The five most important Super High Roller MTTs

With the first ever $102,000 buy-in online MTT this weekend we look back at five landmark moments that helped create the Super High Roller scene.

The $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship

Chip Reese WSOP HORSE
Chip Reese

Perhaps a reaction to so many unknowns winning the $10,000 Main Event, in 2006 the WSOP created the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, an event many deemed the 'real' Main Event. 

The fact that it wasn't just Hold'em being played, and more importantly the fact it cost five times more to enter, ensured it was only really the elite professionals who would play. In doing so it arguably was the seminal moment in creating the Super High Roller events we know today. 

The first event attracted 143 players and was won for $1,784,640 by poker legend Chip Reese, whom the trophy in future events was fittingly named after him when he passed away. Since then it has expanded into more games than just the H.O.R.S.E. rotation and become The Players Championship. 

The $40,000 WSOP Anniversary Event

Vitaly Lunkin WSOP bracelet
Vitaly Lunkin

If the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship laid the groundwork for the Super High Roller scene, the $40,000 Anniversary Event at the 2009 WSOP showed that No Limit Hold'em was ready for an elite event. 

It was deemed a one-off in honour of 40 years of the World Series of Poker but the numbers showed that there was a big demand for huge buy-in No Limit tournaments. 

201 players entered this event and Vitaly Lunkin of Russia took it down for $1,891,018. 

The $51,000 WCOOP High Roller

Ben Tollerene WCOOP
Ben Tollerene

For a long time the line between online and live poker has been decidedly blurred. Whereas once you were either mostly a live or mostly online a player, this is no longer the case. 

In many ways, therefore, the $51,000 WCOOP event was long overdue when it was announced last year. It attracted 46 entries (very much in keeping with live Super High Rollers) in total and was won by Ben Tollerene for $616,518.34 after a deal

Clearly that was deemed more than successful enough for PokerStars to decide that this week's $102,000 buy-in event was likely to be a big success too. 

The Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge 

John Juanda playing poker
John Juanda

Very much the unsung hero of Super High Roller folklore is the very first six-figure buy-in No Limit Hold'em event from the Aussie Millions. 

The first ever $100,000 event was perhaps considered something of a novelty event as only ten players entered, it was winner-takes-all and played in a speed format. John Juanda won this inaugural event for $1 million. 

However, the event grew and is a regular fixture on the Super High Roller circuit and a $250,000 buy-in event has also since been added. It attracted surprisingly very little attention at the time but it set the tone for having Super High Roller events as side events on the poker tour. 

The Big One for One Drop

Antonio Esfandiari One Drop Cash
Antonio Esfandiari

The bigger poker got after the boom it was inevitable that there would one day be a seven-figure buy-in tournament. The surprising thing about the $1 million Big One for One Drop was that it it took place in 2012, just after Black Friday. 

It proved among many things that the nosebleed poker community was immune to any adversity in the poker economy, no doubt because of all the staking involved and the rich businessmen willing to play. 

Antonio Esfandiari ($18,346,673) and Daniel Colman ($15,306,668) have both won this event for the biggest awarded prizes in poker history. It's also been great for the game beyond that, as millions have been made for the One Drop charity and it has attracted a lot of mainstream media interest too. 

Have we missed a landmark Super High Roller moment? Let us know in the comments. 

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