Poker’s World Champions
1970 – Johnny Moss 1971 – Johnny Moss 1972 – Amarillo Slim Preston 1973 – Walter “Puggy” Pearson 1974 – Johnny Moss 1975 – Brian “Sailor” Roberts 1976 – Doyle Brunson 1977 – Doyle Brunson 1978 – Bobby Baldwin 1979 – Hal Fowler 1980 – Stu Ungar 1981 – Stu Ungar 1982 – Jack Strauss 1983 – Tom McEvoy 1984 – Jack Keller 1985 – Bill Smith 1986 – Berry Johnston 1987 – Johnny Chan 1988 – Johnny Chan 1989 – Phil Hellmuth 1990 – Mansour Matloubi 1991 – Brad Daugherty 1992 – Hamid Dastmalchi 1993 – Jim Bectal 1994 – Russ Hamilton 1995 – Dan Harrington 1996 – Huck Seed 1997 – Stu Ungar 1998 – Scotty Nguyen 1999 – Noel Furlong 2000 – Chris Ferguson 2001 – Carlos Mortenson 2002 – Robert Varkonyi 2003 – Chris Moneymaker 2004 – Greg Raymer 2005 – Joe Hachem 2006 – Jamie Gold 2007 – Jerry Yang 2008 – Peter Eastgate 2009 – Joe Cada 2010 – Jonathan Duhamel 2011 – Pius Heinz 2012 – Greg Merson
2007 – Annette Oberstad 2008 – John Juanda 2009 – Barry Shulman 2010 – James Bord 2011 – Elio Fox 2012 – Phil Hellmuth
Did you Know? Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar have won the World Championship twice. Two-time champs Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan each won the event in back-to-back years. Jack Strauss won his championship in dramatic fashion, coming back from a single chip; coining the phrase, “a chip and a chair.” Phil Hellmuth is the only player to win both the main event of the WSOP (1989) and the main event of the WSOPE (2012).
The World Poker Tour
Since it’s in 2002, it has produced some of the most unbelievable, most electrifying poker television around the globe. The World Poker Tour, known commonly as the ‘WPT’, was founded by American attorney/television producer Steve Lipscomb, who at the time served as CEO of WPT Enterprises (WPTE), and capitalized on the so-called ‘Moneymaker Effect’. The poker boom was on. It was a case of being at the right spot at the right time.
The tour is a series of international events and it boasts an associated television series, which broadcasts the final table of each tournament. Unlike most final tables which consist of 9 players, WPT final tables only feature six. There have been surreal bad beats, incredible bluffs and high-quality play which has transformed long-time professional grinders into household names and millionaires. The WPT is a driving force in the poker industry, a leader behind only the World Series of Poker. The most coveted feat on the WPT is to be named the WPT ‘Player of the Year.” To be on that list is to be in rarified poker company considering it features a virtual who’s who in the business of Texas Hold’em. Winners on the World Poker Tour become instant stars but to be named ‘Player of the Year’ is to be vaulted into poker royalty.
The prize money has been absolutely staggering too, some of the largest prize pools in the history of the game. Take for instance Joe Bartholdi Junior’s Championship victory in Season 4; it was worth more than $3.7 million. Just a year later, the ‘Matador’ Carlos Mortensen pocketed more than $3.9 million.
Did you know? Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari, who is a multiple winner on the World Poker Tour, took home the biggest first place prize in poker history – $18 million – after capturing the One Drop charity event at the 2012 WSOP in Las Vegas. Jamie Gold won $12 million for his Main Event title at the 2006 World Series of Poker.
Past Recipients of the WPT ‘Player of the Year’ Award:
Season 1: Howard Lederer Season 2: Erick Lindgren Season 3: Daniel Negreanu Season 4: Gavin Smith Season 5: J. C. Tran Season 6: Jonathan Little Season 7: Bertrand Grospellier Season 8: Faraz Jaka Season 9: Andy Frankenberger Season 10: Joe Serock
Fun & Facts from the World Poker Tour
• In 2004, the World Poker Tour created a Walk of Fame, inducting poker legends Doyle Brunson and Gus Hansen, as well as actor James Garner.
• In July 2006, the WPT faced some legal troubles. Seven poker professionals sued WPTE, alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the California Cartwright Act, and intentional interference with contract. Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Joe Hachem, Phil Gordon, Howard Lederer, and Greg Raymer, alleged the company’s standard release forms, required for participation in WPT events, were designed to interfere with their contractual obligations to other companies. Essentially, the players claimed the WPT’s perpetual rights to their ‘likeness’ put them in violation of other contracts, namely online poker sites like Poker Stars and Full Tilt. Worth noting, Hachem and Raymer dropped out of the lawsuit before its eventual undisclosed settlement.
• In 2008, the WPT started offering bracelets to its event champions. Players who won a title prior to that were given a WPT Bracelet retroactively.
• In January 2008, the WPT announced a set of tournaments for women, known as WPT Ladies. The series included five events, with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,500. Nancy Todd won the inaugural Ladies Championship with Vanessa Selbst finishing second. There are currently no WPT Ladies events scheduled.
• In November 2009, PartyGaming announced its acquisition of the World Poker Tour from WPTE for a whopping $12,300,000.
• Only 4 players have finished in the money at least once in all 10 seasons of the World Poker Tour. These players are Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Mark Seif, and Surinder Sunar.
• The WPT final table broadcasts are hosted by Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten, who sit in a booth near the final table, providing commentary and occasionally interacting with the players. Did you know? Their specific comments about hole cards are recorded after the tournament takes place because gaming regulations prohibit them from observing a ‘live’ feed of the “hole card cameras” while on the set.
• Through the end of Season 10, no player has been named WPT ‘Player of the Year’ and also captured the WPT Championship. In Season 7, WPT ‘Player of the Year’ Bertrand Grospellier finished 3rd in that season’s WPT Championship.