Check out our pick of the top 10 moments from this year’s amazing World Series of Poker
10. Double Down
Jason Mercier might have made all the headlines but there were two other players who scooped two bracelets this summer: Ian Johns and Benny Glaser. Johns likes the World Series – out of 25 career cashes, 21 have come at the WSOP. He won his first bracelet in limit hold’em in 2006 and added two and three this summer in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. and the $10k Limit. Glaser won his first bracelet last year and added $10k and $1.5k Omaha Hi-Low Split victories this summer to bring his all-time winnings to almost $1m.
9. Short, Not that Sweet
Phil Ivey might be one of the most famous poker players on the planet but his star is on the wane. Ivey made an appearance at the WSOP but only for the Main Event. His usual rail of Pat and Mel Murphy were there to cheer him on until he busted on Day 2.
8. Live the Dream… again
Outside of the Big One, the WSOP live coverage has been immense. David Tuchman does an incredible job in the booth and the attention to mixed games (with hole cards and expert analysis) has been awesome. If you didn’t catch the live stream of the $50k Poker Players event you can see the replay here. It might change the way you think about poker.
7. Ryan LaPlante
LaPlante is a popular player and he drew a crowd as he took down his first bracelet in the largest live PLO event ever. The $565 buy-in attracted 2,483 runners and earned LaPlante $190,328, but it was his acceptance speech that won him even more fans. LaPlante wasn’t planning to speak but after the Orlando shooting he changed his mind. He spoke about the importance of people being ‘who they are’ and said he was proud to be a bracelet winner and an openly gay poker player. His fiancé Chris Katona awarded him his bracelet in a hugely moving moment at the Rio.
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Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer picked this year to make their return to the WSOP. Ferguson made a final table but didn’t go on to win the gold that would have been the most talked about bracelet win of the summer.
5. Tag Team Title
This year’s Tag Team event was a riot with dream teams of big name pros up against recreational players in the most affordable event of the summer. Jonathan Little made the final table with his mum and dad, and Doug Polk won the bracelet with Ryan Fee while he was playing the $111,111 One Drop.
4. For the People
The WSOP is for everyone, from the elite pros to the grinders – and the plucky amateurs. Players like Mitchell Towner, a 29-year-old college professor who was in Vegas for a conference and played the $1,500 Monster Stack. He’d never entered a tournament with a buy-in of more than $100 before, but came out on top of a field of 6,927 to win a gold bracelet and $1,120,196. There were others this summer – like Lisa Meredith, who took $500k for third place in the Millionaire Maker, and Hung Le, who played crazy poker to win the Crazy Eights event and $888,888. It’s what poker is all about.
3. The Mouth
6,737 players entered the Main Event and the November Nine is an intriguing one, with Cliff Josephy and Griffin Benger making the ultimate final table. But we can’t help feeling cheated that UK pro William Kassouf didn’t. His speech play made all the headlines and his bustout hand (Kings into Aces) will be the big talking point when it airs on ESPN. Don’t miss it!
2. Holz on a Heater
German pro Fedor Holz crushed it this summer. After finishing seventh in an Aria High Roller for $122,400 he went on a sick run that included runner-up at the Super High Roller Bowl ($3.5m), three Aria High Roller wins ($637k, $393k and $276k) and victory in the $111,111 One Drop for $4,981,775. That puts his total for the summer at over $10m!
1. Jason Mercier
He might not have won three bracelets but he scooped the rest, including a wife.
It’s been an incredible summer for Jason Mercier. The bracelet bets he made with Vanessa Selbst were the story of this year’s World Series and although he fell just short of a historic hat-trick, he gave a lot of people an almighty sweat.
He cashed ten times in total including a sick run in the $10ks that saw him finish 1st, 2nd and 1st in three consecutive tournaments. He won two bracelets, the WSOP Player of the Year title and close to $1m but ‘way, way more’ in side bets. And then there’s the things money can’t buy, such as his dad witnessing him win a bracelet for the first time.
Mercier topped off a summer to remember after sweating his girlfriend, Natasha Barbour, at the final table of the $5k NLHE (yep, she’s good at poker too!). When she was eliminated in third, Mercier vaulted over the rail, dropped to one knee and popped the question. She said yes.
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