Famous WSOP Hands

02 May 2023
Sean Chaffin 02 May 2023
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  • A look at some of the most memorable WSOP hands
  • Our top three moments from World Series of Poker history
Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson
  • Doyle Brunson’s 10-2
  • Johnny Chan & ‘Rounders’
  • The Poker Brat’s Biggest Hand
There have been millions of hands played at the World Series of Poker since the tournament’s debut in 1970. A few of those stick out just a bit more than others.

Here’s a look at a few hands that made some new through the years.

Doyle Brunson’s 10-2

10-2 is certainly not a great hand, but it stands out in poker history and has earned the name “the Doyle Brunson.” This was the final hand the legendary poker player held when he won the WSOP Main Event in 1976 and ‘77. Each of those massive wins came with virtually the same winning hands – 102 and the 102 a year later.

The Brunson hand remains pretty well known today and the Poker Hall of Famer still plays it, perhaps looking to channel some of that energy from his Main Event wins. Brinson remains a giant in the game and still plays in some massive cash games well into his 80s.

Johnny Chan & ‘Rounders’

Rounders was anything but a hit when the film was released in 1998. However, the movie was received well by critics and was one of the first to bring viewers into the world of realistic high stakes poker.

The film also featured a massive moment from the 1988 Main Event. Matt Damon’s character Mike McDermott is fascinated with the heads-up battle for the title between poker legends Johnny Chan and Erik Seidel. 

Chan had already won the Main Event in 1987 and was looking for back-to-back titles. Holding J9, he flopped a straight when the Q810 hit the board. For his part, Seidel landed a nice hand as well with Q7.

Seidel checked and Chan put out a bet. Seidel then raised and surely felt he was in great shape with his pair of Queens. Chan played things smoothly, all the while holding the nuts. He feigned some weakness by simply calling. The 2 fell on the turn and both players checked.

“Erik Seidel cannot win this hand and yet he doesn’t know it,” the ESPN commentator announced at the time. “Chan is trying to sucker him in by taking his time.”

The 6 then came on the river and Seidel got all his chips in, giving Chan an easy call for the title and completing the repeat Main Event performance. Chan was also featured in another key Rounders scene. That key Main Event scenario remains famous as poker players and film buffs around the world continue seeing the hand play out on screen.

The Poker Brat’s Biggest Hand

At age 24, Phil Hellmuth was the new kid on the block in 1989 when he faced Johnny Chan heads-up for the Main Event gold bracelet. It was quite a contrast – Chan looked poised to win an unprecedented third straight Main Event and Hellmuth had only one WSOP cash to his name.

The three-peat wouldn’t be in Chan’s future, however, and the Poker Brat went on to become the youngest player to win the Main Event at that time. His pocket Nines, 9-9, was his final hand and that win helped kickstart a massive poker career.

Hellmuth now has a record 16 WSOP bracelets and is one of the most well-known players in poker. While his antics may have earned him the nickname “The Poker Brat,” Hellmuth still brings plenty of skills to the table.

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