Category Archives: WSOP

Big One for One Drop 2014

[LL] “I’ve dreamt of playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event”, Leroy the Lion repeated, “but not even in my craziest fantasies have I considered dropping everything to play in the Big One for One Drop.”

[FF] “You’d have to sell everything you own,” Figaro the Fish commented, “which wouldn’t even be nearly enough in my case.”

[RR] “Even the best pros can’t enter the event at the drop of a hat”, suggested Roderick the Rock. “Most had to line up backers to lower their risk. Even the wealthy businessmen probably needed to shuffle their assets to arrange for a million dollars to enter.”

[FF] “It’s still incredible to me that those rich guys can drop a bundle to enter like it’s just a drop in the bucket to them.”

[LL] “Most of us would struggle just to come up with the deposit, which was $50,000!”

[SS] “Andrew Robl dropped a hint that he would play, but his early confirmation was premature as he dropped out without reserving his spot”, Stan the Stat noted.

[LL] “On the other hand, Bobby Baldwin, Fabian Quoss, and Vivek Rajkumar had promised to play but didn’t, so I think they all lost their deposits. They dropped $50,000, nearly the median household income in the U.S.1 to not play in a tournament. Quoss was last seen trying to satellite in during the event where Erick Lindgren and Connor Drinan won their seats.”

[RR] “And because the event sold out last time, they increased the cap from 48 players to 56.”

[LL] “Alas, though the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino may have changed its signage to the ‘Dew Drop Inn’, nobody dropped in at the last minute to play, even with late registration open for six hours after the tournament started. That left a field of just 42 players, a drop of six from two years ago.”

[SS] “A little disappointing, but in the end the event still raised nearly five million dollars for the One Drop foundation.”

[RR] “Talk about disappointing… I feel really bad for David Einhorn, who was drop-kicked out of the tournament by Sam Trickett just 45 minutes in! The businessman’s set of Jacks was done in by the 2012 runner-up’s Six-high straight.”

[LL] “No need to shed a single tear drop for Einhorn; he’s a hedge fund manager worth well over a billion dollars.”2

[SS] “It cost him $370 for every second he was in the tournament! But that jumpstarted Trickett on his way to ending Day One with the chip lead.”

[RR] “Which didn’t last long, as he dropped back to the pack on Day Two and was felted in 15th place when his pocket rockets were cracked by Negreanu’s trip Nines.”

[SS] “Then things got slow. With eight places being paid, they tried to play through the bubble on the middle day but eventually gave up with nine players remaining.”

[RR] “When the final day began, Negreanu was knocking people out like drop targets in a pinball game; he eventually ended the hopes of seven other players3, including bubble boy Tom Hall on the very first hand of the day, Cary Katz in 8th place, Scott Seiver in 6th, Tobias Reinkemeier in 5th, and Christoph Vogelsang in 3rd, who all dropped like flies within a few orbits of each other.”

[LL] “Fittingly, Negreanu made it to heads up, in a Duel of the Daniels against 24-year-old Daniel Colman. Colman had the drop on Negreanu with a 68,550,000 to 57,450,000 chip lead, but Kid Poker would grab the lead and soon have two-thirds of the chips.”

[SS] “Then Colman fought back and eventually built a big lead when his Ace-Four rivered a full house. Shortly thereafter, on the 46th heads-up hand, it would be Negreanu’s turn to hold Ace-Four.4 His two pairs had the lead on the flop when Colman dropped him to the canvas with a Ten on the turn to fill his inside straight, leaving the Canadian drawing unsuccessfully to four outs for a full house.”

[LL] “The 2014 Big One was definitely good to the last drop.”

[RR] “As much as I was rooting for Negreanu, I’m also happy that Colman won. He’s from Massachusetts, a small town called Holden near Worcester.”

[FF] “Maybe they should rename his home town from Holden to Holdem in his honor!”

[LL] “He wouldn’t want the publicity. He dropped a bombshell after winning by refusing interview requests.”

[SS] “Colman issued a statement5 but would just as soon drop out of sight.”

[LL] “Negreanu may have lost the heads-up battle, but he could teach the kid some a thing or two6 about handling fame.”

[SS] “Meanwhile, Negreanu’s own big payday moved him to the top of the all-time career tournament earnings list, dropping 2012 winner Antonio Esfandiari into second place.”

[SS] “Some other tidbits:

  • Only 17 players from the 2012 event returned in 2014. Five of them cashed the first time and five others the second time.
  • Of the ten amateur businessmen who entered the event, three cashed: Rick Salomon (4th), Paul Newey (7th), and Cary Katz (8th).
  • Germany was well-represented in the event. Five German pros played, and two cashed (Vogelsang in 3rd and Reinkemeier in 5th).
  • The all-time career earnings list is now headed by Negreanu (2nd place in 2014 One Drop) and Esfandiari (1st place in 2012 One Drop). Six of the top ten cashed in one of the two Big Ones (Colman jumped from 267th to 6th and Seiver from 19th to 10th; Trickett remained 5th, and Hellmuth dropped from 6th to 7th).
  • While World Series of Poker Main Event champions once dominated the career earnings list, only Hellmuth remains in the Top Ten. Eight former world champs now sit between 11th (Jonathan Duhamel) and 25th (Joe Cada).”7

Footnotes:

  1. The median annual household income in the U.S. was $51,017 in 2012.
  2. David Einhorn’s Wikipedia page says that he was worth $1.25 billion as of March 2013.
  3. Daniel Negreanu eliminated three more players than Ivey, Katz, and Salomon (4 each) and four more than Trickett and Colman (3 each).
  4. Third place finisher Vogelsang also busted out holding Ace-Four.
  5. Colman’s statement is quoted in this CardPlayer article.
  6. Negreanu commented at length in his blog.
  7. The others: Jamie Gold (13th), Joe Hachem (14th), Scotty Nguyen (15th), Carlos Mortensen (18th), Peter Eastgate (20th), and Gregory Merson (21st).
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2014 WSOP Main Event Odds

[SS] “Obviously, the World Series of Poker Main Event is so large that it’s almost absurd to bet on a single player to win it all”, Stan the Stat opened.

[LL] “I’d still bet it’s better to bet on the better bettor”, Leroy the Lion contended.

[RR] “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck…”, Roderick the Rock joked.

[SS] “But what if you could pick a group of players? Would you guys be up for a simple pool where you get a team of players instead of just one?”

[LL] “Sounds like fantasy poker. But drafts take a long time, and we’ve got like ten minutes before we have to shuffle up and deal.”

[SS] “No, I’m proposing something much simpler, and nice and easy to track who you’re rooting for and against.”

[RR] “Do tell.”

[SS] “Each person gets a themed team of five players, like Former Main Event champs, Former Main Event Runner Ups, etc.”

[LL] “I’ll take Team USA!”

[SS] “A little too big of a pool to choose from. Let’s say your candidate pool had to be under 5% of last year’s total field; you can have any country except the USA or Canada.”

[RR] “I’ll take the WSOP Bracelet Winners team.”

[SS] “Sorry, I meant to say you couldn’t have that, or a career earnings-based team, since that would include too many of the very top players. But I’ll let you have a team where all your players have the same number of bracelets. As an exception to the 5% rule, you can even have a no-bracelets team, since that’s limiting in its own special way. For example, any of these teams would be pretty strong:

  • 0 Bracelets: Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, Joseph Cheong, and Sam Trickett
  • 1 Bracelet: Ben Lamb, Bertrand Grospellier, Jake Cody, David Benyamine, and Gavin Smith
  • 2 Bracelets: J.C. Tran, Jason Mercier, Robert Mizrachi, Vitaly Lunkin, and Josh Arieh
  • 3 Bracelets: Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi, Vanessa Selbst, Jeff Madsen, and Matt Matros
  • 4 Bracelets: Mike Matusow, Daniel Alaei, Huck Seed, Bobby Baldwin, and Tom McEvoy
  • 5 Bracelets: Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, Jeff Lisandro, John Juanda, and Scotty Nguyen”
  • 6 Bracelets: Daniel Negreanu, Layne Flack, Ted Forrest, T.J. Cloutier, and Jay Heimowitz”

[RR] “I’ll take the jewelry-less team; like rooting for one of my own kind.”

[LL] “What if none of our players wins, which seems likely?”

[SS] “How about half the money for the last player standing and refund the rest.”

[LL] “Sounds good. I’ll take Team Phil: Ivey, Hellmuth, Galfond, Laak, and Gordon.”

[SS] “Excellent. Some other first names could produce strong teams:

  • Team Andrew: Robl, Lichtenberger, Frankenberger, Black, and Bloch
  • Team Daniel: Negreanu, Smith, Alaei, Cates, and Wong
  • Team David: Benyamine, Benefield, Einhorn, Pham, and Oppenheim
  • Team John: Chan, Duhamel, Juanda, Hennigan, and Monnette
  • Team Joseph: Cada, Hachem, Sebok, Cheong, and Serock
  • Team Michael: Mizrachi, Matusow, McDonald, Watson, and Sexton”

[TT] “It’s my clear-cut inclination / To stake Team Alliteration / The Grinder, the Mouth, and the Beast / Luckbox and Timex last not least.”1

[SS] “So, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Matusow, Ryan Riess, John Juanda, and Mike McDonald.”

[RR] “Too bad, that’s only three-fifths M&Ms.”

[SS] “On further thought, I’ll actually go with the 1-Bracelet team. They’ve all proven they can do it.”

[DD] “Do you have room for one more?” asked Deb the Duchess as she joined the group.

[SS] “Of course!”

[DD] “Then I’ll take the women as a matter of principle: Vanessa Selbst, Annette Obrestad, Maria Ho, Victoria Coren, and Vanessa Rousso.”2

[RR] “We can settle up at next month’s home tourney.”

[SS] “Oh, in case you’re wondering, here are the 25 players with the best chances of winning the Main Event according to one online betting site:3

  • 150-to-1: Phil Ivey
  • 175-to-1: Daniel Negreanu
  • 200-to-1: Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Johnny Chan
  • 225-to-1: Ben Lamb, Doyle Brunson (!),4 Ryan Riess, J.C. Tran, Allen Cunningham, Gus Hansen
  • 250-to-1: Chris Ferguson, Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Bertrand ElkY Grospellier, Juha Helppi, Patrik Antonius
  • 300-to-1: Michael Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi, Tom Dwan, Mike Matusow, Jonathan Duhamel, David Benyamine, Gavin Smith, Eric Seidel”

[TT] “Rod’s gambling on Team Bracelets None / Stan’s topped him with Team Bracelets One / Leroy’s gone to Hellmuth with Phil / Deb has Team XX for the kill / And to end, Team Alliteration / Is my own prognostication.”

Update (July 13, 2014)

With Team Phil’s Galfond (527th for $22,678) and Ivey (464th for $25,756 after he ended Day 2 as the chip leader) bowing out on Day 4, only Team Alliteration (John Juanda) and Team XX (Maria Ho) were still alive. None of the other picks cashed.

Juanda busted out in 293rd for $33,734, so Deb won the pool with Maria Ho, who duplicated her 2007 feat as the Last Woman Standing. She ended up busting early on Day 6, as her short stack compelled her to shove under the gun with just the J♦8♦, losing to a pair of Queens to finish 77th for $85,812.

Footnotes:

  1. Michael Mizrachi (The Grinder), Mike Matusow (The Mouth), Ryan Riess (The Beast), John Juanda (Luckbox), and Mike McDonald (Timex).
  2. An all-female team just meets the 5% rule (4.69% of the 2013 field), possibly for the last time.
  3. Carbon Sports has these current lines.
  4. If it’s even possible in such a large field, Brunson was a sucker’s bet at 225-to-1. He almost undoubtedly played his last Main Event in 2013. [Footnote added July 6, 2014]
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Stan’s Lists – Last Woman Standing at the World Series of Poker Main Event

[SS] “Do you two”, began Stan the Stat, addressing Mildred the Mouse and Deb the Duchess, “think it’s sexist that there’s a Ladies event at the WSOP or that we talk about the ‘Last Woman Standing’ in the WSOP Main Event?”

[MM] “No, why would we think that?” Mildred suggested.

[DD] “The topics themselves aren’t sexist, but how you talk about them could be”, added Deb.

[MM] “I’d love to play in a poker tournament with just women. I don’t think I’d have any better chance to win, but it would be more fun.”

[DD] “Yeah, I’m glad they finally figured out a practical and legal way to get those loser men out of the Ladies event.”1

[MM] “Like ladies’ night at a bar. I’m really surprised they didn’t figure it out sooner.”

[DD] “They’ve had a Women’s World Chess Championship since 1927, and I don’t remember any uproar about sexism there.”

[SS] “What about ‘Last Woman Standing’?”

[MM] “Someone has to be.”

[DD] “Until a woman wins the Main Event, it’s a reasonable thing to discuss. Once it happens, and it will happen, it won’t be very interesting anymore.”

[RR] “I’d even go so far as to say that some company should sponsor a prize for Last Woman Standing”, Roderick the Rock contributed. “If they can have a Jack Links Beef Jerky Wild Card Hand…”

[SS] “There was a Wicked Chops Last Woman Standing Cup, but that only lasted from 2009 to 2011.”

[DD] “Now that is a sexist poker site.2 I can see why that didn’t last. How about Go Girl, which sells a device to allow women to pee standing up?” Deb joked.

[RR] “And why isn’t it Last Woman Sitting anyway?”

[SS] “It’s just a twist on an old idiom, unfortunately of unknown origin.”

[RR] “But nobody stands up when they’re playing poker.”

[DD] “A lot of players stand up when they’re all in.”

[RR] “I stand corrected.”

[DD] “Glad to fix your misunderstanding.”

[MM] “I can’t stand any more of this.”

[SS] “Then it’s time for me to stand up and deliver. Here’s every Last Woman Standing and runner-up:”

Last Woman Standing at the WSOP Main Event3

Year Last Woman Place % 2nd to Last Woman Place %
1986 Wendeen Eolis 25 17.7%
1993 Marsha Waggoner 19 8.6% Wendeen Eolis 20 9.1%
1994 Barbara Samuelson 10 3.7% Annie Duke 26 9.7%
1995 Barbara Enright 5 1.8%
1996 Lucy Rokach 26 8.8%
1997 Marsha Waggoner 12 3.8%
1998 Susie Isaacs 10 2.9% Kathy Liebert 17 4.9%
2000 Annie Duke 10 2.0% Kathy Liebert 17 3.3%
2003 Annie Duke 47 5.6%
2004 Rose Richie 98 3.8% Lucy Rokach 159 6.2%
2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 0.3% Sarah Bilney 63 1.1%
2006 Sabyl Cohen-Landrum 56 0.6% Annie Duke 88 1.0%
2007 Maria Ho 38 0.6% Kelly Jo McGlothlin 95 1.5%
2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 0.2% Lisa Parsons 76 1.1%
2009 Leo Margets 27 0.4% Nichoel Peppe 75 1.2%
2010 Breeze Zuckerman 121 1.7% Dorothy Von Sachsen 273 3.7%
2011 Erika Moutinho 29 0.4% Amanda Musumeci 62 0.9%
2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 0.2% Elisabeth Hille 11 0.2%
2013 Jackie Glazier 31 0.5% Beverly Lange 86 1.4%
2014 Maria Ho4 77 1.2% Mikiyo Aoki 83 1.2%
2015 Kelly Minkin4 29 0.5% Diana Svensk 83 1.3%
2016 Gaelle Baumann4 102 1.5% Melanie Weisner 127 1.9%
2017 Yuan-Yuan Li4 105 1.5% Jessica Ngu 108 1.5%
2018 Kelly Minkin4 50 0.6% Natalie Teh 120 1.5%

[SS] “Some notes:

  • No women played in the World Series of Poker Main Event until Barbara Freer broke the ice in 1978.
  • In 1979, Betty Carey joined Freer, and in 1980 Colette Doherty made it a trio. That year’s field of 73 was 4.1% female, a level that wasn’t surpassed until 2013, when 298 of the 6,352 players (4.7%) were women.
  • Wendeen Eolis became the first woman to cash, partly because they went from paying only 9 players out of 140 in 1985 to 36 of 141 in 1986; she only won her entry fee back. There followed a drought of six years before she and Waggoner cashed in 1993 (albeit for just $12,000).
  • Enright and Isaacs both won the Ladies World Championship (in Seven-Card Stud) the year before they were the Last Woman Standing, and it was the second title for each (having also won in 1986 and 1996, respectively).
  • No women cashed in 1999, 2001, or 2002, which is the last year that will ever be true.
  • Annie Duke’s four appearances on this list are the most cashes for any woman in Main Event history, one more than Kathy Liebert (1998, 2000, and 2006), Jackie Glazier (2010, 2012, and 2013), and Kristy Gazes (2009, 2011, and 2013).
  • Erika Moutinho outlasted her then-boyfriend Doc Sands by one spot. They got married in 2013.”

[SS] “Barbara Enright’s fifth place finish in 1995 was the highest ever and the only final table for a woman, but as a percentage of the field, Gaelle Baumann’s tenth place finish in 2012 was the best and matched Elisabeth Hille for the largest cash. That gives us three ways to look at the best female results in the Main Event:”

Top Female Main Event Finishes by Place

Rank Year Player Place Field % Prize
1 1995 Barbara Enright 5 273 1.83% $114,180
2 2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 6,598 0.15% $590,442
2000 Annie Duke 512 1.95% $52,160
1998 Susie Isaacs 350 2.86% $40,000
1994 Barbara Samuelson 268 3.73% $26,880
6 2012 Elisabeth Hille 11 6,598 0.17% $590,442
7 1997 Marsha Waggoner 12 312 3.50% $33,920
8 2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 5,619 0.27% $400,000
9 2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 6,844 0.25% $334,534
2000 Kathy Liebert 512 3.32% $39,120
1998 350 4.86% $30,000

Top Female Main Event Finishes by Percent

Rank Year Player Place Field % Prize
1 2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 6,598 0.15% $590,442
2 2012 Elisabeth Hille 11 6,598 0.17% $590,442
3 2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 6,844 0.25% $334,534
4 2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 5,619 0.27% $400,000
5 2009 Leo Margets 27 6,494 0.42%4 $352,832
6 2011 Erika Moutinho 29 6,865 0.42%4 $242,636
7 2015 Kelly Minkin 29 6,420 0.45% $211,821
8 2013 Jackie Glazier 31 6,352 0.49% $229,281
9 2007 Maria Ho 38 6,358 0.60% $237,865
10 2006 Sabyl Cohen-Landrum 56 8,773 0.64% $123,699

Top Female Main Event Finishes by Prize

Rank Year Player Place Field % Prize
1 2012 Gaelle Baumann 10 6,598

0.15% $590,442
Elisabeth Hille 11 0.17%
3 2005 Tiffany Williamson 15 5,619

0.27% $400,000
4 2009 Leo Margets 27 6,494

0.42% $352,832
5 2008 Tiffany Michelle 17 6,844

0.25% $334,534
6 2011 Erika Moutinho 29 6,865

0.42% $242,636
7 2007 Maria Ho 38 6,358

0.60% $237,865
8 2013 Jackie Glazier 31 6,352

0.49% $229,281
9 2015 Kelly Minkin 29 6,420

0.45% $211,821
10 2005 Sarah Bilney 63 5,619

1.12% $145,875

Footnotes:

  1. After all these years, the solution was amazingly simple: make the event a $10,000 buy-in with a 90% discount for women. The Ladies World Championship started as a $100 Seven-Card Stud event in 1977, with the buy-in increasing to $1,000 by 1992. In 2000, the event switched to half stud and half Limit Hold ‘Em. In 2005, the tournament finally became No Limit Hold ‘Em.
  2. Wicked Chops Poker’s current tagline is “A daily dose of all things poker + girls”, and the header says, “Poker News, Gossip + Hot Girls”.
  3. The Last Woman Standing title is traditionally only bestowed if the player has made the money. The percentage columns are the percent of the field remaining.
  4. Table updated on July 13, 2014, as Maria Ho duplicated her 2007 feat and became the third woman to earn the crown twice (after Marsha Waggoner and Annie Duke). Updated July 15, 2015: Kelly Minkin settled for a $211,821 score. Updated July 17, 2016: Gaelle Baumann took home the crown for a second time. Updated July 17, 2017: Yuan-Yuan Li edged Jessica Ngu by just three places. Updated July 15, 2018: Kelly Minkin won her second crown in four years.
  5. Margets edged Moutinho out for the fifth spot, 0.416% to 0.422%.

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2014 WSOP Main Event Polarized Payouts

[SS] “You know what else will probably be polarized?”1 Stan the Stat teased. “The payouts for the Main Event.”

[SS] “Because they decided to guarantee $10,000,000 for first place, a larger percentage of the prize pool goes to a single player. If we’re close to last year’s 6,352 players, it won’t matter much ($1,640,768 more to first at the expense of a little from every other prize). Despite the nearly steady drop from a peak of 8,773 entries in 2006, I think they took a fairly safe marketing gamble. The four-year trend2 said that we’d have just over 6,000 players this year, which is safe enough. With the extra attraction of the ten million dollar prize, they may have managed to stop the slide.”

[LL] “But even if the number of players bounces back, we’ll never know why”, Leroy the Lion argued. “It could be because people got their Full Tilt Poker funds back.”

[RR] “Or the economy in general”, Roderick the Rock suggested.

[SS] “True enough. It’s almost impossible to analyze anything with a sample size of one.”

[LL] “And no control to compare against.”

[SS] “At least the winner will be happy! If the field size doesn’t rise or fall, everyone but first place will win 3.3% less, with the places 19 and below being hurt a little less and 2nd to 18th place hurt a little more (16th to 18th get the worst of it at -7.3%).”

[RR] “I don’t like it at all. One player gets more at the expense of every other player who cashes.”

[SS] “But it’s only recently that first place paid so little percentagewise. Until 1977, the WSOP Main Event was a winner-take-all tournament. For the next eight years, first prize was half of the prize pool. The percentage remained in the forties through 1993, then wandered lower to 25.2% in 2001 before rebounding to 33.7% in 2002 and 32.0% Chris Moneymaker’s year. Only with the following boom in field sizes did first prize drop to just over 20% before ranging from thirteen and fifteen percent ever since.”

First Prize as Percentage of Main Event Prize Pool3

Year Winner Prize Pool 1st Prize %
1971 Johnny Moss $30,000 $30,000 100.0%
1972 Amarillo Slim Preston $80,000 $80,000 100.0%
1973 Puggy Pearson $130,000 $130,000 100.0%
1974 Johnny Moss $160,000 $160,000 100.0%
1975 Sailor Roberts $210,000 $210,000 100.0%
1976 Doyle Brunson $220,000 $220,000 100.0%
1977 Doyle Brunson $340,000 $340,000 100.0%
1978 Bobby Baldwin $420,000 $210,000 50.0%
1979 Hal Fowler $540,000 $270,000 50.0%
1980 Stu Ungar $730,000 $365,000 50.0%
1981 Stu Ungar $750,000 $375,000 50.0%
1982 Jack Straus $1,040,000 $520,000 50.0%
1983 Tom McEvoy $1,080,000 $540,000 50.0%
1984 Jack Keller $1,320,000 $660,000 50.0%
1985 Bill Smith $1,400,000 $700,000 50.0%
1986 Berry Johnston $1,410,000 $570,000 40.4%
1987 Johnny Chan $1,520,000 $625,000 41.1%
1988 Johnny Chan $1,670,000 $700,000 41.9%
1989 Phil Hellmuth, Jr. $1,780,000 $755,000 42.4%
1990 Mansour Matloubi $1,940,000 $895,000 46.1%
1991 Brad Daugherty $2,150,000 $1,000,000 46.5%
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi $2,010,000 $1,000,000 49.8%
1993 Jim Bechtel $2,200,000 $1,000,000 45.5%
1994 Russ Hamilton $2,680,000 $1,000,000 37.3%
1995 Dan Harrington $2,730,000 $1,000,000 36.6%
1996 Huck Seed $2,950,000 $1,000,000 33.9%
1997 Stu Ungar $3,120,000 $1,000,000 32.1%
1998 Scotty Nguyen $3,500,000 $1,000,000 28.6%
1999 Noel Furlong $3,930,000 $1,000,000 25.4%
2000 Chris Ferguson $5,120,000 $1,500,000 29.3%
2001 Carlos Mortensen $5,946,100 $1,500,000 25.2%
2002 Robert Varkonyi $5,936,400 $2,000,000 33.7%
2003 Chris Moneymaker $7,802,700 $2,500,000 32.0%
2004 Greg Raymer $24,229,400 $5,000,000 20.6%
2005 Joe Hachem $52,818,610 $7,500,000 14.2%
2006 Jamie Gold $82,512,162 $12,000,000 14.5%
2007 Jerry Yang $59,784,954 $8,250,000 13.8%
2008 Peter Eastgate $64,333,600 $9,152,416 14.2%
2009 Joe Cada $61,043,600 $8,546,435 14.0%
2010 Jonathan Duhamel $68,799,059 $8,944,310 13.0%
2011 Pius Heinz $64,531,000 $8,715,638 13.5%
2012 Greg Merson $62,021,200 $8,527,982 13.8%
2013 Ryan Riess $59,708,800 $8,359,531 14.0%
2014 ? $59,708,800 $10,000,000 16.7%

[SS] “With 6,352 players, the winner would take home one-sixth of the prize pool. It would take a major jump to 7,000 entries for the winner to get just 15% of the prize pool, which would be the highest in the last decade but still lower than every year before that. On the other hand, the field would have to drop to an unlikely low of 5,200 players for the winner to take over 20%.”

[SS] “Doesn’t look so bad when you put it in historical context now, does it?”

[RR] “I guess we’re just going to have to live with our polarized opinions on this.”

Footnotes:

  1. See the previous discussion on the 2014 WSOP Schedule, with its polarized buyins.
  2. Main Event entries from 2010 to 2013: 7,319, 6,865, 6,598, and 6,352.
  3. In 1970, the first year of the WSOP, Johnny Moss was given a silver cup and got to keep his winnings from playing. The 2014 prize pool and 1st place percentage are hypothetical based on 6,352 entries.

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Stan’s Lists – WSOP Main Event Streaks

[SS] “Speaking of streakers. I don’t think there’s ever been one at the Major League Baseball World Series1, but there was one at the 2008 College Baseball World Series. I wonder if anyone’s ever done it at the World Series of Poker?”

[LL] “Plenty of people have lost their shirts playing poker.”

[RR] “I’ve lost way more than my shirt playing strip poker.”

[LL] “So glad I wasn’t there to see that.”

[SS] “Poker may not be famous for streakers, GoldenPalace.com notwithstanding,2 but here are a few Hold ‘Em players famous for their Main Event streaks.”

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Wins

[SS] “I already mentioned this; four players have won the Main Event in consecutive years: Johnny Moss (1970-71), Doyle Brunson (1976-77), Stu Ungar (1980-81), and Johnny Chan (1987-88). Obviously, Ryan Riess can join them this year, which would be a phenomenally more impressive achievement.”

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Final Tables

[SS] “Technically, lots of players reached multiple consecutive final tables in the early years of the event, but let’s be stricter and restrict this list to the winners until 1977 (when the event was winner-take-all), the top five from 1978 to 1980 (when only the top five cashed), the top six from 1981 to 2000, and the top nine since 2001 (when the final table expanded from six to nine players).”

[SS] “Under these rules, only Jesse Alto (1984-86) and Johnny Chan (1987-89) have reached three consecutive final tables. Seven players have reached back-to-back final tables: Berry Johnston (1985-86), Bill Smith (1985-86), Dan Harrington (2003-04), Doyle Brunson (1976-77 and 1982-83), Jay Heimowitz (1980-81), Johnny Moss (1970-71 and 1979-80), and Stu Ungar (1980-81). Ryan Riess and the other 2013 November Niners can become the first to repeat since Harrington in 2004.”

Update: July 15, 2014

Mark Newhouse made the 2014 November Nine to join this list of Final Table repeaters. His impressive back-to-back runs were in fields of 6,352 and 6,683 players.

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Cashes

[SS] “Ronnie Bardah set a new record by cashing in his fifth consecutive Main Event in 2014.3 Six players have cashed in four in a row: Robert Turner (1991-94; 6th in 1994), Bo Sehlstedt (2004-07), Theodore Park (2005-08), Chris Bjorin (2008-11), Diogo Borges (2008-11), and Christian Harder (2010-13). Only 34 players have cashed more than four times in their entire careers (41 more have cashed exactly four times).4

Consecutive WSOP Main Event Tournaments Played

[SS] “Howard Andrew has played in 40 consecutive Main Events (since 1974), which is also tied with Doyle Brunson for the most Main Events total (every year since 1971 except 1999-2001; Brunson also played in 1970 when there was no Main Event per se).”

Footnotes:

  1. Even Morganna, the Kissing Bandit, never crashed the World Series; she was arrested after jumping onto the field at an All-Star game, however.
  2. Online poker site GoldenPalace.com ran a streaker marketing campaign and stayed in the news in early to mid 2000s by purchasing various random items at auctions.
  3. Updated on July 11, 2014, when Bardah reached the final 693 players. {July 9, 2015: He failed to cash in 2015.}
  4. See the Hendon Mob’s career cashes list. Bjorin is tied for 5th place with seven. Bardah and Harder are incorrectly listed with just three cashes, however [before the 2014 Main Event].

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Stan’s Lists – WSOP Bracelet Streaks

[SS] “Okay guys, two super hard trivia questions for you about the World Series of Poker”, Stan the Stat promised.

[LL] “Shoot”, Leroy the Lion encouraged.

[SS] “Who was the last player to win consecutive WSOP events?”

[LL] “Layne Flack. I thought you said these were hard.”

[SS] “They are. Flack won consecutive events that he entered in 2002, but they were actually events #4 and #19 on the schedule. And believe it or not, that’s not where he got the nickname Back-to-Back Flack anyway!”

[RR] “Really?” Roderick the Rock wondered.

[SS] “Three years earlier, he had won back-to-back events in Seven Card Stud and Limit Hold ‘Em at the Legends of Poker in Los Angeles. Any other guesses?”

[LL] “Nope.”

[RR] “Me neither.”

[SS] “Just as well, as I could give you a hundred guesses, and you wouldn’t get the answer without Googling… It was Hilbert Shirey in 1995.”

[RR] “I don’t even recognize his name.”

[SS] “His other major claim to fame was bubbling the final table of the 1991 Main Event. He also won another bracelet in 1987.”

[SS] “You ready for the second question?”

[LL & RR simultaneously] “No.”

[SS] “Who was the only player to win back-to-back bracelets twice?”

[LL] “Very few people have won four bracelets, so at least this is guessable. Johnny Moss?”

[SS] “No.”

[RR] “Doyle Brunson?”

[SS] “No.”

[LL] “Amarillo Slim?”

[SS] “No.”

[RR] “Somebody with just four or five bracelets?”

[SS] “Yes.”

[LL] “There can only be a handful of players who’ve even won multiple bracelets in multiple years!”

[SS] “And you’ve already named most of them.”

[RR] “And it has to be before 1995, so that rules out Ivey, Hellmuth, and Ferguson.”

[LL] “I give up. Who was it?”

[SS] “Gary Berland, in 1978 and 1979, taking down one Razz and three Seven Card Stud events. He had two high Main Event finishes: second behind Brunson in 1977 (technically the cash bubble boy) and third in 1986.”

[RR] “Those questions were way too hard.”

[SS] “Okay then, here’s a much easier one. Who were the only two players to win three consecutive events?”

[LL] “I actually know this one. Amazingly, they did it the same year.”

[RR] “I remember Phil Hellmuth bragging about it.”

[LL] “Yep. And then Ted Forrest matched him just a few days later!”

[SS] “In one way, Forrest outdid Hellmuth though; Hellmuth captured three Hold ‘Em bracelets, but Forrest won in Seven Card Stud, Razz, and Omaha Hi/Lo!”

Consecutive WSOP Events Won

# Player Year Events
3 Phil Hellmuth 1993 #7: $2,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em; #8: $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em; #9: $5,000 Limit Hold ‘Em
Ted Forrest 1993 #11: $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud; #12: $1,500 Limit Razz; #13: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
2 Johnny Moss 1971 #4: $1,000 Limit Ace to Five Draw; #5: $5,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Main Event
Jimmy Casella 1974 #1: $10,000 Limit Seven Card Stud; #2: $1,000 Limit Razz
Howard Andrew 1976 #1: $2,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em; #2: $1,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em
Bobby Baldwin 1977 #2: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball; #3: $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud
Gary Berland 1978 #2: $1,000 Limit Razz; #3: $500 Limit Seven Card Stud
Gary Berland 1979 #2: $500 Limit Seven Card Stud; #3: $1,000 Limit Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo
Lakewood Louie 1979 #7: $1,000 Limit Ace to Five Draw; #8: $2,000 Limit Draw High
Stu Ungar 1981 #12: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball; #13: $10,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em Main Event
Billy Baxter 1982 #1: $2,500 No Limit Ace to Five Draw; #2: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball
Dewey Tomko 1984 #11: $10,000 No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball; #12: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/Re-buys
Humberto Brenes 1993 #16: $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha; #17: $2,500 Limit Hold ‘Em
T.J. Cloutier 1994 #14: $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo; #15: $2,500 Pot Limit Hold ‘Em
Hilbert Shirey 1995 #18: $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha (w/Re-buys); #19: $2,500 Pot Limit Hold ‘Em

[SS] “Ungar was the only Main Event winner to also win the previous event.”

[SS] “Okay, same idea but for years instead of events… What two players have won at least one bracelet in four consecutive years?”

[RR] “Probably players we just guessed.”

[SS] “One of them is.”

[LL] “Moss, Brunson, …”

[SS] “Texas Dolly’s one, from 1976 to 1979. Someone did it before him though.”

[RR] “Someone really old.”

[SS] “Deceased, actually.”

[LL] “Amarillo Slim? Puggy Pearson?”

[SS] “No and no.”

[RR] “I concede.”

[SS] “Bill Boyd. He won a Limit Five-Card Stud event every year from 1971 to 1974 and was instrumental in popularizing Omaha as the Golden Nugget’s director of operations.”

Consecutive Years Winning a WSOP Bracelet

# Player Years
4 Bill Boyd 1971-74
Doyle Brunson 1976-79*
3 Johnny Moss 1974-76
Bobby Baldwin 1977-79
Gary Berland 1977-79
Lakewood Louie 1978-80
Erik Seidel 1992-94
Allen Cunningham 2005-07
Matt Matros 2010-12
Michael Mizrachi 2010-12
Robert Mizrachi 2014-161

{* Brunson’s 1979 bracelet was in Mixed Doubles with Starla Brodie.}

[SS] “Eight players have won a bracelet in three consecutive years, and two have a chance to join them this year: Michael Gathy and Roger Hairabedian.

[LL] “Interesting that nobody hit a three-bagger from 1981 to 1991 and 1995 to 2004. We would have gone a quarter of a century without one if not for Seidel.”

[SS] “Last question: what players have won at least one bracelet in the most consecutive decades? Only one of them is obvious.”

[RR] “Brunson again?”

[SS] “Nope, but he and Chip Reese get honorable mentions for winning bracelets in three out of four decades.”

[LL] “The obvious one must be Hellmuth, since he won the Main Event in 1989, giving him the 1980s to the 2010s.”

[SS] “Correct. And I’ll give you the other two: Jay Heimowitz was the first to do it in 2000 (1970s to 2000s), and Bill Baxter joined him in 2002. Both of their streaks started in the 1970s, so they still have six years to pass Hellmuth.”

Consecutive Decades Winning a WSOP Bracelet

# Player Years
4 Jay Heimowitz 1975 1986 1991 1994 2000 2001
Bill Baxter 1975 1978 1982 [2] 1987 1993 2002
Phil Hellmuth 1989 1992 1993 [3] 1997 2001 2003 [2] 2006 2007 2012 [2]2
3 Amarillo Slim Preston 1972 1974 1985 1990
Johnny Chan 1985 1987 1988 1994 1997 2000 2002 2003 [2] 2005
Berry Johnston 1983 1986 1990 1995 2001
Mickey Appleman 1980 1992 1995 2003
T.J. Cloutier 1987 1994 [2] 1998 2004 2005
Men Nguyen 1992 1995 [2] 1996 2003 [2] 2010
Sam Farha 1996 2006 2010
Peter Vilandos 1995 2009 2012
Mike Matusow 1999 2002 2008 2013
David Chiu 1996 1998 2000 2005 2013
Daniel Negreanu 1998 2003 2004 2008 20133
Ted Forrest 1993 [3], 2004 [2], 2014

[SS] “Twelve players have a bracelet in three consecutive decades, with Amarillo Slim Preston being the first to do it in 1990, a year before Heimowitz. Chan, Johnston, Appleman, and Cloutier can join the four-decade list in the next six years, while Nguyen, Farha, Vilandos, Negreanu, Chiu, and Matusow will have to wait until 2020 to extend their streaks.”4

[SS] Four players are on both the events and years lists (Baldwin, Berland, Moss, and Louie), three are on both the events and decades lists (Hellmuth, Cloutier, and Forrest), but nobody is on both the years and decades lists (either Brunson or Seidel could be the first with a bracelet in the 2010s).

Footnotes:

  1. Robert Mizrachi joined the list by winning the $10,000 Seven Card Stud event on June 6, 2016.
  2. Hellmuth’s two 2012 bracelets include one in Europe.
  3. Negreanu’s two 2013 bracelets were in Asia and Europe.
  4. Twenty people have until 2019 to join the list of players with a bracelet in three consecutive decades: Chau Giang, Chris Bjorin, David Grey, Doyle Brunson, Eli Balas, Erik Seidel, Farzad Bonyadi, Freddy Deeb, Hoyt Corkins, Huck Seed, John Cernuto, Josh Arieh, Layne Flack, O’Neil Longson, Paul Clark, Randy Holland, Scotty Nguyen, Steve Zolotow, and Tony Ma.5
  5. Ted Forrest won the $1,500 Razz Event on June 1, 2014 [and was therefore moved from footnote 4 into the table above].

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2014 WSOP Schedule and the Ivey/Negreanu Bracelet Bet

[LL] “At long last, the World Series of Poker starts on Tuesday!” Leroy the Lion announced.

[RR] “Not for me”, Roderick the Rock differed. “I consider it to begin when ESPN starts showing new episodes in late July.”

[SS] “I’m in between you guys. I don’t pay much attention until the Main Event starts, which is July 5 this year.”

[LL] “What do you think of this year’s schedule?”

[SS] “At first glance, it doesn’t look like much has changed, with 65 total events, up just 3 from last year. But if you look closer, there’s been quite a shift…

Do you like polarized hand ranges? How about polarized buy-in ranges? Compared to last year, the schedule now features eight more low buy-in events (one $1,000 [Pot-Limit Omaha] and seven $1,500) and nine more $10,000 buy-in events at the expense of the middle buy-in events (eight fewer $2,500, three fewer $3,000, and five fewer $5,000). And that’s ignoring the return of the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop, which alternates every other year with a $111,111 buy-in event.”

[LL] “Seems like the WSOP has decided to separately target the amateurs, who prefer the lower buy-ins, and the pros, who prefer the larger buy-ins.”

[RR] “Sure, except the Main Event, which stands alone as a high buy-in event that amateurs love to play.”

[SS] “Amateurs also prefer Hold ‘Em, which lost four events but still accounts for over half of the tournaments (33 of 65 for 50.8%, down from 36 of 62 for 58.1%). The variety of games has improved, with three more Razz/Lowball events, one more Omaha, two more Mixed, and one more Stud.”

The Ivey/Negreanu Bracelet Bet

[RR] “Stan, what’s your analysis of the Ivey/Negreanu bracelet bet?”

[SS] “You mean, even money that neither of them wins a bracelet at this summer’s WSOP?”1

[RR] “Yes.”

[SS] “Negreanu hasn’t won a bracelet in Vegas since 2008 and Ivey since 2010, so it sure seems like a good bet. But I wouldn’t take it.

[RR] “Why not?”

[SS] “If you count just their Las Vegas bracelets — Negreanu has four in 16 years, and Ivey has eight in 14 years — the odds seem to be strongly in your favor. But throw in the three bracelets they’ve won outside the U.S. (both have one at the WSOP Asia, and Negreanu has one at the WSOP Europe), and you’re talking exactly one per year in just a few more events. Then add in the fact that neither, especially Ivey,2 has always played a full schedule, and it seems pretty clear that it’s a sucker’s bet.”3

Footnotes:

  1. CardPlayer says that Negreanu will take bets from $5,000 to a million, but he later said that it’s mostly Ivey’s wager, not his.
  2. Ivey even sat out the entire World Series of Poker in 2011, publicly explaining that he was protesting Full Tilt poker’s failure to pay back funds to U.S. players.
  3. Indeed, Ivey won his tenth bracelet in the $1,500 Eight Game Mixed event on June 27, 2014 to win the bet.

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Stan’s Lists – WSOP Main Event Repeat Champions

[SS] “This is one of my rare lists that I don’t expect to ever need to update”, Stan the Stat told Roderick the Rock. “Four players have captured the WSOP Main Event more than once, and all of them won in consecutive years.”

[SS] “Johnny Moss was the first, winning the event by vote in 1970 then capturing the championship at the table the next year. Three years later, he added a third title.”

[SS] “Doyle Brunson was the second, winning in 1976 and 1977.”

[SS] “Stu Ungar was the third, winning in 1980 and 1981, then adding a third sixteen years later!”

[SS] “Johnny Chan was the last, winning in 1987 and 1988. He was just two hands away from winning his third in a row in 1989 but never overcame Phil Hellmuth’s heads-up chip lead.”

[SS] “It’s incredibly unlikely we’ll have another multiple winner as long as there are over six thousand entrants each year (as there have since 2006).”

[RR] “Tiger Woods can be a favorite to win a golf tournament against a hundred other players, but Phil Ivey and any nine other pros you want to pick would be a huge underdog against the field of a World Series of Poker Main Event”, Rod finally chimed in.

[SS] “If you offered someone even money on any hundred pros they want, you’d still have the better end of the deal.”

[SS] “Besides those four repeat champions, only four other players have even finished first or second twice: Puggy Pearson, Crandall Addington, T.J. Cloutier, and Dewey Tomko.”

1st 2nd Player Years (field size in parentheses)
3 1 Johnny Moss 1st 1970 (7), 1st 1971 (6), 1st 1974 (16); 2nd 1973 (13)1
3 0 Stu Ungar 1st 1980 (73), 1st 1981 (75), 1st 1997 (312)
2 1 Doyle Brunson 1st 1976 (22), 1st 1977 (34); 2nd 1980 (73)
Johnny Chan 1st 1987 (152), 1st 1988 (167); 2nd 1989 (178)
1 2 Puggy Pearson 1st 1973 (13); 2nd 1971 (6)1, 2nd 1972 (6)1
0 2 Crandall Addington 2nd 1974 (16)1, 2nd 1978 (42)
T.J. Cloutier 2nd 1985 (140), 2nd 2000 (512)
Dewey Tomko 2nd 1982 (104), 2nd 2001 (613)

[RR] “Cloutier’s and Tomko’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed, but they seem even more impressive now!”

Footnotes:

  1. Did not cash, as it was winner-take-all in those years.
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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

Footnotes:

  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.

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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
A♥J♠T♥2♣T♦
1977 Doyle Brunson T♠2♥ Full House,
Tens over 2s
Gary Berland 8♥5♣ Two Pairs,
Tens over 8s
T♦8♠5♥2♣T♣
1978 Bobby Baldwin Q♦Q♣ Three Queens Crandell Addington 9♦9♣ Three 9s Q♠9♥K♣A♠T♦
1979 Hal Fowler 7♠6♦ Straight,
7-high
Bobby Hoff A♣A♥ Pair of Aces 5♥3♣J♠4♠T♦
1980 Stu Ungar 5♠4♠ Straight,
5-high
Doyle Brunson A♥7♠ Two Pairs,
Aces over 7s
A♦7♦2♣3♥2♦
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
3♦6♥6♣J♥3♣
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
6♣7♥3♠2♦4♣
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,
Queen-high
Erik Seidel Q♣7♥ Pair of Queens Q♠8♦T♥2♠6♦
1989 Phil Hellmuth,
Jr.
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
8♣Q♣2♥K♦2♣
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,
8-high
Tom Jacobs J♦7♠ Two Pairs,
Jacks over 7s
J♥5♦7♦6♥8♣
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
8♣2♠6♦T♣J♠
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,
5-high
John Strzemp A♠8♣ Two Pairs,
Aces over 3s
5♦A♣3♥3♦2♠
1998 Scotty Nguyen J♦9♣ Full House,
9s over 8s
Kevin McBride Q♥T♥ Full House,
8s over 9s
8♣9♦9♥8♥8♠
1999 Noel Furlong 5♣5♦ Full House,
5s over Queens
Alan Goehring 6♥6♣ Two Pairs,
Queens over 6s
Q♥5♥Q♣2♠8♠
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,
King-high
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,
Queen-high
4♣4♠Q♣T♦T♣
2003 Chris Moneymaker 5♦4♠ Full House,
5s over 4s
Sam Farha J♥T♦ Two Pairs,
Jacks over 5s
J♠5♠4♣8♦5♥
2004 Greg Raymer 8♠8♦ Full House,
8s over 2s
David Williams A♥4♠ Full House,
4s over 2s
4♦2♦5♠2♥2♣
2005 Joe Hachem 7♣3♠ Straight,
7-high
Steve Dannenmann A♦3♣ Two Pairs,
Aces over 4s
4♦5♦6♥A♣4♣
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,
9-high
Tuan Lam A♦Q♦ Pair of Queens 5♠Q♣9♣7♦6♥
2008 Peter Eastgate A♦5♠ Straight,
5-high
Ivan Demidov 4♥2♥ Two Pairs,
4s over 2s
2♦K♠3♥4♣7♠
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
4♣4♦9♠6♣5♣
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
6♣3♥9♦6♠7♣
2013 Ryan Riess A♥K♥ Pair of 4s,
Ace kicker
Jay Farber Q♠5♠ Pair of 4s,
Queen kicker
J♦T♦4♣3♣4♦
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
Q♠5♠T♣5♦J♣
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
K♥K♦5♥8♦4♠

[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

Footnotes:

  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. }

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