Stan’s Lists – Youngest and Oldest WSOP Main Event Winners

[SS] “Until they change the law”, Stan the Stat started, “no World Series of Poker Main Event champion will be younger than 21. Joe Cada is the current record holder, taking down the coveted belt just eight days shy of his 22nd birthday.”

[LL] “When his record falls, it will be partly by the luck of what time of year the player was born”, Leroy the Lion commented.

[SS] “Cada left 357 days to work with, so it’s only a matter of time.”

[LL] “Having the final table in November does help his cause though; the youngest champion this year can only be 21 years, 4 months, and change since you had to be 21 when the Main Event started, not when the final hand is played.”

History of the Youngest WSOP Main Event Champion

Age Player Year
63 Johnny Moss 1970
43 Thomas Preston 1972
42 Doyle Brunson 1976
28 Bobby Baldwin 1978
26 Stu Ungar 1980
24 Phil Hellmuth 1989
221 Peter Eastgate 2008
212 Joe Cada 2009

[SS] “Hellmuth was the youngest champ for almost two decades, but five of the past six champs have been younger than he was: Eastgate and Cada above, Jonathan Duhamel (23 in 2010), Pius Heinz (22 in 2011), and Ryan Riess (23 in 2013). And Greg Merson was just 19 days older than him in 2012.”

[YY] “I’m already too old for this game!” cried Yuri the Young Gun.

[LL] “Don’t worry. You’ll always be a young whippersnapper to us.”

[SS] “On the other side, since Moss set the oldest winner record immediately and increased his record a couple of times, there’s no progression of that record to speak of. Instead, here are the ten oldest Main Event Champs:”

Oldest WSOP Main Event Champions

Age Player Year
66 Johnny Moss 1974
63 1971
62 1970
61 Noel Furlong 1999
52 Hal Fowler 1979
51 Jack Straus 1982
Bill Smith3 1985
50 Berry Johnston 1986
49 Dan Harrington 1995
464 Russ Hamilton 1984

[YY] “There’s hope for you old guys after all. The older you get, the higher up you can get!”

[SS] “Except that the most recent entry on the list is 1999! Only two champions since then have been over forty: Stu Ungar in 2001 (43) and Robert Varkonyi in 2006 (41).”

[LL] “Like Dan Harrington said, it’s an endurance contest now, which favors the younger players.”5

[YY] “Tough to have your dreams crushed like that, isn’t it?”

[LL] “Put your money where your mouth is, kid. Why don’t we bet on the age of this year’s champ. I’ll take the 40-year-olds and above, Stan can have the 30-year-olds, and you get the 20-year-olds.”

[SS] “Historically, that almost seems fair, as fourteen winners have been in their 20s, eleven in their 30s, and twelve in their 40s (with four 50s and four 60s). But if you look at things chronologically, Yuri has to give us some serious odds…”

[LL] “How about if I risk $5, you put in $10, and Yuri puts in $20; winner take all, okay?”

[SS and YY] “Okay!”6

Footnotes:

  1. Eastgate was 22 years, 10 months, and 28 days old.
  2. Cada was 21 years, 11 months, and 22 days old.
  3. Smith’s birthday is unknown; he may belong above or below Straus.
  4. Hamilton’s birthday is unknown; he might have been 45 years old.
  5. See the 2013 November Nine article.
  6. Yuri the Young Gun won the bet, as Martin Jacobson was 27 years old (six of this year’s November Nine were in their twenties, with the other three in their early thirties).

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