In the movie Rounders, Matt Damon's character asks, "Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?" With the huge expansion of the WSOP Main Event field, we may never see the same five guys make the final table again, but five former WSOP Champions have made the money this year. Scotty Nguyen, Carlos Mortensen, Berry Johnston, Huck Seed, and Robert Varkonyi not only survived the bubble, but all will have chips when Day Four of the 2007 WSOP Championship event begins today.
The WSOP Championship draws former champions back like a family reunion. According to Harrah's preliminary entry lists, nineteen former WSOP Champions were among the 2007 WSOP Championship starting field. Along with those mentioned above, they included Amarillo Slim Preston, Jim Bechtel, Doyle Brunson, Tom McEvoy, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth, Brad Daugherty, Dan Harrington, Chris Ferguson, Bobby Baldwin, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem and Jamie Gold.
As a whole, former champions represented less than 0.3% of the starting field, but their relative representation has been growing as the field has been dwindling. As Day Four begins they now represent almost 1.5% of the field. Over all, 26% of the starting former champs have now made it to the top 5.3% of the field. In other words, being a former WSOP Champion gave you almost a 5-to-1 edge on the rest of the starting field in 2007.
While it is no longer an era where the "same five guys" make it to the final table, this year poker is well represented by its former champions.