Before you get up in arms about our negativity, remember that tomorrow we’ll be running our first article about the 20 BEST moments in poker this year.
Indeed there were plenty of great moments in poker this year but there were also some incidents that had us shaking our heads in disbelief.
It’s not the first time we’ve ranked the lowest points in poker so if you need a refresher just check out our Worst Moments in Poker in 2012. Basically we’ll be counting down five moments every day leading up to #1.
We’re going to start our list with poker’s Big Three getting shut out during the WSOP, a missed opportunity in the Main Event, Jason Mercier whiffing on a big bet and Nate Silver getting bad beat right out of Australia.
20. Nate Silver Busts Aussie Millions with Pocket Kings
Stats wizard Nate Silver publically throwing his support behind poker is a very, very good thing for the game.
That’s why it was fantastic when Silver – still relatively fresh from predicting the winner every state in the 2012 US election – headed down to the Aussie Millions as a special guest of Crown Casino and did the full-court press for poker.
The statistician did interviews with virtually all the gathered media and seemed very optimistic about maybe playing a few more tournaments, provided he started getting some decent results.
Silver even got off to a great start at the Aussie Millions by finishing with a top-10 stack on Day 1.
Nearly everyone was pulling for a big run from Silver and it really appeared that he might pull it off… until he ran pocket kings into pocket aces in a huge 270,000 pot.
It’s unknown when we’ll see Silver at the Aussie Millions again but if we do hopefully he’ll have better luck.
19. Jason Mercier Whiffs on Bracelet Bets
Bracelet hunting gone wrong
Calling your shot is one of the single most badass things you can do in poker.
Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out as Jason Mercier learned this summer.
Mercier set some very lofty calls for himself and was willing to take action from almost anyone.
The Floridian laid down the gauntlet by offering 3-1 on him winning a bracelet. Nearly everyone was allowed to bet, so long as they put up at least $3,000.
Mercier was coming off a very hot showing at the EPT Grand Final with more than $1.5 million in profit so he was perhaps feeling extra confident about the 2013 WSOP.
In the end Mercier only made one final table at the WSOP and came in a disappointing fourth place. On the bright side he cashed seven times but it was still likely viewed as a setback for the EPT and WSOP winner.
We’re confident he’ll bounce back in 2014.
18. Jay Farber Finishes Second in Main Event
Jay Farber talks about winning $5m
Say what you will about Jay Farber’s party boy lifestyle but TMZ didn’t interview Ryan Riess after he won the Main Event.
Instead TMZ did a quick video with Farber and asked the brash young club promoter about buying a Ferrari AND an Aston Martin.
Farber’s lifestyle is an image the mainstream media wants of a poker player. Young, rich and friends with recent most interesting man in the world Dan Bilzerian.
We’re not saying Riess will be a bad world champion but poker has been lacking an amateur story for quite some time and Farber could have been it. There’s also a good chance he would have attracted new players to the game. That’s good for everyone.
Whether everyone could have stomached hundreds of players with tribal tattoos and Affliction t-shirts at the poker table is another question...
17. Haters Hate on Ivey’s Ninth Bracelet
Phil Ivey only had to outlast 81 players to win his ninth WSOP bracelet this year.
Ivey joined the nine-bracelet club in the super-small AUD$2,200 Mixed Event at the inaugural WSOP Asia-Pacific in Australia, much to the chagrin of large-field enthusiasts and so-called “protectors” of poker.
There’s no arguing it was a massive tournament. There are circuit events in Iowa that are bigger. The prize was also a miniscule $50k. Ivey’s spent more than that on breakfast (we think).
But in the larger scheme of things it was hardly the smallest gold-bracelet event in history.
One of Doyle Brunson’s bracelets came in $600 Mixed Doubles for god’s sake. Even more recently Antonio Esfandiari outlasted just 48 players to win the Big One for One Drop and a gold bracelet.
The bottom line is that Ivey didn’t make the rules. He heard there were bracelets on the line in Australia so he jumped on a plane. Hate the game, not the player.
16. Negreanu, Hellmuth, Ivey Win Zero Bracelets at WSOP in Vegas
No 14th bracelet for Phil Hellmuth.
This was unexpected.
Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth have established themselves as the unequivocal Big Three in poker and you always expect a storyline involving at least one of them at the WSOP.
Last year Hellmuth and Ivey were making final tables left and right. It was hard to even keep up.
At the 2013 WSOP Ivey, Hellmuth and Negreanu made exactly one final table between all of them.
To be fair Negreanu did come in second in the $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw event for $107,055.
Hellmuth at least had an eighth place in the $10k Heads-Up for $54k.
There’s no explaining Ivey though. He cashed once and that was in a $1k NLHE event. Maybe it was the stress of launching IveyPoker or his ongoing lawsuit against Crockfords.
Whatever the reason, the 2013 WSOP was not Ivey’s greatest showing.