2014 PokerPlayer awards: Shocks of the year

The OMG moments that had us clustered round the water cooler in 2014

3: PokerStars spins the wheel
November 2014
What a year it’s been for Stars! First they’re sold to Canadian outfit Amaya for $4.9bn, then they announce a raft of unpopular changes including increased rake, before dropping the bombshell that they’ll be offering casino games and sports betting, in addition to poker. Despite the majority of other poker rooms already offering casino, the vocal player base was up in arms again, and Victoria Coren Mitchell quit her role as a sponsored pro saying she could not ‘professionally and publicly endorse it, even passively by silence with my name still over the shop.’

2: Free Palestine!
August 2014
When Olivier Busquet and Daniel Colman made it to heads-up at the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller, rumblings of discontentment were gathering like storm clouds online. Not because of Colman’s anti-poker stance and not because Busquet is Colman’s backer, but because of the slogans on their t-shirts – ‘Save Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ respectively.

It got the poker world in a froth and ended with a swift ban on politics at the table by PokerStars: ‘Our tournaments are designed to promote poker and poker competition and not as a platform for political statements… We will refuse entry to any player displaying political statements of any kind.’

1: Ivey found guilty of ‘cheating’
October 2014
Phil Ivey has had a pretty good year on the poker tables. Only five cashes might suggest otherwise, but the first was in the $250k Challenge at the Aussie Millions netting him $3.5m, and he also notched his tenth WSOP bracelet, bringing him one closer to Hellmuth’s haul.

Unfortunately his run-good ran out in the UK high court in October when a judge ruled that his actions in an infamous edge sorting episode at Crockfords Casino were ‘cheating for the purpose of civil law.’ It left Ivey out of pocket to the tune of £7.7m in winnings and facing the possibility of losing another $9.6m in a similar court case in the US. The verdict came as a surprise to most experts in the industry, who had been banking on another Ivey victory.

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