World Series Of Poker Winners: 10 Best
The 10 best World Series of Poker Winners have one thing in common: the main event bracelet. Some of the best poker players in the world today can't crack the list until they win the big one, names like Phil Ivey, Billy Baxter, and Erik Seidel, Since its inception in 1970, the WSOP main event has been the pinnacle event in poker, and the following champions are the best ones to win it all.
- Doyle Brunson (1976, 1977). "Texas Dolly" is the class of the poker world. A fixture at the highest level tournaments and casino games, his consecutive victories in the early WSOP tournament years as well as his expertise published in his two authoritative books on poker, "Super/System" and "Super/System 2," have solidified Mr. Brunson as the most influential poker player today.
- Johnny Moss (1970, 1971, 1974). Winner of the first WSOP main event by secret vote from his peers, Johnny Moss won two more main events to add to his legacy. Inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979, the "Grand Old Man" won nine total WSOP bracelets and played in every main event from 1970 to 1995.
- Johnny Chan (1987, 1988). No one could stop the "Orient Express," and in consecutive years, that meant a WSOP main event bracelet. He showed off his acting chops with a cameo in the movie "Rounders," exposing the game of poker to the world. Johnny Chan became the first ten-bracelet winner in 2005 and continues to be one of poker's most cherished ambassadors.
- Phil Hellmuth (1989). The "Poker Brat" was the one man between Johnny Chan and his third consecutive bracelet, winning the main event in 1989 and becoming the youngest winner ever at the time. Hellmuth holds the most World Series bracelets (eleven) and may hold the the record for most televised "bad beats," delighting TV executives and audiences throughout the world.
- Stu Ungar (1980, 1981, 1997). One of only two three-time champions (though Moss won his first by vote), Stu Ungar is widely regarded as one of the greatest Texas hold 'em players of all-time. Known as "The Kid" for winning his first tournament at such a young age, Ungar holds the largest gap between WSOP main event victories (sixteen years) and was dubbed "The Comeback Kid" after his 1997 win.
- Chris Moneymaker (2003). The reason poker is where it's at today. Chris Moneymaker won his entry into the main event in a $39 satellite online tournament and went on to win the tournament against all odds. Most will remember his bluff on pro poker player Sammy Farha in what ESPN's Norman Chad called "the bluff of the century."
- Chris "Jesus" Ferguson (2000). One of the most recognizable faces of poker today with his trademark stoic demeanor, long hair, and beard, Ferguson's game embodies the mathematical aspect of poker today. A five-time bracelet winner, Ferguson won the tournament in 2000 and continues to be one of the most successful players today.
- Greg Raymer (2004). "Fossilman" entered a field of more than 2,500 entrants in 2004 when the main event exploded after Chris Moneymaker's highly publicized, highly improbable victory the previous year. Despite the odds and the scrutiny of playing in a field brimming with amateur players, Raymer was a stabilizing WSOP winner and an even steadier poker ambassador.
- Scotty Nguyen (1998). A five-time bracelet winner, "The Train" won the 1998 main event in memorable fashion. With a full house on the table and Nguyen pushing all-in, the talkative "Prince of Poker" coerced a call out of his opponent who played the board. Nguyen revealed a bigger full house in his hole cards, winning the event and launching the career of one of poker's most revered players.
- Jamie Gold (2006). He won the largest pot ($12 million) in the biggest field (8,772) at the height of televised poker's boom in the mainstream media. His underwhelming WSOP showings since then notwithstanding, Jamie Gold deserves a spot on this list for both his historic victory and his controversial nature. Maybe not the most likable poker ambassador, Gold beat the biggest odds to win it all.