The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the pinnacle of the poker calendar every year. Players worldwide start the year by hoping to compete at the WSOP and possibly win the grand prize.
With more players taking to online poker, even when they are winning big money at regular poker tournaments, the interest in the WSOP has increased from the wider poker community. People see names on the entry lists they may recognize from online tournaments, which makes the experience of watching the action unfold even more enjoyable.
Whether you are an avid poker fan or learning about Texas Hold’em for the first time, you may be wondering about the identity of the best players on the planet. If there is a top poker player anywhere in the world, they are likely trying to compete at the WSOP.
Below is our rundown of the top five recent WSOP champions. Join us as we dive into the careers of these exceptional poker players.
1. Greg Merson in 2012
Greg Merson’s WSOP success in 2012 is one of the most impressive we have seen over the past few years. When you hear about poker players winning big, you imagine someone who has only recently burst onto the scene.
Merson has a different story; he was always a talented player, but he also had many problems. Merson struggled to keep himself on the right path in the early years of his career. Since 2011, he has worked extremely hard to turn his life around, and only a year later, he reaped the benefits.
The 2012 WSOP event was the pinnacle of his poker journey, where he won millions for his performance. He has since gone on to win $3 million at tournaments on the poker circuit.
2. Hossein Ensan in 2019
The 2019 WSOP winner was Hossein Ensan, with the talented player achieving a unique milestone during that triumph. Ensan was not only an exceptional player who won thanks to his cunning and skill but also showed that older players can still thrive on the poker circuit.
At 54 years old, Ensan is part of a rare group of WSOP champions who were over 50 at the time of their success. Since Ensan has won both the WSOP Main Event and the EPT Prague Main Event in his career, he only needs to win the WPT title to claim another milestone. If he wins that final tournament at least once before he retires, he would win the Triple Crown after he turned 50!
3. Martin Jacobson in 2014
There are years when the WSOP Main Event throws up so many surprises that you are unsure what to believe. The most unlikely of players go on to achieve great success, while the pre-tournament favorites are nowhere to be seen.
The 2014 edition was a little different, with Swedish superstar Martin Jacobson proving that main contenders can go on to succeed at the WSOP Main Event. He came into this tournament as the favorite, as he had been in outstanding form and did not disappoint.
One aspect of this tournament that benefited Jacobson was the lack of competition. Most WSOP Main Events have a stellar final table, but Jacobson had very few experienced opponents by that stage. Only Mark Newhouse was a familiar name, so Jacobson managed an easy win.
4. Joe McKeehan in 2015
When Joe McKeehan showed his clinical and ruthless nature during the 2015 WSOP Main Event, everyone in the poker world stood up to take notice. He was incredible during the Main Event final table, stunning his rivals and going on to win by a considerable margin.
Even though McKeehan was not taking on a stellar cast of superstars at the final table, there were still some very good poker players. The likes of Max Steinberg, Joshua Beckley, and Pierre Neuville have been winners in their own right, but they were made to look ordinary on that occasion by McKeehan.
He put in a calm and efficient display of Texas Hold’em poker, picking off his rivals one by one and eventually finishing with the title.
5. Koray Aldemir in 2021
Another name we can never forget in the world of poker is Koray Aldemir. A veteran of the scene, Aldemir has always endeared himself to fans of the sport.
With more than $20 million in live tournament winnings throughout his career, the 2021 WSOP Main Event triumph was not a surprise. He is one who had been fancied to go all the way at this event for many years, but he would often fail at the final hurdle.
On this occasion, all the chips fell the way he wanted, and he went on to claim the Main Event title.