Thursday December 26, 2019 at 5:49 pm

We're quickly approaching the end of 2019 and the end of the decade. So much happened in 2019, we have a special two-part series highlighting the best and most interesting stories of 2019. In the first half of 2019, some of the big stories involved Chino Rheem winning the 2019 PCA and Spain's Roman Colillas taking down the inaugural PSPC in the Bahamas for $5.1 million. Bryn Kenney shipped the largest Aussie Millions in history. Just before the WSOP, Daniel Negreanu stepped down after 12 years as a sponsored pro and ambassador for PokerStars. Gianluca 'Tankanza' Speranza won the SCOOP Main Event in back-to-back years.

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As 2019 quickly comes to and end and the decade of the 2010s comes to a close, we compiled a list of some of the top stories and weird things that happened along the way. It's like how Kierkegaard wrote about life is lived forwards but understood backwards. It's also how like Joe Walsh explained in the Eagles documentary, "You look back and life seems like a finally crafted novel, but at the time it isn't because it's a bunch of random and chaotic events crashing into each other." Or something like that.

We compiled a fancy link dump of the best of the best from the first part of 2019.

JANUARY 2019

January 2019 started out like mostly every other year with everyone positive about the how the new year will shake out at the tables with personal goals and resolutions.

Who would have thought that the 2019 PCA down in the Bahamas would be its last ever? Chino Rheem went to the Bahamas and shipped the 2019 PCA for a $1.5 million score and he picked off Daniel Strelitz heads-up for the title.

Meanwhile, the first ever PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) concluded with Spain's Roman Colillas defeating French pro Julien Martini heads-up for the inaugural PSPC title and $5.1 million in cash. Colillas, dubbed Spain's Chris Moneymaker, turned a modest satellite buy-in into $5 million to bink the first PSPC.

Phil Hellmuth went to Atlantic City to play at the annual Winter Poker Open and the Poker Brat won a heads-up title.

PokerStars introduced 6+ Hold'em or their version of Short Deck Poker.

Gavin Smith passed away at the end of January, which totally shocked the poker community. There were no shortage of eulogies and stories being shared about Gavin Smith's hijinks and other wild anecdotes.

FEBRUARY 2019

In February, the suits at PokerStars did not wait very long to tap Ramon Colillas (aka the Spanish Chris Moneymaker) as the newest ambassador for the Red Spade.

David Peters capped off February by winning the 2019 US Poker Open Main Event for $1.32 million to secure the overall USPO Championship. Meanwhile, Stephen Chidwick shipped two 2019 USPO events.

Top Twitch and YouTubes streamers, Jaime Staples and Jeff Gross, left PokerStars after several years as sponsored players.

Bryn Kenney went down under and won the largest-ever Aussie Millions when he shipped the 2019 Aussie Millions Main Event for $1.27 million.

MARCH 2019

In March... PokerStars' loss one again became partypoker's gain. Both Jeff Gross and Jaime Staples joined partypoker as their newest members of partypoker Team Online, which was a huge undertaking by partypoker to bolster their roster of sponsored players with two of the most influential poker streamers and other online pros.

A suspect robbed the Bellagio poker room and then died after a fatal shootout with police at the Bellagio valet.

Meanwhile, a wild poker fight broke out in the Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Casino in Scottsdale, Arizona.

West Virginia became the fifth US state to legalize online poker.

Vinicius Lima took down the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open for $728,430 at the HyperX eSports Arena in Las Vegas during an experiment in which the WPT postponed the final table of an event to be played out in Vegas.

Old David Baker also won a WPT final table in Las Vegas when he won the conclusion of the 2019 LA Poker Classic, which started out at Commerce Casino in LA and ended up in Vegas at the Luxor.

Timothy Adams won the 2019 Triton High Roller Series in Jeju, Korea for $2.34 million, while Jason Koon took down the Triton Super High Roller Short Deck title for $2.9 million.

APRIL 2019

In April, former poker player and current sports bettor, James Holzhauer, took the world by storm when he went on an epic winning streak on Jeopardy.

Rumors began swirling in Las Vegas that the Rio Casino would be sold to a one of two groups that would either use the space to create a train station for a high-speed rail from LA to Vegas. Or, a group that wanted to bring a MLB franchise to Vegas would use the area to build a brand new baseball stadium.

MAY 2019

In May... Gianluca 'Tankanza' Speranza, an Italian pro living in Austria, shipped the 2019 SCOOP Main Event on PokerStars in back-to-back years. He took down the 2018 SCOOP Main Event and successfully defended his title and won a little more than one million.

Maurice Hawkins won a record-breaking 13 th WSOP Circuit ring with a score at the 2019 WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica.

James Carroll took down the 2019 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown and that final table played out at the Luxor in Las Vegas.

Mikita Badziakouski, Steve O'Dwyer, Winfred Yu, Bryn Kenney, John Juanda, Rui Cao, Ben Lamb, and Jungleman won Triton Super High Roller events in Montenegro. Bryn Kenney kept up his hot 2019 with a victory at the 2019 Triton Montenegro Main Event for $2.7 million.

Maning Loeser picked off Wei Huang heads-up to win the 2019 EPT Monte Carlo for €603,777.

Just before the start of the 2019 WSOP, Daniel Negreanu stepped down as a pitchman for PokerStars. Shocker, eh? KidPoker and the red spade went hand-in-hand for over a decade.

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Friday November 4, 2022 at 8:12 pm
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