John Hennigan Hits Lucky No. 7 With $1,500 Dealer’s Choice Win at WSOP

John Hennigan broke a 14-way logjam at six career WSOP bracelets on Saturday, as the WPT Champions Club member won his seventh WSOP title in a $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event.

Tim Fiorvanti
Jun 1, 2024
John Hennigan captured his seventh WSOP bracelet in the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice.

For a long time, there’s been a major logjam on the World Series of Poker’s all-time bracelet winners list at six wins, with names like Daniel Negreanu, Josh Arieh, and Shaun Deeb in the mix.

By the end of 2023, 14 different players had hit that milestone, all tied for ninth. But as of Saturday evening, 13 of them are now tied for 10th, looking up at newly-crowned seven-time WSOP gold bracelet winner John Hennigan.

Hennigan won the $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event in dominant fashion, taking hold of the chip lead early on at a six-handed final table that also featured longtime online poker legend Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom at his first WSOP final table. Hennigan did almost all of the dirty work, whittling each of his opponents down until they had nothing left.

“I had a similar experience at PokerGO like two months ago, where I just had a huge chip plate and every hand just played themselves,” said Hennigan. “It was very easy. This tournament was similar to that, and having a monster chip lead, it’s a pretty simple game. The math shows up, and people are playing a certain way.”

Hennigan wore a smile as he basked in his victory, adding a seventh career WSOP bracelet to his spot in the WPT Champions Club and the Poker Hall of Fame. But in that moment, it did not seem as if seven (or more) WSOP bracelets were a milestone he was specifically chasing hard.

“It’s interesting to know, I guess, just like any other number,” said Hennigan. “I’m very happy to win the tournament. To me, the best thing about winning the tournament is not losing it. Not getting second [or worse] and knowing they’re still playing and wandering around after you go broke. It’s just very satisfying to come out on top.”

This Dealer’s Choice win is Hennigan’s sixth WSOP title in six different tournament formats. In this event, each player at the table picks from one of 21 possible poker variations and then the table plays a full orbit of it. While some players switch up their game-selecting strategy depending on their stack and their opponent, Hennigan kept a pretty solid plan throughout.

“I don’t really think too much about that,” said Hennigan. “I just played Stud because it’s the game I’m best at. And frankly, you know, these guys are young, and the younger people are, the less Stud they’ve played. I’m incredibly comfortable with that game. It’s undoubtedly my best game and it’s probably low on their list.”

That approach only changed when Hennigan got heads up for the bracelet, though Hennigan was still leaning into his own personal strengths by selecting No Limit Deuce-to-Seven single draw.

“I just played that game heads up a lot more than I played any other games,” said Hennigan. “I don’t really play heads up. I’m not really into that. Like the personal challenge of a head-up match, I’m not good at it for that reason. I’m not very practiced.”

The $1,500 buy-in is the smallest of any of Hennigan’s six WSOP victories. Outside of his very first WSOP bracelet, which he won in a $2,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, there was one $5K victory, three $10Ks, and the $50,000 Poker Players Championship in 2014.

Hennigan has increased his volume of WSOP events played over the last few years, but even in a format that’s so conducive to his wide-ranging skillset, a buy-in of this size is an anomaly. It remains to be seen if it will mark a change in how many events Hennigan will target this summer, though the thought seemed to be swirling around his mind.

“I’ll play whenever I get a chance to. I’m not averse to playing $1,500 events,” said Hennigan. “I normally don’t, but you know, I just happened to jump in and this was a pretty lucky coincidence. I usually just stick with the $10Ks because I don’t want to burn myself out too much, but I guess I’ll be going for Player of the Year now, so get ready for the burn.”

While the nosebleed stakes that Hennigan typically plays in cash games dwarfs the $1,500 buy-in, and perhaps even renders the $138,296 just a nice day at the office, it seems clear that Hennigan relishes the victories no matter the scale. He even joked that he enjoyed an opportunity at success while he licked his wounds from a tough start to the summer in those cash games.

“I just like tournaments, if I’m not playing in a big cash game,” said Hennigan. “I lost a lot in the big cash game in the first couple days. I’m wounded a little financially, so I’m in here trying to grind.”

You can probably expect to keep seeing Hennigan continue to rack up wins as long as keeps firing tournaments, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him catch up to the likes of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey with a double-digit gold bracelet total. But as for some lofty goal like 20 wins or chasing Phil Hellmuth, that’s not what motivates Hennigan.

It seems as though it’s all about whatever individual challenge that’s put in front of him on a given day.

“I mean, it’s just poker,” said Hennigan. “I’ve done pretty well and I’m pretty happy about that. I’m already in the Hall of Fame, so there’s not much else to shoot for there on that front.”