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Poker Public to Vote on WSOP’s “First Fifty Honors”

This year’s 50th edition of the World Series of Poker was sure to include some special offerings, and more will follow next year, when the WSOP celebrates its 50th anniversary. Yes, it’s a two-fer, as these edition-anniversary things always are, but that makes for twice the celebrating opportunities, right? Among the 2019 series’ special treats is an awards ceremony called the “First Fifty Honors”, which will allow the poker-loving public to choose some of its favorite moments in WSOP history.

The public will get to vote on seven different categories regarding the WSOP’s long run, and in the process will be entering themselves in a drawing for a nice prize package, including a $1,000 Mini Main Event Seat for the 2019 World Series of Poker, a $500 Summer Saver Online Seat for the 2019 World Series of Poker, (2) VIP tickets to the WSOP First Fifty Honors Gala on June 29th, and a WSOP Merchandise package. There are some entry requirements, such as being at least age 21 and having a Caesars Rewards (Total Rewards) number, which the voter has to input along with his choices in each of the seven categories.

Those seven categories are:

  1. Most Memorable WSOP TV Hand
  2. Best Overall WSOP Performance (Single Year)
  3. Most Likely to Succeed (Player currently 35 or Under to Win the Most Gold Bracelets between 2020-2070)
  4. Fan Favorite Player
  5. WSOP’s Favorite Bad Boy
  6. Most Impressive Main Event Win
  7. Four Most Important Players in WSOP History

Each of the categories offers a handful of pre-listed choices, plus an opportunity to cast a write-in vote. If interesting in voting, one can begin the process at Public voting runs through June 15th.

Once the voting has been closed and the winners determined, it’s on to the celebration and awards ceremony. Action will pause for a short while in the Rio Convention Center at 8 pm on Saturday, June 29th, when the Brasilia Room will be converted into a one-night-only banquet hall. According to a presser from the WSOP’s Seth Palansky, “The Saturday night special evening will begin with a dinner open to WSOP gold bracelet winners and other VIPs, followed by the First Fifty Honors, hosted by legendary WSOP broadcasters Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.”

An eighth category with a different flair has also been added to the festivities, that being the naming of the WSOP’s 50 greatest (all-time) players. This will be decided by “a special panel made up of poker industry stalwarts and media members has been selected to determine” the 50. According to the WSOP, it will “publish this list following the conclusion of the voting and tabulation. The only criteria to determine the 50 Greatest Poker Players is they must have played at least once at the WSOP. This list can be made up of primarily cash game players, mixed games players, online players or tournament players.”

The Brasilia Room is roomy (no pun intended) but not huge, and so attendance is necessarily limited. All 1,400 or so previous WSOP bracelet winners are invited to attend, and I’d expect a couple of hundred of them to be on hand. Selected VIPs and other officials will be there as well, along with a small handful of others, such as the winner of the awards giveaway’s prize package.

Here are the details on the seven categories up for the public vote:

Matt Affleck vs. Jonathan Duhamel – 2010 WSOP Main Event – Heartbroken
Sammy Farha vs. Chris Moneymaker – 2003 WSOP Main Event – Bluff of the Century?
Johnny Chan vs. Erik Seidel – 1988 WSOP Main Event Final Hand – Rounders Hand
Connor Drinan vs. Cary Katz – 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop – Aces vs. Aces
Chris Moneymaker vs. Phil Ivey – 2003 WSOP Main Event – Full vs. Fuller House
Scotty Nguyen – 1998 WSOP Main Event Final Hand – It’s Going to be All over Baby

George Danzer (2014) – 3 bracelets, 5 final tables, 11 cashes, $960,424 winnings
Shaun Deeb (2018) – 2 bracelets, 4 final tables, 20 cashes, $2,545,478 winnings
Phil Hellmuth (1993) – 3 bracelets, 4 final tables, 4 cashes, $544,900 in winnings
Phil Ivey (2002) – 3 bracelets, 7 final tables, 7 cashes, $415,200 winnings
Jeffrey Lisandro (2009) – 3 bracelets, 4 final tables, 6 cashes, $807,521
Daniel Negreanu (2013) – 2 bracelets, 4 final tables, 10 cashes, $2,214,304 winnings

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED (MOST WSOP GOLD BRACELETS 2020-2070) – Player under 35 projected to have most success in next 50 years
Justin Bonomo (33 years old)
Joe Cada (31 years old)
Shaun Deeb (33 years old)
Fedor Holz (25 years old)
Jason Mercier (32 years old)
Dominic Nitsche (28 years old)

FAN FAVORITE – Your favorite player
Doyle Brunson
Antonio Esfandiari
Phil Hellmuth
Maria Ho
Phil Ivey
Daniel Negreanu

Jamie Gold
Phil Hellmuth
Will Kassouf
Mike Matusow
Shawn Sheikhan
David “Devilfish” Ulliott

Johnny Chan – 1988
Jamie Gold – 2006
Phil Hellmuth — 1989
Martin Jacobson – 2014
Chris Moneymaker – 2003
Jack Strauss – 1982
Stu Ungar — 1997

Billy Baxter
Doyle Brunson
Johnny Chan
TJ Cloutier
Chris Ferguson
Ted Forrest
Phil Hellmuth
John Hennigan
Phil Ivey
Chris Moneymaker
Michael Mizrachi
Johnny Moss
Daniel Negreanu
Scotty Nguyen
Puggy Pearson
Amarillo “Slim” Preston
David “Chip” Reese
Erik Seidel
Vanessa Selbst
Stu Ungar

I’m not offering my choices here, but I’ll say that except for the “most important players” category, I likely haven’t selected any of the eventual winners. In fact, I favor write-in choices in three of the other six categories.


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