In 1970, in a calculated move to generate publicity for his Horsehoe Casino, owner Benny Binion invited a few of Las Vega’s most reputed poker aces to the casino for a series of cash games with the ultimate “champion” decided by a secret vote.
The “World” Series of Poker was born. Now, 50 editions later, the WSOP is a multi-national celebration of poker’s best professional and amateur players.
Multi-millions are up for grabs in prize pools. Tens of thousands of hungry players pour into the Rio for 7 weeks and, as of 2019, compete in 89 live and online events that culminate in the prestigious $10,000 Main Event that the world watches rapt every summer on ESPN.
Here on our official World Series of Poker page you’ll find everything you need to know about poker’s most iconic tournament series. You’ll find:
- Summaries of every WSOP held from 1970-2019
- Results and feature stories from past WSOP coverage
- Massive archive of live hand updates from WSOP Main Events 2006-2016
- Complete reports & results for WSOP Europe and WSOP Asia-Pacific
- WSOP Player Interviews & Features
- WSOP Special Features & Videos
World Series of Poker Year-by-Year
The greatest poker series of all, the World Series of Poker, began with just a handful of players. Just 7, in fact.
And it ended with a vote to declare the “world champion.” Now 50 years on the WSOP has become the true “world” series it originally proclaimed itself to be.The history of the World Series of Poker is most easily covered by breaking it into two very distinct time periods:
- WSOP Before 2003
- WSOP After 2003
What happened in 2003? Well, if you’re a poker fan you know that’s the year humble, amateur poker-playing accountant from Tennessee, Chris Moneymaker, beat Vegas pro Sammy Farha to win the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. Attributing the entirety of the global poker boom to follow to that one moment is *slightly* exaggerated but it isn’t far from the truth. It was a moment that changed the World Series of Poker – and the game of poker itself – irrevocably. And is still resonating around the world today.Jump to the full list of all past WSOP Main Events from 1970-present here:
- Past WSOP Main Event Champions 1970-Present
The signature event of the World Series of Poker – the $10,000 Main Event – played out from July 3-16.
It drew a total of 8,569 entries to make it the 2nd-biggest WSOP Main Event of all time (only 2006, with 8,773, has topped it).
Germany’s Hossein Ensan won the 50th edition of the Main Event for a $10 million first-prize prize – tied for the second-largest of all-time.
The final three players were all from outside of the US for the first time since 2014.
Also of note: Day 1c of the Main Event was delayed slightly by the Riverside earthquake, a 7.1 quake that occurred 150 miles away in California.
Full final-table results and payouts from the 2019 WSOP Main Event final table:
Previous WSOP Player of the Year Winners
|Year||Name||Braceletes||Final Tables||Cashes||Tournament Earnings|
|2017||Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson||1||4||23||$428.,423|
How does a player earn points? By cashing (and particularly going deep) in as many WSOP events as possible. The 2019 WSOP Player of the Year Race will include opportunities to score points in 83 events in Vegas and 10 at the WSOP Europe.
The points model is based on what was used on the WSOP Circuit for years and will have modifiers for the size of the event buy-in and number of entries. Winners of events will obviously receive the most points followed by the runner-up, 3rd place and so on.
Lower buy-ins are rated slightly higher points-wise as big buy-ins to make the system accessible to any player who might not have the bankroll of a poker superstar. You can find the full breakdown of the WSOP POY formula here.
With 7,874 entrants the 2018 WSOP Main Event was the second-largest ever behind only the epic 2006 Main Event won by Jamie Gold for $12m. The Top 6 Main Event finishers were all from the United States and each earned over $1.8m.
2009 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Cada returned to the final table and finished fifth.
- $10,000 Main Event Winner: John Cynn $8.8m (Runner-Up: Tony Miles $5m)
The $1m Big One for One Drop returned to the WSOP schedule and drew just 27 entries.
- $1m Big One for One Drop Winner: Justin Bonomo $10m (Runner-Up: Fedor Holz $6m)
Other Notable Moments:
- WSOP icon and 10-time bracelet winner Doyle Brunson announced his WSOP retirement; finished sixth at 2-7 final table
- Phil Hellmuth won his 15th career WSOP bracelet
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2018
WSOP Europe 2018
The WSOP Europe was again held at the Kings Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Ten bracelet events in total were held. Brit Jack Sinclair won the Main Event over 534 runners for 1.1m Euros.
Attendance in the Main Event surged again in 2017 with an extra 500 players juicing the total entrants to 7,221. All told the series hit 74 total bracelet events including 4 official online bracelet events played entirely online.
To the rejoicing of many, the four-month November Nine break to play out the final table was discontinued and the champion was crowned in July.
- 2017 WSOP Main Event Champion: Scott Blumstein ($8.15m) Runner-Up: Dan Ott
- Former WSOP Main Event final-tablists Antoine Saout finished fifth and Ben Lamb finished ninth
- Michael Ruane, fourth in 2016, finished in tenth
- The 2017 $111,111 High Roller for One Drop was won by Doug Polk over runner-up Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2017
The World Series of Poker Europe moved to the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic for the first time as part of a new multi-year agreement.
A total of 11 bracelet events were played including a €111,111 Big One for One Drop event (won by 888poker pro Dominik Nitsche) and the €10,000 Main Event. Marti Roca de Torres, a former Economics teacher from Spain, defeated Gianluca Speranza heads-up to win the 2017 WSOPE Main Event crown and €1,115,207
The 2016 World Series of Poker delivered 69 events capped, as always, by the $10,000 Main Event. A total of 6,737 players entered the Main Event making it the biggest in five years.
A final table of nine players was again established in July before waiting until November to play down to to a winner.
It was the final year of the “November Nine” format; in 2017 the WSOP reverted back to playing out the final table entirely in July.
Las Vegas local Qui Nguyen ultimately triumphed over Gordon Vayo heads-up. Nguyen won just over $8 million.
Former Counter-Strike champion Griffin Benger of Canada also made the final table and finished seventh.
- 2018 WSOP Main Event Winner: Qui Nguyen ($8,005,310) Runner-Up: Gordon Vayo ($4,661,228)
The 2016 High Roller for One Drop was again priced at $111,111 to buy-in. This time around German wunderkind Fedor Holz claimed the top prize for $4.9 million.
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2016
The largest number of participants ever. The third-most money ever awarded. The most bracelets in one series. Twenty-three players who cashed for over $1m. The 2016 World Series of Poker again lived up to its...
Qui Ngyen outlasted Gordon Vayo in a marathon heads-up match to claim $8m and World Champion status in the stunning conclusion of the 2016 WSOP Main Event early Wednesday morning in Las Vegas. It’s a...
The 2015 WSOP stuck with the November Nine concept but abandoned the $10m Main Event winner guarantee in favor of guaranteeing 1,000 payouts in the ME.
The response was lukewarm and the Main Event only drew 6,420 entrants.
Another lackluster November Nine in terms of star power was reached and ultimately Pennsylvanian and former Risk World Champion Joe McKeehen beat Josh Beckley heads-up.
McKeehen led the final table from wire-to-wire and collected $7.68 million.
- 2015 WSOP Main Event Winner: Joe McKeehen ($7,683,346) Runner-Up: Josh Beckley ($4,470,896)
The newly established $565 WSOP Colossus did set a record for largest WSOP field ever and largest live poker tournament ever with 22,374 entrants.
$111,111 One Drop High Roller
The buy-in for the Big One for One Drop was dropped from $1 million to $111,111 and re-named the High Roller for One Drop. A smaller portion of the buy-in ($11,111) still went to charity.
The tournament drew 135 players to build a $14,249,925 prize pool. Over $750,000 was donated to the One Drop Foundation. The event was won by former Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel for $3.9 million. Businessman Bill Klein finished second for $2.4m.
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2015
2015 WSOP Europe
The WSOP Europe resumed after a one-year break with 10 bracelet events, this time held at the Spielbank Casino in Berlin, Germany. American Kevin MacPhee won the Main Event over 313 players for €883,000.
With 68 events and million-dollar prize pools aplenty the 2015 World Series of Poker has, as expected, been another blockbuster success. But it’s not just the money won or miracle cards spiked that will linger...
The 2015 World Series of Poker November Nine will not feature superstar Daniel Negreanu. The world-renowned Canadian poker pro outlasted 6,410 players but couldn’t make it past 11th, which will keep him from making an...
American Kevin MacPhee claimed the 2015 WSOPE Main Event title and €883,000 today in Berlin – not to mention his second bracelet this year. After winning the EPT Berlin main event five years ago this...
In 2014 the WSOP offered a $10m guarantee for the Main Event winner for the first time. There were 65 total events and the $1m Big One for One Drop was again played.
The 2nd-ever One Drop event played out just before the start of the Main Event and drew 42 entries – 6 less than the inaugural event. Far fewer business leaders and amateurs entered this time making it a very pro heavy field.
Young upstart Dan Colman won the title and $15m as he defeated Daniel Negreanu heads-up. Colman drew criticism after his win by being reticent with the media and suggesting idolizing poker stars was not a particularly good idea.
2014 WSOP Main Event
The Main Event drew 6,683 entrants and again played to a final nine before breaking until November. Poker pro Mark Newhouse, who finished ninth in 2012, made the final table again in 2013.
After swearing he “wouldn’t finish f’ing ninth again,” he finished ninth again.
It was an all-Scandinavian final two as Swede Martin Jacobson won the $10m title over Norway’s Felix Stephensen.
- 2014 WSOP Main Event Winner: Martin Jacobson ($10,000,000) Runner-Up: Felix Stephensen ($5,147,911)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2014
|3.||Jorryt van Hoof||$3,807,753|
2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific
The World Series of Poker Asia Pacific returned for a second year although the WSOPE was put on hiatus until the following year. Again the series was held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne and 10 bracelet events were played.
Scott Davies won the Main Event over 329 entries for AUD $850,000. The WSOP APAC has not been held since.
Rarely does a player go from day 1 chip leader to champion, especially when there’s thousands of players and nine days of play. But Swedish poker pro Martin Jacobson did just that and won $10,000,000...
Unheralded online pro Dan Colman beat Daniel Negreanu heads-up to claim the second-biggest prize ever awarded in poker on Tuesday. Colman took down $15.3 million for coming out on top of the 2014 $1 million...
Rarely does a player go from day 1 chip leader to champion, especially when there’s thousands of players and nine days of play. But Swedish poker pro Martin Jacobson did just that and won $10,000,000...
2013 was the first and only year 3 separate World Series of Poker series – WSOP, World Series of Poker Europe and World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific – were held.
It was the first year for the WSOP APAC (which only lasted 2 years) and the final year the WSOPE was held every year alongside with the regular WSOP.
The 2013 WSOP November Nine again lacked notable names although veteran live and online poker pros JC Tran, Mark Newhouse and David Benefield made the cut.
Ultimately Michigan’s Ryan Riess won the title and $8.3m defeating Jay Farber heads-up. The Main Event had a comparatively low 6,352 entries.
- 2013 WSOP Main Event Winner: Ryan Riess ($8,361,570) Runner-Up: Jay Farber ($5,174,357)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2013
|5.||Justin Cuong Van Tran||$2,106,893|
|6.||Marc Etienne McLaughlin||$1,601,024|
2013 WSOP Europe
The 2013 World Series of Poker Europe moved to Enghien-les-Bains, France and held 8 total events. Spanish teenager Adrian Mateos won his first WSOP Main Event title and €1,000,000. The field had 375 players.
2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific
The first-ever WSOP Asia-Pacific was held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. Five bracelet events in total were held. Poker superstar Daniel Negreanu won the Main Event and just over $1m AUD. Phil Ivey also won a WSOP APAC bracelet in Event #3, the $2,200 Mixed Event.
Daniel Negreanu put on a signature performance on the way to his fifth bracelet and (AUD) $1 million in the WSOP APAC Main Event on Monday night. The famous Canadian poker pro entertained the audience,...
The 2012 WSOP was notable for the introduction of the first-ever $1 million Big One for One Drop.
Developed by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte to raise money for his charity, the One Drop Foundation, which provides clean drinking water for developing communities, players paid a $1m buy-in with $111,111 of it going to the charity.
The field was capped at 48 players and all seats were sold out. The winner was Antonio Esfandiari, who beat England’s Sam Trickett heads-up.
Esfandiari won $18.3m, the biggest poker tournament payout ever. Trickett was paid $10m.
2012 WSOP Main Event
The 2012 WSOP Main Event was notable for being the longest WSOP Main Event final table in history (excluding the WSOPE). All told the final table lasted for 399 hands including 11 hours of play 3-handed.
The field drew 6,598 players and the November Nine was again devoid of any big-name poker stars. The Nov. 9 chip lead was held by American Jesse Sylvia but it was perhaps most notable for who didn’t make the cut.
Female players Gaelle Baumann and Elisabeth Hille busted in 10th and 11th, respectively. In the end Sylvia finished runner-up to online poker pro Greg Merson. Merson won $8.5m.
Merson also was named the WSOP Player of the Year as he had won the last tournament prior to the start of the Main Event as well.
Due to the 2012 US election the final table also ran in October instead of the usual November
- 2013 WSOP Main Event Winner: Greg Merson ($8,531,853) Runner-Up: Jesse Sylvia ($5,295,149)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2012
2012 WSOP Europe: Hellmuth Wins ME #2!
The 2012 WSOP Europe was again held in Cannes and again had 7 official bracelet events. In a signature performance Phil Hellmuth won the WSOPE Main Event to become the first-ever winner of both the WSOP Main Event and the WSOPE Main Event.
Hellmuth defeated 420 entrants and won over 1m GBP. It was his 13th career WSOP bracelet.
Greg Merson won the 2012 WSOP Main Event in spectacular fashion early Wednesday morning, taking down $8.5 million and the Player of the Year title. The final table ended up being the longest in Main...
Continuing the decade long theme of two steps forward, one step back the 2011 WSOP Main Event dipped back under 7,000 runners with 6,865 total. The preliminary events had even begun to overshadow the Main Event slightly with the first 57 events having representation from 98 countries and paying out over $127m in prize money.
Another “star-free” Main Event final table was the order of the day with an international mix of relative unknowns save for maybe Ben Lamb.
German Pius Heinz went on the claim the Main Event title over Czech Martin Staszko. Heinz won $8.7m.
Heinz became the first-ever German winner of the Main Event and while he went on to fade out of the poker scene quickly it did give rise to a wave of new, young German players who took interest in poker and since have come to dominate the high-stakes poker scene.
- 2011 WSOP Main Event Winner: Pius Heinz ($8,715,638) Runner-Up: Martin Staszko ($5,433,086)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2011
2011 WSOP Europe – Elio Fox Takes It All
The 2011 WSOP Europe expanded to 7 total events and was moved to Cannes, France for the first time. Held at the Majestic Barriere Cannes and Le Croisette Casino the Main Event drew 594 entrants and was won by American Elio Fox for €1,400,000.
Brit Chris Moorman, who would go one to be the winningest online poker player of all time, finished second. Fox famously was never backed by anyone in his tournaments and thereafter collected all of the prize winnings.
New York-native Elio Fox has won the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event, defeating Chris Moorman heads-up to take the title and €1.4 million first-place prize. The 25-year-old Fox, a former student at...
The 2011 WSOP Main Event is over and 22-year-old Pius Heinz has become the first German world champion in poker history. Defeating Martin Staszko to win $8.7 million and the most coveted title in poker,...
As the WSOP again turned the page to a new decade, a new surge of players pushed the Main Event field back up over 7,000 again. A total of 7,319 players took to the field in the Amazon Room at the Rio and again played to a final nine that would wait until November to play things out.
Leading the field going in was French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel and that’s how things ended as well.
Duhamel beat Floridian John Racener heads-up to claim just under $9 million.
The most notable member of the November Nine that year was Michael “ The Grinder” Mizrachi, who has gone on the win the WSOP Player’s Championship three times but never the Main Event.
Mizrachi finished fifth.
- 2010 WSOP Main Event Winner: Jonathan Duhamel ($8,944,310) Runner-Up John Racener ($5,545,955)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2010
2010 WSOP Europe – On Bord
The World Series of Poker Europe again played out in London in September. Brit James Bord won the Main Event for £830,401.
Also of note: The legendary Gus Hansen won his only career WSOP bracelet in the £10,350 Heads-Up Event for £288,409.
23-year-old French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel won the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event title in Las Vegas Monday night. A finance-dropout turned online poker pro from Boucherville, Quebec, just outside of Montreal, Duhamel beat American...
WSOP Main Event attendance dipped again in 2009 back to 6,494 entrants but the full slate of 57 events saw a strong turnout overall. The November Nine as a concept returned as well with one substantial difference working in its favor – this time a certifiable poker superstar was included.
Widely considered one of, if not the greatest poker players of all-time, Phil Ivey made significant waves when he advanced to the final table of nine in seventh place.
He was fairly short-stacked but that didn’t seem to diminish the poker-playing public’s enthusiasm for seeing him there.
Much of the talk during the 4 months leading up to the final table centered on Ivey and his chances for a run to the title.
Unfortunately the enthusiasm didn’t survive long as Ivey went out in 7th.
Cada > Moon
The heads-up turned into a battle between Maryland logger Darvin Moon and young Internet pro Joe Cada from Michigan.
Despite a strong fan base who cheered on the unorthodox Moon, Cada prevailed to become the youngest Main Event winner ever at just 21 years of age. Cada took home $8.5m million.
- 2009 WSOP Main Event Winner: Joe Cada ($8,546,435) Runner-Up: Darvin Moon ($5,182,601)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2009
2009 WSOP Europe – Barry vs. Negreanu
The 2009 WSOP Europe again took place in London and had 4 events. Barry Shulman won the title over Daniel Negreanu heads-up, disappointing Negreanu fans the world over.
In front of a crowd of thousands who filled the Las Vegas night with chants of his name, 21-year-old Joe Cada won the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event title Monday. Defeating 46-year-old Maryland...
Known more for being the owner of CardPlayer Magazine and father of 2009 November Niner Jeff Shulman, Barry Shulman carved out a new title for himself early Friday morning in London: 2009 World Series of...
To the delight of the entire poker world the consensus best player in the game made the final table of the biggest tournament on the planet Wednesday night. Already fourth on poker’s all-time leading money...
It may have been one of the most unexpected World Series of Poker Main Event final tables in the last decade. In 2009, 21-year-old American Joe Cada became world champion after he defeated amateur Darvin Moon....
The November Nine is Born
Still hurting from the UIGEA the 2008 WSOP rebounded to see a slight increase in Main Event entrants (6,844) but was still adjusting to not having access to online qualifiers.
In the hopes of drawing in even more TV viewers and creating new hype, the decision was made by WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack to delay the playing out of the Main Event final table for four months.
Once play hit the final table of 9 play was stopped for the summer to allow the episodes to play out weekly on ESPN until October. The players then reconvened in Vegas for what was dubbed “the November Nine.” and the event was played out live.
Again the final table was plagued with a lack of “star” power as no popular pros at the time made the final table. On the first night play went from nine to two and then the following evening the heads-up opponents, Denmark’s Peter Eastgate and Russian Ivan Demidov, returned to play to a winner.
Eastgate became the youngest WSOP Main Event winner ever at age 22 and claim $9.1m. He would retire from professional poker just a few years later.
- 2008 WSOP Main Event Winner: Peter Eastgate ($9,119,517) Runner-Up Ivan Demidov ($5,809,595)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2008
2008 WSOP Europe – Juanda Goes the Distance
The WSOP Europe returned in 2008, again in London, with four events. Poker veteran John Juanda won the £10,000 GBP main event over Stanislav Alekhin in the longest final table in WSOP history at 19 hours, 10 minutes. Juanda earned £868,800
After the bombastic and record-setting 2006 WSOP, the 2007 WSOP was set up for a letdown. And it was a pretty big one.
While the total tournament schedule had now expanded to 55 events, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act shoehorned onto a port security bill and passed in late 2006 took the steam right out of the US online poker market.
Given the uncertainty surrounding its core principles and implementation, several major online poker providers pulled out of the market entirely. Those that did stay, incluidng PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, had a decidedly reduced impact.
Just 6,358 players ultimately registered for the Main Event to make 2007 the first-year since 1992 that the Main Event field decreased the following year.
“Just” $8.25m was awarded to the eventual winner, Jerry Yang, who outlasted a comparatively lacklustre final table that included no poker “stars” of the time.
Of particular note in 2007 was the chip leader heading into the final table, Denmark’s Phillip Hilm, came in overly aggressive and busted in 9th in just 15 hands. It’s considered the biggest “meltdown” in final-table history.
Hilm later told PokerListings that turn of events took his drive to play poker from him and he stopped playing altogether. After years selling real estate he returned to the felt only recently.
Hevad Khan, meanwhile, who created a bit of stir with his emphatic “bulldozer” celebrations at the table, finished 5th. Khan went on to become a sponsored PokerStars pro.
- 2007 WSOP Main Event Winner: Jerry Yang ($8,250,000) Runner-Up: Tuan Lam ($4,840,981)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2007
|7.||William Childs Jr||$705,229|
2007 WSOP Europe – Annette_15 Comes of Age
2007 did, however, see the introduction of the first-ever World Series of Poker Europe, which was held in London in the Fall. It was the first time official WSOP gold bracelets were awarded outside of the United States.
Just 3 tournaments were held and the Main Event was won for 1m GBP by Norwegian teenager Annette Obrestad.
Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad has gone where no man, or woman, has gone before. During the early morning hours of Sept. 17, Obrestad won the very first World Series of Poker Europe Main Event to the...
What can be said about the 2006 World Series of Poker? Well, a helluva lot.
- Biggest Main Event in history (still to this day)
- Biggest main Event prize in history ($12m, still to this day)
- Total Main Event prize pool of $82 million
- Over $100m in prize money across all 45 events, making it richest in sports
- Most reviled Main Event champ in history (Jamie Gold)
- A deal gone sour between the champ and a backer
- A possible $10m bonus on the Main Event title
- $730,000 in poker room swag alone
- First-ever $50,000 Poker Players Championshop (won by Chip Reese)
- Pamela Anderson, Charles Barkley, Shannon Elizabeth, Tobey Maguire, Ron Jeremy, Brad Garrett, Mekhi Phifer and Wil Wheaton.
- Pillow fights
It was a wild one, to say the least. And PokerListings was there to watch it all first hand. The first year we provided wall-to-wall live coverage was a phenomenal one as Hollywood agent Jamie Gold sweet talked (some say angle shot) his way to $12m in prize money.
It was astounding. And with 8,773 entrants in the Main Event it may never be topped. All events were also held at the Rio Hotel & Casino, the first time the WSOP had been held outside of Binion’s.
- 2006 WSOP Main Event Winner: Jamie Gold ($12,000,000) Runner-Up: Paul Wasicka ($6,102,499)
2006 WSOP Main Event:
- Total Buy-ins: 8,773
- Total Prize Pool: $82,512,162
- Total payouts: 873
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2006
Tonight we saw what proved to be a truly action-packed final table with Jamie Gold personally knocking out seven of the other eight players. Gold certainly had some help from the cards in this match...
Speaking of amateur poker players the world over, Australian chiropractor Joe Hachem was a complete unknown when he, like Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, stepped up to the WSOP Main Event for the first time.
Online qualifiers again nearly doubled the Main Event field from the year before with 5,629 total Main Event entrants. Preliminary bracelet events also expanded to 45 in total.
By the time the dust settled at the Main Event final table Hachem was $7.5 million richer and had introduced the American audience to the joys of the “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” celebration.
Hachem would join Raymer and Moneymaker as a PokerStars ambassador and continue to grow the game in Australia and the Asia-Pacific market – a place where it would eventually expand to with a WSOP tournament series of its own.
- 2005 WSOP Main Event Winner: Joe Hachem ($7,500,000) Runner-Up: Steve Dannenman ($4,250,000)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2005
While everyone knew Chris Moneymaker’s amazing victory in 2003 had kicked upon a door into the poker world people were now streaming through, no one had quite an understanding of just how much things had changed.
A stunning 2,576 entrants showed up for the WSOP Main Event in 2004, pushing the entire undertaking to an entirely different stratosphere. 2004 was also the last WSOP held within the confines of Binion’s casino, which had sold the brand to Harrah’s Entertainment that year.
There were 32 preliminary events alongside the marquee Main Event and the names and faces found among the field were a who’s who of the pros who would become the face of poker for years to come. Among the 2004 WSOP bracelet winners were Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Annie Duke and Antonio Esfandiari, not to mention 2004 Main Event winner Greg “Fossilman” Raymer.
Another amateur poker player, Raymer made for great TV with his fossil card protector and holographic dinosaur sunglasses. The affable attorney shortly after joined PokerStars has an ambassador and yet again spread the joy of the game to corners far and wide. His $5 million win also didn’t hurt drawing the eyes of amateurs players the world over.
- 2004 WSOP Main Event Winner: Greg Raymer ($5,000,000) Runner-Up: David Williams ($3,500,000)
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2004
2004 WSOP Main Event runner-up David Williams would later go on to appear on the US version of reality show Masterchef in 2017.
It’s late May, 2004. The WSOP has once again shattered records in the Main Event thanks to online qualifier Chris Moneymaker winning it all the previous year. The 2004 Main Event attracted 2,576 players, which...
Moneymaker Changes Everything
When the 2003 WSOP began not many within the industry had the inkling it would turn out to be such a phenomenal, industry-altering moment in time. But what happened certainly changed the course of the game’s history in hundreds of ways still being realized.
The first, most notable occurrence was the surge of players who won their seats for the Main Event online. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, among others, were riding a new wave of poker interest and ran hundreds of lower buy-in satellites to open the door to the once out-of-reach $10,000 buy-in.
Of the record 839 Main Event entrants a large portion had now qualified online and among their number was an unknown amateur poker player and accountant from Tennessee with the perfect name for poker.
Chris Moneymaker earned his seat in the Main Event via a $45 satellite and, despite almost selling it off and never playing the event, somehow navigated his way through the minefield of poker professionals (even busting Phil Ivey along the way) to make the final table.
Once there he played with surprising confidence and ultimately ran a bluff on swashbuckling pro Sammy Farha that changed the course of poker history.
His $2.5m win certainly reverberated around amateur poker circles but also sent a ripple out into the non-poker playing world that has yet to be matched. Thousands and thousands of new enthusiasts flooded the online poker market and set the stage for the expansion of the World Series of Poker into the global powerhouse it is today.
Final Table Payouts WSOP Main Event 2003
As the calendar turned to a new century, so too did the WSOP turn to new records. The 2000 WSOP saw the preliminary events expanded to 24 and the Main Event crossed the 500-entrant mark for the first time.
Another very notable name in poker took the crown this time as Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, who would later become a pariah himself due to the Full Tilt scandal, methodically plodded to victory.
Ferguson’s $1.5m first-place prize was the largest in WSOP history.
The 2001 WSOP saw the Main Event field grow yet again to over 600 players (613) and see the first time two players received more than $1m in payouts.
Winner Carlos Mortenson matched Ferguson’s $1.5m from 2000 and runner-up Dewey Tomko earned $1,098,925. Phil Hellmuth also made the final table looking for his second World Championship but fell short in fifth.
The 2002 WSOP was more of the same with 631 Main Event entrants (it was largest-ever live poker tournament at the time) but was notable more for being the first-time ESPN provided hole card cameras for its Main Event coverage.
Robert Varkonyi’s $2 million win was also the largest in WSOP history but more importantly set the stage for what would happen the following year.
If Spanish poker fans remember the 2001 WSOP fondly it’s because, way before the era of the November Nine, a Spaniard was crowned best player in the world. It launched a trickle-down effect still being...
The WSOP in the 1990s
As the WSOP turned the page to the 90s the opening event of the decade foretold what would become an up-and-down decade to come.
With 194 entrants to the Main Event it was the biggest yet but on the third day Stu Ungar was found unconscious in his hotel due to a drug overdose. He’d ultimately survive but it certainly cast a somber tone over the remainder of the proceedings.
Amazingly, as Ungar was such an overwhelming chip leader at the time of his overdose, by the time his chips had blinded out he had still made the final table and finished 9th for $25,050. Brit Mansour Matloubi won the title and $835,000.
The 1991 WSOP had a record 18 bracelet events on the schedule and the 215 Main Event entrants pushed the first-place prize money to $1m for the first time. Poker pro Brad Daugherty was the winner.
In 1992 the WSOP Main Event dipped to 201 entrants, the only year prior to 2007 where the number of entrants declined from the previous year. The first-place prize maintained at $1m, though, and was won by Iranian-American Hamid Dastmalchi.
1993 was a watershed year for a couple of reasons. First, both Phil Hellmuth and Ted Forrest won three consecutive bracelet events each – the first time that had even happened. The WSOP Main Event, won by Jim Bechtel, also saw the first two women to cash in the event – Marsha Waggoner (19th) and Wendeen Eolis (20th)
The 25th Anniversary WSOP, in 1994, was again notable for a couple of reasons. First, of course, as the 25th anniversary not only did the winner of the Main Event receive $1 million they also received their weight in silver.
The winner in 1994 also notably was Russ Hamilton, who later became a pariah in the poker world for his role in the UltimateBet/Absolute Poker superuser scandal.
With 23 preliminary events and another 273 entrants to the Main Event the 1995 WSOP really saw the ushering in of a new character on the poker scene – the tournament professional.
While most poker player up until that point were dedicated cash-game players, and there were rarely any tournaments outside of the WSOP that would qualify as professional opportunities, the idea of being a tournament specialist to target the growing prize pools at the WSOP seemed to take root.
The prime example: “Action” Dan Harrington, who won his first-ever Main Event plus an additional bracelet in a preliminary event and go on to write one of the most influential poker strategy books ever on Hold’em tournament strategy.
1996 saw the WSOP Main Event prize hold steady at $1m but a much younger poker pro – Huck Seed – took the crown. Famed for his offbeat prop bets, at 37 Seed was one of the youngest players to win the Main Event in its history (Ungar was also 37).
Speaking of Ungar, in 1997 “The Kid” made perhaps one of the most stunning WSOP performances ever when he returned to top 312 entrants in the Main Event for $1m. The final table was played outside on Fremont Street in Las Vegas which made for a unique viewing experience.
It was Ungar’s third WSOP Main Event championship. He’s still the only player to do so. Sadly, Ungar died the following year after a long struggle with addiction.
By 1998 the Main Event field had grown to 350 entrants and one of the most memorable moments in history occurred with two players left. Speaking to his opponent Kevin McBride, eventual champ Scotty Nguyen warned “You call it’s gonna be all over, baby.” to which McBride took the bait and called.
The final table was also notable for having only 5 players.
In 1999 the $10,000 Main Event field almost hit 400 players (393) and featured Huck Seed back at the final table trying to repeat his 1996 championship. He fell short in sixth, however, as Irishman Noel Furlong snuck in for the upset alongside fellow Irishman Padraig Parkinson, who finished third.
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The WSOP in the 1980s
Simply put, the World Series of Poker in the early 1980s belonged to Stu Ungar.
Widely considered the greatest card player to ever live Ungar stormed over the WSOP Main Event field in 1980 to win his first of 3 career WSOP crowns and $365,000.
Ungar won again in 1981, along with another victory in a $10k 2-7 Draw event and it looked as though he was set up to win every WSOP Main Event for the next decade.
Unfortunately for “The Kid,” a downward spiral of drug addiction prevented that from happening and it wasn’t until 1997 that he finally won his 3rd title.
Meanwhile the WSOP grew to 13 preliminary events and 104 entrants in the 1982 Main Event.
Jack “Treetop” Strauss, who coined the expression “a chip and a chair” won his first title and became the first WSOP Main Event winner to collect over a half a million dollars.
In 1983, in another foreshadowing moment for the eventual poker boom, Tom McEvoy became the first satellite winner to ever go on to WSOP Main Event.
Despite playing his way into the tournament and being a decided underdog McEvoy even outlast the legendary Brunson, who finished in third.
Irishman Donnacha O’Dea became the first international player to cash in a WSOP while Ungar won another preliminary event.
1984-1986 saw a consistent 140 or so players in the Main Event with Jack Keller, Bill Smith and Berry Johnston each winning their lone WSOP ME title.
In 1987 we reached the Johnny Chan years.
The Orient Express, as he was known back then, stormed onto the poker scene and won back-to-back WSOP Main Event championships, the second of which, over Erik Seidel heads-up, became immortalized in the movie Rounders.
The WSOP closed out the decade with yet another notable winner in 1989 – this time the now infamous Phil Hellmuth, Jr. who outlasted 178 entrants and, amazingly, Johnny Chan heads-up, to win $755,000.
While Hellmuth would go on to become a poker icon in the TV era, and is still the all-time WSOP bracelet leader with 15, Chan’s stunning back-to-back-to-back final table performances might still be the greatest poker accomplishment in history.
Hellmuth did become the youngest Main Event champ at that time at age 24.
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While 2003 is a neat and tidy dividing point for explaining WSOP history it’s not as though every event between its beginning in 1970 and the Moneymaker watershed were exactly the same, either. As we alluded to above, in fact the first couple of WSOPs were barely even attended. And a vote was held to determine the winner in Year 1.
But, prior to 2003, the World Series of Poker at least followed a fairly linear and relatable story.
It began, in fact, with a few of the old school Texas Road Gamblers getting together in Reno in 1969 for a Texas Gamblers Reunion before it even materialized in Las Vegas.
In 1970 at Binion’s Horseshoe casino, which would house the WSOP for the next 34 years, a small group of players voted Johnny Moss as the best player; in 1971 Moss defeated 7 players in a $5,000 Freezeout.
In 1972 Amarilo Slim outlasted 12 players to win it all. By 1973, CBS Sports had picked up on the spectacle of it all and televised its first-ever WSOP.
That year the WSOP also expanded to include 4 preliminary events – 7-Card Stud, Razz, 207 Draw and a smaller buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event alongside the Main Event.
Puggy Pearson won three of those events, including the World Championship, and claimed the title of best all-around player – even if it was an informal crown.
In 1974 Johnny Moss won his 3rd WSOP title and Brian “Sailor” Roberts won his first in 1975.
In 1976/1977 the legendary Doyle Brunson won back-to-back WSOP championships to begin his legacy as one of the great WSOP performers of all-time as the WSOP tournament lineup expanded even more.
By 1978 an extra 10 events were played prior to the $10,000 Main Event which was won by Bobby Baldwin. Also notable in 1978 was the first WSOP win for one David “Chip” Reese who would go on to win the first-ever $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship in 2006.
The 1978 WSOP was also the first that introduced a shared prize pool as the winner no longer took home the entirely share and the top 5 of the 42 entrants all took home a payout.
In 1979 amateur Hal Fowler shocked the local professional poker establishment by winning the $10,000 Main Event over 53 other entrants that included all of the game’s elite.
While Fowler never went on the play another WSOP, his $270,000 prize certainly inspired more amateur poker enthusiasts and pros from all corners of the globe to put the WSOP on the radar.
It set the stage for the next couple of decades of WSOP expansion.
All Past WSOP Main Event Winners
Listed are the number of players in the Main Event, the total prize pool, the winner, the second-place finisher, the final hands and final table payouts:
Result WSOP Main Event 2018
2018 7,874 $74,015,600John Cynn vs. Tony MilesK♣ J♣ vs. Q♣ 8♥