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Top Ten Payouts in Poker Tournament History

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WSOP Main Event Final Table Resumes Play Oct. 29
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Stacking up the chips in a poker game.

Stanley Choi earned over $6 million with his recent Macau High Stakes Challenge win, but that only earns him tenth place on the all-time highest payouts list for poker tournaments. Here's the breakdown of the top ten:

10. Stanley Choi

Choi beat out 73 other players to win the tournament, each buying in for $2 million Hong Kong currency. That's $257,854 in US currency, which sounds a lot cheaper, but is still a serious chunk of change even for these high rollers. Subtract that from his $6,465,560 prize winnings, and it still makes a pretty nice day at the office.

9. Joe Hachem

The Australian who filled the poker room with shouts of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...Oy, Oy, Oy!" turned an offsuit 7-3 hand into a $7.5 million payoff when he hit a straight with the 4-5-6 flop. The former chiropractor was the first player from down under to take home the Main Event bracelet.

8. Xao "Jerry" Yang

The Laos-born Yang battled 12 hours heads-up before taking the WSOP Main Event title in 2007, hitting a straight on the river to beat the odds against the better pair his opponent was holding. A former psychotherapist, he claimed to study players very carefully to get the edge. And that lucky card on the river didn't hurt, either, earning him $8,250,000 for a mere $10,000 buy-in.

7. TBD

The 2012 WSOP final table has been set, but not played out yet. But the winner will earn a cool $8,527,982 for about a week's worth of sitting at the poker tables when all is said and done. He'll also get the honor of entering this countdown "with a bullet," as Casey Kasem would say, at number seven.

6. Joe Cada

At the ripe of old age of 21, Cada won the Main Event at the 2009 WSOP, replacing Peter Eastgate as the youngest player to ever win the title -- and placing him at number six for all time single prize tournament winnings.The Detroit-area native would cross the border into Canada to play when he was 19, and still too young to play the Detroit casino scene. His win earned him $8,547,042, just edging out this year's WSOP first place prize.

5. Pius Heinz

In 2011, Heinz became the first German to ever win the Main Event, taking home $8,715,638 for his victory. Since then he's added about another million or so to his career tournament winnings, but hey, who's counting when you have that kind of cash?

4. Jonathan Duhamel

The Canadians decided to take a turn at winning the WSOP Main Event in 2010, when Duhamel defeated John Racener to take home $8,944,310 of the $68,799,059. If the size of that pool makes you break out in a sweat, it ain't even the biggest in the history of the WSOP, but we'll get to that in a bit. Duhamel may have hung on to the cash fallout of his win, but had his prize bracelet stolen in a home invasion robbery in December of 2011 -- does the robber really think he can sell the thing on Ebay without getting caught?

3. Peter Eastgate

When Eastgate won the 2008 WSOP, he was the youngest player to ever win, but that lasted all of one year before Cada came along. Still, $9,152,416 goes a long way to making one forget such silly trivia.Twenty months after his win, he announced he was retiring to pursue other interests, after securing himself financially. That last about eight months before he returned to poker. Guess poker turned out to be his other interest, after all.

2. Jamie Gold

Apparently playing the Hollywood game as a television producer prepared Gold for the poker tables, where he became known for his non-stop talk and eating blueberries through the 2006 WSOP tournament. Odd though it may have been, it got him through the largest field in Main Event history with 8,772 players vying for a staggering $82,512,162 prize pool. And the lion's share for the winner? Gold pocketed $12 million in one swoop.

1. Antonio Esfandiari

As big as Gold's payday was, this year's WSOP was the first year for the The Big One for One Drop poker event, with a staggering $1 million buy-in per player. That is not a typo, folks. As you can imagine, the winning payout was hefty in its own right -- $18,346,673. Esfandiari left all other players in the dust in both the single-win and all-time tournament winnings with this one victory. And gave the fans something to cheer about, as he has been a favorite for years in the poker world.

If that list and those numbers don't motivate you to give poker a try, nothing else will.

Diana Price has been a degenerate poker player for years, although at somewhat smaller stakes than the big guys you see on TV. Sometimes she wins, sometimes she loses, and sometimes she shows you that big bluff, just to put you on tilt by being beaten by a girl.

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