The Top 3 of South Africa’s Finest Tournament Players

The Sun City Resort in South Africa is world-renowned as a high-end destination for poker players and gaming buffs alike, but perhaps less well-known are the nation’s top poker players. Here to put that right, we have for you the all-time top 3 South African tournament money winners!

By: Andrew Burnett

3. Darren Kramer: $1,127,014

The popular Cape Town pro has had a well-travelled career at the tables, mixing local events with trips to the Aussie Millions in Melbourne, the World Series of Poker in Vegas, with various European jaunts thrown in for good measure.

It was one of the latter trips that saw Darren land his biggest payday to date, a €140,000 ($199,249) 6th-place finish at the 2011 EPT Main Event in Berlin. For those who don’t know, the previous year saw an armed robbery of the prizemoney in the middle of the very same event!

Darren avoided any drama during his big cash, and it was the 5th five-figure payout of his career. He had already scooped the All Africa Poker Tournament, held in Swaziland, twice, and took the 2008 PokerNews Cup at the South African Poker Open.

A regular at the annual WPT Johannesburg festival, his most recent live success was a $42k win of the Monster Jam Poker Tour Main Event in Durban.

Now that live poker is on hold, there has been a huge boost in the nation’s online poker and gaming, with leading the way.

2. Jarred Solomon: $1,620,895

Sitting in second spot on the list is Jarred Solomon, who aptly hails from the  ‘City of Gold’, Johannesburg, the nation’s largest city and host to the WPT stop as we discovered above.

Like Kramer, however, it would be further afield that Jarred would hit the poker big-time, the 2010 WSOP seeing him grab his first 6-figure payday.

That $110,903 cash was followed by an even bigger one the following year in the Vegas summer shindig, Jarred almost lifting a gold bracelet in the process. Only Israel’s Amir Lehavot prevented that, but the South African took a career-best $354,460 as runner-up.

Switching between the USA and South Africa over the next several years, a deep run in the WSOP Main Event saw Jarred take $98,120 for 73rd place, with Germany’s Hossein Ensan going on to grab the title and $10million.

1. Raymond Rahme: $3,546,346

Way out in front in the all-time list is Raymond Rahme, and that’s thanks to the very same tournament we’ve just read about, the iconic World Series of Poker Main Event.

When Rahme, a retired businessman, headed for the US in 2007 to play the biggest event on the global calendar, he had only one recorded cash behind him, but that 4th spot in the All Africa event in Swaziland was an all-expenses paid trip to Vegas.

South Africa had never had a Main Event final tablist, and when Rahme reached the last nine he had gained quite a following. By the time he had finished, he was a legend and his country’s leading moneywinner.

Jerry Yang may have taken the title, but Rahme bagged $3,048,025 and a PokerStars sponsorship, adding another $½million in cashes to prove his big win wasn’t simply a fluke.

Well, there you go, a handy guide to South Africa’s top tournament players, but good luck at the tables wherever you are in the world.


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