As 2013 draws to a close, the inaugural PokerPlayer awards looks back at the greatest moments of the year.
5. Where’s my money? – September 2013
After Black Friday stopped online poker in the US, Full Tilt – one of the world’s biggest sites at the time – started to unravel. It turned out that Lederer’s company didn’t have the funds necessary to pay its players back, and so began one of the darkest scandals to ever hit poker. Players around the world got their cash back when the site reopened but US players had to wait. And wait. It’s taken until September of this year for the refund process to begin and it’s still not certain how long or how painful the process will be. Thanks to new owner PokerStars though, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
4. How many zeros is that? – June 2013
PokerStars kicked off its quest for world domination back in December 2001. Since then it’s seen off all rivals to become the number one online poker site in the world. And in June, PokerStars hit yet another milestone as it prepared to deal its incredible 100 billionth hand. Players across the world swarmed onto the site to try and win the historic hand and pick up the huge bonus payout attached to it. It landed on a $0.02/$0.05 six-max table where a Greek player called microulis was sat with J♦-4♦. He was behind to a King and a Queen, but everyone else bricked the A♣-2♣-J♣ flop, and missed flush draws to hand him the $31.55 pot – and the $103,800 bonus. The other players at the table picked up around $12k just for being there so we imagine the chatbox was a good place to be. Even Chris Moneymaker dropped in to offer his congratulations.
Oh, and the answer to the question? 11. Here’s the proof: 100,000,000,000.
3. The O’Dwyer all-stars – May 2013
A total of 531 players entered this year’s EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Eight of the very toughest players made it all the way to create what’s gone down on record as the toughest EPT final table of all time. Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu and Johnny Lodden were the biggest names in a stellar final eight, but there could only be one winner and Steve O’Dwyer went on to beat Andrew Pantling heads-up to pocket the €1,224,000 first prize.
By doing so he stopped Cody and Mercier becoming the first ever two-time EPT winners and Negreanu from adding a triple crown to his resume. You can watch the action here: tinyurl.com/toughept.
2. Best in the world – October 2013
How do you prove yourself the best tournament player in the world? It used to be all about the monies, but with ridiculously high buy-ins and the WSOP Main Event skewing results this isn’t good enough anymore (apologies Antonio Esfandiari!). Of course you can win the Main Event and say you’re the best (hello Ryan Riess) but you’re only convincing yourself. Or, you can do what no other player has managed – win the WSOP Player of the Year award twice.
Daniel Negreanu was the first recipient of the award back in 2004, and claimed his second title by winning the WSOPE High Roller event in October. D-Neg only needed to finish eighth to win POTY but when you’re the best in the world… A tweet from the final table showed how much it meant to him.
@RealKidPoker: ‘I DID IT!!! WSOP PLAYER OF THE YEAR FOR THE SECOND TIME!! AHHHH I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’
Negreanu’s done a lot for poker and he’s always more than candid when we interview him. Now he’s also proved that he’s currently one of the – if not the – best tournament players in the world.
1. America legalises online poker! – April 2013
It’s hard to imagine a world without online poker but for Americans that’s been a reality since the FBI shut down ‘Stars, Tilt and Ultimate Bet on April 15, 2011. Almost two years to the day Ultimate Poker (no relation to the shamed Ultimate Bet) made history by dealing the first ‘legal’ hand of online poker in Nevada. Delaware and New Jersey followed suit in November, leading to real hope state regulation will sweep the US in 2014. It could still be a long time before the rest of the world gets to feast on the new US fish but it’s a step in the right direction.
For more PokerPlayer 2013 Awards, check out the latest issue of PokerPlayer magazine, available on iTunes here.