Saturday, June 15, 2024

World Series of Poker Leaderboards Crowded with Big Names

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In one week, the top players in the world will join thousands of dreamers in Las Vegas for the 55th version of the World Series of Poker. While a majority of players will be going for their first cash, first final table, or first bracelet, they have to roll through a gauntlet of players who have been there many times before, and still have the drive to stack victories.

Phil Hellmuth celebrates defeating defending champion Johnny Chan at the 1989 WSOP.

Helmuth on top

The self-declared king of the WSOP is, of course, Phil Hellmuth, who has the hardware to back up his brags. His 17 bracelets are seven more than the four players tied behind him in second: Erik Seidel, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson. Hellmuth first cashed in a WSOP event in 1988 — or 35 years ago.

The soon-to-be-60 year-old won his first bracelet in the $10,000 Main Event in 1989, racking up a bracelet on average about every other year. During that time, he won more than one bracelet in 1993 (three), 2003 (three), and 2012 (two, with one of them being the WSOP Europe Main Event).

All but three came in variants of hold’em. He also won two razz events (including the $10,000 championship in 2015) and a 2-7 triple-draw lowball event in 2021.

Rounding out the top eight are Johnny Moss with nine and Men Nguyen and Billy Baxter with seven. The list then gets very crowded, as 14 players have six bracelets. They are Daniel Negreanu, Shaun Deeb, Chris Ferguson, Jeremy Ausmus, T.J. Cloutier, Josh Arieh, Jeff Lisandro, Jason Mercier, Layne Flack, Brian Hastings, Brian RTast, John Hennigan, Jay Heimowitz, and Ted Forrest — and that’s the top 22.

Five bracelets will put players somewhere in the mid 30s, and four will find them in the top 70s, so get to work!.

King of the cashes

Roland Israelashvili, 66, is the man who stands on top of the WSOP all-time cashes list with 495, which is 100 more from Arkadiy Tsinis. The WSOP includes Circuit events on this list, and Israelashvili has been a steady regular on the Circuit trial since at least 2006.

All those cashes put him just shy of $4 million from WSOP events. He’s also tied in eighth on the all-time WSOP Circuit ring list with 11, but has never won a bracelet. He has a handful of third-place finishes but has yet to find first in a bracelet event.

The lack of the number of bracelets in the top 10 of this list stands out. Take away Negreanu’s six bracelets he won in his 253 cashes (which puts him in 6th), there’s only seven bracelets between the top 10 players — and three of them were won by Ari Engel, whose 320 cashes puts him 3rd. With 17, Engel owns more Circuit rings than anyone else in the world.

Daniel Buzgon (262 cashes, good four fourth), famous curmudgeon Allen Kessler, who sits in seventh with 246 cashes, and Chris Conrad and his 222 cashes (good for 10th) join Israelashvili in the top 10 with zero bracelets.

The players with one bracelet on this list are Tsinis, Ian Steinman (256 cashes, good for fifth all-time), Brett Apter in eighth with 245 cashes, and Micheal Holtz (224 for ninth).

President of the bank

Bracelets and cashes are nice and will get your picture on the wall, but let’s be honest, cash will always and forever be king at the WSOP.

Antonio Esfandiari leads the all-time earnings list with $22,365,691. He did that in only 51 cashes, and a whopping majority of that came in the 2012 $1 million buy-in The Big One for One Drop, where he won one of his three bracelets and $18,3467,673.

He sits just in front of Negreanu on the all-time earnings list, who could pass him this year. He has $22,120,122. In third is Hellmuth with $17,904,130.

Joining Esfandiari as $1 million One Drop champions are Dan Colman, who sits in fourth on the earnings list with $17,413,782 and Justin Bonomo with $16,281,907 (good for fifth). Colman won $15,306,668 and his only bracelet in 2014’s version on One Drop, while Bonomo won $10 million in 2018’s contest.

Jonathan Duhamel is next in sixth with $14,666,297. Reigning WSOP Main Event champ Daniel Weinman is seventh with $14,230,320. He had just north of $2 million in earnings before cashing $12.1 million in the Main.

Joe Cada’s $13,980,032 puts him in eighth. A big chunk of that came from making two Main Event final tables. He won the Main Event for $8,547,044 in 2009, and then won another $2.15 million for finishing fifth in 2018.

In ninth is Fedor Holz with $13,384,834. A high-stakes pro, he won $6 million of that by finishing second to Bonomo in the $1 million One Drop. Also, $4.9 million of that came with his first bracelet win in the $111,111 High Roller event in 2016, also a Big One for One Drop event.

Koray Aldermir is 10th on the list with $13,161,049 — $8 million of that came from being the Main Event champion in 2021. He also finished third in the $111,1111 event won by Holtz in 2016, which was good for another $2,154,265.

Good luck, dreamers, you’re going need it.

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