First Fifty Honors gala this Saturday

27 June 2019

(PRESS RELEASE) -- 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 honor the most memorable moments and players that have made the last 50 years of the WSOP so memorable.

Lon McEachern and Norman Chad will host the First Fifty Honors gala and award presentation in the Brasilia Ballroom in the Rio Convention Center, with a special evening open to all WSOP Gold Bracelet winners and VIPs.

Doors open at 8:00pm, with cocktails and dinner kicking things off, followed by an awards presentation to unveil the winners of the seven different categories voted on by the public.

Those planning to attend may pick up their tickets today or tomorrow from 2-6pm at the special VIP desk across from the El Burro Borracho take out window. Gold bracelet winners will just need to show ID or Caesars Rewards card to get their ticket(s).

“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,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We look forward to getting the poker community together on Saturday and commemorating 50 years of the World Series of Poker.”

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.

The poker industry and media panel was tasked with naming the greatest poker players in history, with just a caveat that they at least participated in one WSOP event the past 50 years. There was no ranking involved, just simply selecting who belonged in the Top 50 list.

The task was not easy, but the panel, made up of 26 poker media and industry stalwarts, has finalized their votes, with 173 different players receiving votes.

Listed in alphabetical order, are the 50 Greatest Poker Players in history based on the panel vote:
  • Antonius, Patrik
  • Baldwin, Bobby
  • Baxter, Billy
  • Bjorin, Chris
  • Bonomo, Justin
  • Brunson, Doyle
  • Cada, Joe
  • Chan, Johnny
  • Chidwick, Stephen
  • Cloutier, TJ
  • Cunningham, Allen
  • Deeb, Shaun
  • Dwan, Tom
  • Elezra, Eli
  • Esfandiari, Antonio
  • Ferguson, Chris
  • Forrest, Ted
  • Galfond, Phil
  • Greenstein, Barry
  • Hansen, Gus
  • Harman, Jennifer
  • Harrington, Dan
  • Haxton, Isaac
  • Hellmuth, Phil
  • Hennigan, John
  • Holz, Fedor
  • Ivey, Phil
  • Johnston, Berry
  • Juanda, John
  • Kenney, Bryn
  • Lisandro, Jeff
  • Mateos, Adrian
  • Mercier, Jason
  • Mizrachi, Michael
  • Moorman, Chris
  • Mortensen, Carlos
  • Moss, Johnny
  • Negreanu, Daniel
  • Nguyen, Scotty
  • Nitsche, Dominik
  • O’Dwyer, Steve
  • Pearson, Puggy
  • Preston, Amarillo “Slim”
  • Rast, Brian
  • Reese, David “Chip”
  • Seed, Huck
  • Seidel, Erik
  • Selbst, Vanessa
  • Tomko, Dewey
  • Ungar, Stu
Throughout the evening on Saturday, McEachern and Chad will hand out awards in seven other categories. These categories were voted on by fans in the month leading up to the WSOP. The categories are as follows:

1. Most Memorable TV Hand

2. Best Overall WSOP Performance

3. Most Likely to Succeed

4. Fan Favorite

5. WSOP’s Favorite Bad Boy

6. Most Impressive WSOP Main Event Win

7. Four Most Important Players in WSOP History

The WSOP received thousands of electronic votes from the public from 15 May to 15 June for the First Fifty Honors based on seven categories determined by the WSOP staff.

Lastly, any players on the 50 Greatest list or who are previous Main Event winners will be called to the Brasilia Stage during the event to pose for a group photo, as it is a rare occurrence to have these folks all in the same room at the same time.

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