It’s become tradition that PokerListings wraps up every year by taking a look back at some of the best and worst moments.
Of course a list like this will always be somewhat subjective and you’re more than welcome to disagree with us on our rankings (this is the Internet!).
Feel free to give us your thoughts in the comments.
Regardless, there’s always a truckload of poker news released every year and there’s more than enough material to look back on over the last 12 months.
Of course not all the news was good and in this series we'll look at the 20 Worst Moments in Poker in 2016. If you’re looking for something a little more uplifting, we suggest our 20 Best Moments in Poker in 2016.
5. Brian Hastings Accused of Multi-Accounting
Mid-way through the WSOP, David “Bakes” Baker accused Brian Hastings of multi-accounting using a VPN and playing on a PokerStars account called “NoelHayes.”
People who played online against the NoelHayes account were understandably upset.
Hastings would later apologize claiming he had a lapse in judgement based on his inability to play online poker in the USA.
Hastings said that living abroad in Vancouver to play online poker made him severely depressed and that’s why he ended up using a VPN, despite the fact it’s against the terms of service on online poker sites.
So to recap, who ended up looking bad in this one?
1. Brian Hastings
3. Online poker
4. Negreanu Bubbles WSOP Final Table
You can’t have the most marketable poker pro in the world make the final 11 players of the WSOP Main Event and then bust.
Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened this year and ESPN, poker media and poker fans around the world were stunned.
You might remember that in 2012 we almost had two female poker players make the final table. Instead they finished 11th then 10th and forced everyone to rethink the final table narrative.
It was arguably more painful this year as Negreanu would have done every talk show, radio interview or media opportunity that they threw at him.
And sure, technically it would have been worst if Negreanu hard bubbled at 10 but it felt bad either way.
On the other hand, we’re probably due to have megastar at the final table next year right? Right?
3. PokerStars Fails to Communicate SuperNova Elite Changes
In 2015 PokerStars announced it was re-structuring its VIP program for 2016 and SuperNova Elite benefits would be massively diminished.
This obviously led to an uproar from high-volume grinders who put in serious time at the tables in order to get SuperNova Elite for 2016.
The hardcore grinders immediately mobilized and even took part in a three-day PokerStars sit-out that was organized by Dani “Ansky” Stern.
As a business PokerStars has a right to change up their strategy and the company has mentioned numerous times, through ambassador Daniel Negreanu or the head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser, that its ecosystem is not healthy.
The company is going all-in on attracting more recreational players and cutting back the benefits for serious players. To wit, PokerStars is running four $1m freerolls, open to all its players in 2016.
PokerStars can do that. The problem is how they communicated it to the players. Hopefully it never happens again.
2. Still No Euros or Isai Scheinberg in HOF
It’s 2015 and there are still no European players or Isai Scheinberg in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Is this real life?
Despite the North American-centric nature of the WSOP, it’s a bit ridiculous that the Poker Hall of Fame hasn’t honored at least one European at this point.
No old schoolers like Bruno Fittoussi or Chris Bjorin. No Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen or Patrik Antonius.
And then there’s Isai Scheinberg.
A larger-than-life figure, Scheinberg founded PokerStars and changed poker forever.
He may have saved his best trick for last. In 2014 PokerStars announced it was buying the troubled Full Tilt Poker and paying back all its players — who had their accounts frozen at that point.
It may have been a savvy business decision and it was part of a settlement with the US DOJ but that single move probably helped out more players than any other in the history of poker.
Scheinberg would be a HOF lock if he was ever put on the ballet.
Actually there’s another poker personality that probably deserves to be in the Poker Hall of Fame and we’re going to talk about him next…
1. David "Devilfish" Ulliott Passes Away
David “Devilfish” Ulliott was an awfully big personality in poker. He passed away in April after being diagnosed with terminal bowel and liver cancer.
While he wasn’t quite on the same level as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey or Doyle Brunson in the US the Devilfish was always spitting out memorable quotes.
His image also wasn’t near as clean as some famous poker players but that was part of his charm. Ulliott was a hero to numerous U.K. players who didn’t relate quite the same to his American counterparts.
More than anything Ulliott was the life of the party at any poker table. When poker players all started to look the same The Devilfish always stood out with his gold knuckleduster rings, his suit and his penchant for trash talk.
Ulliott was old school and as poker continues to transition to the new school he’s going to be missed.
Other articles in this series: