The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been the ultimate stage for poker players since 1970. The event takes place May 30, 2023 – Tue, Jul 18, 2023
There have been many great performances in the WSOP’s Main Event over the years, but here are ten of the greatest:
1. Johnny Moss (1970, 1971, 1974) – Moss was the inaugural winner of the WSOP Main Event in 1970, winning by vote of his peers. He went on to win two more Main Events, in 1971 and 1974, solidifying his status as a poker legend.
2. Doyle Brunson (1976, 1977) – Brunson won back-to-back Main Events in 1976 and 1977, becoming the first player to do so. His aggressive style of play and expert reading of opponents made him one of the most feared players of his time.
3. Stu Ungar (1980, 1981, 1997) – Ungar won the Main Event in 1980 and 1981, and then again in 1997 after a long hiatus from the game. He was known for his incredible card sense and ability to read his opponents.
4. Johnny Chan (1987, 1988) – Chan won consecutive Main Events in 1987 and 1988, and was one of the game’s most dominant players during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was immortalized in the movie “Rounders”, where he played himself.
5. Phil Hellmuth (1989) – Hellmuth, at just 24 years old, became the youngest player to win the Main Event in 1989. He has since gone on to win a record 15 WSOP bracelets and is known for his brash personality and tendency to berate opponents.
6. Chris Moneymaker (2003) – Moneymaker, a complete unknown at the time, won his way into the Main Event via an online satellite. He went on to win the tournament and the $2.5 million first-place prize, becoming a household name and sparking the “poker boom” of the early 2000s.
7. Greg Raymer (2004) – Raymer, a patent attorney, also won his entry into the Main Event via an online satellite. He is perhaps best known for his use of a holographic dinosaur card protector, which became a sensation during his championship run.
8. Joe Hachem (2005) – Hachem, a former chiropractor, won the Main Event in 2005 after a grueling final table that lasted nearly 14 hours. His winning hand was a pair of sevens, which held up against Steve Dannenmann’s pair of sixes.
9. Jamie Gold (2006) – Gold won the Main Event in 2006, taking home a record $12 million first-place prize. He was known for his aggressive play and ability to get inside his opponents’ heads.
10. Jerry Yang (2007) – Yang, a Hmong immigrant and former social worker, won the Main Event in 2007. He played an aggressive style and was known for his unusual betting patterns, which helped him win the championship and $8.25 million first-place prize.
There have also been some notable chokes by players in WSOP as well.
Johnny Chan lost the WSOP in 1982 to Jack Straus after suffering a dramatic turn of events in the heads-up match. Chan, who had won the Main Event the previous year and was the favorite to win again, had a sizable lead in chips and was on the verge of victory.
However, in what has become one of the most famous hands in WSOP history, Straus pulled off a remarkable comeback after going all-in with just one chip left. He won the hand and doubled up, eventually going on to win the tournament.
The hand in question occurred when Chan raised with King-7 and Straus called with 8-6. The flop came 10-9-3, giving Straus an open-ended straight draw. Chan bet and Straus called. The turn was a 5, completing Straus’ straight, and Chan bet again. Straus raised all-in and Chan called, putting Straus at risk. The river was a blank, and Straus doubled up with the straight.
From that point on, Chan lost momentum and Straus seized the lead. In the final hand, Chan moved all-in with A-7 and Straus called with K-J. The board came 9-8-3-4-2, giving Straus a straight and the victory. Despite the loss, Chan’s performance in the tournament cemented his status as one of the greatest poker players of all time.