Best poker tournaments: the definitive guide to top-level poker competitions | The Sun

POKER is one of the most popular games in the world. Nothing beats the thrill of major poker tournaments and the big prizes that follow. Read and learn more about the biggest and most prestigious tournaments in the world.

Did you know the best poker tournaments have top prizes worth more than $1 million? Did you also know that you can qualify for the biggest tournaments via satellites that cost less than $1? This guide contains everything you need to know about the WSOP, WPT, EPT and other world-class events. 

As well as learning about the best tournaments, we’ve also given you the lowdown on some of the game’s biggest winners. Finally, to help you get off to a strong start, we’ve given you five tips on how to win poker tournaments. So, if you’re ready, let’s learn all about tournament poker.

The comprehensive top 10  list of the biggest poker tournaments in the world:

  1. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) – May to July
  2. WSOP Big One for One Drop – (Usually June/July)
  3. The World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship – December
  4. The European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo – April to May
  5. PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC) – January
  6. Triton Super High Roller Series – Annual
  7. PokerGO US Poker Open Final – April 
  8. WSOP Online Spring Circuit Main Event – March
  9. PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) – November
  10. PokerGO Super High Roller Bowl – October

1. The World Series of Poker (WSOP)

When it comes to high-profile poker tournaments, none of them sit higher on the totem pole than the WSOP. Otherwise known as the World Series of Poker, this summer festival lives up to its name and attracts an international audience. The first WSOP took place at Bally’s in 1970 with a handful of famous players, including Doyle Brunson. The winner was decided by a vote but, since then, the WSOP has evolved significantly. 

A major reason for its growth is Chris Moneymaker. He won the 2003 WSOP Main Event as an amateur after qualifying online via a PokerStars satellite. His win resonated with the average person and, in turn, made the greatest poker tournament mainstream.

The WSOP as a whole features over 100 tournaments, covering all formats, including Pot Limit Omaha, Razz, Stud, Draw and HORSE. The star of the show is the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. The variant used is No Limit Texas Hold’em and the winner gets, on average, $10 million in prize money. 

As of 2023, the biggest ever WSOP Main Event took place in 2006 and attracted 8,773 players. Jamie Gold won it and $12 million. As the greatest poker tournament in the world, every top-rated online poker site offers satellites. GGPoker and offer official satellites, but you can qualify for this $10,000 poker tournament for less than $1 on PokerStars, Partypoker and all the best poker sites.

2. WSOP Big One for One Drop

The top poker tournaments don’t always attract thousands of players. Sometimes, the field can be less than 100 entrants. WSOP One Drop events fall into this category. The Big One for One drop was created by the WSOP and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. 

The aim was to raise money for the One Drop charity and host a poker tournament the likes have which had never been seen before. As such, the entry fee was set at $1 million. Antonio Esfandiari won the inaugural WSOP Big One for One Drop in 2012. He banked $18.3 million, which still stands as one of the biggest ever tournament wins. Since then there have been other $1 million buy-in events, as well as spin-offs such as the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop.

3. The World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship

The WPT has always hosted some of the best poker tournaments out there. However, in 2022, it broke the mould with its inaugural $10,400 World Championship at the Wynn. The $15 million guarantee ensured pros like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey were among those who entered. 

However, the reason it’s ranked among the best tournaments in poker is the number of qualifiers who anted up. The WPT hosted hundreds of satellites, which meant the field was filled with amateurs. A total of 2,960 entrants took part in the tournament. That turnout smashed the guarantee and meant the winner, Eliot Hudon, banked $4.1 million.

4. The European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo

The EPT travels to exotic locations around Europe, but none can match Monte Carlo in terms of luxury and class. The millionaire’s playground in Monaco has been an EPT stop since the tour’s inception in 2005. 

EPT Monte Carlo was, for a long time, the tour’s grand finale. However, as the tour expanded, Monte Carlo became just another stop. However, as we’ve said, it’s not just another stop. Casino Monte Carlo offers a level of opulence that no other poker room can match. That’s why pros like Daniel Negreanu will still travel to play for stacks. 

A number of notable players have won this €5,300 buy-in poker tournament over the years, including the first ever winner Rob Hollink and, latterly, Steve O’Dwyer. Another reason EPT Monte Carlo is ranked among the top poker tournaments is the fact it’s run by PokerStars. As such, there are hundreds of satellites costing less than $1.


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5. PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Players Championship (PSPC)

PokerStars has long had a love affair with the Caribbean. The PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) is a jewel in its Caribbean crown.

There are plenty of opportunities to qualify for this $25,000 tournament in the Bahamas. That’s why it routinely attracts thousands of entrants and generates prizepools topping $25 million. Aliaksandr Shylko won the PSPC in 2023 for $3.1million.

6. Triton Super High Roller Series

Triton Poker was founded by Paul Phua Richard Yong in 2015. They wanted to build an exclusive series of high-stakes events. Although everyone has the ability to enter Triton Super High Roller Series tournaments, the minimum entry fee is $10,000 and a lot of events cost $100,000+. 

What’s more, there aren’t many opportunities to qualify via online satellites. Therefore, you tend to get a high concentration of pros in these tournaments. The first Triton Super High Roller Series tournament took place in 2016, and Pokercode founder Fedor Holz won it for $3 million.

7. PokerGO US Poker Open Final

The US Poker Open final marks the end of the US Poker Open series of tournaments. This tournament was founded in 2018 and, initially, cost $50,000 to enter. PokerGO now runs the event and, in 2019, the entry fee was increased to $100,000. 

As it is with other top poker tournament series, there aren’t many satellites. Therefore, you tend to get a lot of famous poker pros making the final table. Stephen Chidwick won the first US Poker Open in 2018 for over $1 million. David Peters then went back-to-back in 2019 and 2021 (it didn’t run in 2020 due to COVID-19), before Sean Winter took the title in 2022.

8. WSOP Online Spring Circuit Main Event

The WSOP has branched out since its original Las Vegas event in 1970. As well as running Circuit events in locations across the US and internationally, it now offers online poker tournaments. This innovation was largely prompted by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021. Through its partnership with GGPoker, the WSOP was able to keep players engaged with a series of online bracelet and Circuit ring events. 

The WSOP Online Spring Circuit has remained popular ever since. Today, it offers a series-wide guarantee of more than $100 million, and its $525 main event has a $5 million prizepool. The reason it has become one of the top tournament poker offerings is the fact you can qualify for $1 and win a prestigious WSOP Circuit ring.

9. PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP)

When it comes to the top poker tournaments online, WCOOP has long been up there. PokerStars’ prestigious online tournament series has been running since 2002 and, from an initial selection of nine events, there are now over 100 MTTs on the schedule. 

The expansion of WCOOP has seen entry fees become more accessible to every type of player. At the lower end of the spectrum, you can buy in directly to Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Razz, Stud, Draw and HORSE events from $109. At the top end, events such as the WCOOP main event cost $10,300 to enter. 

Finally, as it always is with the best tournaments on PokerStars, there are satellites. Real-money customers have opportunities galore to win tickets for WCOOP events via freerolls, promotions and qualifiers costing less than $1.

10. PokerGO Super High Roller Bowl

There are plenty of contenders for the greatest poker tournament, and PokerGO’s Super High Roller Bowl is right up there with the best. It first played out in 2015 and cost $500,000. However, unlike a lot of top tournaments, it wasn’t open to everyone, but the invite-only format gave it a sense of occasion. 

In subsequent years, the entry fee has been lowered to $300,000 and the number of entrants has been increased. What’s more, the popularity of this high roller means it’s now held in various locations around the world, and not just the US.

What poker tournament has the biggest prizepool?

There are plenty of poker tournaments you can enter where the top prize is $1 million or more. However, in terms of the biggest poker tournament prizepool, the WSOP Main Event comes out top. Not only is it the greatest poker tournament in terms of prestige, more than 8,000 players enter. 

With an entry fee of $10,000, that means the prizepool often exceeds $80 million which, in turn, means the winner can get upwards of $10 million. However, the real beauty of the WSOP Main Event is that there are options for everyone. 

The top online poker sites run multi-table and single table qualifiers throughout the year, as do live casinos in the UK, Europe and Las Vegas. Therefore, even if you’re a novice, you can play your way into the $10,000 WSOP Main Event for a fraction of the cost. Moreover, if you play well and the cards are on your side, you could win the WSOP Main Event like amateur Chris Moneymaker did in 2003.

What is the biggest poker tournament win ever?

Bryn Kenney has the biggest tournament payout in history, despite not winning the event in question. Kenney was one of the 54 players who took part in the Triton Million for Charity back in 2019. 

The tournament was held in London and generated a $65 million prizepool. Kenney struck a deal with Aaron Shu Nu Zang in the final stages. Owing to his chip lead and greater experience, Kenney secured a $20.5 million payday. Zang went on to beat Kenney heads-up and take the title as well as $16.7 million.

Who’s currently the best poker player in the world?

If you focus specifically on the best tournament players and exclude cash game greats, Justin Bonomo had the most prize money as of April 2023.

The American pro overtook Bryn Kenney ($57 million in prize money) and Daniel Negreanu ($50 million in prize money) when his lifetime live tournament earnings hit $60.4million.

Who is the richest poker player of all time?

Justin Bonomo ranks as one of the richest poker players of all-time based tournament prizes ($60.4 million). However, it’s also worth remembering that multi-table tournaments aren’t the only way to win money in poker. 

A lot of top pros play cash games, and their winnings aren’t reported publicly like tournament wins. Therefore, poker players such as Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius and Andrew Robl are likely to have bankrolls worth many millions.

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What is the biggest tournament series for poker?

The biggest tournament series in poker is the WSOP. The clue is in its name: the World Series of Poker. The annual series has been taking place in Las Vegas since 1970 and, today, there are more than 90 tournaments on the schedule. 

The action typically gets underway in late May and continues until mid-July. Bally’s and Paris on the Las Vegas strip currently host the WSOP (as of 2023).

The $10,000 WSOP Main Event is the star attraction. However, there are small, medium and high-buy-in tournaments across all variants, including Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Draw, Stud, Razz and HORSE.

The biggest tournament series in poker is the WSOP. The clue is in its name: the World Series of Poker. The annual series has been taking place in Las Vegas since 1970 and, today, there are more than 90 tournaments on the schedule. 

The action typically gets underway in late May and continues until mid-July. Bally’s and Paris on the Las Vegas strip currently host the WSOP (as of 2023). The $10,000 WSOP Main Event is the star attraction. However, there are small, medium and high-buy-in tournaments across all variants, including Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Draw, Stud, Razz and HORSE.  

What kind of poker is commonly played at poker tournaments?

No Limit Texas Hold’em is the most commonly used variant for the best poker tournaments. In fact, approximately 90% of all live and online tournaments are Hold’em. However, as poker’s popularity has increased, so too has the number of tournament options. Omaha events are becoming more common, as are mixed games such as HORSE. 

What kinds of poker tournaments are there?

The events we’ve talked about in this guide are all multi-table affairs i.e. there are multiple tables at the start of play and the aim is to end with one. However, that’s not the only game in town. Poker tournaments come in a variety of formats, so let’s take a look at the main ones:

Multi-Table Tournaments (MTTs)

Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) are what people typically think of when it comes to the best events in poker. For example, all events at the WSOP are MTTs. It’s the same for WPT, EPT, PokerGO and Triton events. Basically, every major poker tournament will use the multi-table format. 

What does that mean? It means the event starts with multiple tables. Players are moved around to empty seats as others are eliminated and the number of tables is gradually reduced. Finally, when there is just one table left, the remaining players continue fighting for chips until one player has taken everyone’s stack. 

Because these tournaments attract dozens, hundreds and, sometimes, thousands of players, there’s a lot of money to be won. For example, the WSOP Main Event has a $10,000 buy-in and the top prize is $10 million+. Payouts are determined by the number of entrants but, in general, you’ll win money if you finish within the top 10%-15% of the field.

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Single Table Tournaments (STTs)

Single table tournaments (STTs) are commonly found on sites such as Partypoker and PokerStars. Some casinos host STTs, but these are typically satellite qualifiers for MTTs. The difference between MTTs and STTs is that the latter only have one table. So, instead of thousands of players competing for a prize, it’s just you versus whoever else is on your table. 

In general, STTs come in four formats: full-ring (nine players), six max, three-hand (aka Spin & Go) and heads-up (two players). As with MTTs, everyone pays the buy-in and receives a stack of chips. The winner is the person who takes everyone else’s chips. Finally, the payouts are determined by the number of players at the table. For example, in a full-ring STT, three players win a share of the prizepool. 

Spin & Go Tournaments

Spin & Go tournaments are a special type of STT offered by PokerStars. Other top-rated online poker sites offer similar games with different names. The fundamental premise across all these STTs is the same. The entry fee is fixed and, in general, a game will consist of three or four players. The blinds are often set on a turbo clock, which means they rise every few minutes. 

The difference between these tournaments and standard STTs is the prizepool. You don’t know what you’re playing for until the game starts. Basically, the prizepools are random and only one player wins. For example, you could enter a $10 Spin & Go and the random prizepool generator might stop on $10,000. 

Satellite Tournaments

Satellites, aka qualifiers, are low-cost poker tournaments that get you into bigger events. There are various types of satellites. Some are direct qualifiers, which means you enter for the chance to win a seat in a higher buy-in event. 

You can also enter step satellites. Online poker sites create what’s known as a satellite ladder. For example:

  • Step 1 Satellite = $1
  • Step 2 Satellite = $10
  • Step 3 Satellite = $100
  • Step 4 Satellite = $1,000

Finishing in a payout spot in Step 1 gets you a ticket into Step 2. Win a ticket in Step 2 and you move to Step 3 and so on. The goal is to win a ticket from the Step 4 satellite and take part in the main tournament. What’s nice about step satellites is that you can join at any stage e.g. you could skip Step 1 and start at Step 2. 

What are the best sites for poker tournaments?

Starting your journey online is not only convenient, it gives you access to some of the top poker tournaments for newbies. With this in mind, here are five of the best online poker rooms for tournaments:


PokerStars is the home of tournaments of all types. The average weekly schedule features well more than 1,000 MTTs, including freerolls, low stakes tournaments and high rollers with million-dollar prizepools. New customers can claim a welcome bonus worth up to £200 with the PokerStars bonus code FIRST200.


MrQ might not offer poker tournaments like its peers, but it does have something to satisfy your competitive urges. New customers can use our exclusive MrQ bonus code THESUN75 to get 75 free spins. From there, you can take part in slot tournaments and bingo games.


Ladbrokes is a multifaceted gambling operator. Newbies can get £20 worth of free sports bets when they wager £5. If sports betting isn’t your thing, Ladbrokes also offers casino gaming and poker. As well as big-money MTTs, Ladbrokes has dozens of daily freerolls offering £2,000 in cash prizes. 


Coral is the sister site of Ladbrokes, which means you can get £20 in free bets as a new customer and wager £5. If poker is your thing, new customers can get £30 worth of tournament tickets when they deposit £20 (you can’t claim both welcome bonuses). Coral and Ladbrokes share tournament schedules, so they have the same daily freerolls, guaranteed MTTs and random jackpot STTs.

William Hill

William Hill might be best known as a top-rated bookmaker. In fact, if you’re a new customer, you can use the William Hill bonus code R30 to get £30 in free bets when you wager £10. Once you’ve claimed this welcome bonus, you can switch to William Hill Poker and enjoy a variety of casino poker games, including Caribbean Stud.

What are the best online poker tournaments?

Some of the best online tournament poker offerings out there are:

  • PokerStars WCOOP
  • PokerStars SCOOP
  • PokerStars Sunday Million
  • Partypoker Online Millions
  • GGPoker Super Million$
  • WSOP Online Circuit ( for US players and GGPoker for international players)
  • 888Poker XL Series
  • PokerStars MicroMillions
  • GGPoker microMILLION

What poker tournaments should you join as a new player?

Some of the best online poker tournaments to play as a newbie are freerolls. As the name suggests, these are free poker tournaments. What’s neat about freerolls is that you can win cash prizes. From freerolls you can graduate to low stakes online tournaments. One series that stands out in terms of low-cost offerings with large guarantees is PokerStars MicroMillions. 


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Can you participate in online poker tournaments for free?

Yes! As well as freeroll tournaments that don’t have an entry fee, you can earn tournament tickets via promotions such as welcome bonuses, reload offers and loyalty rewards. Our recommended online poker sites have dozens of bonuses that can get you into some of the best tournaments online or live. 

Our top 5 poker tournaments tips and strategies

OK, so you know what the top poker tournaments are, where to play and how to get into the action via satellites and bonuses. Before we bring this guide to a conclusion, here are five poker tournament tips:

1. Start Small

Don’t run before you can walk. Start your tournament journey by playing freerolls and online MTTs/STTs that cost $1 or less. Doing this allows you to get a feel for the nuances of tournament poker strategy without spending a fortune. Then, once you’re more advanced, you can move up and play for bigger prizes.  

2. Make Use of Satellites

Satellites are a great way to get into bigger tournaments when you have a small bankroll. For example, Chris Moneymaker won his way into the $10,000 WSOP Main Event by taking part in satellites costing less than $50. He went on to win the Main Event for over $1 million. 

3. It’s a Game of Survival

You should focus on playing tight in the early stages of a tournament because the stacks are small in comparison to the blinds. Then, as the tournament progresses, you can gradually loosen up. A great time to switch from tight to aggressive is during the money bubble (one place before the money). Players tend to play tight on the bubble because they don’t want to go home with nothing. Therefore, if you spot players being tight, exploit them by being aggressive.  

4. Go for the Win

If tight is right during the early stages of a poker tournament, then loose and aggressive is best later on. Once you’ve got past the bubble and you’re into the money, it’s time to go for the win. The majority of the prize money up for grabs goes to the top three finishers, so you should adopt an aggressive strategy in the latter stages of a tournament and exploit weak passive players. 

5. Learn from the Experts

The final poker tournament tip you can utilise is coaching. There are dozens of poker coaching sites out there. Of course, not all poker coaching sites are worth using. However, if the coaches are reputable, winning players, you can assume they’re worth listening to. For example, Pokercode has tournament courses from WSOP bracelet winners such As Fedor Holz. 

Play poker tournaments today

That’s about it for this guide to the best poker tournaments. Take everything you’ve learned, join our recommended online poker sites and enjoy the fun of poker tournaments. 


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Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
  • Gamcare –
  • Gamble Aware –

For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.

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