Another year of poker is in the books, and despite many fears that have arisen in the last fourteen months over the future of the game we all love, but this year has shown that our game is still strong. It has been another historic year for poker, as the game still thrives.
Yet again a complete unknown won the biggest tournament of the year. Jerry Yang took down the most famous tournament ever, the World Series of Poker Main Event. He cashed for $8,250,000. He managed to best 6,357 other players to win the most prestigious tournament in the game. With yet another unknown winning the tournament, the question begs to be asked; When will another well known player win this tournament again? With the multitude of players, who knows when we’ll ever see a professional player return to the Main Event limelight?
Once again this year we saw online players making yet another extremely strong impact on the live scene. Over the years they’ve begun to prove that not only do they belong, but also they are some of the best players out there. This year saw Kevin Saul (BeL0WaB0Ve) win a World Poker Tour event, Scott “BigRiskky” Clements win not only a World Series bracelet in Pot Limit Omaha, but saw him take down the WPT North American Poker Championship recently. The player he beat out to win the event has had an even bigger year. Jonathan “FieryJustice” Little took 2nd in that event, won WPT Mirage Poker Showdown earlier in the year, and just missed the televised final table in the WPT Gulf Poker Championship, taking 7th for $93,451. Between those three amazing finishes, he was about to make nearly 1.9 million dollars.
Though, the most amazing strides an online player has made this year have to be Annette Obrestad. She became the first woman to ever win the Main Event, the youngest bracelet winner, and the youngest Main Event winner all at the same time when she won the World Series of Poker Europe’s Main Event for over 2 million dollars, U.S. This was the first year that there has been a World Series in Europe. While already regarded as a phenom online, she has been catapulted to stardom with this win. Only 18 years of age, who knows what she’ll be capable of in the next few years. Only two months later, she took 2nd at the EPT Dublin event for over 400 thousand dollars. Just an unbelievable year for a young player.
Unlike the World Series Main Event, this year saw a well known pro win the WPT Championship in April at the Bellagio. Carlos Mortensen is the first player to ever win a World Series Main Event and the season ending WPT Championship that is held at the Bellagio. He made nearly 4 million dollars for his efforts. In winning that he had to beat out another pro in Kirk Morrison. It’s likely that a pro will almost always win this event due to the 25k buy in. Truly an astounding feat by Carlos Mortensen.
The World Series of course was not devoid of pros making big news. Phil Hellmuth won his 11th bracelet in a $1500 dollar no-limit event, pushing himself ahead of Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan by just one bracelet. Pros Bill Edler, Ram Vaswani, Erik Seidel, Blair Rodman, Jeff Lisrandro, Hoyt Corkins, Eli Elezra, and Allen Cunningham all attained WSOP bracelets this year. Freddy Deeb won the 50 K H.O.R.S.E. event for over 2 million dollars, beating out an incredibly tough field. He beat out players like Kenny Tran and Barry Greenstein at the final table.
Another year has come and gone. Numerous records have been shattered. And thankfully, the game is still alive and strong. Where will we be next year at this time? Who will be heralded as the next great player in the game? Only time will tell.