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.
Poker's Best Moments in 2014
We’re starting off today with the five best moments going from 20-16. Enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
20. Sara Chafak's Amazing Bluff on Shark Cage
There were numerous momentous moments in poker in 2014 but sometimes a moment can be as simple as a charismatic new poker personality pulling off an unlikely bluff against an experienced pro.
Unless you are the pro being bluffed of course.
With Poker After Dark gone and High Stakes Poker a distant memory it’s up to shows like PokerStars' Shark Cage to provide us with highlight-reel poker moments.
Shark Cage provided one such moment when Sara Chafak (Miss Finland 2012) ran an extraordinary bluff on Ronnie Bardah where she got him to fold trips.
Sadly Chafak didn’t qualify for the final episode (although Kara Scott did!) but we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Chafak over the next year.
We could tell you more about Chafak's amazing bluff but you should probably just check out the video below.
"Is this real life!?" says a confused Bardah.
19. Daniel Negreanu Wins $10m, Inducted to HOF
Daniel Negreanu didn’t win any WSOP bracelets in 2014 he still made plenty of poker news.
Most notably Negreanu finished second to Dan Colman in the 2014 $1m Buy-in Big One for One Drop for $8.2 million, which was his biggest score ever.
While Negreanu didn’t have all of himself (NHLer Phil Kessel allegedly had a piece) he likely had a lot more than some of his other competitors so it’s safe to say he took home a truckload of cash.
Negreanu finished the year with over $10 million in live tournament winnings with a notable score at the Aussie Millions as well.
That wasn’t Negreanu’s only achievement this year as he finally made it to the age of 40 and was instantly inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
Negreanu certainly deserves it as, love him or hate him, he’s been at the forefront of the poker world for more than a decade now (incidentally he was also awarded Player of the Decade this year).
We look forward to another decade of dominance.
18. Small Buy-in Tournaments like Battle of Malta, WPT500 Explode
People who think poker is dying need to attend a small buy-in tournament like the Battle of Malta, Aria WPT500 or the WSOPC.
The WPT500 (which controversially took place during the WSOP) attracted an astounding 3,599 entries to create a prize pool of well over $1 million.
Meanwhile in Europe, PokerListings’ own €500 buy-in Battle of Malta attracted 1,447 runners, which made it the biggest European event not affiliated with a major poker tour.
Time and time again the lower end of the poker market appears to be booming with notable success stories on the HPT, WSOPC and now WPT500.
In other words there’s a market for small buy-in, recreation player-based tournaments. Who knew?
17. Dan Colman Goes Full God-Mode, Wins $22m
Dan Colman was probably the most discussed poker player in 2014, and beyond his controversial comments it’s easy to understand why: the dude won $22 million!
Colman recorded arguably the biggest heater in the history of tournament poker complete with that $15m score for winning One Drop.
Colman also won the EPT Grand Final $100k Super High Roller, Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open and WPT Alpha8 London.
He also had huge scores in the ACOP Super High Roller, EPT €50k Super High Roller and Aria $100k Super High Roller.
It’s simply the most ridiculous tournament run in the history of poker.
You can think whatever you want about Colman's personal politics but it’s clear that he’s very, very, very, very good at poker.
16. Thor Hansen Wins Spirit of Poker Award, Plays BOM
It’s hard not to be inspired by Thor Hansen.
The Norwegian Godfather of Poker was playing the game long before the boom and pioneered the WSOP for Scandinavian poker players.
Sadly Hansen was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago but even that hasn’t slowed him down. Doctors are baffled by Hansen’s resiliency and claim he is “made of steel.”
Hansen won PokerListings' Spirit of Poker award this year in the Living Legend category and even made it out to play the Battle of Malta. Talk about a best moment of the year.
Check out this short documentary we did with the man/legend at the Battle of Malta.