My Proposed WSOP All-Star Game Selections
The official over at the World Series of Poker have been hinting over the last couple of days that there might be an All-Star event at this year's WSOP. Last year we had the Champions Invitational where any living WSOP Main Event winner could participate. This year, the WSOP is asking fans for a list of 20 players to round out an All-Star field. I decided that I would give my 20 picks and my criteria for selection.
First, I think that all living players that have more than five career bracelets should get an automatic invite. That alone takes care of half of the field. Here are the living players that have more than 5 bracelets:
Phil Hellmuth - 11
Doyle Brunson - 10
Johnny Chan - 10
Erik Seidel - 8
Phil Ivey - 7
Bill Baxter - 7
Layne Flack - 6
T.J. Cloutier - 6
Men "The Master" Nguyen - 6
Jay Heimowitz - 6
Next, I think that the reigning WSOP Main Event Champions of both Vegas and Europe should be in the field. Therefore, Joe Cada and Barry Shulman get spots. The prior year's WSOP Player of the Year should get a spot as well. Enter Jeff Lisandro in the 13th spot.
The rest of the spots for this All-Star game, at least for this initial one, should be filled by those that have made significant headlines or even contributions to the game.
Barbara Enright - First Woman to make a WSOP final table and first woman to win a bracelet in an open event.
Chris Moneymaker - First man to win the WSOP Main Event via online satellite. His win sparked the poker boom. (Yes, I realize that Moneymaker hasn't done a lot outside of that win in comparison to other, but this is WSOP All-Stars, not general poker All-Stars.)
Jamie Gold - Winner of the largest Main Event in WSOP history.
Annette Obrestad - Youngest bracelet winner in history. Also #1 all-time on the women's WSOP money list if you do not include the Tournament of Champions. #2 if you do.
Chris Ferguson - Five bracelets and 3rd all-time in times cashed at the WSOP. (Hellmuth and Nguyen are 1 and 2.)
Annie Duke - Won the Tournament of Champions event in 2004. #2 on all-time WSOP women's money lists if TOC is not included in amount cashed. If included, #1 all-time. Also, 1 bracelet in Omaha 8 or better.
The last spot I actually would like given to a non-player for this first event. This should be given to someone that has helped to grow the WSOP into the International brand that it is today. The last spot should be given to former WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. Of course, he realistically would have no chance to win the event, but it would be a nice gesture.
Also, how about we name the trophy in honor of the Johnny Moss. Moss was the winner of the first Main Event by vote and then went on to win two more. He and Stu Ungar are the only two men with three Main Event titles. We could also name it the Moss-Ungar trophy to honor both men if it was so wished.
Anywho, the above are my thoughts on the WSOP All-Star event. I think the above field would make great television and also provide a great way to educate the general population about some of poker's history.