The 2022 World Series of Poker officially came to an end on 19th July 2022. This year WSOP drew in massive crowds as people all over the world returned to live events after a 2-year pandemic. In fact, this year’s prestigious Main Event attracted 8,663 entries and was officially the second largest in the tournament’s 53-year history, going past the 8,569 entries of 2019.
However, the 2022 WSOP brought in more than just crowds; it also brought some interesting things with it. Here is a quick summary of some of the few things that happened during the event.
The Emergence of Asian Players in WSOP 2022
The World Series of Poker 2022 attracted many strong players from Asia. Here are a few of them:
Singapore player Ong Dingxiang ran deep in the $10,000 53rd WSOP Main Event. He was eventually knocked out at 47th place, but not before bagging a $176,200 payout.
One-time bracelet winner Abhinav Iyer from India reached the Final Table for Event #25: $800 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack. He was eventually knocked out at 7th place which came with a $56,388 payout.
Another Indian WSOP veteran, Aditya Agarwal, reached the final table for Event #3: $2,500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em. He was the second to fall at the final table when he moved all in against David Goodman and lost. Agarwal exited the tournament in ninth place for $23,634.
Agarwal also ran deep in Event #21: $1,500 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em that had 6,501 players and a $8,678,835 prize pool. This event attracted many veterans such as Jessica Teusl, Joao Simao Peres, and Mateusz Moolhuizen. Despite being short-stacked at the end of Day 3, Agarwal lasted till Day 4, when he went all-in with a pair of fours and lost to Francis Anderson’s pair of aces. Agarwal could perhaps console himself with his $38,231 prize.
A False Shooter Alarm Caused A Stampede at The Strip
On one Saturday, fear struck many players when they received an active shooter report at The Strip, where some WSOP events were going on. This happened just hours after the conclusion of the Main Event.
The report caused 3,400 people to stampede out as they tried to reach for safety. Some people were injured, including professional poker player and WSOP old-timer, Daniel Negreanu, who suffered a terrible cut to his hand. There were even reports of broken bones and concussions.
The next morning, the organizer of WSOP made an announcement on their official Twitter account stating that, “Players have been told to clear the tournament area… There does NOT appear to be an active shooter at Paris [Ballroom].”
And indeed, there was no shooter. The report came from about a mile down Las Vegas Boulevard, where a glass door at the MGM Grand Casino had shattered. It was assumed to have been shot, and the active shooter rumor started to spread on social media like a wildfire. It wasn’t long before someone inside the Paris Ballroom received the report.
There were initial attempts to restart some of the events. However, as a lot of players had left the scene, not to mention the matter of sorting out the chips that had spilled all over the floor, the three bracelet events that were being played out in the Paris Ballroom were ended early for the evening.
A fourth tournament, the final table of the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event, was continued four-handed. The daily deepstack tournaments also resumed even though some players were blinded out.
Scandalous players going deep in the Main Event
Ali Imsirovic was named the top performer in high rollers tournaments in 2021 after winning 14 tournaments. He was able to claim the GPI Poker Player of the Year and PokerGO Tour Player of the Year awards. However, recently, he was accused by other fellow poker pros that he cheated online and during live tournaments. At the moment, these allegations are still unproven, and Imsirovic himself has yet to make a statement to refute this.
Despite being embroiled in a scandal, Imsirovic made his appearance in WSOP 2022. His appearance in Day 5 of the WSOP Main Event stirred up strong emotions and reactions from others in the poker community.
Back in April, Alex Foxen, winner of GPI’s 2018 and 2019 Player of the Year awards and the winner of more than $21.6 million in tournaments, took to Twitter to name Ali Imsirovic as a cheater. Foxen accused Imsirovic of using Real-Time Assistance (RTA), which he was unable to prove. Justin Bonomo and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Chance Kornuth also made similar allegations against Imsirovic.
Jake Schindler is currently facing similar accusations as Imsirovic. Despite that, like Imsirovic, Schindler didn’t skip the 2022 WSOP. He won his first WSOP bracelet in Event #12: $50,000 High Roller and was runner-up in Event #8: $25,000 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed. These two cash-ins were worth $2,202,983.
Schindler has yet to speak his mind regarding the cheating allegations.
Bryn Kenney has recently been accused by Martin Zamani of running a poker cheating stable. The alleged accusations included collusion, ghosting, and real-time assistance (RTA). These alleged accusations did not deter Kenney from playing in the WSOP 2022. His appearance, as well as his deep run in Event #70: $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event World Championship, alongside Imsirovic and Schindler bothered many in the scene, especially given the fact that the accusations have yet to be proven or disproved.
Unlike Imsirovic and Schindler, Kenney did not take the accusations sitting down. In fact, he has openly denied most accusations made against him.
You can read more about the accusation at PokerNews, where Kenney gave an exclusive interview with PokerNews’ Sarah Herring. In the 70-minute interview, Kenney downplayed Zamani’s credibility and stated his own views on why Zamani was making the accusations.
Note: The rumors surrounding the players mentioned above are all allegations at the moment.
On a related note, Asia’s Largest Online Poker Room, Natural8, has recently launched a Poker Integrity Council (PIC). The council includes Jason Koon and Fedor Holz (GGPoker), Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger (LearnWPT), Seth Davies (Run it Once), and Nick Petrangelo (Upswing Poker).
The PIC’s tasks include reviewing hand histories and making a ruling when an online poker account is flagged for certain reasons. Those permanently banned for serious offenses may also face an industry-wide ban. That includes the World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Poker Tour (WPT), Triton Poker, Poker After Dark, Kings Casino, Asian Poker Tour (APT) and many more.
The purpose of the PIC isn’t just to kick cheaters off the site. It is also to eliminate cheating altogether in poker, online and in live games.
Now that the 2022 WSOP is over, many players are looking forward to what’s coming next, both live and online. And one of the next big events that’s coming to Natural8 is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Online. The WSOP Online will begin on 14th August till 25th September. With 33 WSOP bracelets. a $20,000,000 GTD Main Event, and a $10,000,000 GTD Mystery Bounty, this is an online series that you want to mark down in your calendar.
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