Online World Poker Championship

Playing poker online requires a completely different set of skills because in online poker it is far more difficult to guess whether your opponent is bluffing or not. In online poker you can use some advanced tools and calculators to make it up for not being able to read your opponents. Just like analyzing other players at the table in live poker, using a good poker software gives you a considerable edge over the players who don’t. A great tool to use at online tournaments is Tournament Indicator.

FullTilt Online Poker Series

Currently there are several online poker rooms that host annual poker championship events. The biggest of these is being held at PokerStars with $40 million in 2009 prizepool. The second biggest is being held at FullTilt with $19 million. Surprisingly, the most generous online event is held at UltimateBet. For the third time not enough players have signed up for the tournament with a guaranteed prizepool of $2.5 million and each time UltimateBet has had to pay out more money than they have made selling the tickets to the tournament.

Besides these 3 major poker rooms that host online championship events, there are numerous other poker rooms that offer free or low buy-in tournament qualifiers (satellite tournaments) to the live poker championship events. One of the best places to get your tickets from is CarbonPoker

Live World Poker Championship

As we have said before – there are several worldwide poker tournaments that replace the official World Poker Championship such as Word Series of Poker and Word Poker Tour, which makes our task even more difficult. Some say Word Series of Poker is the unofficial World Championship of Poker, which is unfair and most importantly – untrue. Why should we grant a title of World Poker Champion of the year to a person winning one tournament and not to the winner of the other? Of course we could expect a person to win all the worldwide events throughout the year, but that would make no sense as winning two or more major events in a row is extremely difficult due to luck needed to win even one tournament. In fact we are yet to see a player who wins more than one global poker tournament during the same year.

Not only do we have multiple big poker tournaments, we also have several poker games. The term “poker” is much broader than you might think. There are many different poker games – Texas Holdem, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, Badugi, Razz just to name a few. Most popular of these is of course Texas Holdem, but even for that game alone there are countless variations – No Limit Texas Holdem, Limit Texas Holdem, Pot Limit Texas Holdem, Heads-Up No Limit Texas Holdem, Live Short-Handed Limit Texas Holdem … the list is endless.

Taking all the above mentioned things into consideration, it is rather difficult to announce who is The World Poker Champion for any given year. In fact anyone of us can become famous as an unofficial poker champion by winning one of the major poker tournaments held annually. You would not be the first one whose life would turn around after winning a major tournament and taking home millions of dollars as prize money. It is quite common to see relatively new poker players reach the final table, who will then take some poker lessons before the finals are played out. Many of these players become professional poker players sponsored by various online poker rooms after the event.

A prime example of an amateur winning Word Series of Poker are Peter Eastgate, the 2008 World Series of Poker Championship Event winner and Chris Moneymaker, who made his way to the tournament by playing at one of the $39 poker satellite tournaments at the PokerStars online poker room. Believe it or not, Chris Moneymaker took home $2.5 million the day he won the event – not a bad investment, was it? To make a long story short, he was offered a sponsorship by the Pokerstars, he quit his job and became a professional poker player and spokesman for WSOP. Chris Moneymaker wasn’t a very skillful player in 2003, when his life was changed after winning the World Series of Poker. It was his first live tournament and he managed to win it merely because the luck was on his side. There is no doubt, that there were a lot more talented players at the event and even though Chris Moneymaker is far from being a World Poker Champion skill wise, we can definitely call him a poker celebrity and the new player of the year 2003.

World Poker Championship

Officially, there is no such event as World Poker Championship to determine, who is the World Poker Champion. There are, however, several other well known worldwide poker tournaments held annually, which give us a pretty good picture of who is the best poker player in the world – The World Poker Champion. Before we start giving titles, lets explain a few things.

Giving the title of The World Poker Champion is actually quite difficult task and this is also the main reason why there is no official World Poker Championship. Just like chess, poker is considered a sport by many, but unlike chess or any other sports for that matter, winning a poker tournament with thousands of participants requires a far greater amount of luck and not so much skill. In fact the element of luck alone is the reason why lots of amateur poker players have won big championship events taking home millions of dollars.

FullTilt Online Poker Series

Unlike other poker championships, FullTilt Online Poker Series is not held annualy, but quarterly or approximately after every 3 months, which means FullTilt announces 4 online poker champions in every year, 1 for every season: spring-, summer-, fall- and winter poker champion. What makes FTOPS different from other poker series is that each event is hosted by a well known poker professional. A low buy-in ($535) championship event hosted by Gus Hansen attracted nearly 4000 players, which makes FTOPS definitely one of the most popular online poker tournament series.

World Series of Poker

World Series of Poker is the biggest annual live poker tournament in the world, which started in 1970. It is held in Las Vegas and it consists of 57 events. The winner of any of these events is awarded a bracelet. Currently the player with most bracelets (11) is Phil Hellmuth Jr. Most of the attention goes to the Championship Event, which has a buy-in of $10,000 and the biggest number of entrees. The winner is awarded a multi-million dollar prize money and is considered to be the unofficial World Poker Champion of the year.

Poker Champions
Year Entrants Champion Prize
2009 6,494 $8,546,435
2008 6,844 Peter Eastgate $9,152,416
2007 6,358 Jerry Yang $8,250,000
2006 8,773 Jamie Gold $12,000,000
2005 5,619 Joe Hachem $7,500,000
2004 2,576 Greg Raymer $5,000,000
2003 839 Chris Moneymaker $2,500,000
2002 631 Robert Varkonyi $2,000,000
2001 613 Juan Carlos Mortensen $1,500,000
2000 512 Chris Ferguson $1,500,000
1999 393 Noel Furlong $1,000,000
1998 350 Scotty Nguyen $1,000,000
1997 312 Stu Ungar $1,000,000
1996 295 Huck Seed $1,000,000
1995 273 Dan Harrington $1,000,000
1994 268 Russ Hamilton $1,000,000
1993 220 Jim Bechtel $1,000,000
1992 201 Hamid Dastmalchi $1,000,000
1991 215 Brad Daugherty $1,000,000
1990 194 Mansour Matloubi $895,000
1989 178 Phil Hellmuth, Jr. $755,000
1988 167 Johnny Chan $700,000
1987 152 Johnny Chan $625,000
1986 141 Berry Johnston $570,000
1985 140 Bill Smith $700,000
1984 132 Jack Keller $660,000
1983 108 Tom McEvoy $540,000
1982 104 Jack Straus $520,000
1981 75 Stu Ungar $375,000
1980 73 Stu Ungar $385,000
1979 54 Hal Fowler $270,000
1978 42 Bobby Baldwin $210,000
1977 34 Doyle Brunson $340,000
1976 22 Doyle Brunson $220,000
1975 21 Brian “Sailor” Roberts $210,000
1974 16 Johnny Moss $160,000
1973 13 Walter “Puggy” Pearson $130,000
1972 8 “Amarillo Slim” Preston $80,000
1971 6 Johnny Moss $30,000
1970 7 Johnny Moss

Poker Satellite Tournaments

You can participate in both major live tournaments World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour provided you can afford the tournament buy-ins, $10.000 for WSOP Championship Event and $25.000 for WPT Championship Event. That’s a lot of money, but the good news is that there is a chance for anyone to win a ticket to the championships through one of the free-seat promotions or satellite tournaments at online poker rooms.

Poker Satellite is a special kind of tournament, where the top finishers win a free entry to another tournament with a higher buy-in. In some cases that other tournament can also be a satellite to an even more prestigious event. For example there is a $2 buy-in satellite with 10 top finishers winning an entry to a $40 satellite, in which top 10 finishers winning a seat to The WSOP Championship Event.

An amateur poker player Chris Moneymaker won his seat to WSOP, where he won $2.5 million, playing a $40 satellite at PokerStars in 2003. Now that the prize pool of WSOP championship event is much bigger, it is just a matter of time someone will beat him and turn $2 into close to a $10 million. One of the best poker rooms to get seats to WSOP and WPT is CarbonPoker where satellite tournaments to WSOP, WPT and many other major live poker tournaments start from just $2.