Drew Amato has been covering the World Series of Poker since 2014. This year he’s covered the U.S. Poker Open and Super High Roller Bowl for Poker Central. Daily during the Main Event, Amato will share his favorite images from the World Series of Poker. Enjoy this recurring piece as, in his own words, Amato describes the biggest moments in the game.
As the memories of the 2018 World Series of Poker shrink in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look back once more and relive some of the best moments. Across more than 20 editions of this photoblog I’ve covered all the big moments and events inside the Rio, and here’s one final look at those along with some links to fully relive all the ups and downs of poker’s biggest festival.
One of the biggest storylines of the year was the return of Phil Ivey. It has been a few years since the legend himself has played a full schedule at the WSOP. Often Phil was easy to spot, as you could walk through any of the tournament areas and see a large crowd surrounding him. Ivey capped off a fairly successful WSOP with a deep run in the Main Event, eventually finishing 574th out of the 7,874 entrants.
The Main Event isn’t the Main Event, without a few over-the-top entrances from players and fans alike. This year it was Randall Emmett who turned up with an entire marching band as he paraded into the Amazon room. Not to be outdone, Phil Hellmuth showed up the next day escorted by 13 models dressed as superheroes. First Hellmuth arrived on via motorcycle dressed as Thor, before making the long walk down the Rio Hallway to the Amazon room. Certainly, a Hellmuth-esque way to kick off the Main.
By far and away my two favorite images of the summer came from a moment I will never forget. Just after announcing his official retirement from playing events at the World Series of Poker, Doyle Brunson went on to final table the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship. The first image I captured was Doyle heading into the Amazon Room one last time on his scooter. I camped out in the hallway for a few minutes before play to ensure I could grab some sort of photo, but the timing and emptiness of the hallway worked out perfectly and I captured possibly my favorite image of the summer. The next came when Doyle was eliminated in 6th place. In signature Texas Dolly fashion, Doyle looked around and gave us one final tip of the cap.
Winning the $50,000 Poker Players Championship once will solidify you as one of the games best. Winning it twice, you are a legend of the game. Winning it an unprecedented third time, you are Michael Mizrachi. The first half of the WSOP schedule, we didn’t see much of Michael Mizrachi, but it should come to no surprise that he would be turning up for the $50k PPC. Mizrachi came into the event, already having won it twice before. He made history as he managed to do the unthinkable, and take it down yet again.
Another moment from this year’s WSOP that was unlike any other happened on Day 6 of the Main Event. As we prepared to head to the last level of the night, suddenly the Amazon Room went dark. The Rio had lost power in some of its convention rooms, and everything shut off. In a moment that some would think could cause havoc, everyone stayed super calm and collected. Players and fans broke out cellphones to light the tables and continue hands that were in the process of being played out. Eventually, the ESPN crew rolled around with a few lights and helped dealers be able to see what was going on.
Enjoyed this photoblog? You’ll also enjoy “Super High Roller Bowl Highlights”, “Poker’s Annual Gold Rush” and “Doyle’s Final Ride” in the series “Through the Lens of Drew” by clicking the links. Follow Drew Amato on Instagram. The 2018 World Series of Poker streams live on PokerGO now. Don’t miss a minute of the action by subscribing to PokerGO.