WSOP Main Event Winners – High Hopes and High Stakes

Winning the WSOP is paramount for every self-respecting poker player. This is the best way to immortalize one's name and become a prominent member of an exclusive club of eccentric millionaires. A pretentious gamblers' thing you might think? – not at all. Ask a top poker player where they got their nickname or biggest story – you'll hear the same answer over and over – 'the World Series of Poker'. Now that we're on the same page about the significance of this tournament, let's take a closer look at our top five WSOP main event winners list and relive the most memorable moments of televised poker history.
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Top 5 WSOP Main Event Winners: The Best Poker Players

Compiling a list of the top five poker pros who’ve won the world series of poker main event is easier said than done as the tournament itself dates its origins to 1971. For the past 38 years, we’ve seen an abundance of clutch plays and turnarounds, young and aggressive players coming in only to change everything we think we know about poker. It’s been an amazing ride for those of us who follow the event closely. There are so many candidates for a top spot on the list of WSOP main event winners, we made an effort to keep it relevant to the present, that is to showcase the achievements of players who are still active today. We don’t mean to take away from the accomplishment of those players we haven’t included, they know very well in poker nothing is personal. At the very end of this article, you’ll find a table of the WSOP main event winners for the last 10 years.

Phil Hellmuth (1989) – the Bad Boy of Poker Strikes

Phil Hellmuth Playing at WSOP What would a WSOP winners list be without the poker brad Phil Hellmuth? – One of the biggest poker trash-talkers and self-proclaimed ‘best poker player’. When it comes to world series of poker prize money, he’s the man holding the lion’s share ($14,612,213) due to his admirable consistency and frequent final table appearances. He won the 1989 main event pulling off an upset against one of the all-time greats – Johny Chan. Only 24 years old, Hellmuth already had the knowledge and maturity to go all the way and snatch the title from the two-time defending champion. However, history didn’t repeat itself and that remains Phil Hellmuth’s only major from the world series. We highly doubt that he’s losing sleep over the fact because the man has notched up 15 WSOP titles in his career, included in that number is a WSOPE title. He managed to outsmart Sergii Baranov and take home the bracelet and more than a million euros. After all, Hellmuth is no stranger to European tournament poker. To find out more about the Poker Brat check our dedicated article here.

Chris Ferguson (2000) – Another Big Poker Name

Chris Ferguson Reflecting on the Hand The fearsome tournament poker pro is known for deliberately thinking through every single move and his generally tight table image. Although conservative, it was precisely this style of play that allowed Ferguson to win the 2000 World Series of Poker. Oh, and let’s not forget the cowboy hat and impermeable sunglasses, which some believe to be nothing more than lucky charms, but the trained eye immediately recognises those two items as the tools of the trade. However, let’s get back to how the action unfolded. It wasn’t until the Ferguson went heads-up against American T.J Cloutier that he got a taste of his own medicine. As irony would have it, the trapper became the trapee, having his ace-nine crushed by T.J Cloutier’s ace-queen. Despite, not being the most graceful play Ferguson made in that event, it was enough to secure the title. He was off to a terrible start that hand on account of his bad read, but he managed to suck out on the river and pair his kicker. A stroke of luck above anything else, the river brought Ferguson the mind-boggling at the time $1,500,000.

Jamie Gold (2006) – the Biggest Cash Prize Yet

Jamie Gold Holding Bricks of Cash Jamie Gold is the type of player that likes to play cat and mouse game and make a fool of his opponents. He got down in history as one of the vocal players on the tour, being capable of talking you out of calling or lure you in a big pot with a wimpy hand. Jamie Gold got paid a substantial sum for his acting skills. As a matter of fact, he has won the biggest WSOP prize money so far – $12,000,000. Considering the size of the first prize and the buy-in, which is in the five-figures neighbourhood, to fight for one’s tournament life becomes that much harder. Paul Wasicka, who finished second, had the honour to experience first-hand exactly how slippery Jamie Gold is. The slippery slope for, the then young, Wasicka was Jamie’s queen-nine off. After both players went all-in, Gold turned a queen on the flop to take the lead and his hand held. Though some may have a bias against the style or luck of Jamie Gold, the fact of the matter is the guy knew how to throw his opponents off centre and mess with their minds.

Jonathan Duhamel (2010) – An Impressive Comeback

Johnatan Duhamel Folds at the World Series of Poker Main Event The young French Canadian produced a stellar performance at the 2010 WSOP main event final table and made a spectacular comeback. His primary opponent Cheong couldn’t do much except watching the title slipping through his fingers. What spelt his demise was a triple barrel bluff with jack-five suited. Cheong’s naked aggression didn’t pay off and he lost a pot of over 57 million in chips to Duhamel. With his stack increased in size and his natural front-runner abilities, Duhamel kept pressing ahead with his plan to win the tournament. However, it wasn’t until the two big stacks clashed once again that Duhamel got a commanding chip-lead and a clear shot at the title. The second time Jonathan Duhamel’s big pocket pair had Cheong’s ace-seven crushed. The Korean couldn’t connect with the board and his stack was reduced to the mere five big blinds, which was a turning point for Duhamel, who continued his onslaught and became the 2010 WSOP winner.

John Cynn (2018) – From 11th to First

John Cynn 2018 WSOP Main Event Winner John Cynn is one of those WSOP bracelet winners with a heart-felt happy-end story that people can’t remain indifferent to. His story would make a perfect Hollywood action-drama – the ‘if you didn’t make it the first time, try again’ type. So, he finished 11th at the 2017 WSOP main event, just shy of a final table spot. However, the setback didn’t take the wind out of his sails, and Cynn came back with a vengeance and breezed through to the 2018 WSOP main event’s final table. The problem was, Tony Miles had his heart set on the big WSOP prize money too. The guy played near perfect he even got away with a shove with air. That particular move is still considered one of the best WSOP bluffs of all time. Cynn got scared by the potential backdoor flush and laid his hand down to allow Miles to get back in the game. The 2018 WSOP main event winner kept his cool in a back-and-forth heads-up clash mostly playing back, from a defensive position. The 33-year-old managed to come out on top after he sniffed out one of the Miles’ opportunistic bluffs. Unfortunately for the born in Utah Miles, the board was too dry and Cynn felt that his trips are good and called.

WSOP Main Event Winners by Year: 2019 Updated List

WSOP Main Event Final Table in the Heat of Battle Not all tournament poker players are cash game pros and they don’t have to, many people live off calendar poker events. Some of the pros were never meant to make it to the cash game stage and that’s perfectly alright. Ever since the poker industry took off in the early 21st century, the prizes and sponsorship have increased exponentially. Hardly a year goes by without another $10 000 000 world series of poker prize is won. Most certainly the WSOP winners had their lives changed for good. Nowadays more than ever, online poker is thriving and new sites are popping up daily. Don’t worry though, we’ve got it all figured out and we’re willing to share our knowledge about the top UK poker sites on the web. Meanwhile, you can take a look at the table below, which contains the names of the players who have won the WSOP main event in the past ten years.

Event’s Year Winner Prize Money (US$) Winning Hand Runner-Up Losing Hand
2009 Joe Cada 8,574,649 9d 9c Darvin Moon Qd Jd
2010 Jonathan Duhamel 8,944,138 As Jh John Racener Kd 8d
2011 Pius Heinz 8,715,638 As Kc Martin Staszko 10c 7c
2012 Greg Merson 8,531,853 Kd 5d Jesse Sylvia Qs 7s
2013 Ryan Riess 8,359,531 Ah Kh Jay Farber Qs 5s
2014 Martin Jacobson 10,000,000 10h 10d Felix Stephensen Ah 9h
2015 Joe McKeehen 7,683,346 Ah 10d Joshua Beckley rd 4c
2016 Qui Nguyen 8,005,310 Kc 10c Gordon Vayo Js 10s
2017 Scott Blumstein 8,150,000 Ah 2d Daniel Ott Ad 8d
2018 John Cynn 8,800,000 Kc Jc Tony Miles Qc 8h

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