World Series of Poker 2015: Top 10 moments

1. Negreanu’s Deep Run

We don’t think we’ve ever been as gripped by anyone’s run in the Main Event as we were by Daniel Negreanu’s voyage this year. He might have enough money in the bank to last him a hundred lifetimes, but the agony when he busted out cruelly short of the final table showed how much the game means.

2. Hellmuth: 14

Lots of poker people had pegged Phil Ivey as the man who would catch Phil Hellmuth’s bracelet haul. That looks increasingly unlikely now. Ivey is after the money in Macau and who can blame him? Hellmuth wants a legacy and when he won bracelet #14 he took a step closer to a total that’s going to be hard to beat.

3. Best Mistake

When Christian Pham paid his $1,500 to enter a WSOP event, he wasn’t expecting to get dealt five cards. By the time he realised he’d bought into the $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball by mistake it was too late to unregister. He was told 2-3-4-5-7 was the nuts and kept himself quiet in the early levels absorbing as much information as he could. He was the end of Day 1 chip leader and he ended up winning the bracelet wire-to-wire. It’s Pham’s first bracelet and it’s safe to say he’s got a new favourite game.

4. Ch… Ch… Changes

It would be easy for the organisers of the WSOP to sit back and let the entries flood in year on year, but instead they try and innovate on both extremes of the player spectrum. Some pros moaned about badugi and no-limit 2-7 draw lowball being added to the $50k Poker Players mix, but it was a brave move. This year has also seen buy-ins lowered to attract new recreational players, a 50/50 with half the field being paid, a Super Seniors (for over 65s) and a new payout structure for the Main Event with 1,000 getting a min-cash. Not everything worked – the payout structure in the Colossus for one – but we give them an A for effort.

5. Breaking Bad

Last year the celebrity buzz surrounded Aaron Paul, star of Breaking Bad, railing his mate in the Main Event. This year he went one better and bought in himself. Unfortunately he didn’t make it through Day 1, after the cards, ahem, broke bad for him on an all-heart flop. He had middle set but his opponent flopped the flush. See you next year Aaron?

6. Older Moment

When Doyle Brunson tweeted that he was heading to the Rio to register for the Super Seniors event, lots of people thought he was joking. When he was seen at the Rio it was assumed that he was going to register for the $50k Poker Players Championship, but no. The Godfather of Poker took his seat at the $1k event for the over 65s and made a lot of older men happy. Gg Doyle!

7. Charity

The ONE DROP events always deliver a bundle, but this year the charity got a massive bonus in the shape of Bill Klein’s runner-up cash of $2,465,522. That’s over three times the amount that was raked from the 135 entrants.

8. Monster’s Ball

Poker changes lives and if you want proof just watch the Monster Stack final table. Inexperienced players lived out their dream, with agony, ecstasy, and even a marriage proposal thrown in for good measure.

9. Online Lives

It was just like the old days. Well, almost. 905 players paid the $1,000 to play in the first WSOP online bracelet event, creating a prize pool of $859,750. Considering you had to be in Nevada to play the numbers were good, and Anthony Spinella scooped $197,743. Now if only the rest of the country would follow suit.

10. Double Up

It’s not easy winning a bracelet, but it’s even harder winning two in one summer. Take a bow then Brian Hastings and Max Pescatori who did just that, and spare a thought for Paul Volpe who finished second twice.

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