WSOP 2015: Who Won, Who Lost, And Who Did So-So?

Steve Ruddock July 15, 2015 606 Reads
WSOP.com wins WSOP

The 2015 World Series of Poker had it all. Big names doing big things, feel good stories, and breakout players. New events, new controversies, and plenty of excitement.

Here is a look back at the winners and losers from the 2015 World Series of Poker.

Winners

WSOP.com

The online integration at the WSOP took several steps forward in 2015.

Caesars ran a successful scramble (the WSOP.com scramble awarded 30 seats in 2015 and easily surpassed the 25 seat guarantee – a mark it fell short of in 2014) and an equally successful online bracelet event that drew 905 entrants and went off without a hitch and with few complaints.

Furthermore, there was very little dissatisfaction surrounding accessing the site throughout the series.

Phil Hellmuth

Bracelet #14, two final tables, and five cashes. This is a decent WSOP series for Hellmuth, but at this point even decent or subpar WSOP tournament series make his records start to look untouchable.

  • WSOP all-time bracelets: Phil Hellmuth 14; Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson 10.
  • WSOP all-time cashes: Phil Hellmuth 113; Erik Seidel 94.
  • WSOP all-time top 10 finishes: Phil Hellmuth 58; Men Nguyen 43.

Anthony Zinno

Zinno came out of nowhere this year and with his win in the $25k PLO tournament he is now two-thirds of the way to the Triple Crown of Poker.

Zinno is also well on his way to ending 2015 atop every Player of the Year ranking system. Here are Zinno’s current ranks:

  • WPT Player of the Year: #1
  • WSOP Player of the Year: #2
  • Bluff Player of the Year: #1
  • Card Player Magazine Player of the Year: #1
  • GPI Player of the Year: #1
  • GPI 300: #1

The Colossus

Interestingly, there seem to have been more buzz surrounding the $565 Colossus tournament than any other tournament of the series.

The $565 buy-in event was a massive success, attracting 14,284 players (who accounted for 22,374 entries) from across the globe. These players also flooded the cash game tables around Vegas for several days, causing a logistical nightmare, but the kind of nightmare Las Vegas poker rooms certainly welcome.

Look for the Colossus to become a staple on the WSOP schedule from here on out.

PokerNews

PokerNews lands on the winner’s list not because of its accomplishments at the 2015 WSOP, but because the WSOP struggled mightily to replace the PokerNews live reporting team after the WSOP decided to take over the live reporting duties.

There were many calls to “bring back PokerNews” throughout the series from the poker community.

PokerStars

For the first time in a long time PokerStars had a major, public presence at the World Series of Poker, hosting a soiree at the Palms and offering up free Fukuburgers during a monsoon.

It appears PokerStars’ U.S. exile is officially over. It has returned to the WSOP, is expected to launch in New Jersey any day now, and is publicly lobbying for legalized online poker in California.

Casual players

The 2015 World Series of Poker featured $565 and $777 price point bracelet events, a $1,000 buy-in online tournament, and the continued divergence of tournament buy-ins as the poker world continues to move towards tournaments with buy-ins of $1,500 and lower and events with buy-ins of $10,000 and up.

The WSOP once again held its traditional signature tournaments, the Ladies and Seniors Championships, and added a Super Seniors event as well.

Did all of these efforts work? No.

The Colossus was a huge success; the Lucky 7’s was disappointing.

But the big takeaway is that the WSOP and poker are recognizing that poker players come in all shapes and sizes, and the schedule is starting to reflect this dynamic with casual player-friendly events.

Daniel Negreanu

Heading into the Main Event, Daniel Negreanu was having a so-so WSOP, with three cashes and one final table (a 3rd place finish in the $10k Stud 8 Championship).

And then he made a run towards the November Nine. You don’t really understand how important someone is in the poker community until he flirts with the final table of the WSOP Main Event.

What we learned on Tuesday night was Daniel Negreanu is poker.

Alas, Negreanu’s run ended in 11th place, and as you’ll see in a little bit, the WSOP misplayed its hand when it came to showcasing this moment.

Losers

Scandalous behavior

Thanks to forums and especially social media, the actions and behaviors of professional poker players no longer remain in the shadows.

What would have once been rumor confined to the Rio hallways is now public information on the Internet, and poker players are starting to look more like the hustlers of old than the semi-celebrities they became during the poker boom.

There were several “scandals” brought to light during the 2015 WSOP:

Within the pages of each of these threads, you’ll find other allegations aimed at the accused parties as well as other players.

Modiano

It’s almost unfathomable that a card manufacturer whose product is used in casinos across Europe would send inferior cards to what was essentially its U.S. debut.

But that is precisely what happened at the WSOP when players voiced concerns over the Modiano cards the WSOP was using.

Not only was the quality of the cards questioned (which seems to have caused them to be purposefully or accidentally marked), but even the design itself came under fire.

Global Poker Index

The GPI took over the WSOP Player of the Year award in 2015, and from the outset it was highly criticized, and somewhat unfairly, since old models yielded similar results.

But the real reason the GPI landed on this list was the lack of buzz it was able to generate for its many verticals, despite running the POY award and being an official WSOP partner.

And in spite of deploying a team throughout the WSOP, GPI was unable to break any news or provide unique content or perspective from the WSOP, video or otherwise, which made it seem like the team wasn’t even in attendance.

It seems like a missed opportunity to further sell its brand and mission to “sportify” poker.

The (lack of a) live stream

Speaking of missed opportunities…

If Daniel Negreanu finishes 11th in the World Series of Poker Main Event and there are no cameras around does anybody see it? I’m sure this policy comes from ESPN, but the lack of a live stream while the WSOP Main Event plays down to the final table is almost inexcusable.

Thousands of people were clamoring to watch Tuesday’s action but had to be content with 140 character updates on Twitter or quickly written summaries at WSOP.com.

But hey, at least we’ll get to see several edited hands when ESPN shows two hours of what was likely one of the most anxiety-driven days in WSOP history.

It’s an absolute travesty.

Poker Players Championship

With the bevy of Super High Roller tournaments players can now participate in, including a $100 Super High Roller as part of the WSOP schedule and the $500k Super High Roller Bowl Aria ran during the WSOP, and with several other mixed-event tournaments now dotting the WSOP schedule, the Poker Players Championship is starting to lose its uniqueness.

Attendance was down to just 84 players, a 20% decline year-over-year, and a record low for the nine year-old event. It was only the second time the tournament failed to hit 100 entrants as well.

  • 2006: 143
  • 2007: 148
  • 2008: 148
  • 2009: 95
  • 2010: 116
  • 2011: 128
  • 2012: 108
  • 2013: 132
  • 2014: 102
  • 2015: 84

And the Meh

The Main Event

A 4% drop in year-over-year attendance is not what the WSOP was hoping for, particularly now that it is bringing in so many players through WSOP.com satellites.

If we remove the buildup years of 2003 through 2005, the 2015 WSOP Main Event was the third worst of the era. Still, attendance has been pretty steady since 2007.

Main Event attendance during the Internet era:

  1. 2006 WSOP — 8,773 entrants
  2. 2010 WSOP — 7,319 entrants
  3. 2011 WSOP — 6,865 entrants
  4. 2008 WSOP — 6,844 entrants
  5. 2014 WSOP — 6,683 entrants
  6. 2012 WSOP — 6,598 entrants
  7. 2009 WSOP — 6,494 entrants
  8. 2015 WSOP — 6,420 entrants
  9. 2007 WSOP — 6,358 entrants
  10. 2013 WSOP — 6,352 entrants
  11. 2005 WSOP — 5,619 entrants
  12. 2004 WSOP — 2,576 entrants
  13. 2003 WSOP — 839 entrants

On the positive side, the 2015 WSOP ME wasn’t far off the yearly average of 6,659 entrants since 2007.

It’s starting to become pretty apparent that the WSOP Main Event is going to stay in the 6,000to 7,000 player range until online poker legalization spreads across the U.S.

Image Jeffrey J Coleman / Shutterstock.com