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The 25 Worst Moments in Poker in 2012: 5-1
Over the course of 2012 the poker world was dealt both premium hands and ice-cold coolers and today we're bringing you the top 5 worst.
From the epic fail that was Epic Poker to one of the biggest missed opporunities in the history of the game, these are the five moments we'd most like to go back in time Michael J. Fox-style to fix.
So bear with us as we relive the most frustrating, tragic and heartbreaking moments of 2012.
5. Epic Poker Files for Bankruptcy, Cancels $1m Freeroll
The entire concept of the Epic Poker League was based on the $2.6 million in added money the tour promised to players in its inaugural season.
Players were excited about an elite rake-free series of $20,000 buy-in events but a big reason they played was to earn one of the 27 seats in the season-concluding $1 million freeroll.
That's why when the EPL's parent company Federated Sports + Gaming filed Chapter 11 and yanked the seven-figure freeroll off the table, people were pissed.
Helmed by former WSOP Commisioner Jeffrey Pollack and poker celebrity/pro Annie Duke, FS+G and its Epic Poker Tour were met with skepticism by the poker community from day one.
No one had a clear idea about how the group was going to make money, or who would want to cover the $2.6 million in added cash plus the enormous overhead of running a live tournament series.
The EPL held three of the originally-promised four events before closing its doors in February.
FS+G was found to have liabilities of roughly $7.8 million and assets of just $200k, a scene closely resembling Duke's brother Howard Lederer's failed company Full Tilt Poker.
Fueling the community's animosity towards Duke and Pollack, and strengthening the situation's similarity to Full Tilt, was the discovery that between them the five executive officers were paid more than $1.1 million for their time with FS+G.
4. Lederer Settles with SDNY, Gets Off Easy?
Compared to the dark age that was 2011 in the poker world, frozen funds and seized online poker rooms, 2012 was a renaissance.
But even with Full Tilt reopening its doors and many players getting their long-awaited money back, the community was hungry for blood.
And no one was higher on the most-wanted list than Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson.
It was alleged by the Department of Justice that those three FTP board members had received in excess of $125 million in distributions from Full Tilt Poker.
On his own Lederer took more than $42 million out of the company.
In December, a few months after PokerStars bought FTP, Howard Lederer reached a settlement with the DOJ and while the exact numbers are unknown it appeared to many that he had gotten off easy.
There was certainly no jail time, and the civil money-laundering decision only cost him $1.25 million. And as part of the deal Lederer was not forced to admit he had done anything wrong.
In addition to real estate and a Shelby Cobra, Lederer was forced to hand over the contents of a number of bank accounts.
The real truth about how good or bad this deal was for Lederer lies in his forfeited 0402 Lloyds account. It was named as one of his money's main conduits out of Full Tilt Poker.
3. Ryan Young Dies in Car Crash
On July 30th WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Young was killed in a car accident at the age of 28.
Young was a native of Torrance, California and he had a reputation for kindness, generosity and hard work at the poker table.
Before he passed away Young racked up over $1.67 million in live earnings, including 12 cashes at the World Series of Poker.
In 2007 Young won a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, snagging a gold bracelet and over $615,000.
Young came close to his second major title in 2008, finishing runner-up to Chris Moore at the Wynn Poker Classic.
He was also well known for playing high-stakes online MTTs and SNGs under the screen name youngluck on Poker Stars.
The poker community mourned Young's death through social media, issuing a massive outpouring of condolences and fond memories for the young poker pro.
2. Theo Jorgensen Robbed and Shot
Continuing a disturbing trend that's developing in the poker world Denmark's Theo Jorgensen was robbed and shot in his Greve home in early December.
The incident was eerily similar to Jonathan Duhamel's 2011 home invasion and assault but where Duhamel's ordeal had ended in a beating, Jorgensen was shot three times.
Jorgensen was treated for his injuries and is making a full recovery.
But the poker community hasn't been so quick to recover, knowing that poker pros are being targeted in their homes and that criminals are willing to use deadly force in order to get their money.
Jorgensen summed up the situation thusly in a message to friends and fans:
It is important for me to emphasize that I am a cautious man. I have prepared myself mentally and practically that this situation could arise to protect myself and my family against outsiders. I know that the outsiders may have a mistaken idea of how much cash I have in my home. I have alarm systems installed, always so get cash lying as possible and generally taken my precautions. It has unfortunately proved not to be enough.
I have it under control well, and right now I want to focus on taking care of my family, so we can get through this.
1. Elisabeth Hille, Gaelle Baumann Bubble Main Event Final Table
This list isn't designed to compare things like death and violent crime to poker gossip on an absolute scale.
These 25 worst moments are here to chronicle the things that negatively impacted the poker world in 2012 and in our opinions the number one most influential twist of fate occurred when Elisabeth Hille and Gaelle Baumann went out in 11th and 10th at the WSOP Main Event.
In the more than forty-year history of the WSOP only one woman has ever made it to the Main Event final table.
With 11 players left and two women still in this July in Las Vegas we thought for sure one of them would match Barbara Enright's 1995 accomplishment.
It was difficult for everyone to watch them bust consecutively just short of the final table.
The potential for serious poker growth was huge had either or both of those European women made the final nine.
Baumann would have returned to mainstream media attention in France, as would Hille in Norway, and the ESPN audience would have had two beautiful reasons to tune in.
In 2003 Chris Moneymaker's Main Event win had an enormous impact on poker.
We can only imagine what might have happened if a young, pretty French or Norwegian girl had become world champion.
More Worst Moments in Poker in 2012: