The World Series of Poker (WSOP) returns to the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from May 28 and promises to be more exciting than ever with more than $200 million in guarantees to be awarded across nearly two months of poker action. As part of its 50th year anniversary celebrations, the WSOP will look back at some of the greatest moments in the history of the festival since it started in 1970.
WSOP is set to host a special dinner set dubbed “First 50 Honors” on June 29, which will see some of the greatest WSOP players being honored, featuring the most legendary highlights in the festival’s 50-year run. The awards are divided into seven categories, namely: Most Memorable WSOP TV Hand, Best WSOP Performance, Most Likely To Succeed, Fan Favorite, Favorite WSOP Bad Boy, Most Impressive Main Event Win and Most Important Player in WSOP History.
The results lie in the hands of the fans as WSOP’s top brass has decided to let the fans vote and decide who should win the awards. The voting has already commenced and will end on June 15.
Let’s take a look at the candidates for each category.
Most Memorable WSOP TV Hand
The choices for the Most Memorable WSOP TV Hand include: Jonathan Duhamel cracking Matt Affleck’s aces in a crucial hand at the 2010 Main Event; Chris Moneymaker’s bluff against Sammy Farha at the 2003 WSOP Main Event; Johnny Chan eliminating Erik Seidel to capture the 1988 WSOP Main Event; Connor Drinan’s “bad beat” elimination at the 2014 Big One for One Drop; Chris Moneymaker’s historic win against Phil Ivey at the 2003 WSOP Main Event; and the 1998 WSOP Main Event match between Scott Nguyen and Kevin McBride.
Best WSOP Performance
The WSOP has laid out each of the candidate’s performance in terms of bracelet wins, final tables and cashes to help fans in choosing the winner of the Best WSOP Performance. Voters can choose from the following:
George Danzer’s 2014 performance (3 bracelets, 5 final tables, 11 cashes, $960,424 in total winnings); Shaun Deeb’s massive win in 2018 (2 bracelets, 4 final tables, 20 cashes, $2,545,478 in total earnings); Phil Hellmuth’s 1993 victory (3 bracelets, 4 final tables, 4 cashes, $544,900 in winnings); Phil Ivey in 2002 (3 bracelets, 7 final tables, 7 cashes, $415,200 in winnings); Jeff Lisandro’s great WSOP run in 2009 (3 bracelets, 4 final tables, 6 cashes, $807,521 winnings); Daniel Negreanu’s 2013 performance (2 bracelets, 4 final tables, 10 cashes, $2,214,304 in total earnings).
Most Likely to Succeed
Who among the younger poker players (under 35 years old) will win the most bracelets in the next five decades? Here are the candidates: Fedor Holz (25); Justin Bonomo (33); Dominik Nitsche (28); Shaun Deeb (33); Jason Mercier (32); Joe Cada (31).
Fan Favorite
The candidates in this category include some of the world’s most accomplished poker players: Phil Hellmuth, Maria Ho, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari.
Favorite WSOP Bad Boy
The nominees for this award include Jamie Gold, Will Kassouf, Mike Matusow, Dave Ulliott, Shawn Sheikhan and Phil Hellmuth.
Most Impressive Main Event Win
Here are the most memorable Main Event victories in the history of the WSOP, voters are allowed to pick only one: Phil Hellmuth (1989), Johnny Chan (1988), Chris Moneymaker (2003), Stu Ungar (1997), Martin Jacobson (2014), Jamie Gold (2006), and Jack Strauss (1982).
Most Important Players in WSOP History
In this category, there are as many as 20 candidates which include Billy Baxter; Johnny Chan; Doyle Brunson; Chris Ferguson; TJ Cloutier; Phil Hellmuth; Ted Forrest; Phil Ivey; John Hennigan; Michael Mizrachi; Chris Moneymaker; Daniel Negreanu; Johnny Moss; Puggy Pearson; Scotty Nguyen; Chip Reese; Amarillo Slim; Stu Ungar; Vanessa Selbst; and Erik Seidel. Poker fans will can pick up to four candidates.
50 Greatest Players
The 50 greatest players in WSOP history will also be honored at the First 50 Honors Gala which is happening on June 29 at the Brasilia Room.
They will be picked by a special panel of poker media members.
Prizes Await Voters
Aside from being given the opportunity to choose their favorite WSOP players, tons of exciting prizes are also in store for voters, including free entry into Event #69: $1,000 Mini Main Event, free tickets to Event #88: $500 Online Summer Saver, WSOP merchandise, as well as the chance to become part of the First 50 Honors Gala.
So cast your vote now before polls close on June 15!

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