History was on the verge of being made in the 1989 WSOP Main Event as Johnny Chan was just one elimination away from becoming the first player to win three consecutive WSOP Main Event titles. 

The brash and bold Phil Hellmuth, of Madison, Wisconsin, had other plans however, as the 24-year old toppled Chan to be crowned the 1989 WSOP Main Event winner and collected his first of many WSOP bracelets and the $755,000 first-place prize.

The 20th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, from May 1 -19, 1989. There were 14 events on the schedule with the marquee $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship attracted 178 entrants and creating a prize pool of $1.78 million.

Hellmuth surged past poker legends such as Puggy Pearson, Jim Bechtel, Berry Johnston, David “Chip” Reese, Lyle Berman, Don Zewin, and defending champion Chan on his way to winning the WSOP Main Event. 

In this PokerGO video, the action begins with Chan and Hellmuth heads-up in the 1989 WSOP Main Event. Chan was looking to make history, while Helmuth was hoping to become the youngest ever Main Event champion while still retaining high praise for his opponent, “A
little more respect for him than anyone else I would play.”

With Hellmuth holding the chip lead and pocket nines, he raised his button before Chan three-bet. Hellmuth immediately shoved all-in, and Chan eventually called with his suited ace. Chan gained additional outs on the flop and turn, but inevitably would have to settle for a runner-up finish.

Hellmuth’s WSOP career began just a year prior in 1988 with two cashes, and since then he has carved out a career as the greatest WSOP player of all time. Hellmuth has won an astonishing 15 WSOP bracelets with his nearest rival being Chan, Phil Ivey, and Doyle Brunson on ten each. He has amassed over $15 million in WSOP earnings and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

The 1989 WSOP Main Event, along with WSOP coverage from 1973 to 2020 can all be found exclusively on

About the World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker® is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world, having awarded more than $3.29 billion in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest-running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970.  In 2019, the event attracted 187,298 entrants from 118 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and awarded more than $293 million in prize money. In addition, the WSOP has formed groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent of WSOP Europe in 2007 and the WSOP Asia-Pacific in 2013 and the WSOP International Circuit Series in 2015. All WSOP events are subject to the then-current and applicable WSOP tournament rules. For more information, please visit