There have been some absolutely enormous crowds for live poker tournaments. Ever since the poker boom from the early- to mid-2000s, poker tournament attendance has surged globally. Four-figure field sizes that were once thought of as shocking are now the norm, and the largest poker tournaments in the world no push well into five-figure territory.
In this article, we'll take a look at the top 15 largest poker tournament field sizes in history. The current record for the largest field size belongs to the World Series of Poker's "Big 50" event that kicked off the 2019 WSOP.
The largest turnout for a live poker tournament in history belongs to the 2019 WSOP Big 50 event. In 2019, the World Series of Poker celebrated the 50th annual WSOP with an opening weekend that featured the Big 50 no-limit hold'em tournament. This event was a $500 buy-in with a $5,000,000 prize pool guarantee and a $1,000,000 first-prize guarantee. Players started with 50,000 in chips and played 50-minute levels.
The event attracted an astonishingly large field of 28,371 entries for a prize pool of $13,509,435. The winner of the tournament was Femi Fashakin, and Fashakin won $1,147,499 for taking home the crown.
At the 2023 World Series of Poker, more than 23,000 entries were tallied in the $300 buy-in WSOP Gladiators of Poker event - 23,088 entries to be exact - to make it the second-largest tournament field size of all time. That turnout generated a prize pool of $5,679,648.
Jason Simon emerged victorious in the event, taking home $499,852 for winning it all.
The first-ever WSOP Colossus tournament took place in 2015, and it attracted a field size of 22,374 entries. At the time, it set the record for the largest field size of all time for a live poker tournament. The field generated a prize pool of $11,187,000.
Winning the event was Cord Garcia. Garcia pocketed $638,880 in what was his first-ever World Series of Poker cash.
After the WSOP Colossus debuted in 2015, it was, of course, back on the WSOP schedule in 2016. This time around, a field size of 22,613 entries was totaled to build a prize pool of $10,806,500.
Ben Keeline, a down-on-his-luck poker player who turned to Uber driving to begin to pull in some cash, worked up enough money to fire two bullets into the 2016 WSOP Colossus. On his second entry, Keeline went all the way to the winner's circle to capture the $1,000,000 first-place prize.
For 2022, the World Series of Poker relocated to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time ever, and the 2022 WSOP opened with a bang with the $500 Housewarming event that drew a field of 20,080 entries.
The prize pool swelled to $8,435,280 with a first-place prize of more than $700,000 on offer. Winning the event was Henry Acain for $701,215.
The 2023 World Series of Poker featured gigantic fields all across the schedule. One of those very big events was the $1,000 Mystery Millions tournament. With 18,118 entries, the prize pool got so big that three millionaires were crowned.
The winner of the event, Tyler Brown, won a $1,000,000 first-place prize. Additional million-dollar prizes were given out as bounty prizes, with both Shant Marashlian and Patrick Liang pulling $1,000,000 bounty prizes from the treasure chest.
The third edition of the Colossus took place at the 2017 WSOP, and it attracted a field of 18,054 entries. A prize pool of more than $9,000,000 was on offer thanks to the turnout.
Thomas Pomponio emerged victorious in the event, taking home $1,000,000 in first-place prize money.
The third tournament from the 2023 WSOP to make this list is the Colossus. In 2023, the WSOP Colossus attracted a field of 15,894 entries to build a prize pool of $5,245,020. That's more than 2,300 entries more than the prior year's field in this event.
When the dust settled, Israel's Moshe Refaelowitz proved better than the rest to win $501,120.
There was plenty to remember from the first year that the World Series of Poker was hosted on the Las Vegas Strip, and up there in the headlines was a turnout of more than 14,000 entries in the 2022 WSOP Million Dollar Bounty event.
Quincy Borland was the event's winner, and he took home $750,120 for topping the 14,112-entry field. Well-known pro Matt Glantz pulled the tournament's single $1,000,000 bounty prize.
The turnout was so great for the WSOP's first time doing a mystery bounty event that the following year, organizers guaranteed a million-dollar first-place prize and still had a big enough prize pool to award two $1,000,000 bounty prizes.
For the 2022 World Series of Poker, the Colossus tournament drew a field of 13,565 entries. There was nearly $4,500,000 in the prize pool and more than $400,000 up top for the winner.
The 2022 WSOP Colossus champion was Paul Hizer out of the United Kingdom, winning $414,490.
At the 50th Annual World Series of Poker, a field of 13,109 entries pushed the 2019 WSOP Colossus to become one of the largest live poker tournament fields of all time. There was almost $4,400,000 in the prize pool and more than $450,000 up top.
The winner was Sejin Park. Park won $451,272 and was South Korea's second WSOP gold bracelet winner of the 2019 WSOP, following Jiyoung Kim's victory in the 2019 WSOP Ladies Championship.
The WSOP Colossus has appeared so many times already on this list that why not one more? In 2018, the WSOP Colossus had a $565 buy-in, drew 13,070 entries, and dished out a prize pool of $6,535,000.
Brazil's Roberly Felicio picked up the lion's share of the prize pool, winning $1,000,000 for coming in first place.
After a 2020 that saw live poker go on hiatus due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the World Series of Poker returned in full in 2021, albeit at a much later time slot on the calendar. The event taking place from the end of September into early November didn't stop the players from showing out in a big way, and the WSOP welcomed everyone back with the WSOP $500 Reunion event. It attracted almost 13,000 entries and generated a prize pool of nearly $5,500,000.
Long Ma, a 35-year-old out of Dallas, Texas, won the event for $513,604.
Unlimited reentries were the name of the game in the 2019 WSOP $888 Crazy Eights poker tournament, pushing the attendance to 10,185 entries and creating a prize pool of $8,139,852. There was a guaranteed first-place prize of $888,888., and that was won by Rick Alvarado.
Alvarado made his run to the winner's circle on his seventh bullet in the event, topping Mark Radoja in heads-up play to win it all.
Closing out the list of the top 15 largest live poker tournament fields of all time is the record-breaking 2023 WSOP Main Event that attracted the largest field in the tournament's history with 10,043 entries. That put a $93,399,900 prize pool on offer with a record $12,100,000 first prize for the event.