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Books About the WSOP Main Event

Several authors have covered the history of the World Series of Poker, with an emphasis on the Main Events. Several authors have written about their attempts to play in the WSOP Main Event. And some recent Main Event champions have published their stories. The literature is fairly extensive, yet very little has been written about the WSOP Main Events in 2009 and 2012 to 2015.

Books About the World Series of Poker Main Event

Main Event YearAuthor's FinishAuthorBookYearNotes
1970-2004N/AJonathan Grotenstein & Storms RebackAll In: The (Almost) Entirely True Story of the World Series of Poker2005Significant history of the World Series of Poker through 2004
1970-2006N/AJames McManusCowboys Full: The Story of Poker2009Excellent history of poker (not just Hold 'Em), with later chapters on the World Series of Poker (mentions Eastgate [2008] but not Yang [2007])
1970-2006N/AMark Rogers52 Greatest Moments World Series of Poker2006Stories cover various WSOP Main Events, including "Vera and a Dull Knife" (1972), "Bonetti's Blunder" (1993), "Fast and Furious Final" (1996), and Moneymaker (2003) [1970-73, 1977-79, 1981-84, 1988-91, 1993-2006 WSOPs all mentioned]
1970-20081st (1983)Tom McEvoy (with Dana Smith & Ralph Wheeler)Championship Table: At the World Series of Poker2009Basic facts about each WSOP Main Event from 1970 to 2008, including the players at each final table
19721stAmarillo Slim Preston (with Greg Dinkin)Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People2003Autobiography includes the 1972 WSOP Main Event as does his Play Poker to Win
1973N/AJon BradshawFast Company1975Detailed retelling of the 1973 WSOP Main Event plus some history from the earlier years
1973N/ADavid SpanierTotal Poker1977Chapter on Puggy Pearson includes stories of the 1973 WSOP Main Event
1974-20061st/1stDoyle BrunsonMy 50 Most Memorable Hands2007Includes hands from 1974, 1976, 1977, 1986, 1993, 2004, 2006 WSOP Main Events
1978N/AMike CaroBobby Baldwin's Winning Poker Secrets1979Good stories, including Baldwin in the 1978 WSOP Main Event
1978-20011st (1983, McEvoy) / 2nd (1985 & 2000, Cloutier)Tom McEvoy & T.J. CloutierChampionship Hold'em Tournament Hands2003Advice on playing Limit and No-Limit Hold 'Em, especially preflop, plus an excellent collection of important WSOP Main Event hands including every year from 1978 to 2001 except 1980, 1986, 1989, 1996, and 1999.
1980, 1981, & 1997N/ANolan Dalla & Mike SextonOne of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey "The Kid" Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player2005Authorized biography of Stu Ungar, three-time Main Event champion
1981N/AAl AlvarezThe Biggest Game in Town1983The story of the 1981 World Series of Poker Main Event; final paragraph summarizes 1982 very briefly
19842ndByron Wolford (with Dana Smith)Cowboys, Gamblers and Hustlers: The True Adventures of a Rodeo Champion and Poker Legend2002Stories from the early days of rodeo and poker plus coverage of the 1984 Main Event
1987-2005N/ASteve RosenbloomBest Hand I Ever Played2005Biographies of 52 poker pros with their favorite hands, which include the 1987, 1998-2001, and 2003-05 WSOP Main Events
1988 & 1989did not cashAnthony HoldenBig Deal: One Year as a Professional Poker Player1990Writer and amateur player spends a year playing poker, including the 1988 and 1989 WSOP Main Events
19891stPhil HellmuthPoker Brat: Phil Hellmuth's Autobiography2017Autobiography, including the 1989 WSOP Main Event
1994did not cashAl AlvarezPoker: Bets, Bluffs, and Bad Beats2001Some poker history and the author's 1994 WSOP (three events, including the Main Event)
1996-20031st (1989)Phil HellmuthBad Beats and Lucky Draws 2003Includes stories from 1996, 1998-2000, and 2002-03 WSOP Main Events plus other WSOP events in 1974, 1994-95, 1998-2000, and 2002-03
20005thJames McManusPositively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker2003Sent by Harper's Magazine to write about the 2000 WSOP, McManus ends up playing and playing well!
2001, 2004, & 20055th/did not cash/9thMike Matusow (with Amy Calistri & Tim Lavalli)Check-Raising the Devil2009Includes stories from 2001 (6th), 2004, and 2005 (9th) WSOP Main Events
20031stChris Moneymaker (with Daniel Paisner)Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker2005The amateur who sparked the poker boom by winning his Main Event entry online
2004N/ARichard SparksDiary of a Mad Poker Player: A Journey to the World Series of Poker2005Writer attempts to qualify online for the 2004 WSOP Main Event
20051stJoe Hachem (with Peter Ralph)Pass the Sugar2009Autobiography, including the 2005 WSOP Main Event
2005did not cashPeter AlsonTake Me to the River: A Wayward and Perilous Journey to the World Series of Poker2007Writer plays in several events, cashing three times; also summarizes the final 2004 hand between Raymer and David Williams
2005did not cashPat WalshHow to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not)2006Fairly weak poker-playing author writes about 2006 WSOP Main Event experience
2005 & 2006did not cashAnthony HoldenBigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom2007Another year of poker, including the 2005 and 2006 WSOP Main Events
2005 & 200613th (2006)Bernard LeeThe Final Table Volume I: Poker Columns from the Boston Herald: 2005-20062008Many hand analyses from the 2005 and 2006 WSOP Main Event
20071stJerry Yang (with Mark Tabb)All In: From Refugee Camp to Poker Champ2011Autobiography including the 2007 WSOP Main Event
2007N/ADes WilsonGhosts at the Table: Riverboat Gamblers, Texas Rounders, Roadside Hucksters, and the Living Legends Who Made Poker What It Is Today2008Selective history of poker from its roots to the WSOP (including a chapter on the 2007 WSOP and an attempt to track down 1979 champ Hal Fowler)
20101stJonathan Duhamel (with translator Christina Palassio)Final Table: A Winning Poker Approach from a WSOP Champion2012Poker strategy book with some Main Event stories
20111stPius HeinzPius Heinz: My Hands on the Way to the Poker World Champion2012Actually titled "Pius Heinz: Meine Hände auf dem Weg zum Poker Weltmeister", as it's in German
2011did not cashColson WhiteheadThe Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death2014Writer gets staked by Grantland to play in the 2011 WSOP Main Event
20161stQui NguyenFrom Vietnam to Vegas!: How I Won the World Series of Poker Main Event2017Autobiography culminates with the 2016 WSOP Main Event
2017 & 2018did not cashMaria KonnikovaThe Biggest Bluff: How I learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win2020Psychologist and author learns poker from Erik Seidel and targets the 2017 WSOP Main Event

Most of these books fall into three main categories (history, biography, and journal):

  1. Multi-year poker history books:
  2. Autobiographies and biographies:
  3. Journals by writers who took a stab at the WSOP Main Event: Of all these amateurs, only McManus managed to cash, but he did so in spectacular fashion (5th place).

    Alvarez's The Biggest Game in Town discusses the 1981 WSOP, but the author didn't play like he did in 1994.1

Other Books About the World Series of Poker

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