2017 World Series of Poker Highlights
I don’t know about you, but I feel like the 2017 World Series of Poker has just flown by. Saturday is the start of the Main Event, for pete’s sake. But before we start focusing our attention on the most celebrated tournament in poker, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight a few things from the past month-plus at the WSOP that are worth, well, highlighting.
Mohsin Charania Completes Poker Triple Crown
Mohsin Charania is a fantastic poker player. With the cratering of televised poker over the last several years, though, he probably is not a known quantity to casual poker fans, even if he is extremely well respected in the poker community. Early in the morning of the last day of June, Charania etched his name in the poker history books, winning his first WSOP bracelet and becoming just the sixth player ever to win poker’s Triple Crown: wins at the WSOP, the World Poker Tour, and the now-defunct European Poker Tour.
Charania won Event #52, one of several $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournaments at this year’s Series, defeating the accomplished Cary Katz heads-up for the title. His EPT win was in 2012 at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo and he has two WPT victories, one at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2014 and the other at the Bwin WPT Grand Prix de Paris in 2013.
The tournament win earned Charania $364,438, giving him more than $5.6 million in lifetime live tournament winnings.
The other five players who have won the Triple Crown are Gavin Griffin, Roland De Wolfe, Jake Cody, Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospelier, and Davidi Kitai.
Online WSOP High Roller Event Proves Historic
When we think of the World Series of Poker, we think of teeming masses of people competing in gigantic live poker tournaments. Lest we forget, though, there are three official online bracelet events in the 2017 WSOP. One of them, the $3,333 “Big Grind” Online High Roller Event, set a record last week, generating the largest prize pool for an online poker tournament in Nevada history.
320 players entered the event and 104 paid for a re-entry, resulting in a total field of 424 entries and a $1,335,600 prize pool. The only other seven-figure prize pool in Nevada online poker history was last year’s $1,000 WSOP bracelet event, which had 1,247 entries and a $1,184,650 prize pool.
The first online WSOP bracelet event was in 2015 and did not come without complaints from poker purists who prefer the Series to only be live poker. It’s an understandable complaint, but we are in the internet poker age now, so expanding slightly into that realm is also understandable and makes the World Series of Poker more accessible to more people. In both 2015 and 2016, there was only one online bracelet each year, but it was expanded to three this summer. Only those in Nevada can participate, as the events are held on WSOP.com Nevada.
Thomas ‘FLOATZ’ Cannuli, who finished sixth in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, won the “Big Grind” bracelet and its $322,814 first prize.
Chris Ferguson Won’t Go Away
Back in the day, when poker players heard the name Chris Ferguson at the WSOP, they thought, “Jesus.” Now when they hear the name Chris Ferguson at the WSOP, they think, “Chris Ferguson is here? Jesus.”
Ferguson is persona non grata in the poker world for his role in being negligent with players’ deposits at Full Tilt Poker at best and outright stealing players’ money at worst. Because of what he did – using player funds to pay company executives like himself – we had to wait five years to see our money again. Though most were made whole, there are plenty who will never see their money again.
So Chris Ferguson can suck an egg, to put it gently. Unfortunately, the man who has yet to apologize for his role in the Black Friday scandal decided to grace everyone with his presence at the Rio this year. And worse than that, the man is actually in contention for the WSOP Player of the Year Award.
As of this writing, Ferguson is in fourth place with 733.46 points, trailing the leader, Ryan Hughes, by about 87 points. With the Main Event and the WSOP Europe still to come, Ferguson still has a shot at claiming the Player of the Year crown.
I’d rather see Jamie Gold win the Main Event again than see Chris Ferguson win the POY award. It’s bad enough he has won money from poker players enough times to be in the running, lord help us if he wins.
So there are three highlights for you. There are many more, like David Bach winning two bracelets, Joe McKeehen breaking the champion’s curse and winning a bracelet the year after claiming the Main Event title, and the aforementioned Ryan Hughes’ run to the top of the POY rankings despite no bracelets and no six-figure cashes, but I just don’t feel like writing about EVERYTHING. What say you? What are your favorite highlights from the 2017 WSOP?