The World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2022 got over and we saw many players clinch their first WSOP bracelet or add to their bracelet tally. WSOP 2022 was a big season, and while there were many notable moments, one moment many will not forget is Dan Cates’ back-to-back win at one of the most prestigious tournaments in WSOP. This is truly an incredible feat, as winning in the same WSOP tournament twice in a row is something very few players have achieved.
Winning one WSOP bracelet is hard enough; coming back the following year and repeating the same success is even more challenging. But while it may be difficult, it is not impossible, so in this article, we’ll list down players who have accomplished this monumental task, with some even defending their titles three times in a row!
History was once again made when player Dan Cates aka ‘Jungleman’ became the first player in WSOP 2022 to achieve a back-to-back win in the same tournament. This was also no small event. It was the $50,000 Poker Players Championship event which is among the most prestigious tournaments in WSOP. Cates first shipped the title for $954,020 in WSOP 2021. He defeated Brazilian Yuri Dzivielevski and took his second WSOP bracelet and second Poker Players Championship title home in WSOP 2022. He had a lovely payday of $1,449,103 for his win.
Last year, an incredible feat was achieved by Adam Friedman after he ended by shipping the $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship for a third time! That’s right, Friedman first clinched the title in 2018 for $293,275, then came back in 2019 and defended it for $312,417, and then amazingly, another time in 2021 for $248,350. However, he could not repeat his success for the fourth time and lost the title to Ben Diebold. However, WSOP 2022 did go too badly for the player who picked up his fifth WSOP bracelet after shipping Event #22: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship for $248,254.
The phrase ‘Old is gold’ surely rings true for player James Moore who defended his title in 2016 and 2017 at the $1,000 Super Seniors event. He took home $230,626 and $259,230 in prize money, respectively. He also came very close to shipping his third WSOP bracelet in 2020 at the Online Senior’s event but finished runner-up to Jonathan Lessin.
Is any WSOP list of achievements even complete without Phil Hellmuth? This 16-time bracelet-winning pro is considered a poker legend for a damn good reason. Other than holding the record for the highest number of bracelets won by a poker player, Hellmuth has also managed to defend one of his WSOP title for two years.
In 1992, Hellmuth won the $5,000 Limit Hold’em event and clinched his second bracelet for $188,000. The next year in 1993, he shipped the same event and scored his fifth bracelet for $138,000.
While some of the players on this list have won one tournament twice (or thrice), Gary Berland is the only player to the same event twice on two different occasions. Back in 1977 and 1978, Berland won the Limit Razz event, whose buy-in was upped from $500 in 1977 to $1000 in 1978. He had a payday worth $6,300 and $19,200, respectively.
He then won his second bracelet in 1978 at the $500 Limit Seven Card Stud for $17,100 and returned to defend it in 1979, where he won $24,000. All in all, Berland scored his four WSOP bracelets in a span of three years.
For player Lakewood Louie, his back-to-back success happened in 1978 and 1979 when he both won the $5,000 Limit Draw High event. He took home $21,000 and $24,000, respectively, for his wins. He was also allegedly the first person to get a royal flush at the WSOP Main Event in 1979.
Only four players in the entire WSOP history have tasted victory in the Main Event for consecutive years! This small list includes Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, and Johnny Chan. Due to this, these four have been hailed as one of poker’s greatest legends.
Johnny Moss was the first person to win the WSOP Main Event in 1970 by the vote of his peers. He did not get any cash prize or bracelets for his victory but took home a silver cup. It should be noted that WSOP back then was very different from how it is today. The following year in 1971, the Main Event had its first buy-in worth $5,000 and cash prize. There were six players who played it, and Moss won in the end and took home his second ME win.
Doyle Brunson walked in the footstep of Moss in 1976 and 1977, when he became the second person to take down the ME title back-to-back. He won $220,000 and $340,000, respectively for his win.
Three years after Brunson, Stu Ungar, one of poker’s greatest players, came into the scene and shipped his first ME win in 1980 for $385,000. Ungar returned the following year in 1981 and cemented his place among the legends when he took that title for a second time for $375,000.
It was a few years after that when WSOP witnessed the feat repeated for the fourth and final time so far by Johnny Chan. The poker pro shipped the title in 1987 and 1988 for $625,000 and $700,000, respectively. He also got the biggest payday among the four with his first-place win of $700,000 in 1988. After Chan, no one has been able to repeat that success.
Donna Amo is a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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