Books About the WSOP Main Event

[SS] “Are you one of those players that like to ‘book a win’?” Stan the Stat asked Leroy the Lion.

[LL] “Definitely not. I just want to play as much as I can. I don’t get out of the house very often, you know.”

[RR] “Figaro the Fish definitely likes to”, Roderick the Rock stated. “He’s always announcing how much he needs to win to get even for the night.”

[SS] “To me, it doesn’t matter whether I’m ahead or behind. If it’s a good table to be playing at, I’m staying.

In fact, I’m more interested in books about wins than booking wins. I tried to make a list of poker books written by WSOP Main Event champions, but there weren’t many,1 so I expanded the list to all books about the World Series of Poker. There are probably more than you’d guess but well short of one per year. Most of the gaps in the coverage are recent, since several books cover every Main Event from the beginning to the mid-2000s.

Books That Cover the World Series of Poker Main Event

Main Event Year Author’s Finish2 Author Book Year Notes
1970-2004 N/A Jonathan Grotenstein & Storms Reback All In: The (Almost) Entirely True Story of the World Series of Poker 2005 Significant history of the World Series of Poker through 2004
1970-2006 N/A James McManus Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker 2009 Excellent history of poker (not just Hold ‘Em), with later chapters on the World Series of Poker (mentions Eastgate [2008] but not Yang [2007])
1970-2006 N/A Mark Rogers 52 Greatest Moments World Series of Poker 2006 Stories cover various WSOP Main Events, including “Vera and a Dull Knife” (1972), “Bonetti’s Blunder” (1993), “Fast and Furious Final” (1996), and Moneymaker (2003)
1970-2008 1st (1983) Tom McEvoy (with Dana Smith & Ralph Wheeler) Championship Table: At the World Series of Poker 2009 Basic facts about each WSOP Main Event from 1970 to 2008, including the players at each final table
1972 1st Amarillo Slim Preston (with Greg Dinkin) Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People 2003 Autobiography includes the 1972 WSOP Main Event as does his Play Poker to Win.
1976-1977 1st/1st Doyle Brunson My 50 Most Memorable Hands 2007 includes at least one hand from 1976 and one from 1977 WSOP Main Event
1978 N/A Mike Caro Bobby Baldwin’s Winning Poker Secrets 1979 Good stories, including Baldwin in the 1978 WSOP Main Event
1978-2001 1st (1983, McEvoy) / 2nd (1985 & 2000, Cloutier) Tom McEvoy & T.J. Cloutier Championship Hold’em Tournament Hands 2003 Advice on playing Limit and No-Limit Hold ‘Em, especially preflop, plus an excellent collection of important WSOP Main Event hands
1980-1981, 1997 N/A Nolan Dalla & Mike Sexton One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey “The Kid” Ungar, The World’s Greatest Poker Player 2005 Authorized biography of Stu Ungar, three-time Main Event champion
1981 N/A Al Alvarez The Biggest Game in Town 1983 The story of the 1981 World Series of Poker Main Event; final paragraph summarizes 1982 very briefly
1984 2nd Byron Wolford (with Dana Smith) Cowboys, Gamblers and Hustlers: The True Adventures of a Rodeo Champion and Poker Legend 2002 Stories from the early days of rodeo and poker plus coverage of the 1984 Main Event
1987-2005 N/A Steve Rosenbloom Best Hand I Ever Played 2005 Biographies of 52 poker pros with their favorite hands, nine of which occurred during the WSOP Main Event
1988-1989 did not cash Anthony Holden Big Deal: One Year as a Professional Poker Player 1990 Writer and amateur player spends a year playing poker, including the 1988 and 1989 WSOP Main Events
1989 1st Phil Hellmuth Poker Brat: Phil Hellmuth’s Autobiography 2017 Autobiography, including the 1989 WSOP Main Event
1994 did not cash Al Alvarez Bets, Bluffs, and Bad Beats 2001 Some poker history and the author’s 1994 WSOP (three events, including the Main Event)
2000 5th James McManus Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion’s World Series of Poker 2003 Sent by Harper’s Magazine to write about the 2000 WSOP, McManus ends up playing and playing well!
2001, 2004-2005 5th/DNC/9th Mike Matusow (with Amy Calistri & Tim Lavalli) Check-Raising the Devil 2009 Includes stories from 2001 (6th), 2004, and 2005 (9th) WSOP Main Events
2003 1st Chris Moneymaker (with Daniel Paisner) Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker 2005 The amateur who sparked the poker boom by winning his Main Event entry online
2004 did not cash Richard Sparks Diary of a Mad Poker Player: A Journey to the World Series of Poker 2005 Writer attempts to qualify online for the 2004 WSOP Main Event
2005 1st Joe Hachem (with Peter Ralph) Pass the Sugar 2009 Autobiography, including the 2005 WSOP Main Event
2005 did not cash Peter Alson Take Me to the River: A Wayward and Perilous Journey to the World Series of Poker 2007 Writer plays in several events, cashing three times; also summarizes the final 2004 hand between Raymer and David Williams
2005 did not cash Pat Walsh How to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not) 2006 Fairly weak poker-playing author writes about 2006 WSOP Main Event experience
2005-2006 did not cash Anthony Holden Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom 2007 Another year of poker, including the 2005 and 2006 WSOP Main Events
2007 1st Jerry Yang (w/ Mark Tabb) All In 2011 Autobiography including the 2007 WSOP Main Event
2007 N/A Des Wilson Ghosts at the Table: Riverboat Gamblers, Texas Rounders, Roadside Hucksters, and the Living Legends Who Made Poker What It Is Today 2008 Selective history of poker from its roots to the WSOP (including a chapter on the 2007 WSOP and an attempt to track down 1979 champ Hal Fowler)
2010 1st Jonathan Duhamel (with translator Christina Palassio) Final Table: A Winning Poker Approach from a WSOP Champion 2012 Poker strategy book with some Main Event stories
2011 1st Pius Heinz Pius Heinz: My Hands on the Way to the Poker World Champion 2012 Actually titled “Pius Heinz: Meine Hände auf dem Weg zum Poker Weltmeister”, as it’s in German
2011 did not cash Colson Whitehead The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death 2014 Writer gets staked by Grantland to play in the 2011 WSOP Main Event
2016 1st Qui Nguyen From Vietnam to Vegas!: How I Won the World Series of Poker Main Event 2017 Autobiography culminates with the 2016 WSOP Main Event

Notes:

Footnotes:

  1. Seven WSOP Main Event champions have written books that at least partially covered their victory: Amarillo Slim Preston, Doyle Brunson, Tom McEvoy, Phil Hellmuth (coming soon), Chris Moneymaker, Jonathan Duhamel, and Qui Nguyen.
  2. “N/A” (not applicable) means the author didn’t play in the Main Event.

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