The Best and Biggest of 2017 Live Poker11 months ago
The past year of tournament play around the globe has had more than its share of drama, characters and downright positive vibes – and the likes of PartyPoker LIVE joining the, erm, party and PokerStars deciding to revert back to winning ways helped keep us all entertained throughout 2017. Here are just a few of the highlights…
Shurane’s satellite to Stardom
From Satellite to Main Event winner is the stuff of legends – just ask Chris Moneymaker – but he’s not alone in such heroics as we discovered back in February when Shurane Vijayaram took down the Aussie Millions (as the name suggests, for millions – 1.2 of them in fact) having decided at the last minute to enter a $130 satellite.
Vijayaram’s hero-call – catching a king high bluff shove to win the heads-up battle and the title – even made it to Doug Polk’s Twitter feed
Maria’s $Million PokerParty
Records are made to be broken and for Maria Lampropoulos the PartyPoker Millions Main Event at Nottingham’s famous Dusk ‘Til Dawn Casino was the scene of the biggest win ever by a female outside of high rollers, worth £1million ($1.28million) to the diminutive Argentinian.
Of her heads-up battle against satellite qualifier (that magic word again) Jacob Mulhern the young pro said:
“He didn’t want to make a deal. He was convinced that he could win. Perhaps because I am a woman and he didn’t want to deal with a woman, but I trusted in my game, I just thought ‘let’s play.”
Blumstein’s bracelet, Hesp the hero
No round-up of a year in poker tournaments can skip the World Series of Poker Main Event, and this year’s stunning summer showdown in Vegas was memorable for all the right reasons, not least of which it was actually played out in the summer rather than November!
Scott Blumstein was a fully deserving winner of the biggest prize in the game, the New Jersey man scooping $8million and change and a place in the game’s history books as he saw off an international-flavoured final table.
One of those foreign challengers who deserves to be mentioned any time the 2017 WSOP comes up in conversation is Englishman John Hesp, the retired caravan rental businessmen in Vegas to tick off a Bucket List entry – and heading home with $2.6million and as many million more fans for his great personality and fantastic play – an amateur among pros for the majority of the last few days of the tournament.
Hellmuth King of the Hill, not over the hill!
Modern poker is often claimed to be a game of GTO play, favouring youth over experience, but Phil Hellmuth stepped up to the plate on Poker Night in America to show that the oldies can still compete, defeating Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates heads-up in what Cates described as ‘New School: the Math versus ‘Old School’.
In reaching the final, Hellmuth’s ‘White Magic’ had also disposed of Doug Polk, at one point even reducing the YouTube master to flipping a coin to decide his play in the winner-takes-all $50,000 buy-in event.
So, a fascinating year which enthralled poker players and fans the world over – new events, new faces, old timers and proof if ever it was needed that live poker is in one of its most exciting phases ever – and may it continue throughout 2018!
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