Top 10 WSOP winners

‘I was playing to win. I was zoned’ – Joe Hachem

1. JOE HACHEM $7,525,850

It’s testament to the exponential growth of the WSOP, in particular the Main Event, that the top three WSOP all-time money-winners are the 2004 and 2005 world champions and last year’s runnerup. And leading the pack is Australia’s Joe Hachem, the former chiropractor from Melbourne, who last year went to Las Vegas and took down the $7.5m first prize. Like the two previous winners – Moneymaker and Raymer – poker wasn’t Hachem’s main profession, and as a result the Australian tax office let him keep the lot. Lucky sod. Still, with rumours of an estimated $10m first prize this time, he’ll have to fend off a potential 8,000 runners to make the final table again and retain top spot.

2. GREG RAYMER $5,433,450

Having finished 12th in an Omaha Hi-Lo event in 2001, Fossilman was clearly no fool when he went to the Big One in 2004 and took home $5m. Which is no mean feat in the year when the Main Event more than trebled from a field of 839 and a prize pool of less than $8m in 2003, to 2,576 entries and a pot of nearly $25m. He proved it was no one-off by finishing 25th in last year’s Main Event.

3. STEVE DANNENMANN $4,250,000

The accountant from Maryland may have finished second in last year’s Main Event, but won the nation’s hearts as the underdog who gave as good as he got to Phil Hellmuth, as the Poker Brat tried to boss the little guys. And while the $4m+ that he scooped for finishing second is his only win at the WSOP, he cemented his credentials with a fifth place finish at the TOC last November.

4. T.J. CLOUTIER $ 3,711,781

With six bracelets and 43 cash finishes, 67-year-old Cloutier is widely considered one of the best tournament players of all time. He’s made the final table in the Main Event four times, finishing runner-up twice. And while the majority of today’s players can only play Hold’em, Cloutier is a true all-rounder, having won pot-limit Omaha and 7-Card Razz events.

5. JOHNNY CHAN $3,706,543

The Orient Express is arguably the most successful WSOP player ever. With 10 wins, he jointly holds the record with Doyle Brunson, for most amount of bracelets, and has cashed 30 times. Most importantly he recorded back-to-back Main Event wins in 1987 and 1988, and was a whisker away from making it three in 1989, until a young Phil Hellmuth relegated him to runner-up spot.

6. PHIL HELLMUTH $3,635,335

The Poker Brat loves the WSOP and was mortified when Chan and Brunson pipped him as the first players to win 10 bracelets. But Hellmuth can be proud of his nine pieces of bling and becoming the youngest player to win the Main Event back in 1989 at just 25. And being as back then first prize was only $755,000, he’s cashed consistently ever since to accrue more than $3.5m in WSOP money.

7. DAVID WILLIAMS $3,507,705

Like Steve Dannenmann a year later, 2004 runner-up Williams is only here for the one result, but he’s a player to keep an eye on. He’s been playing for nearly 10 years and since his success in 2004, the former economics student has dedicated a lot of his time to playing poker. He’s made three final tables in WPT events and is a cool customer at the green baize.

8. DAN HARRINGTON $3,471,358

The man who wrote what we consider to be the best strategy book on Hold’em loves the Main Event, having made the final table on four occasions, including a Main Event win in 1995 where he pocketed $1m. He’s renowned as being the most patient man in poker, so he’s surely got the game and experience to cope with 13 days of competition this year.

9. JOSH ARIEH $3,184,750

This well-respected superaggressive player from Atlanta has two bracelets to prove that his third place finish in 2004’s Main Event was no fluke. He’s been playing for 14 years and specialises in other games and formats having won his bracelets at limit Hold’em and pot-limit Omaha. He’s cashed seven times and will look to add to his bracelet tally this year.

10. ERIK SEIDEL $3,128,358

Former Wall Street trader, Full Tilt player Seidel has seven bracelets, including a $2,000 No-Limit tournament win last year, a Deuce-to-Seven Draw title and an Omaha 8-or-Better victory. He came second to Johnny Chan in the 1988 Main Event and has cashed 40 times. Not bad for a player who didn’t take up the game seriously until moving to Las Vegas in 1995.

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