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WSOP Champions vs. Runner-Ups

Chris Moneymaker

When it comes to the World Series of Poker Main Event, everyone always remembers the winner. Like many other competitions, second place is so often forgotten, but that doesn't mean the runner-up doesn't go on to do great things. When you have a champion that falls off the face of the Earth, that's usually also well chronicled. If a runner-up fails to put up any results, no one really ever seems to notice.

PokerNews is here to shed some light on this topic. We've taken a look at both the champions and second-place finishers in the WSOP Main Event dating back to 2003 when the poker boom struck after Chris Moneymaker won the big one. That's where we'll begin.

In 2003, Moneymaker faced off against Sam Farha for the WSOP Main Event championship bracelet. Moneymaker won that battle and ignited the poker boom. Since that big win by Moneymaker, which one has had the better run? Well, let's look take a look at the two.

Chris Moneymaker (2003 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 21
  • WSOP Cashes: 3
  • Money Earned: $555,316
  • Best Result: 2004 WPT Bay 101 - 2nd for $200,000

Sam Farha (2003 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 13
  • WSOP Cashes: 6
  • Money Earned: $1,341,385
  • Best Result: 2010 WSOP $10,000 Omaha-8 World Championship - 1st for $488,241

Although Farha has fewer cashes, losing to Moneymaker in that category by eight, he has $786,069 more in earnings. Farha has two WSOP gold bracelets since his big runner-up finish in 2003 and double the WSOP cashes that Moneymaker has. Also, Farha's best result is more than double Moneymaker's. Moneymaker may be the more recognizable face, but Farha has had the better career on the felt since. Farha's not too far behind in the famous category, though.

A similar scenario occurs when you look at the following year. In 2004, Greg Raymer beat out David Williams to win the WSOP Main Event. Both have gone on to do great things in poker, but once again it's the runner-up who's done a little bit better.

Greg Raymer (2004 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 27
  • WSOP Cashes: 12
  • Money Earned: $1,789,598
  • Best Result: 2009 WSOP $40,000 No-Limit Hold'em - 3rd for $774,927

David Williams (2004 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 45
  • WSOP Cashes: 17
  • Money Earned: $4,423,384
  • Best Result: 2010 WPT Championship - 1st for $1,530,537

Once again, it's the runner-up with more total earnings. In fact, Williams crushes Raymer in that category by over $2.6 million. Williams also has more cashes and more in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. Raymer has had some great performances since he won the Main Event. Who can forget the following year when he almost did the unthinkable. Raymer finished 25th in the 2005 WSOP Main Event just one year after he won the thing. He earned $304,680 for that finish. Williams has yet to make another deep, deep run in the Main Event, but he's done plenty of other things on the felt that help put him ahead of Raymer. For one, Williams won a WSOP gold bracelet. He also won the 2010 World Poker Tour World Championship for $1,530,537. Once again, the nod goes to the runner-up for the best performance after their big run in the Main Event.

For the years 2003 and 2004, the runner-up in the WSOP Main Event has gone on to do bigger and better things than the winner has. From 2005 to 2009, only one runner-up has outdone the winner — Paul Wasicka. He finished second to Jamie Gold in 2006. In 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, the winners have all gone on to do better things than the man they beat for the title. Here's a look at how those years break down so that you can see for yourself.

Joe Hachem (2005 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 34
  • WSOP Cashes: 9
  • Money Earned: $3,422,788
  • Best Result: 2006 WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic - 1st for $2,207,575

Steve Dannenmann (2005 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 19
  • WSOP Cashes: 2
  • Money Earned: $295,380
  • Best Result: 2005 WSOP Tournament of Champions - 5th for $100,000

Jamie Gold (2006 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 10
  • WSOP Cashes: 4
  • Money Earned: $129,831
  • Best Result: 2010 WSOP Europe Main Event - 35th for £27,150

Paul Wasicka (2006 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 17
  • WSOP Cashes: 4
  • Money Earned: $1,470,824
  • Best Result: 2007 NBC National Heads-Up Championship - 1st for $500,000

Jerry Yang (2007 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 6
  • WSOP Cashes: 3
  • Money Earned: $120,727
  • Best Result: 2010 NBC National Heads-Up Championship - 5th for $75,000

Tuan Lam (2007 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 0
  • WSOP Cashes: 0
  • Money Earned: $0
  • Best Result: None

Peter Eastgate (2008 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 15
  • WSOP Cashes: 2
  • Money Earned: $1,658,600
  • Best Result: 2009 EPT London Main Event - 2nd for £530,000

Ivan Demidov (2008 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 10
  • WSOP Cashes: 1
  • Money Earned: $189,013
  • Best Result: 2009 Russian Poker Tour Main Event Moscow - 6th for $68,187

Joe Cada (2009 winner)

  • No. of Cashes: 1
  • WSOP Cashes: 0
  • Money Earned: $51,450
  • Best Result: 2010 PCA High Roller - 11th for $51,450

Darvin Moon (2009 runner-up)

  • No. of Cashes: 1
  • WSOP Cashes: 0
  • Money Earned: $1,286
  • Best Result: 2010 Foxwoods Mega Stack Challenge $500 No-Limit Hold'em - 68th for $1,286

As you can see by the numbers, the champions have been better off over the past few years. Even so, Jerry Yang and Joe Cada haven't done too much since winning the WSOP Main Event, both having barely mustered any results. Peter Eastgate did quite well for himself and even put up one heck of a title-defense run the year-following win, finishing in the top 100.

This now makes us wonder about who will have the better career this time around, the champion Jonathan Duhamel or the runner-up John Racener. It's four to three in favor of the champions for the ones who have better careers going forward dating back to 2003, but this may just be the year the runner-ups pull even. Nothing against Duhamel, but Racener has been a proven professional player for quite some time now. He's crushed both online and live, racking up millions of dollars in the process. Given the experience he has and combining that with his drive and determination to be the best, all signs point to him as the one who will have the better career from here on out. Duhamel may outdo him, but he's much less proven than Racener. Only time will tell and it's going to be interesting to see who has the better career moving forward.

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