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: Best Winning Moment
The final moment of a poker tournament is not always as dramatic as you might think. Exhaustion has often set in and players are tired. It might be the wee small hours, and nobody is around. Sometimes, even, players might not notice that it’s done: it could require a check and a double check of the board, then a meticulous chip count before handshakes are proffered.
On the other hand, there are also times when the biggest drama of a whole tournament is left for the very end. The fireworks really start to fly when it matters most of all. This category shines a spotlight on those dramatic climaxes: the times when someone is going to become champion and someone is going to finish runner up, and neither is going to let the moment pass without some histrionics.
Time for you to choose your favourite. Whose winning moment was the best?
1. I WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE: MIKE KOSOWSKI VS DANIEL NEGREANU
The PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge did exactly what its name suggested: it offered the chance for a regular player to take on the world’s best and make themselves a millionaire. At the very end, that player was named Mike Kosowski and all he had to do was overcome Daniel Negreanu heads up to pick up his million bucks. It all ended like this…
2. THE ONE THAT KNOCKS: ROBERT NOTKIN VS EVERYONE
There probably weren’t that many global viewers for the final of the 2014 Canada Cup, until the final hand became one of the most sensational ever witnessed at any poker table ever. There were four players still involved — four! — and yet they never saw heads-up play, and never even saw three-handed. “This would be the weirdest end to a tournament ever,” said Joe Stapleton in commentary as Robert Notkin became champion in the most dramatic way.
3. FROM PLATINUM TO THE PODIUM: RAMON COLILLAS VS JULIEN MARTINI
Poker players across the globe had spent a year chasing a Platinum Pass, a ticket to one of the biggest tournaments ever hosted, the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC). Ramon Collilas of Barcelona, Spain, was one of the lucky winners, and then he parlayed that Platinum Pass into a seat at the final table. Could he go all the way and turn this freeroll into a $5.1 million payday?
4. FAN BOY: SEBASTIAN MALEC VS URI REICHENSTEIN
Poland’s Sebastian Malec had pretty much kept himself to himself as he built a big stack in the 2016 EPT Barcelona Main Event. But by the time he got heads-up with Uri Reichenstein, Malec had come bounding out of his shell, channelling his inner Scotty Nguyen and unleashing a barrage of table talk. This reached its crescendo at the tournament’s final hand, which bears watching over and over again…
5. IT’S A BRICK: VICTORIA COREN MITCHELL VS GIACOMO FUNDARO
Nobody had ever won two EPT Main Events through its first nine and a half seasons, and it even looked unlikely when Victoria Coren Mitchell, a champion in London in Season 3, made the final table in Sanremo in Season 10, in 2014. She was the shortest stack of eight remaining and facing an uphill battle. But Coren Mitchell was somehow still around, and had the biggest stack, when only Giacomo Fundaro also had chips. Could she make history?