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World Series of Poker Stats -- Who’s Been the Best Since the Boom? Part 3 of 3

A Detailed Look at the World Series Since Moneymaker’s Win


Thanks to the very top-heavy 2006 main event, Jamie Gold is the all-time WSOP leader.If we’re keeping score strictly by prize money, Jamie Gold is greatest World Series of Poker player both in history and since the dawn of the poker boom.

But Gold and any other successful tournament pro will tell you the same thing — there is a lot of variance in tournament poker, and for you to final-table the main event of the World Series, a lot of things need to go right.

That’s why Card Player has decided to create a list that highlights the players who have won the most money in the past six years (post Chris Moneymaker’s main-event win), without the crutch of a Las Vegas main event final-table result.

We decided to allow the WSOPE main event in this criteria, because one could argue quite rationally that the WSOPE resembles a typical $10,000 event more than it resembles the mammoth world championship.

This is the third and final part of a series that delved into the major statistics and categories of the modern era of poker. The first part of the series looked exclusively at WSOP bracelets, while the second part of the series focused on WSOP cashes and overall prize money.

Today, we will look at this final, specially-created category, and try to make sense of all these numbers.

WSOP Money Leaders (2004-2009; Excluding Final Table Results of the Las Vegas Main Event)

Rank Name WSOP Prize Money WSOP cashes Major Accomplishment
1 Vitaly Lunkin $3,374,896 7 2 FTs in ’09, including $40k win
2 Scotty Nguyen $2,954,925 17 2008 $50k H.O.R.S.E. win for $2 mil
3 John Juanda $2,772,089 34 2008 WSOPE win for $1.5 mil
4 Freddy Deeb $2,703,404 10 2007 $50k H.O.R.S.E. win for $2.2 mil
5 Daniel Negreanu $2,660,182 32 2 wins, 2 runner-ups (incl. WSOPE)
6 Phil Ivey $2,587,427 20 3 WSOP bracelets
7 Phil Hellmuth $2,549,574 35 2 WSOP Bracelets and 35 Cashes
8 Jeffrey Lisandro $2,542,171 35 4 WSOP Bracelets, incl. 3 in ‘09
9 Allen Cunningham $2,107,919 23 3 WSOP hold’em bracelets
10 Barry Greenstein $2,087,569 33 3 WSOP bracelets
11 Annette Obrestad $2,000,000 1 2007 WSOPE win for $2 mil
12 Andrew Bloch $1,954,947 18 Runner-up in ’06 $50k, ’08 $10k PLO
13 Erick Lindgren $1,938,125 22 3rd in ’08 $50k H.O.R.S.E., 1 bracelet
14 Chip Reese $1,851,239 4 2006 $50k H.O.R.S.E. win for $1.8 mil
15 David Bach $1,851,204 10 2009 $50k H.O.R.S.E. win for $1.3 mil
16 Erik Seidel $1,781,035.00 25 2005 and 2007 WSOP bracelets
17 Brandon Cantu $1,689,907 10 2006 and 2009 WSOP bracelets
18 J.C. Tran $1,686,218 27 8 WSOP Final Tables in 6-Year Stretch
19 John Hanson $1,650,891 3 2nd in ’09, 3rd in ’07 $50k H.O.R.S.E.
20 Jeff Madsen $1,590,005 9 A pair of 2006 WSOP bracelets

Understandably, the top four players all are there due at least partly to a huge performance in one of the WSOP’s premiere events ($50,000 Players Championship, last year’s $40,000 event, or the WSOP Europe main event). In order to make some serious cash in poker, you need to take down a major title.

Phil IveyBut take special note of Phil Ivey (No. 6) and Allen Cunningham (No. 8). Even when you subtract the winnings they earned from their main-event final table results in the past decade, they still make this exclusive list thanks to a plethora of other strong showings over the past six years.

Lee Watkinson, who final-tabled the 2007 main event, just missed out on making the top 20 of this category. If you take away his prize money from that event, he still has over $1.5 million in winnings in the past six years at the World Series thanks to a series of scores.

Some players — like the late Chip Reese, the reigning Players Championship winner David Bach, and the young Annette Obrestad — are on the list primarily for one result.

Others — like Ivey, Cunningham, Vitaly Lunkin, Jeffrey Lisandro, Daniel Negreanu, and Barry Greenstein — are there thanks to their slew of strong results.

J.C. Tran has been a force at the WSOP in the modern era.J.C. Tran shows how a player can make this group even without a massive score. While most players in the top 20 are there because of one or two events, Tran is there thanks to his astonishing consistency. With eight WSOP final tables in the last six years, his biggest cash was for his $1,500 bracelet win, which netted him $631,170.

As for Lunkin, most poker fans probably wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a lineup before the ’09 WSOP began. But the Russian player is alone at the top in this specialized category. His incredible heater last summer, along with his ’07 bracelet win, has made him the WSOP’s biggest winner in the modern era, if you exclude those blessed main-event final-tablists.

Another player who has flown under the radar, but has earned a spot in that top 20, is John Hanson. Not terribly well known in the poker community, Hanson has two top-three finishes in the Players Championship — the only person who can make that claim for the young event.

So who’s been the best since the poker boom?

As if we could actually and definitively answer that …

But in the spirit of trying to make sense of the numbers, we will highlight a few players and show how and why they stand out from the rest.

John JuandaIn terms of which players have the best stats and results in the post-boom era, a few individuals have set themselves apart from the rest — Lisandro, Ivey, Cunningham, Greenstein, Negreanu, Lunkin, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda, and Scotty Nguyen.

Lisandro has won the most bracelets, but Hellmuth has cashed more than anyone else.

Gold has technically made the most prize money thanks to his ’06 WSOP win in the very top-heavy main event, but if you look at the prize money of all events outside the main event, Lunkin has earned the most.

In the seven lists that were compiled — most WSOP bracelets (modern era and all-time), most WSOP cashes (modern era and all-time), and most prize money (modern era, all-time, and excluding main-event final tables) — there was only one pro who made every single list.

That pro is Allen Cunningham.

Allen Cunningham is amongst the best since the poker boom.The Full Tilt pro is tied for No. 2 in bracelets in the modern era (3), tied for No. 12 in bracelets all-time (5), tied for No. 12 in cashes in the modern era (22), No. 23 in cashes all-time (41), No. 9 in prize money post-’03 (just over $6 million), No. 6 all-time in prize money (nearly $7.4 million), and No. 9 in prize money besides the main-event final table ($2.1 million).

Cunningham also has three hold’em bracelets in the modern era, a feat no one has equaled.

This is not a conclusion that Cunningham has performed the best, but arguably no one has his record of consistency both in the modern era and in WSOP history.

A few players are definitely neck-and-neck with Cunningham, however, and have outperformed him in various areas.

Daniel NegreanuWith no WSOP Las Vegas main-event final table to his name, Negreanu failed to make either the all-time or post-’03 money lists. However, he was amongst the very best in virtually every other post-boom category — tied for No. 5 in bracelets (2), No. 4 in cashes (32), and No. 5 in prize money if you exclude the Las Vegas main-event final table ($2.66 million).

Lisandro is also incredibly impressive in those three categories — No. 1 in bracelets (4), tied for No. 5 in cashes, and No. 8 in prize money with the exclusion of the main event ($2.54 million).

Along with Negreanu and Lisandro, Greenstein and Hellmuth are the two other players who are in the top 10 of each of those three specific post-boom categories. The Bear is tied at No. 2 in bracelets (3), No. 3 in cashes (34), and No. 10 in prize money without main-event FT results ($2.1 million). The Poker Brat is tied at No. 5 in bracelets (2), No. 1 in cashes (35), and No. 7 in the prize-money category ($2.55 million).

So who’s been the best since the poker boom? The debate will rage on. But if you look at the numbers, picking any one of the above players probably not be a bad bet.

If you haven’t done so already, check out part 1 of this series, which focused on WSOP bracelets, as well as part 2 of this series, which highlighted WSOP cashes and overall prize money.

Editor’s Note: Statistics are based on the record-keeping of the World Series of Poker. If you notice any omissions or see the need for any corrections, please e-mail

Author’s Note: We have received a number of requests to do a follow-up article, showing a little bit of perspective on these statistics by highlighting the number of tournaments each player has entered. Unfortunately, the WSOP has not kept this stat over the years, making it virtually impossible to collect the data and write such an article.



over 12 years ago

wait till event 47, king walter will parlay a victory there to a main event final table and you'll need to revise it for the king!


over 12 years ago

This started out with comments about new players vs old guard, that's why you did after Moneymaker (I argue that the Moneymaker year *is* the first modern era because it was the first time a large # of entries came from online satellites.) One thing you didn't make much point of is how much the before internet players still dominate the tournament scene.

And you could use a point system to take away the money from the lists.


over 12 years ago

John Juanda shouldnt be up there because the World series of poker Europe is a competley different tournament. I dont think Wsope should be included with the regular World Series


over 12 years ago

Did you guys ever get the Wsop final table numbers, becuase i cant find them anywhere and it is not on the hendon mob database


over 12 years ago

Thanks for looking into the total tournaments entered stat, Stephen.

I seriously doubt that the WSOP's computer is incapable of chunking out that information. They probably don't want to embarrass the least successful (or, come to think of it, the most successful) players.

Good work in trying, though.