Key Stats And Facts From The World Series Of Poker Main Event

Written By Drew Ellis on July 1, 2022
WSOP Michigan April online circuit series

The biggest poker event of the year is set to kick off this holiday weekend.

On Sunday, July 3, the 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event will get underway.

Poker’s biggest prize has definitely had a connection with Michigan over the years. With online poker growing more in the state, Michiganders continue to gain interest in WSOP events.

Here’s some history and background behind the Main Event before its latest edition begins play.

What is the WSOP Main Event?

The World Series of Poker Main Event is a No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament that is open to anyone in the world.

Well, anyone that can put up the $10,000 buy-in to play.

Originally started in 1970 with just seven players, the WSOP Main Event has grown leaps and bounds in participants since the early 2000s.

This year’s event is held at Bally’s Las Vegas and will feature thousands of players competing for the top prize of millions of dollars and the Main Event bracelet.

The Main Event has had different scheduling formats in previous years. This year, the Main Event is scheduled to run July 3-16.

PokerGO will be offering live streaming of the WSOP Main Event.

Michigan’s connection to the WSOP Main Event

The state of Michigan has produced three different winners of the WSOP Main Event.

The first of the three winners was Tom McEvoy in 1983. McEvoy won the WSOP Main Event with a field of 108 players, taking home a $540,000 first prize. McEvoy, a Grand Rapids native, had the catchy nickname of “Grand Rapids Tom.”

Grand Rapids Tom would win the 1983 Main Event with a final hand of Queen of Diamonds and Queen of Spades. He bested Rod Peate in the final pairing. McEvoy would go on to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2009, Joe Cada became the youngest Main Event winner at 21 years and 357 days. Cada, a Shelby Township native won a field of 6,494 players to take over a top prize of over $8.57 million.

Cada’s victory came with a hand of 9 of Diamonds and 9 of Clubs. He defeated Darvin Moon in the final pairing. Cada nearly won the Main Event again in 2018, finishing in fifth place.

In 2013, Ryan Riess became Michigan’s third Main Event Winner. “Riess the Beast” won a field of 6,352 players for a top prize of over $8.35 million.

Riess is a Clarkston native and his winning hand was Ace and King of Hearts. He defeated Jay Farber in the final pairing.

WSOP Main Event facts & figures

Here’s some historical statistics behind the World Series of Poker Main Event

  • Most Entrants: 2006 – 8,773
  • Fewest Entrants: 1971 – 6
  • Highest Prize: 2006 – $12 million
  • Lowest Prize: 1971 – $30,000
  • Oldest Main Event Winner: Johnny Moss – 66 years, 358 days (1974)
  • Youngest Main Event Winner: Joe Cada – 21 years, 357 days (2009)
  • Defending Champion: Koray Aldemir
  • Most Main Event Wins: Johnny Moss, Stu Unger – 3
  • Most Main Event Final Tables: Jesse Alto – 7
  • Most Main Event Money Finishes: Berry Johnston – 10
  • Most Main Event Participations: Howard Andrew – 41
  • Oldest Main Event Participant: Jack Ury – 97 (2010)
  • Consecutive Main Event Winners: Johnny Moss (1970-71), Doyle Brunson (1976-77), Stu Ungar (1980-81), Johnny Chan (1987-88)
  • Most Consecutive Main Event Money Finishes: Ronnie Bardah – 5 (2010-14)

The winning hands that are dealt

Over its history, 34 different hand pairings (not specifying by suit) have closed out the Main Event.

Most NLH players will say that pocket aces is the best starting hand to have. Surprisingly, that has never won the final hand of a Main Event. In fact, it has been the hand dealt to the runner-up of the final hand in both 1979 and 2001.

Of all the possible combinations, it is King-Jack that has been the winning hand of the final pairing more than any other. It occurred in 1972, 1991, 2018 and 2020.

The pairing of Ace-10 has won three times, while 11 other pairings have won twice.

Amazingly enough, in 1995 and then again in 1996, the final hand of the winner was 9 of Diamonds and 8 of Diamonds.

On 14 different occasions a dealt pair has ultimately been the winning hand of the Main Event. The lowest were a pair of 3s, which occurred in 1974 and 1985.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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