Top 5 Most Memorable Hands in Main Event History

Published On: 30 June 2009 / Modified: 20 June 2018
Created By: Daniel Skolovy
Peter Eastgate

It's that time of year again: World Series of Poker Main Event time. If that doesn't get your heart pumping, you're either dead or not a poker player.

The Main Event is a two-week-long poker super grind. With the thousands of tables comes millions of hands, storylines, brags, beats and of course a shit-ton of variance.

The Main Event is where names are made and fortunes are won. It's simply the biggest poker spectacle in the world.

If that isn't memorable enough on its own, I took the liberty of searching around and finding my top five most memorable WSOP ME hands.

In no particular order, we have:

5 Greatest WSOP Hands Ever

5) Phil Ivey, Final-Table Bubble Boy

With 10 left in the 2003 Main Event, Phil Ivey turns a full house with 9 9 on a Q 6 Q 9 board against Chris Moneymaker, who gets it all in with A Q.

The A river bails the accountant out and, as we all know, Moneymaker goes on to ship maybe the most significant bracelet in WSOP history.


Such a sick beat because its F Phil Ivey and he usually just stares bad beats off.

Had the river bricked, Ivey almost certainly would go on to win the Main Event and its $2.5 million first-place prize.

But before you go and start feeling bad for him, give this a thought: The massive pot helps Moneymaker go on to win the whole thing.

Moneymaker winning the Main Event and making the incredible $39 to $2.5 million score initiates the whole "poker boom." Millions of players flock to online poker rooms hoping to be the next Moneymaker.

Ivey has an owner's stake in Full Tilt Poker, and because of the poker boom Moneymaker helped create, Ivey has made the $2.5 million he would have made for shipping the bracelet several times over.


4) "You Call, Gonna Be All Over, Baby"

Heads-up for the bracelet vs. Kevin McBride in 1998, Scotty is in fine form, smoking and drinking Michelobs.

In the final hand, the board runs out 9-9-8-8-8 and Scotty ships it in on the river. McBride's in the tank when Scotty drops the famous bomb, "You call, gonna be all over, baby."

McBride makes the call, says he'll play the board and it's "all over, baby" when Scotty shows the J 9 for the bigger full house.



3) Raymer's Back-to-Back Plans Flushed

Most people don't remember that a year after he won the bracelet in the 2004 Main Event, Greg Raymer was still alive in the final 30 of the 2005 Main Event and was drawing very live for back-to-back Main Event wins.

These weren't pre-boom Main Events either. In 2004, Raymer bested 2,576 players. in 2005, there were 5,619.

To win in 2004 and come in the top 30 the very next year is an incredible feat on its own. But it could have been even better.



With twice the average stack he gets involved in a pot with Aaron Kanter (2005's luckbox). With K K, Raymer bet a six-high flop and again on the turn.

Kanter, who called the flop with overcards, now raises the turn with a queen-high flush draw. Raymer ships it in and Kanter insta-calls with nothing but a flush draw.

The river obv binks the flush and Raymer is left with the small stack.

Had he won the pot, he would have been chip leader and had a stack that was 4x average. From there he could have easily cruised to the final table.

But it wasn't meant to be and he ended up busting out 24th.


2) "He's Going All In and Chan Has Him. Johnny Chan the Master"

Speaking of back to back, in the hand immortalized by the movie Rounders, Johnny Chan check-calls three streets with the nuts vs. Erik Seidel, successfully getting Seidel to shove with top pair.

Winning the hand, Chan takes the second of his back-to-back Main Events in 1987 and 1988. Seidel is similarly immortalized for losing the hand a decade later, and remains stuck answering questions about it to this day.



1) Matusow Gets Matusowed

Mike Matusow is no stranger to going deep in the Main Event. Going on to win it, though, is a different story.

When the big one gets deep, the cards get cold for "The Mouth" and Matusow has had his share of Main Event scars.

In 2005, Matusow find himself at the final table, and it doesn't take long for the card gods to start having some fun. In the very first hand of the televised table, Mike is dealt K K.

The only problem is Scott Lazar is dealt A A. They obviously get it all-in and the flop comes Q 6 K. Matusow binks the two outer!!!

The turn of course comes the 2, and Matusow instantly looks like he lost the hand.

He's right when the river comes J. Scott Lazar makes the runner-runner flush to severely cripple him.

Such a sick hand if only for the incredible range of emotions Matusow must have gone through.

First, the crippling feeling of the disgusting KK vs AA cooler at the Main Event final table. But then you bink the two outer and it's like you just came back from the dead.

Then of course the board runs out a four-flush, and the pot feels like it was snatched right out of your hands.

Its like you go from zero to 100 all the way back to zero in five short minutes. I think it's pretty amazing Matusow didn't have a heart attack.


You can bet even more memories are waiting to happen this year. The 2009 Main Event kicks off Friday, so keep it locked to PokerListings for coverage.

Any hands you think rank as more memorable than these, fire off a comment below.


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