2017: Return of the Poker Legends9 months ago
It may well have been a year of German domination at the highest levels of poker, but it has also seen glimpses of past-heroes taking to the felt on the comeback trail – with a mixture of success, failure and promises for 2018.
First up has to be that dark-clad, long-haired ‘villain’ Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, who admittedly reappeared in 2016 but who made his presence known for his play throughout 2017…
‘Jesus’ fell from grace when the Full Tilt Poker scandal exploded in 2011, the founder member at least having plenty of cash reserves for the next few years of self-imposed exile from his beloved WSOP tournaments. He reappeared amid huge controversy in the summer of 2016 and then this year he showed that his poker prowess at least was untarnished.
No fewer than seventeen cashes in Vegas, including a 4th in the PLO Hi-Lo and a 2nd in the 7-card Stud event each worth about $150,000, meant he was outfront in the race for the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year title and with five more cashes – including a bracelet in the PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better - in Rozvadov’s Kings Casino during the WSOP Europe meant the number 1 spot was secured, much to the chagrin of his many detractors, and Daniel Negreanu in particular…
Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan has been the missing man over the past several years, his Eastern sojourn leading to speculation of Triads controlling his life in far-flung Macau and all kinds of rumours surrounding his freedom, or even existence!
He magically reappeared in April of this year however, and Doug Polk found the perfect fodder for another dig at the legendary high-stakes pro…
…having heavily criticised him for his role in the infamous ‘Durrrr’ Challenge match versus Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates.
Sporadic appearances culminated in Dwan eventually making his US ‘debut’, and it was as though he had never been away...
Whether the 2017 Dwan will be around for 2018’s biggest poker tournaments and televised events remains to be seen, but unlike with ‘Jesus’, Dwan’s resurrection is something the public wants to see.
The Great Dane, one of the most innovative and interesting of all the game’s still-living legends, had forsaken the game – the extreme highs and desolate lows leading to a ‘tilt factor… which was about the worst in the world’, as he said himself.
$millions up in the biggest live games, but many more $millions down in the online nosebleeds, Hansen had seemingly had enough by the end of 2014 – but just as poker is a cruel mistress at times, it’s also one we can never fully forget, and Hansen’s late-2016 comeback to the virtual felt was soon followed by a 2017 appearance at the live tables.
Stopping off in Rozvadov to take part in the Celebrity Cash Kings game against the likes of Tony G, Sam Trickett and the casino’s owner Leon Tsoukernik, Denmark’s finest was a welcome sight – and even though his comeback didn’t secure him any tournament cashes, if he contuse to play 2018 he will almost certainly start to find his form…
If 2017 has been both cruel and kind to the biggest names in the game on their return, what will 2018 hold in store for one of the most anticipated comebacks of all… that of Phil Ivey?
At least some of the “personal and family issues” which have plagued Ivey this last year or so seem to have been resolved – if not in his favour if we are talking about the baccarat court case sagas – but at least Ivey knows where he stands, and has promised a return in 2018.
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