Is there a World Series of Poker Main Event curse

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Nov 02, 2012 Posted in Op-Ed, WSOP News | No Comments »

Since 2002 the World Series of Poker Main Event Champion has been decided by fairly anonymous players. These players have left as WSOP Main Event champions or runner-ups, with huge expectations heaped upon their shoulders, but since 2002 very few winners or runners-up have lived up to these lofty expectations, and many have downright been busts. So this begs the question; is there a WSOP Main Event curse?

Obviously the idea of a curse is ludicrous to poker players, but hyperbole aside, the recent winners and runners-up at the WSOP Main Event have a very poor track-record. Of the 20 players who have finished 1st and 2nd in the WSOP Main Event between 2002 and 2011 only three have lived-up to or exceeded expectations so far: 2004 runner-up David Williams, 2005 Champion Joe Hachem, and 2010 Champion Jonathan Duhamel. Several players have been fairly neutral: 2002 runner-up Julian Gardner, 2003 Champion Chris Moneymaker, 2003 runner-up Sammy Farha, 2004 Champion Greg Raymer, 2008 Champion Peter Eastgate, 2008 runner-up Ivan Demidov, 2010 runner-up John Racener, 2011 Champion Pius Heinz, and 2011 runner-up Martin Staszko.

What is extraordinary to me is the number of sheer busts the WSOP Main Event has produced. With only three of the 20 players to have finished 1st or 2nd in this time period having excelled after their WSOP fame, an amazing number have done next to nothing (next to nothing in terms of what is expected from a WSOP winner/runner-up anyway) including 2002 Champion Robert Varkonyi, 2005 runner-up Steve Dannenmann, 2006 Champion Jamie Gold, 2006 runner-up Paul Wasicka, 2007 Champion Jerry Yang, 2007 runner-up Tuan Lam, 2009 Champion Joe Cada, and 2009 runner-up Darvin Moon. That’s eight busts compared to three success stories.

This isn’t a slight on these players, and I’m not saying these guys are now looking for a free online poker bankroll, but the numbers are quite astounding considering the praise that is heaped on these players. Here is a look at all of the winners and runners-up from 2002 through 2012, so you can judge for yourself:

2002 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Robert Varkonyi

* Runner-Up: Julian Gardner

2003 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Chris Moneymaker

* Runner-Up: Sam Farha

2004 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Greg Raymer

* Runner-Up: David Williams

2005 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Joe Hachem

* Runner-Up: Steve Dannenmann

2006 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Jamie Gold

* Runner-Up: Paul Wasicka

2007 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Jerry Yang

* Runner-Up: Tuan Lam

2008 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Peter Eastgate

* Runner-Up: Ivan Demidov

2009 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Joe Cada

* Runner-Up: Darvin Moon

2010 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Jonathan Duhamel

* Runner-Up: John Racener

2011 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Pius Heinz

* Runner-Up: Martin Staszko

2012 WSOP Main Event

* Winner: Greg Merson

* Runner-Up: Jesse Sylvia


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