WSOP Players & Winners - Famous names in World Series of Poker History

01 May 2023
Sean Chaffin 01 May 2023
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  • Who are the most famous names in WSOP history?
  • A look at the key WSOP players and winners of previous years
johnny chan poker
Professional poker player Johnny Chan (Getty Images)
  • Johnny Moss
  • "Amarillo Slim" Preston, Jr.
  • Doyle Brunson
  • Jack “TreeTop” Straus
  • Stu Ungar
  • Johnny Chan
  • Chris Moneymaker
  • Jamie Gold 
Many legends of poker have reached the winner’s circle in the WSOP Main Event and in other key tournaments. Here’s a look at just a few who stand out.

Johnny Moss

This Texan won the first two Main Event in 1970 and ‘71 then went on to win the title again in 1974. In total, he won nine bracelets and was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979. The lifelong poker player passed away in 1979. 

"Amarillo Slim" Preston, Jr.

This Texan won the Main Event in 1972 and helped poker earn some of its earliest media attention with his humorous stories on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Doyle Brunson

The winner of the Main Event in 1976 and ‘77, Brunson remains one of the most respected players in poker. Even into his 80s, the Texan plays some of the biggest cash games in the world. He has a total of 10 WSOP bracelets as well as remains the oldest player ever to win a WOPT title. 

In 1979, the Hall of Famer also authored Super/System. Many consider the book to be the authoritative to modern poker strategy.

Jack “TreeTop” Straus

Another Texan, Straus won the 1982 Main Event after being down to a single chip at one point. His comeback victory gave rise to the popular poker saying, “All you need is a chip and a chair.”

Stu Ungar

After the series was dominated by Texans and southerners in the early days, New Yorker Ungar emerged as the winner of the Main Event in 1980 and ‘81. 

A gifted card player, many credit Ungar as being one of the best players in history. He became one of only two players, along with Moss, to win the Main Event for a third time in 1997. 

However in November 1998, Ungar was found dead in a Las Vegas motel room. Hsi death was attributed to a heart condition after years of drug abuse.

Johnny Chan

This card-playing savant originally from China, who later emigrated to Houston, Texas, became known as “The Orient Express” after winning back-to-0backl Main Event titles in 1987 and ‘88. 

He came close to claiming three in a row, but lost in a heads-up battle with Phil Hellmuth in 1989. Chan made a memorable cameo in the poker Rounders in 1998. He is tied with Brunson and Phil Ivey in WSOP bracelets with 10.

Chris Moneymaker

His everyman story of winning the 2003 in front of ESPN cameras after winning a seta on PokerStars helped spark the poker boom of the 2000s. Average Joe players around the world now dreamed of getting in the action. Online poker surged as well.

Jamie Gold 

Winner of the 2006 Main Event, which remains the largest in history. The Los Angeles-based talent agent and television producer took down the tournament for $12 million. The tournament field saw 8,773 players for an $82,5 million.

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