Category Archives: WSOP

2013 WSOP Main Event Winner – Ryan Riess

[YY] As the players hung out awaiting the start of the monthly home tournament, Yuri the Young Gun was happily collecting his November Nine winnings from Stan the Stat, who had held the pool money1 for them and Roderick the Rock and Leroy the Lion. “Thanks, guys! Thanks, Ryan!” Yuri exclaimed. “That almost makes up for the last five Final Four pools that I haven’t won.”

[RR] “You’re welcome”, grumbled Rod. “Congrats to Ryan Riess, too. He was only fifth in chips going in, and played terrifically.”

[SS] “Yuri had the right idea, going with the youngest guy at the table. The youngest player has now won four of the six years of the November Nine.”2

[RR] “At least our pool made things much more interesting for me,… until Amir Lehavot busted out in third.”

[LL] “Ditto”, added Leroy, who also had half a stake in Lehavot.

[RR] “I still had a shot until the very end with Jay Farber”, bemoaned Rod, “but Riess clearly had more skill and more luck heads-up than his fellow local.”

[SS] “We each had at least one of our picks alive down to the final three. Probably meant a late Monday night for all of us (well, not for you Leroy)!”

[RR] “We all correctly avoided Mark Newhouse, who started eighth and finished ninth, David Benefield, who did the opposite (lasting only two hands longer), and Michiel Brummelhuis, who began and ended seventh.”

[YY] “Only because there were only four of us. But we would have felt pretty foolish if Sylvain Loosli had come from sixth to win it all. He did move up to fourth, just one hand before Lehavot exited, but was never a serious threat.”

[LL] “I was majorly disappointed by my pick, J.C. Tran. He didn’t look any more skilled than the other players, who all seemed to have a pretty good read on him. It didn’t take long for him to go from a fifth of the chips to fifth place.”

[SS] “He did have bad cards though, so it’s not a huge surprise that he had the lowest finish of any November Nine chip leader.3

2013 November Nine Final Results

Finish Player Start Start Chips
1st Ryan Riess 5th 25,875,000
2nd Jay Farber 4th 25,975,000
3rd Amir Lehavot 2nd 29,700,000
4th Sylvain Loosli 6th 19,600,000
5th J.C. Tran 1st 38,000,000
6th Marc-Etienne McLaughlin 3rd 26,525,000
7th Michiel Brummelhuis 7th 11,275,000
8th David Benefield 9th 6,375,000
9th Mark Newhouse 8th 7,350,000


  1. The Hold ‘Em at Home crew placed their bets on July 26 in November Nine Odds.
  2. The other three: Peter Eastgate (2008), Joe Cada (2009), and Jonathan Duhamel (2010). Pius Heinz was the second youngest in 2011, and Greg Merson was the third youngest in 2012. All six were between 21 and 24 years old!
  3. Amateur Dennis Phillips had finished an unsurprising third in 2008, but note that he and Tran had the smallest chip leads over fifth place going in.


Stan’s Lists – WSOP Final Hands With Community Cards

[SS] “Now that the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table is almost here, this seems like a great time to unveil my best list yet”, Stan the Stat announced proudly. “For the first time ever, here are all the known starting hole cards, community cards, and hand values for the hands that ended every WSOP Main Event since 1972.”1

Year Winner Hand Value Runner-Up Hand Value Board
1972 Amarillo Slim Preston K♥J♦ Full House,
8s over Kings
Puggy Pearson Full House,
8s over 6s
1973 Puggy Pearson A♠7♠ Ace-high Johnny Moss K♥J♠ King-high Q♣T♠2♣6♦5♥
1974 Johnny Moss 3♥3♠ Full House,
3s over 9s
Crandell Addington A♣2♣ Pair of 9s 3♦9♣T♣Q♠9♦2
1975 Sailor Roberts J♠J♥ Pair of Jacks Bob Hooks J♣9♣ Pair of 9s 7♥6♣2♣9♠T♥3
1976 Doyle Brunson T♠2♠ Full House,
Tens over 2s
Jesse Alto A♠J♦ Two Pairs,
Aces over Jacks
1977 Doyle Brunson T♠2♥ Full House,
Tens over 2s
Gary Berland 8♥5♣ Two Pairs,
Tens over 8s
1978 Bobby Baldwin Q♦Q♣ Three Queens Crandell Addington 9♦9♣ Three 9s Q♠9♥K♣A♠T♦
1979 Hal Fowler 7♠6♦ Straight,
Bobby Hoff A♣A♥ Pair of Aces 5♥3♣J♠4♠T♦
1980 Stu Ungar 5♠4♠ Straight,
Doyle Brunson A♥7♠ Two Pairs,
Aces over 7s
1981 Stu Ungar A♥Q♥ Two Pairs,
Queens over 4s
Perry Green T♣9♦ Pair of 4s 7♦8♥4♥4♣Q♦
1982 Jack Straus A♥T♠ Pair of Tens Dewey Tomko A♦4♦ Pair of 4s 7♦5♠4♠Q♣T♣
1983 Tom McEvoy Q♦Q♠ Two Pairs,
Queens over 6s
Rod Peate K♦J♦ Two Pairs,
Jacks over 6s
1984 Jack Keller T♥T♠ Pair of Tens Byron Wolford 6♥4♥ Pair of 6s 5♦6♠9♣8♠J♦
1985 Bill Smith 3♠3♥ Full House,
5s over 3s
T. J. Cloutier A♦3♣ Three 5s 5♠5♥9♠5♣K♦
1986 Berry Johnston A♠T♥ Ace-high,
Ten kicker
Mike Harthcock A♦8♦ Ace-high,
8 kicker
1987 Johnny Chan A♠9♣ Pair of 9s Frank Henderson 4♦4♣ Pair of 4s 5♣8♥K♦T♣9♥
1988 Johnny Chan J♣9♣ Straight,
Erik Seidel Q♣7♥ Pair of Queens Q♠8♦T♥2♠6♦
1989 Phil Hellmuth,
9♠9♣ Two Pairs,
Kings over 9s
Johnny Chan A♠7♠ Pair of Kings K♣T♥K♦Q♠6♠
1990 Mansour Matloubi 6♥6♠ Two Pairs,
6s over 2s
Hans Lund 4♦4♣ Two Pairs,
4s over 2s
1991 Brad Daugherty K♠J♠ Two Pairs,
Jacks over 8s
Don Holt 7♥3♥ Pair of 8s 8♦9♥J♣5♣8♠
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi 8♥4♣ Straight,
Tom Jacobs J♦7♠ Two Pairs,
Jacks over 7s
1993 Jim Bechtel J♣6♥ Jack-high Glenn Cozen 7♠4♦ Ten-high T♥3♥8♣2♣5♦
1994 Russ Hamilton K♠8♥ Pair of 8s,
King kicker
Hugh Vincent 8♣5♥ Pair of 8s,
Jack kicker
1995 Dan Harrington 9♦8♦ Two Pairs,
Queens over 8s
Howard Goldfarb A♥7♣ Pair of Queens 8♣2♣6♦Q♠Q♥
1996 Huck Seed 9♦8♦ Two Pairs,
9s over 8s
Bruce Van Horn K♣8♣ Pair of 8s 9♥8♥4♣A♣3♠
1997 Stu Ungar A♥4♣ Straight,
John Strzemp A♠8♣ Two Pairs,
Aces over 3s
1998 Scotty Nguyen J♦9♣ Full House,
9s over 8s
Kevin McBride Q♥T♥ Full House,
8s over 9s
1999 Noel Furlong 5♣5♦ Full House,
5s over Queens
Alan Goehring 6♥6♣ Two Pairs,
Queens over 6s
2000 Chris Ferguson A♠9♣ Two Pairs,
Kings over 9s
T. J. Cloutier A♦Q♣ Pair of Kings 2♥K♣4♥K♥9♥
2001 Juan Carlos Mortensen K♣Q♣ Straight,
Dewey Tomko A♠A♥ Pair of Aces 3♣T♣J♦3♦9♦
2002 Robert Varkonyi Q♦T♠ Full House,
Queens over Tens
Julian Gardner J♣8♣ Flush,
2003 Chris Moneymaker 5♦4♠ Full House,
5s over 4s
Sam Farha J♥T♦ Two Pairs,
Jacks over 5s
2004 Greg Raymer 8♠8♦ Full House,
8s over 2s
David Williams A♥4♠ Full House,
4s over 2s
2005 Joe Hachem 7♣3♠ Straight,
Steve Dannenmann A♦3♣ Two Pairs,
Aces over 4s
2006 Jamie Gold Q♠9♣ Pair of Queens Paul Wasicka T♥T♠ Pair of 10s Q♣8♥5♥A♦4♣
2007 Jerry Yang 8♦8♣ Straight,
Tuan Lam A♦Q♦ Pair of Queens 5♠Q♣9♣7♦6♥
2008 Peter Eastgate A♦5♠ Straight,
Ivan Demidov 4♥2♥ Two Pairs,
4s over 2s
2009 Joe Cada 9♦9♣ Two Pairs,
9s over 7s
Darvin Moon Q♦J♦ Pair of 7s 8♣2♣7♠K♥7♣
2010 Jonathan Duhamel A♠J♥ Pair of 4s,
Ace kicker
John Racener K♦8♦ Pair of 4s,
King kicker
2011 Pius Heinz A♠K♣ Ace-high Martin Staszko T♣7♣ Jack-high 5♣2♦9♠J♥4♦
2012 Greg Merson K♦5♦ Pair of 6s,
Ace kicker
Jesse Sylvia Q♠J♠ Pair of 6s,
Queen kicker
2013 Ryan Riess A♥K♥ Pair of 4s,
Ace kicker
Jay Farber Q♠5♠ Pair of 4s,
Queen kicker
2014 Martin Jacobson T♥T♦ Three Tens Felix Stephensen A♥9♥ Pair of 9s 3♠9♣T♣K♦4♣
2015 Joe McKeehen A♥T♦ Two Pairs,
Tens over 5s
Josh Beckley 4♦4♣ Two Pairs,
5s over 4s
2016 Qui Nguyen K♣T♣ Pair of Kings Gordon Vayo J♠T♠ King-high 7♦K♦9♣2♠3♥
2017 Scott Blumstein A♥2♦ Pair of 2s Dan Ott A♦8♦ Ace-high J♠6♠5♥7♥2♥
2018 John Cynn K♣J♣ Three Kings Tony Miles Q♣8♥ Two Pairs,
Kings over 8s

[SS] “The 454 years have been filled with lots of interesting coincidences and tidbits:”

  • Doyle Brunson turned the Ten-Two into full houses to win in back-to-back years (1976 and 1977).
  • Johnny Chan had the 9♣ in his winning hand in consecutive years (1987 and 1988), then Phil Hellmuth beat him with the 9♣ the next year (1989). The 9♣ has also won three other times: 2000 (Chris Ferguson), 2006 (Jamie Gold), and 2009 (Joe Cada).
  • Dan Harrington and Harrington Seed won with the same hole cards, 9♦8♦, in back-to-back years (1995 and 1996).
  • Stu Ungar won with a 5-high straight in both 1980 and 1997. The wheel became the most common winning hand5 when Peter Eastgate also prevailed with one in 2008. Ace-high won for the third time three years later to tie for top honors. The most common losing hand is a pair of Fours (four times, one more than a pair of Queens and a pair of Eights).
  • The best winning hand was Robert Varkonyi’s Queens over Tens full (2002), while the best losing hand was Kevin McBride’s Eights over Nines full (playing the board in 1998).6
  • The worst winning hand was Jim Bechtel’s Jack-high (1993), which beat the worst losing hand, Glenn Cozen’s Ten-high.
  • The Main Event has never been won with a flush (Julian Gardner lost with one in 2002) and never been lost with a straight (it’s won nine times).
  • A three-of-a-kind has only won three times (Bobby Baldwin’s three Queens in 1978, Martin Jacobson’s three Tens in 2014, and John Cynn’s three Kings in 2018) and only lost twice, but one of those was Crandell Addington’s three Nines that same year (the other was T.J. Cloutier’s three Fives in 1985).
  • The A♠ has been the second most common winning card, appearing six times, one fewer than the 9♣.
  • The A♦ has been the most popular losing card, appearing seven times, once more than the A♥.
  • The losing player has gotten his chips all-in preflop 204 times, on the flop 15 times, on the turn 8 times, and on the river 4 times.7


  1. Johnny Moss was crowned champion by a player vote in 1970. All of the cards from 1971 (when Moss beat Puggy Pearson) and most of the suits from 1972 remain unknown. Amarillo Slim may not have won the latter title at the table, but a rumored deal between Preston, Pearson, and Doyle Brunson has never been confirmed.
  2. This hand has not been lost to history. The Tucson Daily Citizen published a story on the tournament on May 25, 1974.
  3. This hand has also been questioned, but the Spartanburg Herald wrote up the victory on May 19, 1975.
  4. Table updated with 2018 and 2017 results on July 17, 2018, with 2016 results on November 2, 2016, 2015 results on November 11, 2015, 2014 results on November 12, 2014, and 2013 results on November 6, 2013.
  5. By “hand”, I’m ignoring kickers, so all Ace-high hands would be lumped together as would all King-high flushes.
  6. If playing the board bothers you, the next best losing hand was Puggy Pearson’s Eights over Sixes full in 1972.
  7. Here’s when the short stack got his chips all in: FFFFTTPTTFPPFPPPRPPFTPFFFFRTPFFFRTFPRPPPPPPPPPT (P=Preflop, F=Flop, T=Turn, R=River; sorry, the chart was already too wide without adding this column). { March 2, 2016 correction: in 1992, the chips went all in on the turn (T), not the flop. }

Related Links:


Stan’s Lists – WSOP Cashes

[SS] “Probably an easy question for you”, Stan the Stat offered Roderick the Rock. “Who has the most World Series of Poker cashes?”

[RR] “The Poker Brat, by quite a bit I believe”, Rod asserted.

[SS] “Do you know how many he has?”

[RR] “He was closing in on a hundred, last I knew.”

[SS] “Indeed. Phil Hellmuth collected his one hundredth WSOP payday last week in the World Series of Poker Europe 2,200-Euro No Limit Hold’em event. He’s also reached the most final tables, with 49, ten more than T.J. Cloutier. Coincidentally, 49 is also his age.”

[RR] “When he turns 50, does he start morphing from Poker Brat into Grumpy Old Man?”

[SS] “Maybe when he starts going bald or turning gray. Harder question. Who has the second most cashes?”

[RR] “I don’t know. I can think of a dozen players who could be next, but I don’t know who I’d pick.”

[SS] “I’ll give you three guesses.”

[RR] “Well, going down the bracelet list, the older guys had fewer events to play in, so that rules out Brunson and Moss. I don’t think Chan plays enough events. Ivey’s too young and hasn’t always committed to the WSOP. That leaves Erik Seidel, Men Nguyen, and less likely, Billy Baxter, since I’ve barely heard of him.”

[SS] “Well deduced! You not only nailed Seidel in second (80) but Nguyen in third (79) as well. Seidel just pulled ahead with a cash in a WSOPE Hold ‘Em side event. Baxter’s mainly a lowball specialist1

[SS] “Of the next three players (fourth through sixth), I would expect you to only get one of them. I’ll let you pick six names.”

[RR] “Cloutier, Flack, Heimowitz, Negreanu, Chiu, and Juanda are the rest of the players with at least five bracelets, so I’m guessing you’re saying that it’s only one of them.”

[SS] “Correct.”

[RR] “I don’t really have a better guess. If I replace any of those players, I might remove the one right answer… Okay, scratch Heimowitz, since I don’t know who he is. I’ll go with Ivey instead.”

[SS] “You’re right, it wasn’t Heimowitz, who only has 39 cashes. Humberto Brenes is fourth with 72 cashes. Negreanu’s your correct guess, as he’s now fifth with 69 cashes, having final tabled the WSOP Europe High Roller event to win WSOP Player of the Year again.2 The player who just dropped to sixth is possibly the most underrated WSOP player of all time, a Londoner named Chris Bjorin. The Swedish immigrant reached the Main Event final table in 1997 and cashed in the Main Event a record-tying four straight years3 from 2008 to 2011.”

[RR] “You’re right; I can’t say that I’ve heard of Bjorin; he should definitely be more famous,… if only his final table weren’t a half-dozen years before the poker boom.”

[SS] “As for your other guesses: Juanda is tied for eighth at 63, Cloutier and Chiu are tied for eleventh with 60 (same as Chau Giang), Ivey’s tied for eighteenth with 52, and Flack’s below Heimowitz at 37.

[SS] “The others in the top ten are Barry Greenstein, who moved into seventh by himself with his 64th a couple weeks ago, and Berry Johnston and Chris Ferguson, who are tied for eighth with Juanda.”

Top 10 Most WSOP Cashes4

Rank Cashes Player
1 100 Phil Hellmuth
2 80 Erik Seidel
3 79 Men Nguyen
4 72 Humberto Brenes
5 69 Daniel Negreanu
6 68 Chris Bjorin
7 64 Barry Greenstein
8 63 John Juanda
Chris Ferguson
Berry Johnston

[RR] “Doesn’t look like anyone will be catching Hellmuth anytime soon.”

[SS] “Or even in twenty years. He might slow down but can certainly keep playing into his sixties. Nobody near the top of the list is that much younger than him, but the best shot long-term might be Negreanu, who’s a decade younger and 31 cashes behind. Ivey and Cunningham are a few years younger but another 17 back.”

Top 20 Most WSOP Cashes, Younger than Hellmuth

Rank Cashes Player Age
5 69 Daniel Negreanu 39
8 63 John Juanda 42
15 58 Tony Cousineau 45
18 52 Allen Cunningham 36
Phil Ivey 37
Jeff Lissandro 46

[SS] “Some final factoids: 21 players have at least 50 cashes. 35 players, including J.C. Tran, have at least 41.5 621 players, including Amir Lehavot and David Benefield, have at least thirteen.”


  1. Billy Baxter has won five of his seven bracelets in Deuce to Seven Draw (plus one in Ace to Five Draw and one in Razz).
  2. Daniel Negreanu also won WSOP Player of the Year in 2004 and is the only two-time winner. Congrats, Daniel!
  3. Robert Turner set the record from 1991 to 1994, and the streak has also been matched by Bo Sehlstedt (2004 to 2007), Theodore Park (2005 to 2008), Diogo Borges (2008 to 2011), Ronnie Bardah (2010 to 2013), and Christian Harder (2010 to 2013).
  4. As of October 24, 2013. The WSOP maintains an official, sortable list.
  5. The WSOP’s list includes payouts, so it necessarily hasn’t been updated with the results of the 2013 November Nine yet.

Stan’s Lists – WSOP Bracelets

[SS] “Since the World Series of Poker does such an excellent job of maintaining a list of bracelet winners, I don’t keep my own copy”, Stan the Stat claimed.

[RR] “Somehow I doubt that”, Roderick the Rock countered.

[SS] “Okay, I do occasionally download the data to play around with it.”

[RR] “Find out anything interesting?”

[SS] “Obviously, Phil Hellmuth has won the most World Series of Poker bracelets,1 13.2 Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan are tied for second with 10, but neither has won a bracelet since 2005. Phil Ivey3 and Johnny Moss are next at 9. Ivey added to his collection with a win this year in Asia, while Moss passed away in 1995. Rounding out the top 11 are Erik Seidel (8); Billy Baxter and Men Nguyen (7); and T.J. Cloutier, Layne Flack, and Jay Heimowitz (6). Of the eleven players with five bracelets, three have added one in the past five years: Daniel Negreanu, David Chiu, and John Juanda.”

[SS] “624 players have at least three bracelets, a group that J.C. Tran could join with a win at next month’s Main Event final table. Barbara Enright (2 women’s events and 1 open event5) and Nani Dollison (ditto) are the only two women who have done it.”

[SS] “159 players have at least two bracelets, a group that Amir Lehavot could join in November. Jennifer Harman became the first woman to win multiple open events6 by taking the $5,000 No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw in 2000 and the $5,000 Limit Hold’em in 2002. Vanessa Selbst7 joined her in 2012. The only other women with two bracelets are Starla Brodie (one doubles event [one man and one woman] and one women’s event) and Susie Isaacs (two women’s events).”

[SS] “Five players have won three bracelets in a single year. Puggy Pearson was the first to do it, in 1973. It took two decades for anyone to match him, when amazingly both Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest pulled off the hat trick in 1993. Phil Ivey matched the record in 2002, and Jeff Lisandro was the last to do it, in 2009.”8

[SS] “419 players have won exactly two bracelets in a year, including Hellmuth in 2003 and Ivey in 2009. Six others have won two bracelets in a year twice: Doyle Brunson (1976 and 1977), Gary “Bones” Berland (1978 and 1979), Men Nguyen (1995 and 2003), Chris Ferguson (2000 and 2003), Layne Flack (2002 and 2003), and Tom Schneider (2007 and 2013). Dollison is the only woman to capture two bracelets in a year, when she won the Women’s Championship (No-Limit Hold’em)10 and the $2,000 Limit Hold’em event in 2001.”

[RR] “People like to bet on whether there will be a multiple winner at the WSOP; should you bet for or against it?”

[SS] “There’s been at least one every year since 2000, so you better be getting pretty good odds to go against it. Something around 10-to-1 might be fair, but I’m sure you could find someone willing to give you 20-to-1 or even 30-to-1,11 since it seems inevitable now. In reality, the 26 two-timers we’ve had since 2000 equal less than two per year. If you randomly distributed those 26 over fourteen years, you’d end up with a zero somewhere quite often (giving 13-to-1 odds) and even a couple zeroes some of the time. There are more events now than ever, but just last year the bet came down to the final hand of the Main Event! If anyone but Greg Merson had survived that final table, 2012 would have had no double-winners.”12


  1. Bracelets include women’s events, seniors events, WSOP Europe events (began in 2007), and WSOP Asia events (began in 2013).
  2. Hellmuth won his 14th bracelet in the $10,000 Razz Championship on June 8, 2015 and his 15th in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold ‘Em turbo on July 11, 2018.
  3. Ivey won his tenth bracelet in the $1,500 Eight Game Mixed event on June 27, 2014.
  4. On June 4, 2015, Max Pescatori became the 70th player with three WSOP bracelets.
  5. Enright was the first and still only female to reach the final table of the Main Event, finishing fifth in 1995. Four women have finished in tenth place: Barbara Samuelson (1994), Susie Isaacs (1998), Annie Duke (2000), and Gaelle Baumann (2012, one place better than Elisabeth Hille). Wikipedia incorrectly credits Enright as the first woman to win an open event, but see the next footnote.
  6. Vera Richmond was the first woman to win an open event, the $1,000 Limit Ace to 5 Draw tournament in 1982. Richmond’s father was Abraham Lincoln “Al” Neiman, who co-founded Neiman Marcus in 1907 with his wife and brother-in-law.
  7. Selbst won her third bracelet on May 30, 2014, capturing the $25,000 Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold ‘Em event.
  8. George Danzer joined the elite group with three WSOP bracelets in 2014.
  9. { June 23, 2016 update } Benny Glaser’s second bracelet of 2016 brings the total number of players who won exactly two bracelets in a year to 52. Both 2015 and 2016 have had three players pull off the double.

    { July 17, 2018 update } Shaun Deeb and Joe Cada won two bracelets in 2018. David Bach and Nipun Java won two bracelets in 2017.

  10. Dollison also won the women’s title the year before as well, when it was a combination of Limit Hold’em and Seven-card stud.
  11. Steve Zolotow estimated the odds at 30-to-1 last year. I think this is too high because most players don’t play that many events or are particularly good at only one type of poker.
  12. { March 11, 2016 update } George Danzer won two WSOP events in 2014, the $10,000 Seven Card Razz (Event #18) and the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo (Event #38). Max Pescatori, Brian Hastings, and Jonathan Duhamel (one in Europe) all won two bracelets in 2015.

Related Links:


Stan’s Lists – Steve Dannenmann’s Advice

[SS] “Although he wasn’t a professional poker player, Steve Dannenmann put together an excellent crib sheet for playing in the 2005 WSOP Main Event, where he finished second to Joe Hachem”, Stan the Stat remarked. “He scrawled some notes1 on a sheet of paper, which he kept in his pocket, reread every couple hours, and consulted as necessary. The front began with:

  1. Have fun
  2. Nothing to lose
  3. Play tight
  4. Don’t flat call a re-raise

And the back ended with, “Not calling a raise is only a small mistake”.2

[RR] “I remember him reading those notes to the table as he was working through a tough decision, and that last nugget helped him correctly fold his Ace-Ten to Hachem’s Ace-Jack.”

[SS] “It worked out pretty well for him, so he later expanded the list and laminated it:”3

  1. Have fun; you have nothing to lose.
  2. Observe other players.
  3. Patience: play tight.
  4. Play hands that make money.
  5. Slow your betting; think about it.
  6. You don’t win the tournament at the first level.
  7. If they commit 1/2 their stack, they are all in.
  8. Avoid coin flips with the big stack.
  9. Don’t raise the reraiser unless a big hand.
  10. Don’t move all in after the flop unless you have the nuts with opponent’s draws.4
  11. Not calling a raise is only a small mistake.

[RR] “Great stuff! I don’t think I ever read his entire original list (they only showed it briefly on camera), but this updated list is definitely a keeper.”


  1. Dannenmann had been reading Dan Harrington’s Harrington on Hold ’em, Volume II: The Endgame just before the Main Event.
  2. You can watch him read most of those items in the ESPN broadcast.
  3. The updated version appeared in All In magazine.
  4. The list actually says, “unless you have nuts w/opp draws”, so I hope this is the correct interpretation.

Stan’s Lists – WSOP Main Event Winners

[RR] “So, how many lists do you have just for Texas Hold ‘Em?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[SS] “Hmmm, I’ve never counted them”, Stan surprisingly claimed. “Dozens at least.”

[RR] “What are your favorites?”

[SS] “Oh, I don’t get too attached to any of them. My favorite is usually whatever I most recently created.1 I also prefer lists I’ve made over lists other people have made, but there are exceptions.”

[RR] “Such as?”

[SS] “Wikipedia’s list of World Series of Poker Main Event Champions is pretty cool.2 It’s even sortable, which is one of the reasons I used to maintain my own version of it (okay, I still do, but it isn’t any better than Wikipedia’s; just different).”

[RR] “Why don’t I believe that? There must be something extra in your list for you to bother.”

[SS] “Well, I added preflop hand groups (from another list, Dan Harrington’s heads up groups in 10% increments)3 because I suspected something unusual.”

[RR] “Well, I know that a pair of Aces has been the losing hand twice but never the winning hand. Hal Fowler cracked Bobby Hoff’s pocket rockets by hitting a gutshot with Seven-Six offsuit in 1979, and Carlos Mortensen hit an open ender with King-Queen suited to upend Dewey Tomko’s in 2001.”

[SS] “Which led me to think that the losing hands have been stronger preflop than the winning hands.”

[RR] “And?”

[SS] “Alas, it was true, but that changed in 2011 when Pius Heinz’s A♠K♣ (top 10%) held up against Martin Staszko’s T♣7♣ (top 50%). But the losing hands could easily leap back ahead again this year.”

[RR] “The fact that it’s even close says a lot and seems counterintuitively against the odds.”

[SS] “Not really. It’s easier to go broke with a good hand than a bad one, because you’re more likely to get all your chips in if you like your hand! On average, you’ll lose more with your bad hands, but most of that is from folding, which will never bust you.”

World Series of Poker Main Event Final Hands With Harrington’s Preflop Hand Groups

Year Winner Hand Tier Runner-Up Hand Tier
1970 Johnny Moss N/A4 N/A ? N/A N/A
1971 Johnny Moss ? ? Puggy Pearson ? ?
1972 Amarillo Slim Preston K♥J♦ 2 Puggy Pearson 66 1
1973 Puggy Pearson A♠7♠ 2 Johnny Moss K♥J♠ 2
1974 Johnny Moss 3♥3♠ 4 Crandell Addington A♣2♣ 3
1975 Sailor Roberts J♠J♥ 1 Bob Hooks J♣9♣ 3
1976 Doyle Brunson T♠2♠ 7 Jesse Alto A♠J♦ 1
1977 Doyle Brunson T♠2♥ 8 Gary Berland 8♥5♣ 8
1978 Bobby Baldwin Q♦Q♣ 1 Crandell Addington 9♦9♣ 1
1979 Hal Fowler 7♠6♦ 8 Bobby Hoff A♣A♥ 1
1980 Stu Ungar 5♠4♠ 8 Doyle Brunson A♥7♠ 2
1981 Stu Ungar A♥Q♥ 1 Perry Green T♣9♦ 5
1982 Jack Straus A♥T♠ 1 Dewey Tomko A♦4♦ 2
1983 Tom McEvoy Q♦Q♠ 1 Rod Peate K♦J♦ 1
1984 Jack Keller T♥T♠ 1 Byron Wolford 6♥4♥ 8
1985 Bill Smith 3♠3♥ 4 T. J. Cloutier A♦3♣ 3
1986 Berry Johnston A♠T♥ 1 Mike Harthcock A♦8♦ 1
1987 Johnny Chan A♠9♣ 2 Frank Henderson 4♦4♣ 3
1988 Johnny Chan J♣9♣ 3 Erik Seidel Q♣7♥ 5
1989 Phil Hellmuth, Jr. 9♠9♣ 1 Johnny Chan A♠7♠ 2
1990 Mansour Matloubi 6♥6♠ 1 Hans Lund 4♦4♣ 3
1991 Brad Daugherty K♠J♠ 1 Don Holt 7♥3♥ 10
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi 8♥4♣ 9 Tom Jacobs J♦7♠ 6
1993 Jim Bechtel J♣6♥ 6 Glenn Cozen 7♠4♦ 9
1994 Russ Hamilton K♠8♥ 3 Hugh Vincent 8♣5♥ 8
1995 Dan Harrington 9♦8♦ 5 Howard Goldfarb A♥7♣ 2
1996 Huck Seed 9♦8♦ 5 Bruce Van Horn K♣8♣ 2
1997 Stu Ungar A♥4♣ 3 John Strzemp A♠8♣ 2
1998 Scotty Nguyen J♦9♣ 4 Kevin McBride Q♥T♥ 3
1999 Noel Furlong 5♣5♦ 2 Alan Goehring 6♥6♣ 1
2000 Chris Ferguson A♠9♣ 2 T. J. Cloutier A♦Q♣ 1
2001 Juan Carlos Mortensen K♣Q♣ 1 Dewey Tomko A♠A♥ 1
2002 Robert Varkonyi Q♦T♠ 3 Julian Gardner J♣8♣ 4
2003 Chris Moneymaker 5♦4♠ 9 Sam Farha J♥T♦ 4
2004 Greg Raymer 8♠8♦ 1 David Williams A♥4♠ 3
2005 Joe Hachem 7♣3♠ 10 Steve Dannenmann A♦3♣ 3
2006 Jamie Gold Q♠9♣ 4 Paul Wasicka T♥T♠ 1
2007 Jerry Yang 8♦8♣ 1 Tuan Lam A♦Q♦ 1
2008 Peter Eastgate A♦5♠ 3 Ivan Demidov 4♥2♥ 10
2009 Joe Cada 9♦9♣ 1 Darvin Moon Q♦J♦ 2
2010 Jonathan Duhamel A♠J♥ 1 John Racener K♦8♦ 2
2011 Pius Heinz A♠K♣ 1 Martin Staszko T♣7♣ 5
2012 Greg Merson K♦5♦ 3 Jesse Sylvia Q♠J♠ 2
2013 Ryan Riess A♥K♥ 1 Jay Farber Q♠5♠ 4
20145 Martin Jacobson T♥T♦ 1 Felix Stephensen A♥9♥ 1
20155 Joe McKeehen A♥T♦ 1 Josh Beckley 4♦4♣ 3
20165 Qui Nguyen K♣T♣ 2 Gordon Vayo J♠T♠ 3
20175 Scott Blumstein A♥2♦ 3 Dan Ott A♦8♦ 1
20185 John Cynn K♣J♣ 1 Tony Miles Q♣8♥ 4


  1. Last week’s post covered Stan’s Texas Hold ‘Em Odds From 1 to 52.
  2. Oddly, this table is better than the one on the dedicated page for Main Event champions, which doesn’t include the losing hole cards.
  3. Harrington on Hold ’em, Volume II: The Endgame, pages 365-366. Surprisingly, the best web link I could find was this newsgroup message with Harrington’s Heads-Up hand rankings.
  4. Johnny Moss was named the winner after the players voted. The story goes that the first vote resulted in a seven-way tie, as each player voted for himself. They were then asked to vote for the second best player, and Moss won.
  5. Table updated with 2018 and 2017 results on July 17, 2018, 2016 results on November 2, 2016, 2015 results on November 11, 2015, 2014 results on November 12, 2014, and 2013 results on November 6, 2013.


2013 November Nine Odds

[SS] “Bovada has posted Final Table odds. Time to put your money where your mouth is!” Stan the Stat exclaimed. “As most of you know, according to the Independent Chip Model, a player’s odds of a winning a tournament are directly proportional to how many chips he has. So, I compared the Vegas odds1 for this year’s November Nine with their ICM chances of finishing in first (and every other place for completeness):

Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th Bovada
With Vig
J.C. Tran 19.9% 18.2% 16.3% 14.2% 11.9% 9.2% 6.2% 3.2% 0.9% 1.8/1 35.7% 27.9% 19.9% 8.0%
Amir Lehavot 15.6% 15.2% 14.7% 14.0% 13.0% 11.4% 8.9% 5.4% 1.9% 4.5/1 18.2% 14.2% 15.6% -1.4%
Marc-Etienne McLaughlin 13.9% 13.9% 13.8% 13.6% 13.2% 12.2% 10.2% 6.6% 2.6% 5/1 16.7% 13.0% 13.9% -0.9%
Jay Farber 13.6% 13.7% 13.7% 13.5% 13.2% 12.3% 10.4% 6.9% 2.7% 7.5/1 11.8% 9.2% 13.6% -4.4%
Ryan Riess 13.6% 13.6% 13.6% 13.5% 13.2% 12.4% 10.4% 6.9% 2.7% 6/1 14.3% 11.2% 13.6% -2.4%
Sylvain Loosli 10.3% 10.8% 11.3% 12.0% 12.7% 13.5% 13.4% 10.8% 5.4% 8/1 11.1% 8.7% 10.3% -1.6%
Michiel Brummelhuis 5.9% 6.4% 7.2% 8.2% 9.6% 11.8% 15.7% 18.9% 16.1% 12/1 7.7% 6.0% 5.9% 0.1%
Mark Newhouse 3.9% 4.3% 4.9% 5.8% 7.0% 9.1% 13.0% 21.2% 30.8% 15/1 6.3% 4.9% 3.9% 1.0%
David Benefield 3.3% 3.8% 4.3% 5.1% 6.3% 8.1% 11.9% 20.1% 37.0% 15/1 6.3% 4.9% 3.3% 1.5%
Totals 127.9% 100.0% 100.0%

Because of the high vig (almost 28%), only one player has better ICM odds to win than Vegas is laying, and not surprisingly it’s the only amateur of the nine, Jay Farber.”

“On the flip side, chip leader J.C. Tran has the worst odds relative to his stack. He’s the most experienced pro at the table, but is he really twice as likely to win as Lehavot and McLaughlin, who have about three-quarters of his chips? I’d take the second and third place players even-up against the first. It will only take one medium-sized pot for either of them to take over the chip lead.”

[RR] “Lehavot and McLaughlin have Tran on their left, which is bad for them. Position helps Farber, who has three of the four smallest stacks on his left. The odds don’t change anything for me, since it’s a sentimental pick anyway.”

[YY] “That’s just one piece of data though”, Yuri the Young Gun countered. “Riess currently probably has the worst position at the table, but if Newhouse, Brummelhuis, and Loosli either build their stacks or bust out, everything changes. I’d love to get Riess at his real odds. He definitely has a better than one in nine chance of winning.”

[LL] “Well, I wouldn’t place a Vegas bet at those odds, but I’d be happy to get the true odds on Tran and Lehavot”, Leroy the Lion confirmed.

[SS] “Well, we can have a pool and do exactly that. Back whichever player or players you want and put in the Bovada Percent4 in dollars as your bet.”

[RR] “Huh?”

[SS] “Tran would cost you $35.71, Lehavot $18.18, McLaughlin $16.67, Farber $11.76, and Riess $14.29.”

[LL] “But you and I both want Lehavot, so we should each put in $9.09, since we’d only win half the pot.”

[SS] “Right, you’d put in a total of $44.80 for your two players, I’d put in $25.76 for my two, Rod $11.76, and Yuri $14.29 for a total pot of $96.61. Winner take all except if Leroy and I split.”

[RR] “Void if another player wins, or do we give the prize to the highest finisher?”

[SS] “No bet. Nobody deserves to win then.”

[LL/RR/SS/YY] “Agreed!”


  1. The odds above are the opening lines. The most recent odds can be found between now and November 4, 2013 at Bovada. As of this post, the odds had already changed on Farber (down to 7/1) and Brummelhuis (up to 13/1).

    The number of chips each player started with were 38,000,000, 29,700,000, 26,525,000, 25,975,000, 25,875,000, 19,600,000, 11,275,000, 7,350,000, and 6,375,000 respectively.

  2. Bovada uses only whole numbers, but for ease of comparison, this column is normalized. Tran opened at 9/5, Lehavot 9/2, and Farber 15/2.
  3. The Percent With Vig is simply the denominator of the odds divided by the sum of the numerator and denominator. The True Percent normalizes this by dividing by the total of 127.92%.
  4. Using the True Percent would be qualitatively the same, as would multiplying each of the percentages by any other constant.

Related Links:


2013 November Nine

[YY] “Have you guys been following the World Series of Poker Main Event?” Yuri the Young Gun polled the table.

[RR] “I usually wait to watch ESPN’s shows”, Roderick the Rock answered, “but I listen to a bunch of poker podcasts, so I already know who made the final table.”

[YY] “Looks a lot like last year’s group: mostly professional poker players, majority are American, and average age around 30.”

[SS] “Like every other November Nine”,1 Stan the Stat interjected. “I was looking over all the November Nines: one to five foreigners every year (4 this year), one to three amateurs (just Jay Farber this year), and one to three players over 35 (2 this year).”

[SS] “The chip leader going in has done no worse than third (amateur Darvin Moon in 2009 to nobody’s surprise), while the winner has started as low as seventh (Pius Heinz in 2011). Two oddities: the player who started second in chips has never won, and the player who started fourth in chips has done better (average finish 3.4) than those who started second (4.8) or third (3.8).”

[SS] “This is the first time that the November Nine chip leader already owned a bracelet (J.C. Tran has two among his table-high 40 previous cashes). Amir Lehavot in second also has a bracelet, also passing Greg Merson, who last year started the final table in third place, the highest previous spot for a bracelet owner.”

[SS] “One last factoid: unless Ryan Riess, who’s 23, wins this year, we’ll crown our oldest November Nine winner. All six previous champs have been between 21 and 24 years old!”

[LL] “After Dan Harrington made his second consecutive final table in 2004, he predicted that nobody over 40 would ever win the Main Event again.2 He was barely right as the next three champions were 39, 36, and 393 years old. But since then we’ve had the six young November Nine winners despite the rest that the long break gives and the shutdown of the major online poker sites in the U.S.”

[LL] “I’m rooting for the two old men at the table, Tran is 36 and Lehavot is 38. Who do you guys like?”

[YY] “Well, then I’ll pick the young guy, Riess.”

[RR] “I want the only amateur, Jay Farber, to win it all. He has plenty of chips in fourth right now, but you have to consider him a big underdog because of his lack of experience.”

[SS] “It’s hard to bet against the chip leader, but I’d also be happy if any of the other Americans won. If Farber is a big underdog, Mark Newhouse and David Benefield are play-in game winners. The lowest player to come back to win was Pius Heinz (seventh in 2011), but he had 40% of the chip leader’s stack. Newhouse and Benefield are both under 20%.”


  1. In 2012, the group was technically the October Nine, but it doesn’t seem to bother people too much that March Madness finishes in April every year.
  2. Harrington is quoted in Grantland’s “When We Held Kings” article: “‘No one over 40 is ever going to win this tournament again.’ It’s become an endurance contest”.
  3. The 2005 to 2007 winners were Joe Hachem, Jamie Gold, and Jerry Yang.

A Decade After Chris Moneymaker

[LL] “Who’s your favorite World Series of Poker Main Event champion?” Leroy the Lion inquired of Roderick the Rock.

[RR] “Chris Moneymaker. His win inspired me, like a lot of people, to play Texas Hold ‘Em”, Rod replied. “I didn’t know he had won right away, because I was watching the tournament1 on ESPN’s recorded broadcast, but I was rooting hard for him for the last few tables as if I could affect an event that was 2,400 miles away and had already happened.”

[LL] “Truth is stranger than fiction. I’m sure the conspiracy theorists had a field day when a charming but financially struggling Tennesseean with a wife and newborn daughter, got in through a satellite he didn’t want to be in to enter a second satellite he didn’t want to win to earn a buy-in into the Main Event he didn’t want to play. Moneymaker then sold off part of his action to a guy named Gamble, somehow got picked to win it all by a guy named Diamond, and then outlasted 838 opponents through five days of play to win the most coveted bracelet in the poker world.”

[RR] “And the unbelievable name! M-O-N-E-Y-M-A-K-E-R. Unreal. His German ancestors2 may have created silver and gold coins, but Chris popularized a new way of chasing the American dream.”

[LL] “Some people say that the boom was coming no matter what because of the enlightenment of hole cams, the proliferation of shows on TV, and the convenience of Internet poker. But there’s no way that Sammy Farha3, as charismatic as he is, would have had nearly as big an effect.”

[RR] “Yeah, he was already a professional poker player, so the big jump may have had to wait another year, when amateur Greg Raymer won the main event.”

[LL] “Wouldn’t have been the same. Fossilman4 was a *lawyer* ;-). Maybe Jamie Gold if he isn’t too smarmy for people.”

[RR] “But who knows what else would have changed if Moneymaker hadn’t won. Maybe Gold never gets involved in the TV show where he meets Johnny Chan, who then tutors him in Hold ‘Em, and doesn’t enter the 2006 tournament.”

[LL] “Hard to believe Moneymaker’s win was ten years ago. The size of the Main Event field peaked three years later, when Gold won his wheelbarrow of money, but has withstood the shutdown of the major online poker sites in the U.S.”

[RR] “This year there were 6,352 entrants, roughly what it’s been every year since 20075, and I expect it will stay around there until the U.S. government legalizes online gambling again.”

[LL] “States are starting to, so my fingers are crossed that it’ll be in the next few years.”


  1. The end of the tournament was broadcast on ESPN in prime time two weeks after it happened.
  2. The family’s last name was Nurmacher until they moved to England and translated it to Moneymaker.
  3. Sammy Farha finished in second place after a bathroom discussion failed to complete a deal to split the top two prizes. Moneymaker credits that discussion with giving him a big strategic edge as he figured Farha would want to keep pots smaller because of his perceived skill advantage.
  4. Greg Raymer is a fossil collector and uses one as a card protector.
  5. 6,352 is within a thousand of 2010’s 7,319, the highest total of the last seven events and only six below 2007’s 6,358, the previous low of that period.

Related Links:

{ The Hold ‘Em at Home blog is brought to you by THETA Poker Pro, the strongest, fastest, and most configurable Texas Hold ‘Em game for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. }


2013 World Series of Poker Schedule

[LL] “The World Series of Poker starts on Wednesday. I sure would love to play in it someday”, Leroy the Lion noted wistfully.

[RR] “Maybe we could set aside a few bucks from each of our tournaments to send someone to one of the smaller events each year”, Roderick the Rock proposed.

[LL] “I’d be in for that! But we’d need to collect $1,000 for the entry fee, and maybe another $1,000 for airfare, lodging, and spending money.”

[RR] “All the $1K events this year are No-Limit Hold ‘Em. Seven are open bracelet events, which begin on May 30, every Sunday from June 2 to June 30, and a turbo on June 19. If our winner is 50 or older, he can also do the Seniors event that starts on June 14. If the winner is a female, she can enter the June 28th Ladies Championship, which is now cleverly a $10,000 event with a $9,000 discount for women. So, of the 35 No-Limit events, 9 are $1K.”1

[LL] “Isn’t there also a Little One for One Drop charity tournament?”

[RR] “Yes, with a $1,111 buy-in, starting on either July 3 or July 4. Just a little more expensive but they’re re-entry events, which may bum you out a little if you bust out and can’t afford to rebuy.”

[LL] “Too bad the math doesn’t work out. Just collecting from our monthly tournaments wouldn’t be enough, since that would be too steep at $200 per event. But the weeklies could work, say 40 events at $50 each.”

[RR] “Except that you don’t play in those. You’ll have to just keep dreaming.”

[LL] “Maybe when online poker comes back, I can build my bankroll to five figures…”

[RR] “Or win a buy-in through a satellite.”

[LL] “… and then parlay a decent cash in the $1K event into a Main Event buy-in! When does the Main Event start this year anyway?”

[RR] “July 6. There are three Day Ones, and they’ll play down to the final table on July 15. The November Nine will reconvene on November 4.”

[LL] “I’m really looking forward to it, even just as a distant spectator.”

[RR] “Yeah, me too.”


  1. Of the 62 World Series of Poker bracelet events in 2013, 40 (65%) are Hold ‘Em: 35 (56%) No-Limit, two (3%) Pot-Limit, and three (5%) Limit. Nine (15%) are Omaha, three (5%) are Seven-Card Stud, seven (11%) are mixed games, and three (5%) are Razz or Lowball. By buy-in, eleven (18%) are under $1,500, nineteen (31%) are $1,500, ten (16%) are $2,500, six (10%) are $3K, nine (15%) are $5K, four (6%) are $10K, and one each (2%) are $25K, $50K, and $111,111.

Related Links: