Here are my top 5 worst poker players to ever make a WSOP Main Event final table (post 2003)
With all the debate currently going on in the poker community about the skill (or lack thereof) of current WSOP champion Qui Nguyen, I thought I’d take a look at some of the worst poker players to ever make a WSOP Main Event final table. For this list we are only considering players who made a final table after the poker boom in 2003. Prior to this time, poker was not mainstream and the fields were very small. Also, even the good players weren’t very good by today’s standards, so if we included pre-2003 qualifiers this list would be full of them. I wanted to make a list of the worst champions of the modern era, but to be honest there are only 2 champions that I would consider to be bad players (they both make the list) Here are my top 5 worst poker players to ever make a WSOP Main Event final table (post 2003):
Just kidding, he’s never made a final table in the modern era. But if he did, he’d definitely be on top of this list.
5.) Jamie Gold (2006), 1st place $12 million
Jamie Gold’s run in 2006 was one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see in a poker tournament. He caught every card for 7 days and easily won what was then the biggest prize in poker history ($12 million). He also introduced a very unorthodox style of talking during the hand. Quite often he would tell the truth and actually tell his opponents what cards he had. He would then mix in a few lies from time to time and just confused the hell out of people. It also didn’t hurt that he had the best hand most of the time. Anyway, Gold makes this list because his victory can be attributed mostly to luck. Also, his table talk strategy proved to be ineffective over the long run, as he hasn’t achieved any significant poker success since this tournament.
4.) Dennis Phillips (2008), 3rd Place $4.5 million
Dennis Phillips is a regular guy and a solid poker player. There’s nothing clever or creative about his game, but he knows enough of the basics to avoid huge mistakes against average players. He rode a huge streak of luck to make the final table in 2008 and came close again in 2009 (45th place). This hand below, (featured on The Poker Guys’ show ‘The Breakdown’) against Ivan Demidov shows how over matched he was against quality players:
3.) Jerry Yang (2007), 1st Place $8.4 million
Jerry Yang came from nowhere in 2007 to take down the Main Event championship and $8.4 million. Like all amateurs who make a score like this, Yang was extremely lucky throughout the tournament. He survived multiple all-ins with the worst hand and got a miraculously bad fold from Lee Childs at the final table (more on that in a second) when a call would have sent him home in 9th place. Yang has had a couple decent scores since his big win, but he’s been a losing player overall during that time. Former WSOP champ Joe Hachem once said that Yang’s win (along with Gold’s) ‘destroyed the legacy of the World Series championship’ implying that the title is now meaningless since such unskilled players were able to win.
2.) Lee Childs (2007), 7th place $705K
In fairness to Childs, he probably has the most consistent record of poker success of any player on this list. However, he makes the number 2 spot here because of how badly he played at the WSOP Main Event final table in 2007. At around 7:30 in the video above you can watch the hand for yourself. He folds QQ against Jerry Yang’s all-in bet with JJ on a flop with 3 low cards. Yang had been playing very aggressively and was capable of making this bet with many different hands, almost all of which Childs’ QQ had crushed. Furthermore, earlier in the tournament Childs incorrectly folded KK against Yang and showed his cards. So to sum up, Yang was a very aggressive player who knew that Childs would fold big hands. Given this dynamic, Childs’ fold of QQ here is likely 100% due to fear. If he calls, he’s chip leader and Yang is out of the tournament. Instead, he makes the scared fold and ends up goign out in 7th place for $705k while Yang wins the whole thing for $8.4 million.
1.) Darvin ‘I got the nuts’ Moon (2009) 2nd place $5.4 million
I mean no disrespect to Darvin by putting him on top of this list. But the fact remains, he had no business making a WSOP final table. His run of luck in this tournament is something you have to see to believe. His understanding of the strategic aspect of this game is extremely low, and to his credit he openly admits this. At one point he tries to bluff and gets re-raised all-in. He’s getting 7 to 1 odds on a call but only has king high. The funny thing is that after he folds he walks over to his wife and lies to her, saying that he had QQ and folded because he thought his opponent had a flush draw. That’s right, he thought folding the best hand while getting 7 to 1 odds on his money would make him look good. Here’s the hand:
Photo Source: http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-players/142462-darvin-moon
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