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Updated: April 16, 2024

WSOP’s List of 50 Greatest Poker Players in History

As the World Series of Poker Celebrates its 50th Anniversary, WSOP Recently Released a List of 50 Greatest Players in Poker History. Though Many Poker Legends Were Honored, Fans Felt the List was Incomplete & Biased

The 2019 WSOP is special for many reasons. After all, it’s the 50th Annual World Series of Poker, and to celebrate the golden jubilee of WSOP, officials have released a list of “50 Greatest Poker Players” in history. According to WSOP officials, the list of the Top 50 Greatest Poker Players was compiled after tallying votes from a panel made up of 26 poker media and industry stalwarts. From a list of 200 players, the panel had to choose 50 players and were also given the ability to add write-ins. Out of 200 players and write-ins, 173 different players received votes. The WSOP press release stated-

To help celebrate the 50th running of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), event organizers tasked a poker industry and media panel to vote on the 50 Greatest Poker Players in history. While the WSOP had no say in the outcome, the panel was given a list of 200 names pulled together by the WSOP and were asked to select their Top 50, with the option to write-in any names that they felt were missed from the WSOP’s Top 200 list.

It’s important to note that there was no ranking involved. The panel had to simply select who belonged in the Top 50 out of the list of 200 players. Also, unlike the Poker Hall of Fame, WSOP’s 50 Greatest Poker Players list didn’t have any restrictions on age, stakes, and the respect of peers for the nominees. The only caveat – the nominated player had to have played at the WSOP at least once. Without further ado, here’s a look at the list (in no particular order):

WSOP’s List of 50 Greatest Players in Poker History

The Controversy – Greatest of All Time

As it always happens with any “Greatest of All Time” list, this one also met with some controversy. Though many poker greats were honored in the list like Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim, Johnny Chan, etc., the overall reaction from the poker community was mixed, with many being displeased with the list released by WSOP. Poker players and fans alike took to social media to express their indignation calling the list incomplete and biased, pointing out that many players who deserved to be on the list were excluded like Jason Koon, Mike Sexton, Daniel Colman, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, Phil Laak, Dan Cates, Mike Matusow, and David Peters, etc.

Also, the exclusion of Chris Moneymaker was one of the most high-profile ommissions that people were not happy about; many feel Moneymaker’s contribution to poker game is still underappreciated. After all, Chris Moneymaker is widely hailed as the man who kickstarted the ‘poker boom’. But, in defense of WSOP, Moneymaker missed out on a place in the top 50 as he has gone without any significant win since his WSOP Main Event victory way back in 2003.

First Fifty Honors Gala – 2019 WSOP

50 Greatest Poker Players In History Listed By WSOP
Source: Card Player

To keep the celebration going for what has been a tremendous 50th Annual WSOP, poker will pause play this Saturday night at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to take time to honour the most memorable moments and players that have made the last 50 years of the WSOP so memorable.

WSOP officials also announced that a special ceremony will take place inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas at 8 P.M. this Saturday (29th June) for those that have made it onto the list. The special “First Fifty Honors Gala” will be hosted by Lon McEachern and Norman Chad and will honor those named while looking back at some of the other top 50 moments in WSOP history. The award presentation, along with cocktails and dinner, will take place in the Brasilia Ballroom and is open to all WSOP gold bracelet winners and VIPs. Of course, tickets are required in advance. Also, the WSOP will request former Main Event champions attending the First Fifty Honors Gala to come up on stage for a group photo. Additionally, the WSOP will unveil the winners of seven different categories voted on by the public.

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

It is important we take time out to honour the WSOP’s first 50 years and pay tribute to those that paved the way for where we are today. We look forward to getting the poker community together on Saturday and commemorating 50 years of the World Series of Poker. Ty Stewart; WSOP Executive Director

Here are the 50 Greatest Poker Players in History, check if your favorite poker player makes the list-

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

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