2014 WSOP: Top 10 moments

Join us as we countdown the biggest and best moments from this summer’s World Series of Poker – it’s been a blast!

1. New and improved

The World Series of Poker is a monster of an event to organise and execute. If you’ve ever been you’ll have some appreciation of what the WSOP staff do, and to run it almost without hitch is a minor miracle. They deserve a big hand. The schedule for the 2014 WSOP was also much improved with more $10k Championship events making the big name players very happy.

2. Monster numbers

The $1,500 Millionaire Maker proved there’s still a massive appetite for poker in the US when 7,977 players turned up, shattering the WSOP’s estimate. It made it the biggest single day attendance and the largest non-Main Event tourney ever. This was followed up by the Monster Stack which attracted 7,862 players, making it the largest single day non-re-entry tournament ever. More significantly, the Monster Stack has shown the WSOP that there is an appetite for bigger starting stacks. 

3. The biggest game in town

Dwindling Main Event numbers have been used by naysayers to point to the decline in poker’s popularity. We finally got to thumb our nose at them this year as the 2014 Main Event, with 6,683 players, was the biggest since 2011 and the fifth biggest of all time! 

4. Back-to-back!

Making the November Nine is one of the toughest feats in poker. Doing it two years in a row is mind-blowingly incredible. Congrats to Mark Newhouse, who suffered the heartache of going out ninth in last year’s final table. He was a short stack then but he’s stacked up now and will be looking for the ultimate redemption in November.

5. Perfect 10

There’s something inevitable about Phil Ivey’s surge up the bracelet table. The best poker player in the world took down his tenth this summer, drawing level with old-school legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, and closing the gap on Phil Hellmuth’s 13. How long before Ivey proves himself as the best Phil in poker?

6. Anarchy in the US

When John Kabbaj won his first bracelet in 2009, the WSOP staff thought it would be funny to play the Sex Pistols at his bracelet ceremony. It didn’t go down too well. Thankfully Kabbaj got to relive the moment this year when he won the UK’s only bracelet of the summer in the $2,5000 Omaha/Seven Card Stud event. This time they didn’t play God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols. They played Anarchy in the UK. (They didn’t.)

7. Senior’s surge

They say that poker’s a young man’s game, but the evidence suggests otherwise. The average age of players at this year’s WSOP was 38.93, with the average casher coming in slightly younger at 37.66. Go down to the final tables and the average age was 35.32. And, if you witnessed this year’s Seniors Championship, you’d wish you were older. 4,425 players over 50 turned up to make it the largest Seniors event ever at the WSOP. Dan Heimiller took the $627,462 first prize. 

8. Celeb juice

The WSOP has always attracted its share of A-list celebs and this year was no different. Spotted at the Rio were Hollywood actor James Woods, Spanish footballer Gerard ‘Shakira’s husband’ Pique, NBA star Paul Pierce, UFC announcer Bruce Buffer and metrosexual spinner Shane Warne. Breaking Bad’s Aaron ‘Jesse’ Paul also made a stir railing his friend in the Main Event.

9. Live the dream

2014 was the year the WSOP finally embraced the digital generation, streaming virtually every final table live, and 31 of them with hole cards.

10. Dealer’s choice

The WSOP proved it’s still got the appetite for experimentation with the inaugural Dealer’s Choice event. This gave players the chance to choose from up to 16 different games, with dealers needing to be experts in all of them. It ran without a hitch and proved very popular with 419 players pretending to know the rules to all the games they played.

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