WSOP Names its 50 Greatest Players and Hosts First 50 Gala

WSOP First Fifty HonorsThis year marks the 50th annual World Series of Poker and the WSOP is celebrating the milestone with a First Fifty bash while recognizing 50 top players.

The First Fifty Gala will be held this Saturday, June 29 in the Brasilia Room of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino at 8:00 p.m. Select VIPs as well as players who have ever won a WSOP gold bracelet over the last 50 years are invited to attend the event that includes dinner and an awards ceremony.

Hosting duties will be filled by Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, who are known by all as the commentators on WSOP television broadcasts. The duo will dish out more than a half-dozen awards in the following categories:

  • Fan Favorite
  • Most Likely to Succeed
  • WSOP’s Favorite Bad Boy
  • Most Memorable TV Hand
  • Best Overall WSOP Performance
  • Most Impressive WSOP Main Event Win
  • Four Most Important Players in WSOP History

Votes were tallied from mid-May thru mid-June by poker players and fans after the WSOP released a list of nominees in each category. Write-ins were also allowed.

Among the Fan Favorite candidates were Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and Maria Ho. Of course, Hellmuth got a nod in other categories as well, including that of Favorite WSOP Bad Boy. His competition includes Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Jamie Gold, Shawn Sheikhan, Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott and Will Kassouf.

The Best WSOP Performance award is based upon not just one event but a whole summer of consistent play. All of the nominees won either two or three gold bracelets during their respective years of excellence and the award will go to either Jeff Lisandro, Shaun Deeb, George Danzer, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth or Daniel Negreanu.

Said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart on the special awards ceremony:

It is important we take time out to honor the WSOP’s first 50 years and pay tribute to those that paved the way for where we are today.

The list of the 50 Greatest Poker Players in history was voted on by a panel of two dozen poker industry veterans who whittled down an initial list of 200. The 50 best were not ranked or categorized, but simply lumped together as belonging to the group for their achievements on the felt that included playing in at least one WSOP.

Here are the 50 Greatest Poker Players, in alphabetical order:

  1. Patrik Antonius
  2. Bobby Baldwin
  3. Billy Baxter
  4. Chris Bjorin
  5. Justin Bonomo
  6. Doyle Brunson
  7. Joe Cada
  8. Johnny Chan
  9. Stephen Chidwick
  • TJ Cloutier
  • Allen Cunningham
  • Shaun Deeb
  • Tom Dwan
  • Eli Elezra
  • Antonio Esfandiari
  • Chris Ferguson
  • Ted Forrest
  • Phil Galfond
  • Barry Greenstein
  • Gus Hansen
  • Jennifer Harman
  • Dan Harrington
  • Isaac Haxton
  • Phil Hellmuth
  • John Hennigan
  • Fedor Holz
  • Phil Ivey
  • Berry Johnston
  • John Juanda
  • Bryn Kenney
  • Jeff Lisandro
  • Adrian Mateos
  • Jason Mercier
  • Michael Mizrachi
  • Chris Moorman
  • Carlos Mortensen
  • Johnny Moss
  • Daniel Negreanu
  • Scott Nguyen
  • Dominik Nitsche
  • Steve O’Dwyer
  • Puggy Pearson
  • Amarillo Slim Preston
  • Brian Rast
  • Chip Reese
  • Huck Seed
  • Erik Seidel
  • Vanessa Selbst
  • Dewey Tomko
  • Stu Ungar

Social media lit up by pointing out several omitted players who certainly should have made the cut. Daniel Colman, Mike Sexton and David Ulliott were three of the names often mentioned, the latter two even members of the Poker Hall of Fame.