Are WSOP Main Event Winners Jinxed?

Written by:
Thomas Somach
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Are WSOP Main Event Winners Jinxed?

2010 Champ Duhamel Latest to Court Lady Luck Then Madam Misfortunate

Is the World Series of Poker Main Event jinxed?

Or more precisely, is the winner of that prestigious annual tournament jinxed?

Looks like.

Jonathan Duhamel, winner of the 2010 WSOP Main Event, this week became just the latest WSOP Main Event champ to be struck by a stroke of major bad luck not long after winning the title.

As reported by, two burglars broke into Duhamel's suburban Montreal home on Wednesday, beat up Canada's first WSOP Main Event champion and stole his WSOP Main Event championship gold bracelet and other valuables.

The beating was so bad, Duhamel's manager said, the 24-year-old French Canadian poker champ had to receive medical treatment at a local hospital.

Eeriely, in recent years, winning the WSOP Main Event and the good fortune that goes with it has often become a magnet for later bad fortune.

The beginning of the trend seems to coincide with the start of the so-called poker boom in 2003 when an unknown Tennesee accountant named Chris Moneymaker won a $39-entry online poker tournament, earned a seat at the WSOP Main Event and then miraculously won it, earning $2.5 million.

A few months later, Moneymaker announced he was divorcing his longtime wife--she would get half of his poker winnings in the divorce settlement.

The 2004 WSOP Main Event winner, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, also encountered some bad luck just months after winning the prestigious poker title.

While walking in a hallway of the Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas, en route to his room after playing in a high-stakes poker cash game, Raymer was attacked by two gun-toting muggers.

The nearly-300-pound Raymer fought off the muggers, who fled before police arrived on the scene.

In 2005, an Australian of Lebanese extraction named Joe Hachem won the WSOP Main Event, becoming the first WSOP Main Event winner from Down Under.

Hachem's privacy Down Under soon became all over, however, as after winning the title he became the target of numerous death threats.

He had to go into virtual hiding, moving his family to a new home in a secret location and being forced to keep a relatively low profile ever since.

The winner of the 2006 WSOP Main Event had the quickest bad luck payback among the jinxees.

Immediately after winning the crown and the accompanying $12 million cash prize, Jamie Gold was sued by another man who claimed Gold had agreed to split his winnings with him.

The case went to court and a judge froze $6 million of the winnings pending outcome of a trial.

Sensing he was going to lose the suit, Gold made an out-of-court settlement with the man.

Although the settlement was never disclosed, it was rumored to be for about a third of the title winnings, or about $4 million.

In addition, after the lawsuit was announced, online gambling site Bodog, which employed Gold as a highly-paid spokesman for its poker operations, fired him because of the bad publicity generated by the suit

Jerry Yang, a Laotian-American, won the 2007 WSOP Main Event and promptly disappeared from the face of the earth, or so it seemed.

He is the least known and the most obscure WSOP Main Event winner of the last decade, and that apparently will be his enduring legacy.

Peter Eastgate of Denmark won the 2008 WSOP Main Event, becoming the first Dane to earn that honor.

The pressure, fame and notoriety of winning a WSOP Main Event became too much for him, however, and forced him to retire from poker.

2009 WSOP Main Event winner Joe Cada hasn't suffered any major misfortune--yet.

We can only offer him some advice, the same advice we also offer to this year's WSOP Main Event champ, Pius Heinz: Watch your backs, fellas, it's only a matter of time!

By Tom Somach Staff Writer