing from $82.7m in 2001 to a recorded $814m last year as the Covid-19 pandemic led to millions of people worldwide looking for alternative at-home entertainment options, with online poker providing a good outlet for many.

With thousands of pro poker players playing their hand online every single day it is a proven way of making a living and remains profitable even now despite being past the time of the real online “poker boom” of 2003-2011, largely thanks to high stakes and high payout tournaments such as the live in-person World Series of Poker which had a prize pool of over $80.5m and a top prize of $10m last time out, spawning a whole host of online versions of big prize tournaments. Of course, it has become increasingly tougher to win big in these events due to the top calibre of competitors, but the premise is still there thanks to the high amount of prize money on offer as gamblers not only look for the best betting tips today to earn quick wins but also the biggest online games to win even bigger, and casino games like poker are proving popular to do so.

Real money online sites are plentiful

So where can you find some of these top payout events with just a few clicks on your smartphone, tablet or desktop PC? Let’s get started with a slightly rogue entry to this topic, as the main tournament is not strictly an online tournament but has had its hand forced recently by a pretty huge global occurrence…

World Series of Poker

The aforementioned WSoP has been the largest worldwide tournament for many decades and has certainly provided the greatest sum of prize money for pretty much the last 15 years, consisting of 101 events with most major poker variants featuring - although more recent years have seen over half of the events made up of Texas Hold 'em style games. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic saw a huge change in the model of this major tournament, as they switched to a hybrid part-in person, part-online game for 2020 which opened the door to many more players.

The format kept its place for this year as the pandemic continued, with WSOP and GGPoker hosting a total of 77 bracelet events prior to the flagship Main Event with its $5,000 buy-in which saw the best of the world compete in the live portion at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. It was Alexsei Vandyshev who claimed over $2.5m with overall victory. According to the payout calculator on the WSOP official website a Main Event featuring 7,500 entrants would lead to a prize pool of $69,937,500 and $8,000,000 in winnings for the player that finishes in first place.

Away from their leading flagship event, poker players in certain states can find a whole wealth of big win games on the WSOP website. As the largest legal online poker room in the States and legal in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, it offers a wide variety of no-limit hold'em, omaha and stud cash games and over $250,000 in guarantees on Sundays, with a $100k Sunday tournament, daily guarantees of $10,000 and really competitive rakeback deals. It also provides a pathway for players to win their way through to live WSOP events, and with it the potential for even greater cash prizes.

World Championship of Online Poker

Next up, if we are discounting the previously mentioned tournament for being predominantly an in-person affair (and, let’s be honest, the part of it that is online is only because of a global virus and its associated social distancing measures), we can arguably pass the chips onto the WCOOP as the biggest online poker tournament. Beginning life in 2002 WCOOP now enjoys the financial backing of online poker giant PokerStars as it takes place on the PokerStars site every September and is considered by many millions of players to be the online version of the WSOP tournament - that’s a pretty big statement of intent but it certainly is not without reason.

WCOOP started up in 2002 and features a similar amount of various no-limit hold'em, omaha and stud cash games with the usual different buy-ins and prize pools for all the different variants and different prize pools, as expected. PokerStars host almost 200 different WCOOP events with around $1.5m going to the sole winner of their biggest tournament which had a prize pool of over $10m. With this particular tournament being a lot more achievable to enter for the discerning poker player than the WSOP, it offers a real opportunity for a huge win.

MILLIONS Online

Another huge online tournament is this PartyPoker-organized event which brings an eclectic mix of some of the biggest names in poker alongside a healthy amount of qualifiers to one of online poker’s most prestigious events and returns in December for the second event of the year after the UK’s Endrit Geci took home just under $775,000 from the $5,300 Main Event competition at the previous edition in April.

A massive $5m prize pot is guaranteed at the next Main Event but there are also tonnes of good quality side events to keep a large variety of experienced and slightly more novice players busy as buy-ins will range from the smaller versions of the bigger events to multiple high rollers. There is always a wide variety of poker formats ranging from knockout tournaments, fast-paced turbo tournaments and Pot Limit Omaha will undoubtedly feature.

Endrit Geci claimed the top MILLIONS prize earlier this year

So there you have it. Online poker is everywhere you look and you don’t have to look very far to find the perfect version of it for you, regardless of your acumen, with a large number of excellent sign-up offers at your fingertips and the ability to easily trace the development of your poker game. However, once you build up your game to a high enough level, the chips get raised, the stakes get higher, and you could one day be claiming the next gigantic win at any of the highest paying tournaments around.