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The 20 Best Moments in Poker in 2014: #15-11
It was another roller coaster of a year for poker news with dizzying highs and stomach-churning lows.
Every year PokerListings attempts to rank our 20 Best and Worst Moments with varying levels of success.
Is it impossible to categorically “rank” the numerous complex breaking stories and moments of the poker world? Probably yes. But that doesn’t keep us from trying.
Today we're taking a look at the best moments from 15-11. Enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
You can also embrace your dark side and check out the 20 Worst Moments in Poker 2014.
15. Billy Pappas: The People's Choice
Billy Pappas didn’t win the Main Event but it became very apparent he was the people’s choice at the final table.
The likeable foosball champ donned a Yoshi cap, 888poker patch and DraftKings patch on his way to fifth place for $2.1 million.
After placing fifth Pappas, whose full name is Billy Pappaconstantinou, said it was more money than he’s ever had and he had absolutely no idea how he was going to spend it.
It was nice to see that kind of enthusiasm from someone who finished well-short of the ultimate prize.
The crowd also responded to Pappas in a huge way during the final table and the atmosphere took a big hit when he left.
It's easy to see why: Pappas represented the dream that anyone can still make the Main Event final table and score a huge payday.
Hopefully we see more of Pappas in the near future.
14. Vanessa Selbst Becomes First Woman to Play Big One
Is there facet of poker that Vanessa Selbst hasn’t trail-blazed for female poker players?
Selbst is far-and-away the biggest female winner with over $10 million in lifetime live tournament earnings and multiple high roller titles.
Well this year Selbst was responsible for another first: she became the first female poker player to play the staggering $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop.
Selbst didn’t make a deep run in the Big One for One Drop but is there any female poker player who wasn’t at least a little inspired by Selbst taking a shot at the richest poker tournament in the world?
13. George Danzer Wins POY with Three Bracelets
Prior to the 2014 WSOP, German George Danzer had never won a gold bracelet.
At the end of the year he had three.
Danzer won the $10k Razz, $10k Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo and finally the $A5k 8-Game in Australia.
These days it’s impressive when anyone wins two WSOP bracelets let alone three so suffice to say you can put Danzer’s achievement in the monumental category.
While some will point out that Danzer beat some very small fields (especially in Australia where he only outlasted 48 players) he was also incredibly clutch as Brandon Shack-Harris had the POY lead heading Down Under.
12. Kevin Boudreau Returns to Poker
In 2013 popular poker pro Kevin “Phwap” Boudreau collapsed while on break at the 2013 WSOP.
The situation was grim as Boudreau was placed into an induced coma as a result of a brain hemorrhage.
Yet somehow in 2014 Boudreau miraculously defied all odds and made a successful return to the WSOP where he played a Sit & Go with friends.
It was a short trip and Boudreau’s recovery still has a long ways to go but his story is one that transcends poker.
Later in the year Boudreau finished fourth in a Mid-Stakes Poker event for $34,000.
It would be easy to rank this as the single best moment in poker in 2014. Here’s hoping he wins a WSOP bracelet in 2015!
11. Pierce, Nadal, Ronaldo Continue Making Poker Headlines
Sports and poker have always enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. It helps that poker appears on ESPN and many athletes love to play the game on the side.
That trend didn’t slow down at all in 2014 as some of the biggest names in sports were seen at the poker table in 2014.
This year the WSOP alone saw NBA all-star Paul Pierce, international footballer Gerard Piqué, NASCAR’s Jason White and ex-NFL star Richard Seymour all take to the felt. Even the NHL’s Phil Kessel showed up to root on buddy Daniel Negreanu in the Big One for One Drop.
Pierce was a star at the WSOP doing multiple interviews and making it all the way to Day 3 of the Main Event. It's especially impressive considering Pierce does it without a sponsor forcing him to go.
Even beyond the WSOP, Rafael Nadal and Ronaldo showed up for a number of PokerStars events. Star athletes with a penchant for poker? It doesn't really get any better for the game.