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Poker News | World Poker News

WSOP Main Event Rematches or 'WHAT IF?'

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Poker has had some very quiet times over the years, along with being hidden in basements, and store rooms, and played at the kitchen table. And then, as always happens, one day poker jumped out into the limelight and the whole world went crazy.  Poker stepped out and took its rightful place in the public eye when Chris Moneymaker won a $39 qualifying event in online poker for a seat in the 33rd World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in Main Event. And he won! He went through one helluva field to get there, even busting out Phil Ivey, and then battling high stakes, one of the legends of poker Sam Farha, heads-up. At 27 years old, a novice to the live tournament poker scene, the accountant from Tennessee won a gold bracelet and $2.5 Million. But 'WHAT IF' Chris Moneymaker was busted by Sam Farha that day and came in second place?

In 1989, Johnny Chan was coming off of back-to-back victories in the WSOP Main Event and going for the three-peat when he ended up heads-up with Phil Hellmuth, Jr.   Everyone knows the outcome of that final table battle where Phil Hellmuth became the youngest Main Event champion ever and sometimes we have to wonder how Phil would've taken that beat and where his poker career would've taken him if he’d won second place.  We also wonder how Johnny Chan's poker history would've changed if he'd pulled off three back-to-back World Series of Poker Championship wins.

Pondering 2nd place finishes and 'WHAT IFS' is a common past time of mankind - we do it all the time as we reflect on our own history.  But the majority of us aren't memorialized in poker history and that's what this is about – poker history.  One of the reasons poker leaped back into the limelight and was introduced to everyone's front room via television was because of Henry Orenstein's hole card camera invention.  The internet bloomed at about the same time but let's reserve the 'WHAT IFS' for the players that made history at the WSOP - specifically Moneymaker and Hellmuth and changed the whole fabric of poker.

The WSOP has 42 years of history, millions of hands have been dealt and more than $1.2 Billion in prize money has been awarded. But those two fateful days in 1989 and 2003 created an explosion that brought many people to the game as life-long fans. And because of that, the inaugural WSOP Rematches will bring these players together to replay the heads-up duels at the Rio all-Suite Hotel & Casino during the 42nd Annual World Series of Poker and the world of fans will get to choose one of the rematch battles on WSOP’s Facebook. Here's how it will play out:


  •    2003 WSOP Main Event: Chris Moneymaker vs. Sammy Farha – Best 2-out-of-3 format.  
  • First match: Exact starting chips they had when they started heads up play in 2003. (Moneymaker:            5,490,000; Farha: 2,900,000)
  •  Second match: Reverse starting stacks.
  • *Third Match: Even starting stacks. (*if necessary)


  •    1989 WSOP Main Event: Johnny Chan vs. Phil Hellmuth – One match.
  • Match to feature even starting stacks


  •    Fan Choice – One match.
  • Match to feature even starting stacks
  • Winning matchup from fan vote will be invited to participate.  If for whatever reason, participants in initial matchup are unavailable, we will move on to second pairing, etc.
  • Match will feature one of the following four pairings:
               *1988 WSOP Main Event: Johnny Chan vs. Erik Seidel
               *2004 WSOP Main Event: Greg Raymer vs. David Williams
               *2006 WSOP Main Event: Jamie Gold vs. Paul Wasicka
               *2010 WSOP Main Event: Jonathan Duhamel vs. John Racener

Fans will decide who sits at the table in Matchup #3 by voting on the World Series of Poker's Official Facebook Fan Page.  To become a WSOP Facebook Fan and vote on a WSOP Rematch, visit

All three rematches will be televised in a two-hour special, featuring back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, July 26th on ESPN. Footage from the original matchups will be included on ESPN and interviews with the relevant participants discussing their original matches will be offered.

All the matches will be filmed on Thursday, June 2 at the Rio on the ESPN set in the Amazon Room during the WSOP.  The event will be open to the public, and seating is available on a first come, first serve basis.

*Image courtesy of*

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