Charm Looking for a Bracelet – Tournament of Champions 21
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By Mike Nelson
For the twenty first time players made their entrance to the grounds of the Tournament of Champions, as a field of 140 Red Hot Poker Tour elite entered the tournament …

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Theodore Park Holds a Poker Record! Wait… Who?

Submitted by on August 12, 2009 – 8:45 AM3 Comments

phil_ivey_main_eventAn interesting topic of discussion popped up on 2+2 this week. And by “interesting” I mean “completely irrelevant when it comes to talking about poker skill, but relevant when it comes to talking about oddball trivia”. And that’s the kind of “interesting” I love best.

“Kind of a different stat,” wrote JohnnyFondue, “I was wondering who has outlasted the most people in the main event at the wsop.”

In an attempt to clarify, he continued, “For example Phil Ivey has outlasted +6k people this year, add those to however many he outlasted in the past to get this number.”

And then, another guess: “Maybe helmuth?”

The post goes on and several of the participants offer up their own guesses: Dan Harrington, who made back-to-back final tables in 2003/04 (and won in 1995); Greg Raymer, he followed up his win with a 25th-place finish the next year; and Joe Hachem who has made two top-200 finishes since his win.

All good guesses, but none close to the right answer.

Actually, even the right answer is probably not the right answer. Which says a lot about incompleteness of the poker history books.

The Hendon Mob Poker Database is the industry gold standard when it comes to keeping track of poker tournament results. If a poker tournament happened somewhere on the globe (though not in somebody’s basement) they’ve tracked it. Only they don’t track the full participants list, just those who’ve cashed. So there might be some poor schlub out there who’s bubbled every single Main Event in history, with no records to prove this.

Anyway, using the information we have, we can start to answer the original question. If we want to know who has outlasted the most people in the Main Event at the WSOP, in years in which they cashed, it’s rather easy to do.

And so I did.

I decided to only go back as far as 2003, for 2003 was the start of the poker boom, and the field sizes of the Main Event have grown exponentially since then. So much so that it’s probably fair to say that the 6843 people Peter Eastgate outlasted to win the Main Event last year is probably more than the combined number that entered the Main Event prior to 2003.

Turns out, the best guesses offered up by 2+2 are not even close. Phil Ivey, who has now made the final 3 tables 3 times since 2003 (not to mention 2002 as well), has outlasted 12,913 people in that stretch. Hellmuth is a bit better at 13,672. Raymer is way off even that pace, at 8,169. Harrington’s two final tables were in fields low by current standards, and he sits at 9,676. Hachem, of that group, is the clear leader, at 20,547 (good for tenth place, actually).

Here’s the top 100 (note: a “0″ in a given year indicates that the player did not cash).

Here’s a list of notables, to keep an eye on:

Joe Hachem (2005 Main Event Champion)
Justin Cuong Van Tran (this is JC Tran, by the way)
Sol Bergren (also made both of Daniel Negreanu’s Protege final tables)
Humberto Brenes (big fan of Charks)
Kevin Schaffel (current member of the November Nine)
Allen Cunningham (he’s Allen Cunningham)
Gus Hansen (sometimes shows up to the poker tables wearing clothes… other times not)
Prahlad Friedman (Poker is fun, for everyone)
Eric Buchman (currently second in chips in the 2009 Main Event)
Hoyt Corkins (a cowboy)
Mark Vos (a ginger)
Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow (somehow achieved this feat by never winning a pot!)
Paul Wasicka (runner-up to Jamie Gold)
Dario Minieri (recently got married wearing PokerStars gear)
Lee Watkinson (not Lee Markholt)
Daniel Alaei (won his second bracelet this year in Omaha 8-or-better)

Putting this list together got me thinking: who, in the history of the Red Hot Poker Tour, has outlasted the most players in our Tournament of Champions? My best guess is James Reinhart, who has a 2nd, 1st, and 6th to his resume (which puts his “outlasted” number somewhere in the 400-430 range, I’m guessing, at the very least). Can anyone think of someone who’s done better?


  • Tim A says:

    Since your RSS feeds SUCK, I didn’t notice your response here until today (only took 13 days to appear) but the spreadsheet works now.

  • Is your spreadsheet available to the public? I can’t seem to access it as it says I don’t have permission.

    I thought I had the permissions on, but I guess it didn’t take. Try again and let me know…

  • Tim A says:

    Interesting list. Especially interesting seeing Sol Bergren on there.

    Is your spreadsheet available to the public? I can’t seem to access it as it says I don’t have permission.

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