Hal Fowler

Hal Fowler
WSOP Bracelets: 1
Total Live Earnings: $383,500
United States United States
The Hendon Mob


Hal Fowler was an American poker player who won the 1979 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

He is widely recognized as the first amateur to win the WSOP Main Event when he defeated a 54-player field and a final table featuring both Johnny Moss and David "Chip" Reese to take home $270,000.

Fowler faded from the poker world, never returning to the WSOP to defend his title, and died age 73 in November, 2000.

Read more about Fowler's historic 1979 WSOP Main Event win in this article 'History in Spades: The First Amateur to Win the Main Event'


Fowler was born on January 12, 1927 in Vermont. Not much is known about him prior to the 1979 WSOP, although by this stage he had relocated from Vermont to California.

His 1979 WSOP Main Event win is infamous for numerous reasons:

  • Fowler allegedly didn't have the money to buy into the Main Event, and Bobby Binion staked him the money
  • His play was erratic, partially due to Fowler's heavy drug use.
  • During heads-up, Fowler wanted to quit and come back the following day. Organizers refused, with Fowler then moving all-in every hand.
  • In the final hand, heads-up opponent Bobby Hoff lost with pocket aces after Fowler turned a straight.

WSOP Main Event Winners 1970-79

197954Hal FowlerUnited States$270,000
197842Bobby BaldwinUnited States$210,000
197734Doyle BrunsonUnited States$340,000
197622Doyle BrunsonUnited States$220,000
197521Brian RobertsUnited States$210,000
197416Johnny MossUnited States$160,000
197313Walter PearsonUnited States$130,000
19728Thomas PrestonUnited States$80,000
19716Johnny MossUnited States$30,000
19707Johnny MossUnited StatesN/A

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