We could tell you that Texas Hold ‘em is officially recognized as coming from Texas. Or that nobody really knows when exactly poker came into existence. But you already knew that, and it’s not that interesting.
What you really want to know is the gritty details. Like the most money ever won in a single game. The biggest ever online poker tournament. The player who was crazy enough to stay up for five days to set the record for longest consecutive poker session. That kind of thing…
You want your poker facts and figures with a bit of bite.
We don’t blame you. We don’t like boring lists either.
Here are 17 interesting and fun poker facts, plus a few more nuggets of knowledge bundled in for good luck.
Live poker events often command the highest buy-ins and also the biggest payoffs. Online may be huge in terms of the number of players and high value poker tournaments, but the live pros drum up action that would make most players fold their Aces pre-flop!
1. The record for the biggest ever single poker tournament win was recently broken at the 2019 Triton Millions. Aaron Zang won the event, but it was Bryan Kenney who took home the most money. A favorable heads-up split when he was chip leader earned him a whopping £16,890,509 (around $20.5 million).
2. Speaking of Bryan Kenney, he is now the poker player with the most earnings. Kenney has over $55 million in winnings. Over $30 million of that comes from 2019 alone. Let’s see what the next few years hold for this accomplished player who looks to be hitting his prime.
3. Cash games are a little harder to measure. According to HighStakes DB, Phil Ivey is the biggest cash game winner, with over $19 million in total profit.
4. The biggest televised cash game hand so far was between Tom Dwan and Paul Phua. Dwan five-bet shoved pre-flop with A-Q. Phua called with pocket Aces and Dwan was drawing close to dead. Phua held for $2,353,500.
The World Series of Poker started in 1970 with only 7 players. Since then, it has grown to offer some of the biggest prize pools in live poker.
The event’s popularity was further boosted by Chris Moneymaker proving himself as one of the best poker players out there. He won the 2003 Main Event after gaining satellite entry into the tournament.
5. The most valuable World Series of Poker yet was in 2006 – 8,773 players entered, and the prize pool reached a record-breaking $82,512,162. Jamie Gold came first for $12 million. At the time, this was the most money anyone had ever won from a sports or TV event. The 2019 WSOP topped the $80 million mark once again. Could 2020 be the year the record is broken?
6. The WSOP has given out its famous gold bracelets to major tournament winners since 1976. The player with the most WSOP bracelets is Phil Helmuth. The so-called “Poker Brat” has 15 bracelets, including two from Main Events. Phil also has the most WSOP cashes (108) and the most WSOP final tables (52) to his name.
7. The youngest player to win the WSOP Main Event is Joe Cada. He competed with seasoned pros in 2009 and went on to win the Main Event. At the time, he was just 21 years and 357 days old.
The first online real-money poker hand was played in January 1998. The poker boom happened years later in the 2000s, and since then hundreds of thousands of players have been regularly logging on. This has led to massive moments of online madness.
8. The largest online poker tournament ever held in terms of number of people was the PokerStars World Record tournament on October 5 – 6. The $0.01 buy-in tournament attracted 253,698 revelers who wanted to be part of it. After 470 hands, Austrian player ‘DaDuman’ finished first for $10k, and earned their little slice of history.
9. PokerStars also hold the Guinness World Record for most number of players in an online poker room at one time. This monumental moment happened on September 6. 2009. A total of 307,016 players were logged on across 42,814 tables.
10. The biggest ever online prize pool goes to the 2018 Millions Online, which this time we didn’t host (this isn’t all just shameless self-promotion). The $5,300 buy-in tournament attracted 4,367 entries for a total prize pool of $28,835,000 million. One day we will take this crown.
11. Manuel “Sheparentao” Ruivo was the player who eventually came first in the 2018 Millions Online. He won an astonishing $2,329,943. This was the top single biggest payout in online poker.
It’s all very impressive winning insane amounts of money. Poker is a game that is built on betting and sweating! It’s also a game built on focus and concentration. Endurance is a skill in itself at the tables, both live and online.
12. The longest continual game of poker was the Iron Man Challenge at the Asian Poker Tour in Manilla. The game lasted (a very precise) 45 hours, 55 minutes and 58.5 seconds. Winner Daimon Shulenberger walked away with $18,240, and was finally free to take a well earned nap.
13. Phil Laak smashes this right out of the water. He is the record holder for the longest ever poker session. Laak played for 115 hours straight at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. If anyone had any doubts as to his accomplishment, there were around 117,000 witnesses.
14. So far, the Guinness World Record for longest online poker session goes to Tom Maaswinkel from the Netherlands. He played for 24 hours straight. We’re guessing there are a few players out there who have already beat this by getting too involved with a late night MTT. If so, you need to make your time official!
Let’s finish off with some fun poker facts and pointless trivia shall we?
15. The most valuable poker set ever made was the Geoffrey Parker Poker Set. Far from a simple set of poker chips, the case was encrusted with white gold and diamonds and wrapped in alligator skin. The 384 chips were made from 18k gold and studded with a total of 22,364 precious stones – rubies for the red chips, sapphires for blue, emeralds, white diamonds for white chips and black diamonds for black. Extravagant, but definitely don’t spill a drink on it.
16. The odds of a royal flush being made in a game of poker are often stated as 649,740:1. This is actually for five card poker. In seven card games like Texas Hold ‘em, the odds are 30,931:1. Still not very often, but you’ll see a few in your time as an online player.
17. Only 20 cards were used in the original deck of poker. The game was played between four players. They were dealt five cards and bet on hand strength. The 52-card deck was only incorporated in the 1800s.