by Joseph Smith Sr.
Will there ever be another back-to-back Main Event winner? The last time this happened was in 1987 and 1988 when Johnny Chan took home the gold championship bracelet. In his first win he defeated a field of 156 entrants and the following year saw the field of Main Event players swell to 167.
Incidentally, Johnny Chan almost made it a three-peat when he finished second to an unknown, young player, Phil Hellmuth, in the 1989 Main Event. Chan has cashed three times in the Main Event since losing to Hellmuth, in 1992, 2008 and 2010.
Many fans thought there might be another repeat winner in 2005. 2004 Main Event winner Greg Raymer was eliminated in 25th place in the 2005 WSOP Main Event after having outlasted all but 23 players in the field of 5,619 entrants. Compared to the field Johnny Chan had to overcome to complete his back-to-back wins that would be a little more than 33 times larger. Greg Raymer outlasted 2,575 players to win $5,712,585 and his first WSOP championship bracelet in the 2004 Main Event.
Ryan Riess is the current defending WSOP champion. In the November Main Event final table he was the last man with chips and a chair from a starting field of 6,352 players. For his efforts Riess pocketed $8,359,531 plus a gold and diamond championship bracelet. Will he be the first back-to-back winner in 26 years? Will the 2014 Main Event field be larger than the last few years? Many think the recent legalization of online in a few locations in the US will send more players to the 2014 WSOP.
The larger the field of players in the WSOP Main Event the smaller the chance of a repeat winner. Good Luck Ryan Riess, now's your time to make World Series of Poker history.