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The 20 Best Moments in Poker in 2015: #15-11
As is now tradition PokerListings is wrapping up the year with a look back at some of the best and worst moments.
Depending on your spot in the poker hierarchy, of course, some of these moments will clearly mean more or less to you.
But it's a big poker world out there and no matter which angle you have on it there are always plenty of amazing things to look back on after 12 months of high-impact poker.
These are a few of them. Satisfy your dark side with the 20 Worst Moments in Poker in 2016 here.
15. Alex Jacob Wins Jeopardy! ToC
Does it really matter that a former poker pro who hasn’t been a part of the game for years dominated an iconic American TV game show?
Well, yeah. Former US Poker Championship winner Alex Jacob made two stunning turns on Jeopardy! this year.
In his initial run he racked up six impressive victories and earned over $150k. He followed up by truly dominating the prestigious Tournament of Champions, throttling some of the best competitors in Jeopardy! history (including Matt Jackson) and winning $250,000.
He’s officially one of the Top 10 best players in Jeopardy! history and has literally re-shaped how it's played thanks to his GTO dominance. And much of what made him so dominant, besides his obviously impeccable memory, he says came from his poker roots. That's worth crowing about.
14. Global Poker Masters Succeeds; Team Poker Revived
As we've seen many times over the past decade "team poker" is a questionable concept.
In such an individual activity as poker can playing as part of a team really capture the essence of the game enough to make it worth doing/watching?
The answer so far, from trumped up "Poker Super Bowls" to nationality-inspired Caesars Cups, has been a resounding "no."
Enter the Global Poker Masters. Ambitiously dubbed the "World Cup of Poker" by founder Alex Dreyfus the first-ever GPM took place in March alongside the first EPT Malta.
Surprisingly, it worked. Actually, really, worked. Despite a rocky start players gave their full buy-in to playing for their countries and the atmosphere, which you could experience via the Twitch live stream, was great.
Team Italy won but the event itself was really the biggest victory. We look forward to Round 2.
13. Harman, Juanda Enter Poker Hall of Fame
The elephant in the room with this one, of course, is the hard-to-explain absence of European poker players in the Poker Hall of Fame. Reading this piece on Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott will only make the injustice seem worse.
Still, that shouldn't take away from the fact Jennifer Harman and John Juanda are very worthy entrants in the Hall of Fame.
Harman is quite simply one of the best high-stakes cash-game players in poker history. Saying nothing about Juanda winning the EPT Barcelona Main Event this year – after a year off poker, no less – he’s easily one of the most successful poker players in history as well.
Both are deserving and their inductions shouldn't be diminished by the egregious oversight of international players - which, we hope, will change in 2016.
12. Year of the Zinno
Who doesn't love a good poker feel-good story?
Former law student Anthony Zinno won a WPT Borgata event in 2013 for $825,099 and then, for the most part, faded back into the poker background.
He played a bunch of events and had some decent scores across 2014 but nothing screamed, "hey, I'm one of the best poker players out there."
Then came 2015. In the space of two weeks in February Zinno won back-to-back WPT main events in Niagara Falls and L.A., respectively.
Then he made five (!) WSOP final tables this summer and won his first bracelet in the impossibly tough $25k PLO. He capped the year with a win and a runner-up at EPT Malta.
Fittingly, he was the WPT Season 13 Player of the Year. He's also clearly stamped himself as more than just a good underdog story.
11. Poker and Charity Continue to Grow
The generous contributions of poker players to charity have always been fairly overlooked (see Annie Duke's Celebrity Apprentice, for example) but 2015 has seen poker and charitable giving reach new heights.
At the center of it is the Gruissem-Kurganov-Boeree driven REG Charity, which continually redistributes A LOT of poker money into the most effective charitable causes in the world.
Matt Stout's Charity Series of Poker. Vanessa Selbst's Blinds & Justice. Jen Harman's annual event for the Vegas SPCA. Daniel Negreanu and St. Jude Hospital. Dan Smith and Dan Colman matching $70k in charity donations. Sorel Mizzi and Brian Rast boxing for charity. The Battle of Malta and MOAS.
The list goes on and on. Poker players love to give. And are doing a lot to make the world a better place where they can. That's something to celebrate, too.
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