Despite everything, it’s been a hectic year at PokerStars, and we’ve done our best to chronicle it at PokerStars Blog too. But have you been paying attention? Here’s a look back at our year in the form of a bumper quiz.
Have a stab at the questions, but you can click the red links to find out the answers if you don’t know. We’ve written about everything included here this year.
Let us know how many you got right in the comments below. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
#1. Which German crusher kicked off the year by winning the Winter Series Main Event and $482K, his biggest career online score?
No, it was that man Schemion, who beat a final table also including Francisco “Tomatee” Benitez, Ognjan “cocojamb0” Dimov, Jens “Graftekkel” Arends and Bruno “botteonpoker” Botteon.
#2. Which British newspaper started running a weekly poker column again, more than 14 years since it stopped covering the game?
#3. Which American talk-show host received a poker lesson from Vince Van Patten as a birthday gift?
Actress Portia de Rossi of Arrested Development fame, bought the gift for her wife, Ellen DeGeneres. We covered the story in January.
#4. In January, we took a detailed look at the importance of correct posture at a workstation, aided by a chilling vision of the "Work Colleague of the Future"? Which of the following is NOT one of the NHS's top tips for sitting comfortably while grinding online?
The ghastly Emma was a warning against all kinds of posture crimes, but there was no advice about how far to position your snacks and drinks. You won’t regret learning these lessons, however.
#5. The Sunday Million celebrated an anniversary in March with a $12.5 million guaranteed prize pool. But how old was this great veteran of online poker?
#6. At which prestigious American university are students now offered a class entitled "An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Poker"?
Professor Avi Rubin, of Johns Hopkins University, said it was “something I had always wanted to do.” Go back to school with Prof. Rubin.
#7. Which WSOP Player of the Year launched a new podcast named "Podker"?
#8. What was the name of Georgina “GJReggie” James and Mason “Pyefacepoker” Pye’s challenge that aimed to find the Twitch streamer of the future?
It was Dare to Stream (or, more precisely, #DareToStream) and was won by “RichyRob” and “Ghilley”. We met RichyRob at Lex Live London.
#9. According to a French study, what unexpected health benefit does poker offer regular players?
Leading neuroscientist Dr Jeffrey Cummings says that playing poker twice a week could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 percent. All of that and more in our Definitive Guide to Poker and your Health.
#10. Alex "AAAArthur" Brito won $1.2 million in the Sunday Million Anniversary event. How much was the Spin & Go he entered to start his qualification journey to the tournament?
Brito won a Spin & Go costing $0.25 and invested his winnings in a $4 Sunday Million feeder satellite, which got him into an $11 satellite, where he won his seat. We talked to this ROI phenom.
#11. PokerStars TV launched a new series in March, adding new commentary to old footage of the European Poker Tour (EPT). What was the series called?
#12. The singer/songwriter Kenny Rogers died in March. But what is the actual name of his popular song that is poker's unofficial anthem?
Poker players will deny they are any such thing, but Rogers sang about The Gambler. Martin Harris looked back at his career.
#13. Portuguese tournament genius Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira won a $50,000 bonus for being named Player of the Year in the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP). How many SCOOP titles did he win?
Despite nine final tables and more than 100 in-the-money finishes, Ferreira didn’t actually win a single tournament outright. However, as he told us in a great in-depth interview, it “went quite well”.
#14. If Lex Veldhuis has you tagged in white on PokerStars, what does that mean?
Veldhuis shared his tagging system as we examined the importance of tagging opponents on PokerStars. Fear not if you’re in white. It just means you’re a friend of the stream.
#15. Hollywood A-Listers and sporting superstars turned out for the Stars CALL for Action Celebrity Charity Tournament in May. Who did NOT make the final table?
Things broke bad for Bryan Cranston, who bubbled the event, leaving his fellow Breaking Bad actor David Costabile to beat footballer Douglas Costa heads up. Shahade was third, Affleck fourth and Moneymaker fifth.
#16. Maria Konnikova's The Biggest Bluff came out to rave reviews in June, and promised an insight into the high-stakes poker player's mind. Which fictional character's mind was the subject of a previous book by the American journalist?
Konnikova’s previous works include Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. We surveyed her entire canon.
#17. Which British pro started the summer by winning the Summer Series Main Event and ended it as part of the PokerStars Live commentary team for Stadium Series?
#18. Which poker commentator has an alter ego named Mickey Dane?
Just one of the many delicious facts in our survey of the world’s best poker commentators was the nugget that Jesse May once played a heat of Late Night Poker as Mickey Dane, also the name of the protagonist in his novel Shut Up And Deal.
#19. Poker was part of the Mind Sport Olympiad, which played out in August, and whose move online meant some new variants of popular games could be trialled. What, for instance, is special about "Bullet Chess"?
Bullet Chess is the ultimate in speed chess, with players getting only 60 seconds to make all of their moves. (Come on, all the other options were nonsense.) The Mind Sports Olympiad was a fascinating event.
#20. As the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) got under way in September, we looked back at some WCOOP highlights over the years, including whose groundbreaking Twitch stream of 2016 in which he played the $100,000 Super High Roller live?
It was the biggest online tournament buy-in ever at the time, and it was the then Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, alongside Jason Somerville, who decided to reveal all.
#21. Martin "Marksman_M" Thien streamed victory in a WCOOP PKO tournament live on Twitch. But how many people watched him win $29,379 and the title?
At its peak, Thien’s stream attracted three viewers, quite possibly the fewest ever to watch an outright victory on a WCOOP Twitch stream. But Thien didn’t seem to mind, and gave one of the best interviews from the series.
#22. Yuri "theNERDguy" Martins and Tobias "Senkel92" Leknes both won three WCOOP titles during this year's series, but neither was WCOOP Player of the Year. Who was?
It was the Russian Twitch streamer Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin, who went shoulder to shoulder with Martins throughout, before securing the accolade on the final weekend. Martins was OK with it, though, and was happy to talk through his brilliant WCOOP.
#23. Portugal's Andre “PTFisherman23” Marques won the WCOOP Main Event for nearly $1.15 million in September, but which player made his second appearance at a WCOOP Main Event final table, finishing seventh this time?
It was Mike “MunchenHB” Telker, who was previously part of the five-way chop in 2012 when Marat “maratik” Sharafutdinov won his million. Telker won $1,000.584.34 in 2012 and another $196,792 this time.
#24. Which well-known Brazilian took down the Bounty Builder Main Event, for $259,570.11 (inc. $90,784.78 in bounties)?
This one went to Pedro “PaDiLhA SP” Padilha, although the others also enjoyed stellar years at the PokerStars tournament tables.
#25. The EPT Sochi festival went ahead as planned in October, with the Main Event attracting 637 entries. Who won?
That man with the trophy is Ruslan Bogdanov, who won RUB 15,984,500 (€175,743) after a heads-up deal. Denisov was eighth, Ershov was third and Kuznetsov was seventh.
#26. The EPT went online for the first time in its history. How many different cities has the tour previously visited?
It’s been to Barcelona, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville, Vienna, Monte Carlo, Baden, Dortmund, Warsaw, Prague, Nassau, Sanremo, Budapest, Kyiv, Vilamoura, Hinterglemm, Tallinn, Berlin, Madrid, Loutraki, Campione, Portomaso and Sochi. Count them. That’s 24 — and there’s tons more EPT trivia here.
#27. What's the name of PokerStars' cycling-themed series of Spin & Go-style tournaments, launched this year?
#28. Joseph Walsh, who wrote arguably the best ever poker movie California Split, released his memoir Who Says It's Over this year. The 1974 film included a cameo by which professional poker player?
It was the 1972 WSOP Main Event champion Amarillo Slim, or Thomas Austin Preston Jr., to give him his full name. Walsh was a dedicated gambler and funnelled many of his experiences into California Split — and even more into the memoir.
#29. According to master storyteller Matthew Dicks, which movie is the ultimate bad beat story?
Dicks dropped by to teach us all how to tell a compelling bad beat story, and singled out Titanic as one of the best in cinematic history.
#30. Which billionaire hosts an annual freeroll tournament in Las Vegas titled The NetJets Poker Invitational?
If you sign up for Warren Buffet‘s company NetJets, you get a seat in one of the world’s most exclusive poker tournaments. We looked at a few of them in June.
#31. Who is this and what did he do this autumn?
That is “WhatIfGod”, who broke cover in 2014 when he won two WCOOP titles. This year WhatIfGod won the EPT Online Main Event and picked up $1,019,081.
#32. How many entries were there across 115 completed tournaments in MicroMillions this year?
It was 889,201, including 166,772 re-entries. That created prize pools of $4,636,329.05 — not bad for a series where the highest buy-in was $11.
#33. What is unusual about the recently re-released book Cain's Jawbone, which might make it attractive to problem-solving poker players?
According to the introduction to Cain’s Jawbone, an accident during printing meant “The pages have been printed in an entirely haphazard and incorrect order.” Readers are thus challenged to put the story back into its correct order. Learn more about this fascinating book.
#34. Which mini-series about a chess prodigy became a smash hit on Netflix -- and brought Jennifer Shahade to PokerStars Blog to compare chess with poker.
Adapted from the 1983 Walter Tevis novel, The Queen’s Gambit has brought a whole new influx of players to the game.
#35. Which A-List screenwriter talked to Joe and James on the 200th edition of the Poker In The Ears podcast?
It was quite the get. Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network, Moneyball, Molly’s Game) dropped in to celebrate the landmark. Listen and watch!
#36. The Winter Series on PokerStars has a new name this time around. What is it?
#37. Which poker pro's "Double Up Drive" has raised more than $16 million for charity in seven years?
It’s Dan Smith, who now partners with Ash Mason and Stephen Chidwick, among others, to match charitable donations. We suggested making a donation in our Christmas gift guide.
#38. Which soccer player re-signed a partnership deal with PokerStars in December, declaring he was "IN!"
Welcome back Neymar Jr. An exciting new collaboration awaits with the PSG and Brazil striker.