Voting in the PokerStars Big 20 Players Awards is open, with PokerStars players and fans invited to nominate their favourite moments from 20 years of televised play. Feast your eyes on 50 memorable moments in 10 categories, then pick your best.
Today’s category: Hero Calls
You can’t win by folding. It’s one of poker’s great truisms. But even though everyone knows you have to put your chips in the middle if you want to win the pot, it’s sometimes very, very tough to do it if you have anything less than the nuts.
In this category, we celebrate the players who found the right call at the right time under the most extreme and difficult circumstances, from first-timers making a name from themselves, to seasoned old-timers peering deep into souls. We see calls with nothing but 10-high, and calls that win Super High Rollers.
But who made the very best hero call?
1. A STAR IS BORN: JASON MERCIER VS ERIC KOSKAS
Not much was known about the teenage American Jason Mercier before he arrived in Sanremo in 2008. After he walked away with the Main Event title, following sensational plays like this, nobody could forget him.
2. SOUL READ: DAVIDI KITAI VS ANDREW CHEN
Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a stare-down from Davidi Kitai, the Belgium No 1. And here’s a perfect example of why not. He can see straight into your soul.
3. RYAN’S NO LOESER: RYAN RIESS VS MANIG LOESER
Manig Loeser walked away with the EPT Main Event title after this final table, but everyone was still talking about this incredible call from one of his beaten opponents, the former WSOP champ Ryan Riess. Riess had 10-high, so it’s easy to see why this is considered exceptional…
4. TILT JUICE: MASSIMILIANO MARTINEZ VS PHIL HELLMUTH
Everybody loves putting Phil Hellmuth on tilt, but when you’re a Loose Cannon playing the biggest game of your life, in The Big Game no less, and there’s more than $115K in the pot, it’s not easy to call with top pair, medium kicker on a paired board. But step up Massimiliano Martinez…
5. HERO FOR THE WIN: STEVE O’DWYER VS ROGER SIPPL
If an amateur player makes a big move, common knowledge says they’ve got it. But Steve O’Dwyer smelt a rat at the PCA Super High Roller, faced with a shove from businessman Roger Sippl. Could O’Dwyer find the call to win yet another major title?