WSOP Rewind: The 50 Greatest, Ivey Goes Deep, And Hellmuth Goes AWOL

Sean Chaffin June 27, 2019 826 Reads

On Thursday, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) released its list of the 50 Greatest Poker Players. This week’s WSOP Rewind has the names of the 50 players below and relays some of the struggles that come with voting on such a list.

In other WSOP news, Phil Ivey leads the Poker Players Championship. The Monster Stack crowned a champion this week and, surprisingly, Phil Hellmuth took an exotic vacation during the Series.

Here’s a look at a few noteworthy nuggets from the WSOP.

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Picking top 50 WSOP players is no easy task

On Saturday, June 29, poker action at the WSOP will come to a brief stop for the First Fifty Honors Gala and Dinner.

The event is meant to honor and celebrate the event’s past and best players. The WSOP will host a dinner and VIP poker event to mark the occasion.

As part of the celebration, tournament officials will present awards in seven categories. WSOP broadcasters Lon McEachern and Norman Chad will host the night’s festivities.

The evening will also include the unveiling of the WSOP’s list of the 50 Greatest Poker Players. The WSOP will honor the following players as the best in Series history.

50 Greatest Players
Antonius, Patrik
Baldwin, Bobby
Baxter, Billy
Bjorin, Chris
Bonomo, Justin
Brunson, Doyle
Cada, Joe
Chan, Johnny
Chidwick, Stephen
Cloutier, TJ
Cunningham, Allen
Deeb, Shaun
Dwan, Tom
Elezra, Eli
Esfandiari, Antonio
Ferguson, Chris
Forrest, Ted
Galfond, Phil
Greenstein, Barry
Hansen, Gus
Harman, Jennifer
Harrington, Dan
Haxton, Isaac
Hellmuth, Phil
Hennigan, John
Holz, Fedor
Ivey, Phil
Johnston, Berry
Juanda, John
Kenney, Bryn
Lisandro, Jeff
Mateos, Adrian
Mercier, Jason
Mizrachi, Michael
Moorman, Chris
Mortensen, Carlos
Moss, Johnny
Negreanu, Daniel
Nguyen, Scotty
Nitsche, Dominik
O’Dwyer, Steve
Pearson, Puggy
Preston, Amarillo “Slim”
Rast, Brian
Reese, David “Chip”
Seed, Huck
Seidel, Erik
Selbst, Vanessa
Tomko, Dewey
Ungar, Stu

Choosing 50 players certainly wasn’t easy. The criteria stated that a player “must have played at least once at the WSOP.  This list can be made up of cash game players, mixed games players, online players or tournament players.”

How can one compare some of the game’s early winners versus modern stars? While it is true that those early players laid the groundwork without online poker and solvers, they faced much smaller fields, too.

On the other hand, a voter wouldn’t want to give short shrift to modern players like Justin Bonomo and Phil Ivey. This reporter was asked to contribute and, with so many variables to consider, spent hours analyzing players.

Other considerations could include:

  • number of bracelets
  • success in other venues
  • cash game prowess
  • accomplishments against tough fields

No matter who made the list, there will certainly be debate. But, it’s nice to see the WSOP look back and celebrate both modern and past players.

Ivey leads final 12 in Poker Players Championship

Meanwhile, PokerGO should prepare to receive plenty of views on Thursday and Friday for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Phil Ivey has the chip lead over the remaining 12 players in the tournament.

This tournament is one of the most talent-filled in the world – the field of 74 features most of the best players in the world. Those left include Josh Arieh, Shaun Deeb, Dario Sammartino, Phil Hui, and Dan Cates.

Ivey is tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for second-most bracelets behind Phil Hellmuth. He now has a chance to break that logjam and move closer to the Poker Brat. His last WSOP title came in 2014 when he won a $1,500 Eight-Game Mix event for $166,986.

As one of the biggest names in poker, Ivey’s presence adds some extra cachet to an event. In recent years, he’s played less at the Rio – instead favoring high-stakes cash games in Asia.

This year, however, Ivey seems to have found a renewed interest for chasing a bracelet. He already has three cashes this summer and will add a fourth after this tournament, regardless of how he finishes.

This is also the second consecutive deep run Ivey’s had in the Poker Players Championship. Last summer he took ninth place for $111,447.

Monster Stack winner takes home a million bucks

One of the biggest tournaments in WSOP history just wrapped up. The $1,500 Monster Stack featured an enormous 6,035 entries and an $8.1 million prize pool.

When the smoke clear, new champion Kainalu McCue-Unciano took home just over $1 million.  Originally from Hawaii, he now lives in Las Vegas and has more than $1.5 million in live tournament winnings.

In typical fashion, McCue-Unciano had been planning a trip to Disneyland in recent weeks. He now has a bit more money to spend in the “Magic Kingdom.”

Phil Hellmuth takes a vacation from WSOP

Finally, it would take something major to take Phil Hellmuth away from the WSOP action. With 15 bracelets and counting, Hellmuth lives for adding more gold to his resumé.

Apparently, a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some of the most exotic travel destinations in the world will do the trick. Of course, he’s having a great time Tweeting about it.

No word yet on when he plans on being back at the Rio, but it’s a pretty safe bet his travels won’t last all summer.

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