Ready for an updated OG List of World Series of Poker Main Event winners? We’ve compiled a complete list of WSOP Main Event  champions, beginning in 1972 with Johnny Moss and including the current champion, Koray Aldemir, who shipped the 2021 version in Las Vegas for $8 million.

WSOP Main Event List Winners Doyle Brunson World Series Poker
Doyle Brunson wins the 1977 WSOP Main Event. (Image: Tony Korody/Getty)

We’ve also compiled an additional list of WSOP Europe winners, and champions from the now-defunct WSOP Asia.

Johnny Moss won the WSOP Main Event in 1970, which was more like an MVP. Players voted on the best player at the inaugural series, and everyone picked Moss.

In 1971, the WSOP hosted its first Main Event, which had a $5,000 buy-in. Only six players competed, and it was winner-take-all. Moss defeated Puggy Pearson heads-up to win $30,000.

  • Johnny Moss: 3 (1970, 1971, 1974)
  • Stu Ungar: 3 (1980, 1981, 1997)
  • Doyle Brunson: 2 (1976, 1977)
  • Johnny Chan: 2 (1987, 1988)

Moss won three Main Event titles. Stu Ungar is the only other pro to win the Main Event three times. Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan each have two wins, and both won the Main Event in back-to-back years.

The $10,000 Lottery Ticket

The World Series of Poker Main Event has had a $10,000 buy-in since 1972. Some purists want to continue to keep the price at $10K, but other modernists would like to see the buy-in updated to reflect inflation.

A dollar in 1972 is worth approximately $6.25 today, so the Main Event price tag today should be closer to $62,500. There’s a minority of poker enthusiasts who would like to see the buy-in jacked up to $50,000, with others suggesting a compromise of $25,000.

Puggy Pearson Johnny Moss Binion's Las Vegas Jack Binion
Johnny Moss (left) in downtown Las Vegas in the early 1970s. (Image: Joe Smith)

The Glory Days at Benny’s Bullpen

Johnny Moss won three WSOP Main Events in the first six years of its inception. The early events featured small fields, but everyone had a cool nickname like Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, or Sailor Roberts.

1970 Johnny Moss N/A N/A
1971 Johnny Moss $30,000 6
1972 Amarillo Slim Preston $80,000 8
1973 Puggy Pearson $130,000 13
1974 Johnny Moss $160,000 16
1975 Sailor Roberts $210,000 21
1976 Doyle Brunson $220,000 22
1977 Doyle Brunson $340,000 34
1978 Bobby Baldwin $210,00 42
1979 Hal Fowler $270,000 54

Doyle Brunson won back-to-back championships in 1976 and 1977. Texas Dolly won both titles while holding a 10-deuce, and the 10-2 became his trademarked hand. Shortly after winning back-to-back championships, Brunson authored Super/System, which is highly regarded as the Bible for poker pros.

Phil Hellmuth 1989 World Series of Poker
Phil Hellmuth Celebrates his WSOP victory in 1989. (Image: Wayne Kodey/LVRJ)

1980s Rockstars: Ungar, Chan, Hellmuth

Stu Ungar kicked off the 1980s with a bang, winning  back-to-back WSOP titles in 1980 and 1981.

In 1983, Tom McEvoy made history as the first player to win a seat in the $10,000 buy-in event through a feeder satellite, created by Jack Binion. The creation of satellites aided in increasing the future growth of the Main Event.

1980 Stu Ungar $385,000 73
1981 Stu Ungar $375,000 75
1982 Jack Strauss $520,000 104
1983 Tom McEvoy $540,000 108
1984 Gentleman Jack Keller $600,000 132
1985 Bill Smith $700,000 140
1986 Berry Johnston $570,000 141
1987 Johnny Chan $625,000 152
1988 Johnny Chan $700,000 167
1989 Phil Hellmuth $755,000 178
1990 Mansour Matloubi $895,000 194

Johnny Chan won the WSOP Main Event in 1987 and 1988. His victory at the 1988 WSOP over Erik Seidel has become a part of gambling lore, thanks to the inclusion of the moment in the cult-classic film “Rounders” (1998).

Chan is the last player to win back-to-back WSOP titles. Once the field size ballooned to over 200 players, it became near impossible to replicate consecutive victories.

Chan almost won three in a row, but Phil Hellmuth took down the 1989 WSOP Main Event. The Poker Brat was only 23 at the time, and the victory put him — and his ego — on the map. That victory marked Hellmuth’s first WSOP bracelet. Since then, he’s won 15 more WSOP events, and currently holds the record with 16 bracelets.

Stu Ungar Jack Binion
Stu Ungar wins his third WSOP Main Event title in 1997. (Image: NY Post)

Seven Figure Club: Scotty Nguyen to Jesus, Stuey Three Times

In 1991, the WSOP Main Event entrants went north of 200 players for the first time. As a result, the WSOP awarded its first seven-figure payout. In fewer than 20 years, the WSOP Main Event went from a handful of old-school gamblers into a budding global phenomenon.

Brad Daugherty won the 1991 WSOP Main Event and became the first million-dollar winner in history.

1991 Brad Daugherty $1,000,000 215
1992 Hamid Dastmalchi $1,000,000 201
1993 Jim Bechtel $1,000,000 220
1994 Russ Hamilton $1,000,000 268
1995 Dan Harrington $1,000,000 273
1996 Huck Seed $1,000,000 295
1997 Stu Ungar $1,000,000 312
1998 Scotty Nguyen $1,000,000 350
1999 Noel Furlong $1,000,000 393
2000 Jesus Ferguson $1,500,000 512
2001 Carlos Mortensen $1,500,000 613
2002 Robert Varkonyi $2,000,000 631

In 1997, with the final table broadcast in front of Binion’s, Ungar won his third Main Event and his fifth overall bracelet. Ungar joined Johnny Moss as the only player to win the WSOP Main Event three times. Poker players recognize Ungar as the GOAT because Moss won his first WSOP by voting.

Chris Moneymaker Poker Boom
Chris Moneymaker playing heads-up at the 2003 WSOP in downtown Las Vegas. (Image: Joe Cavaretta/AP)

Poker Boom and Move to Rio: Moneymaker to Cada

In 2003, an accountant from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker won his $10,000 seat to the WSOP Main Event through an online satellite at PokerStars. He parlayed $39 into a $2.5 million prize pool and helped ignite the online poker boom. Moneymaker outlasted 839 runners to win the 2003 WSOP Main Event. The next year, the entrants nearly quadrupled to 2,576, when Greg Raymer won the 2004 WSOP Main Event.

Joe Hachem won the 2005 WSOP Main Event, which was the last time a final table was played inside Benny’s Bullpen at the old Binion’s Horseshoe. Since 2006, the WSOP Main Event has played out at the Rio Casino.

2003 Chris Moneymaker $2,500,000 839
2004 Greg Raymer $5,000,000 2,576
2005 Joe Hachem $7,500,000 5,619
2006 Jamie Gold $12,000,000 8,773
2007 Jerry Yang $8,250,000 6,358
2008 Peter Eastgate $9,152,416 6,844
2009 Joe Cada $8,574,649 6,494
2010 Jonathan Duhamel $8,944,138 7,319

Jamie Gold, a former agent in Hollywood, secured the highest single payout to date. Gold banked $12 million for his runaway victory at the 2006 WSOP Main Event. He outlasted 8,773 players, which is the largest field in the history of the WSOP Main Event.

Hossein Ensan Germany 2019 champion
Germany’s Hossein Ensan wins $10 million at the 2019 WSOP Main Event. (Image:

Post-Black Friday

In the wake of Black Friday (when the US government shuttered online poker sites on April 15, 2011), the numbers for the Main Event dipped with players unable to secure seats through online poker satellites. Pius Heinz from Germany won the first WSOP Main Event in the post-Black Friday realm.

2011 Pius Heinz $8,715,638 6,865
2012 Greg Merson $8,531,853 6,598
2013 Ryan Riess $8,359,531 6,352
2014 Martin Jacobson $10,000,000 6,683
2015 Joe McKeehen $7,683,346 6,420
2016 Qui Nguyen $8,005,310 6,737
2017 Scott Blumstein $8,150,000 7,221
2018 John Cynn $8,800,000 7,874
2019 Hossein Ensan $10,000,000 8,569
2020 Damian Salas $1,550,969 1,379
2021 Koray Aldemir $8,000,000 6,650

In 2019, Germany’s Hossein Ensan faded the second-largest field in WSOP Main Event history when he topped 8,569 runners to win the Main Event bracelet and $10 million in cash.

During the pandemic of 2020, the WSOP hosted a special hybrid Main Event championship that began online with an international pool and a domestic US pool of players. Although there won’t be a WSOP Europe Main Event champ in 2020, the WSOP crowned a 2020 champion in Las Vegas when Damian Salas from Argentina won the special installment.

In 2021, the WSOP was moved to the fall, but they played out a traditional Main Event with German pro Koray Aldemir besting a field of 6,650 players to win $8 million.

Annette Obrestad Annette15 WSOPE Europe
Norway’s Annette Obrestad wins the 2007 WSOP Europe in London. (Image: Pauly McGuire/Tao of Poker)

WSOP Expansion to Europe and Asia

In 2007, World Series of Poker expanded its brand to Europe by hosting the first of several championships in London. Norway’s Annette Obrestad, aka Annette_15, made a name for herself as one of the best online poker players in the world while she was still a teenager. She won the first-ever WSOP Europe Main Event one day shy of her 19th birthday. Casinos in Europe permitted gamblers who were 18 and older, whereas Nevada law states gamblers must be 21 or older.

2007 Annette Obrestad £1,000,000 362
2008 John Juanda £868,800 362
2009 Barry Shulman £801,603 334
2010 James Bord £830,401 346
2011 Elio Fox € 1,400,000 593
2012 Phil Hellmuth € 1,022,376 420
2013 Adrian Mateos £1,000,000 375
2015 Kevin MacPhee £883,000 313
2017 Marti Roca de Torres € 1,115,207 529
2018 Jack Sinclair € 1,122,239 534
2019 Alexandros Kolonias € 1,133,678 541

Held for just two years, Daniel Negreanu won the inaugural WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event in 2013.

2013 Daniel Negreanu A$1,038,825 405
2014 Scott Davies A$850,136 329

The AU$10,000 buy-in inaugural event had 405 runners, and Negreanu banked a little more than AU$1,000,000. In 2014, Scott Davies won the second and last WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event.