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World Series of Poker Will Host Main Event Rematches this Summer

The Three Heads-Up Matches will Feature Chris Moneymaker vs. Sam Farha, Phil Hellmuth vs. Johnny Chan and One Match to be decided by a Fan Vote


Chris MoneymakerThe World Series of Poker will bring back some of the legendary heads-up matches in WSOP main event history this summer at the Rio Hotel and Casino. The rematches will feature Chris Moneymaker vs. Sam Farha, Phil Hellmuth vs. Johnny Chan, and one match to be decided by a fan vote.

All the matches will be filmed on Thursday, June 2 at the Rio on the ESPN set in the Amazon Room during the 2011 WSOP. The event will be open to the public, and seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

ESPN will televise a two-hour special, featuring back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, July 26 consisting of all three rematches. As part of the special, ESPN will include footage from the original matchups and offer interviews with the relevant participants discussing their original matches.

The World Series will highlight some of the greatest moments in the history of poker with these rematches including the one match that most say is responsible for the poker boom. When in 2003, one newcomer to the game in the main event field of 839 players was a 27-year-old accountant from Tennessee. Moneymaker had won his $10,000 entry fee after qualifying for $39 on his home computer.

Moneymaker surprisingly advanced to the heads-up final after busting such professionals as Phil Ivey, only to find the seasoned veteran Farha waiting for him. Moneymaker eventually defeated Farha to take home the $2.5 million top prize and he changed the course of poker history. “Winning the WSOP main event was a life-altering moment,” said Moneymaker. “Even though I’m agreeing to run it again against Sammy, I have been assured they can’t take away my title if my bluffs don’t work as well this time.”

Looking back on the match it almost seems too good to be true, a moment where reality eclipsed the possibilities of a movie script. Even Farha admitted after the fact that he was among those who benefited most from the tidal wave of publicity Moneymaker’s victory brought to the game. Indeed, Moneymaker pulled off one of the most improbable victories in poker history.

When the television episodes from the 2003 main event on ESPN it showed that thanks to a heavy dose of bluffing, the aptly-named amateur proved to everyone that playing the opponent is every bit as important as playing the cards you are dealt. Registration at the WSOP main event more than tripled the year following Moneymaker’s improbable victory, and the WSOP continues to set attendance records since his victory.

The second rematch will feature two of the most successful players in poker history. In 1989 Johnny Chan was coming off back-to-back victories in the WSOP main event but Phil Hellmuth became the youngest main event champion ever at the time and stopped Chan’s run at a three peat. This one should be another fan favorite with two larger-than-life poker personalities with large egos battling for major bragging rights.

During the 42-year history of the WSOP there have been many memorable moments that have played out over millions of hands as more than $1.2 billion in prize money has been awarded. This is an attempt to honor the historic moments that have captivated audiences and brought new fans to poker.

Here are the details for the rematches:

Matchup #1: 2003 WSOP main event: Chris Moneymaker vs. Sammy Farha – Best 2-out-of-3 format.

- First match: Exact starting chips they had when they started heads up play in 2003. (Moneymaker: 5,490,000; Farha: 2,900,000)

- Second match: Reverse starting stacks.

- Third Match: Even starting stacks. (if necessary)

Matchup #2: 1989 WSOP Main Event: Johnny Chan vs. Phil Hellmuth – One match.

- Match to feature even starting stacks

Matchup #3: Fan Choice – One match.

- Match to feature even starting stacks

- Winning matchup from fan vote will be invited to participate. If for whatever reason, participants in initial matchup are unavailable, we will move on to second pairing, etc.

Match will feature one of the following four pairings:

- 1988 WSOP Main Event: Johnny Chan vs. Erik Seidel

- 2004 WSOP Main Event: Greg Raymer vs. David Williams

- 2006 WSOP Main Event: Jamie Gold vs. Paul Wasicka

- 2010 WSOP Main Event: Jonathan Duhamel vs. John Racener

In order to determine who will participate in Matchup #3, fans will be able to vote on the World Series of Poker’s Official Facebook Fan Page. To become a WSOP Facebook Fan and vote on a WSOP Rematch, please visit: