In this, the last of our pictorial special editions from the 2022 World Series of Poker, Poker.org offers another sampling of the people and special stories that make the WSOP what it is. The 2022 edition of the WSOP has wrapped, with another handful of winner’s stories, hard-luck summers, and a bit of everything in between. Here’s just a taste of what the last summer of the WSOP had to offer.
Damian Salas makes third deep Main Event run — Running very deep in the WSOP’s Main Event is, for most players, a career-defining achievement. Doing it three times in a six-year span, in an era when several thousand players participate each year? That’s the sign of a special player, in this case, Argentina’s Damian Salas. The lawyer-turned-poker-pro finished 27th this year, falling just a little bit short of his efforts in 2020, when he won the unique live/online Main Event title, and in 2017, when he finished seventh after being the end-of-day chip leader twice earlier in the event. Salas once again earned plenty of TV time, and here is on the feature table on Day 7 of the Main Event.
Marcel’s angry, or is he? — Veteran WSOP player Marcel Luske showed up just in time to play the Main Event and proceeded to run deep into the money. Luske offers the best glower he can muster on Day 4:
But he’s just hamming it up, Marcel-style. A couple of seconds later….
Bella Electric Strings lights it up — Here’s one that most WSOP attendees didn’t get to experience in person. It’s the special GGPoker/WSOP VIP party held at the Nobu Villa at Caesars Palace. The evening’s entertainment was provided by the four-violin ensemble Bella Electric Strings, who offered their renditions of rock, pop, and crossover classics from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. (The group’s version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” was a show-stopper.) The ensemble played a triple set and was an ideal fit to the cozy rooftop locale, where a couple of hundred attendees enjoyed the music, plenty of food and drink, and good company. As excellent as Bella Electric Strings turned out to be, they weren’t even the first choice to be the night’s performers. That was originally planned to be Snoop Dogg, but those plans fell apart, and the electric-violin ensemble proved to be a very worthy replacement. Behind them, the heart of the Las Vegas Strip glows.
Kara Scott and Maria Ho man the break desk — Veteran commentators Kara Scott and Maria Ho ably chair the break desk during CBS’s recording of the Main Event final table. Scott, who was making her first trip to the WSOP since 2019, and Ho deftly filled the coverage during the inevitable breaks and down times as the final table played out.
The return of Eric Hicks — One of the most unique characters to grace the Main Event in recent memory has to be California’s Eric Hicks. Hicks earned his own moments of TV fame in 2018 when he was among the leaders during the Main Event’s middle stages, and just a few days later, he managed to massively tilt Phil Hellmuth at the final table of the $5,000 NLH tourney where Hellmuth eventually captured his 15th bracelet. Hicks ran deep but busted short of the money in the 2022 Main. Here he is in one of his typical moments:
The last lengthy late-registration line — Lengthy late-registration lines were one of the nagging issues during the 2022 WSOP, though overall the series likely exceeded expectations in an operational sense. The big multi-day events caused the largest issues, where late-registered players had to wait — on rare occasions two hours or more — to actually receive a seat assignment and a starting chip stack. The last lengthy late-reg line of any sort, reaching more than an hour’s wait for a seat, occurred on Day 2D of the late event. Roughly 500 players all had the same idea to max-late-reg the 2D flight, with the expected result that they all had to wait longer than they hoped. It might be an optimal registration strategy when only a few players do it, but when hundreds of players try the same thing at the same time, it’s not quite nearly as optimal.
Barry Greenstein, hat model — You’ve likely noticed our modernized look, which debuted during the WSOP. That includes our new Poker.org logo, and we had just a handful of brand new logo-emblazoned caps to give away very late in the series. (Your correspondent’s second illness of the series kept me from being able to hand out a few more; maybe next year!) Here’s Poker Hall of Famer Barry Greenstein modeling one of the new caps during the last days of the series:
All images copyright Haley Hintze, 2022