Top 3 WSOP Champions of the Post Moneymaker Era
Most people look at poker in the context of the pre-Moneymaker era and the post-Moneymaker era.
Including Moneymaker, seven players have won the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas since 2003. Today, I will rank the top three WSOP Main Event Champions in the post Moneymaker era.
In ranking the top three champions, I first eliminate their Main Event winnings from consideration. I also consider their overall body of work and not just their body of work. My top three are as follows:
#3. Peter Eastgate
While having only won the Main Event two years ago, he has put together quite an impressive poker resume since winning the Main Event. Eastgate followed his win in 2008 with a strong 2009. He kicked off the year by taking down the $5,000 NL event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, good for $343,000. Later in the year, he went deep in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, finishing 78th. Just a couple of months later, Eastgate took 2nd in the EPT Main Event in London. That win netted him over $843,000.
So far in 2010, Eastgate has taken down over $273,000 in tournament winnings. He finished 8th in the EPT Dauville Main Event, 7th in a High Roller Shootout Event at the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza in Las Vegas, and 9th in the NBC National Heads-Up Championships. At just 24 years of age, Eastgate is poised to be a solid force in this game for many years to come. Keep an eye on him in the 2010 WSOP.
#2. Greg Raymer
Since winning the Main Event in 2004, Raymer has amassed over $1.72 Million in tournament winnings. In 2005, he made a deep run in the Main Event and everyone was talking about the possibility of Raymer going back-to-back. Ultimately, he finished 25th, rivaling the great run that Dan Harrington had in the 2003 and 2004 WSOP. He also has five final tables at the WSOP since winning the Main Event. His strongest showing came last year when he finished 3rd in the $40,000 NL Holdem event, taking home $774,927 for the victory.
Raymer is not just a Holdem player. He has deep runs and most every game at the WSOP, including final tables in Lowball, Seven Card Stud, and Stud 8 or Better. He also finished 14th in the 2007 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event. Raymer has also served as a strong ambassador for PokerStars and is one of the more recognizable faces on the poker circuit.
#1. Joe Hachem
Joe Hachem is far and above the most successful of all Main Event champions in the post-Moneymaker era. The year after winning the Main Event, he made two final tables at the 2006 WSOP. He finished runner-up to Dutch Boyd in the $2,500 Short-Handed NL event and then three weeks later finished 4th in the $2,500 Pot-Limit Holdem event. Hachem's greatest poker achievement outside of the Main Event came in December 2006 when he won the WPT Doyle Brunson Classic. Hachem beat a field of 583 and survived a final table that included Daniel Negreanu to take down the top prize of over $2.2 Million.
Hachem has a bevy of cashes outside of his WSOP and WPT title wins, including deep runs in the EPT and Aussie Millions. 2009 was an off year for Hachem, but he still managed to pull down over $100,000 in poker tournament winnings. Hachem has proven that he has the ability to compete in all the major poker leagues, not just at the WSOP.
Of course, seven years is hardly enough time to really determine who will truly be the greatest WSOP Champion of the post-Moneymaker era. However, as things stand right now, the above three champions are the cream of the current crop.