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1988 WSOP Main Event Winner Johnny Chan
Runner Up Erik Seidel
Winning Hand J 9
Losing Hand Q 7
1st Place Prize $700,000
Number of Main Event Entrants 167

The 1988 WSOP ended in a heads-up contest between two excellent poker players who are still winning tournaments today, two decades later. Those two players are the “Orient Express” Johnny Chan, who won the WSOP Main Event the previous year, and Erik Seidel, who had previously competed in backgammon tournaments before turning to poker.

Johnny Chan was attempting to become the third player to win back to back WSOP Main Events, Doyle Brunson doing it in 1976 and 1977, while Stu Ungar did it in 1980 and 1981. After making it to heads-up play the only obstacle standing in his path was Erik Seidel.

The final hand of the 1988 WSOP Main Event would later be immortalized in the poker movie Rounders. Johnny Chan trapped Erik Seidel after his J-9 hit a straight on the flop of Q-10-8. Johnny made a small bet, and Erik raised as his hole cards of Q-7 made him top pair. Johnny spent a lot of time appearing to think the decision over before finally calling, laying his trap. Both players checked on the 2 turn, and a 6 fell on the river. Erik pushed all-in and Johnny immediately called and revealed his straight that brought him the victory.