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Poker Leaderboard: Main Event Winners Earnings (Not Including Main Event Win)

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Apr 21, 2021


The World Series of Poker main event has consistently been the largest poker tournament of the year with regards to total prize pool. The eventual champion has received a massive multi-million dollar payday for nearly two decades now. As a result, the upper echelon of poker’s all-time money list is densely populated with WSOP world champions. But among main event winners, who has done the best outside of their world championship title run?

Sitting atop this unique leaderboard is none other than 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, with $22 million in career earnings to his name once the $755,000 he took home as the 1989 WSOP main event champion is deducted. That is nearly twice as much in earnings as his nearest competitor, Scotty Nguyen, who has cashed for $11.7 million outside of the $1 million he earned as the 1998 world champion.

The 2004 WSOP main event was the first to ever draw more than 1,000 entries, with poker’s popularity booming in the wake of Chris Moneymaker’s victory the prior year. From then on, the main event has always awarded a top prize of at least $5 million. The most successful main event champion from this modern era has been 2015 main event winner Joe McKeehen. The Pennsylvania native has cashed for just over $10 million in poker tournaments, discounting the $7,683,346 he secured in the big dance. He is the only player from this modern era to reach eight figures in earnings with his world championship score excluded. McKeehen has added to his total in the early months of 2021, cashing for $716,060 across two big final-table finishes.

McKeehen has also won two additional WSOP bracelets since his marquee victory, taking down the 2020 WSOP Online $3,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em event for $352,985 and the 2017 WSOP $10,000 limit hold’em championship for another $311,817. Joe Cada and Jonathan Duhamel are the only other main event winners from the post-Moneymaker era to win multiple bracelets after becoming a world champion. Cada has won three additional WSOP titles since his 2009 title run in the main event, while Duhamel has added two since his victory in 2010.