Action Dan Goes Back to Back in Main Event
When Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 Main Event, 1995 Main Event Champion "Action Dan" Harrington finished 3rd.
The very next year, Harrington navigated through a then-record field of 2,576 players to finish in 4th place.
While Harrington's 1995 Main Event title may be his greatest victory, many consider his back-to-back final tables in the 2003 and 2004 Main Event to be his greatest accomplishment in the game.
Chan Beats Seidel to Win Back-to-Back Main Events
Johnny Chan was looking to stake his claim to history in the 1988 WSOP Main Event with back-to-back titles.
Erik Seidel was looking to make a name for himself by taking down the richest prize in poker. Both eventually were immortalized but it was Chan that went in the history books first.
Chan held a slight edge over Seidel when he limped in with J♣ 9♣ and Seidel followed suit with Q♣ 7♥. On a flop of Q♠ 10♥ 8♦, Chan had a nearly unbeatable straight and Seidel top pair. Chan tested the waters against a Seidel with a 40k bet and knew he had him when Seidel put in a 50k raise.
When the turn fell the 2♠ Chan checked in hopes that Seidel would overcommit to his hand. Seidel shoved and Chan made the easy call. The river was irrelevant and Johnny Chan made history.
Ten years later both Seidel and Chan would be immortalized in Rounders with Seidel portrayed as the sucker of the encounter. Ironically Seidel has $9 million more in career winnings than Chan.
Lamb Goes From Contender to Bust in Four Hands
Ben Lamb's run in the 2011 WSOP led him to his first WSOP bracelet, three preliminary event final tables and a spot in the 2011 WSOP Main Event November Nine.
Lamb was second in chips when the final three took their seats on the last day and many felt he had the best chance of winning it all.
The very first hand of three-handed play Lamb decided that it was wise to four-bet shove against the solid Martin Staszko.
Lamb held K♥ J♦ and Staszko, knowing that Lamb liked to shove light, made the call. The board failed to help him and Lamb was crippled.
Three hands later Lamb shoved with Q♠ 6♥ and this time around Staszko had pocket jacks. The board blanked again and Ben Lamb went from possible Main Event champion to third place in four hands.
Bluff of the Century
When Chris Moneymaker reached heads-up play of the 2003 WSOP Main Event, many did not expect him to prevail despite the fact he had two-thirds of the chips in play. Moneymaker even offered an even chop with Sam Farha but Farha wanted to play it out.
A short while later Moneymaker decided to raise to 100,000 with K♠ 7♥ and Farha made the call.
On a flop of 9♠ 6♠ 2♦ it was checked around and the 8♠ hit the turn. While Farha had the best hand with a pair of nines, there was now both a straight and flush possibility on the board.
Farha bet out 300,000 in hopes of winning the pot there and prevent any further drawing. Moneymaker then decided to test Farha and put out a 500,000 semi-bluff raise. Farha made a reluctant call and both saw the river 3♥.
With the multiple straight and flush possibilities on the board Farha checked. Moneymaker, holding nothing but air, knew he could only win with a bluff and shoved for his tournament life.
Farha took a while to make his decision and even commented that he could make a "crazy call" and that it could be the winner. Giving Moneymaker too much credit for a hand, the seasoned veteran folded the best hand in what Norman Chad referred to as the "Bluff of the Century."
Moneymaker's bluff would give him the momentum needed to finally take down the Main Event title and usher in the Poker Boom.
More Great Moments in WSOP History: