World Series of Poker Main Event

The World Series of Poker Main Event is the $10 000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament which this year will be the 54th event on the World Series of Poker (WSOP) calendar. This event has always served as the World Championship decider, although the buy-in was only $5 000 in 1971.

Only four players have ever won the Main Event on more than one occasion, and they are all true poker greats.

Winners of the Main Event have their pictures added to the Gallery of Champions at Binion’s and earn the unofficial title of World Champion.

Recent years have seen more and more qualifiers from satellite and online tournaments advancing to the later stages of the Main Event.

Chris Moneymaker’s victory at the 2003 Main Event ushered in a new era for the World Series of Poker. Moneymaker qualified for the 2003 WSOP via the PokerStars online card room, going on to win a pot of $2.5 million. He had never played in a live tournament before.

Greg Raymer, the 2004 World Champion, qualified by for the Main Event in the same way, while 2007 Main Event champion, Jerry Yang, had only been playing poker for two years prior to his victory.

The introduction of a $50 000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the 2006 World Series of Poker, however, may threaten the prestige of the Main Event. With a buy-in five times more expensive than the Hold’em event, the H.O.R.S.E. tournament is a more daunting prospect for amateur players, as is the fact that players have to be skilled in five different poker variations.

The fact that amateurs now far outnumber professionals in the Main Event field, as a result of what has been termed "The Moneymaker Effect".

The professionals have said that the $50 000 H.O.R.S.E. event is the true decider of the world’s best player and actually had a major part to play in convincing World Series management to include a tournament with such a large buy-in.

Did You Know?

  • The final hand of the 1988 Main Event was featured in the movie Rounders.
  • In 1982, Jack Straus came back to win after thinking he was bust, then finding he still had one $500 chip.