Both online and live tournament poker boomed again in 2021 with prize pools, guarantees and buy-ins setting records across the world.
Live poker returned to the United States following a year of gruelling postponements due to Covid-19, with the 52nd annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) featuring massive prizes for the likes of Michael Addamo and Koray Aldemir, both of whom secured massive seven-figure pay days.
Here is a list of the most successful professional poker players over the past 12 months, according to HendonMob.
Australian-born Addamo needs no introduction having absolutely dominated the WSOP last year. The 28-year-old took down the $100,000 high roller with a stunning cash of just less than $2 million. He followed up on that by winning the $50,000 WSOP high roller as well as the PokerGo $300,000 super high roller.
His total winnings for 2021 surpassed $9.4 million, making him the most successful poker player over the past year.
Each year it seems one player just absolutely dominates, and in 2021 is was Michael Addamo. From start to finish the Australian was just on fire and playing on another level.
— Chad Holloway (@ChadAHolloway) January 1, 2022
Koray Aldemir kept his stakes relatively low throughout 2021 until an unbelieveable performance at the WSOP main event saw him take home an astonishing $8 million prize.
His highest figure in 2021 before the main event win was just $11,417, although it’s worth noting that his total winnings in 2021 topped the $8.1 million mark after he placed 13th in a WPT high roller event with a cash of $60,465.
Your 2021 WSOP MAIN EVENT Champion is Koray Aldemir!@kooraay90 claims the $8,000,000 grand prize and the coveted Main Event bracelet.
— WSOP (@WSOP) November 18, 2021
Almedin ‘Ali’ Imsirovic
In third place is Bosnian superstar Almedin Imsirovic. An encouragingly consistent year saw him start off with a few six-figure cashes at the PokerGo tour in February.
He went on to win back-to-back high roller events at the Aria for $300,000 and $310,000 respectively.
With a year of tournament winnings rising above $6 million, Imsirovic’s consistency proves the figure is far from a fluke.
— ACADEMY OF POKER (@AcademyPokerEN) April 8, 2019
David Peters is another huge name that has crushed the live poker circuit in 2021. The 34-year-old took down a star-studded field to finish second in the Aria $200,000 high roller, cashing a very respectable amount of $1.3 million.
Notable performances also came at the US Poker Open in June with a total of $850,000 in cashes across four tournaments.
— Donnie Peters 🍕 (@Donnie_Peters) September 8, 2021
Dubbed the ‘home-game hero’, George Holmes narrowly finished second in 2021’s WSOP main event, finishing with a remarkable $4.3 million prize after losing out to Koray Aldemir on the final table.
His performance at the main event exemplified a rags to riches story as he went from having one big blind earlier on to dominating the final few tables with more than 60 million chips.
Despite mainly playing smaller events and home games, Holmes also performed well during the 2019 WSOP main event, taking home $50,000.
Atlanta’s own George Holmes has made it down to the final three players at the World Series of Poker Main Event!!! Over 6000 players started the tournament. He’s already won at least $3 million! First place takes home $8 million! pic.twitter.com/QNSNGJPFtI
— Mark Arum (@MarkArum) November 17, 2021
Other notable mentions:
The past year has seen a number of professional poker players thrust themselves into the forefront of the winner’s circle. The likes of Sean Winter, Justin Bonomo, Sean Perry, Adrian Mateos and Nick Petrangelo all finished the year with cashes above $3.5 million.
Seasoned veterans like Daniel Negreanu, Cary Katz and Stephen Chidwick also enjoyed a series of stunning results, with final tournament cashes all being tallied up at around $3 million.
For more iGaming news, click here.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.