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The Five Toughest Tables from the 2012 World Series of Poker

WSOP 2012

The World Series of Poker always brings out the best competition from all over the world, which is why we are not surprised to see tough tables in the mix. But 2012 was a year of many tough tables, including one that many people are calling the toughest of all time, so we've put together a list of five of this year's toughest tables:

#5: The First Table of Death

It was early in the series that we found our first Table of Death and it only took two events to get there. Amidst the madness in Event #2: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em, this lineup emerged while the players were well into the money:

Phil Hellmuth
Hoyt Corkins
John Juanda
Vanessa Selbst

We even managed to get an orbit of what it was like at this table with pro Alan Sass.

Vanessa Selbst went on to finish fourth in the event, while Brent Hanks walked away as the winner.

#4: The Toughest Main Event Table:

It's not often you find a table so stacked in the Main Event on the first few days, which is why we were surprised when we found one on Day 2c. In a field of starters, Johnny Chan, Randy Lew, Shannon Shorr, Lee Watkinson, and Andy Frankenberger all sat down at the same table.

Shannon Shorr, Andy Frankenberger, Johnny Chan, and Randy Lew all at the same table
Shannon Shorr, Andy Frankenberger, Johnny Chan, and Randy Lew all at the same table

The five players have around $18,500,000 in live winnings combined. Chan boasts the most with his $7,000,000 in winnings and Lew brings up the rear with around $800,000. Lew might be on the bottom of the totem pole in terms of live life time winnings compared to these older pros, but he is very young and possessed more chips than anyone else at the table. By the end of Day 2c, Lew and Frankenberger had both fallen at the hands of Johnny Chan. I guess we know who came out ahead.

#3: The Lowball Madness Starting Table

The field was stacked in Event #60: $10,000 2 – 7 Lowball (No-Limit), and due to that we saw some of the most incredible table draws ever. Here's the deadliest one we found in the bunch:

Seat 1: Unknown Player
Seat 2: George Danzer
Seat 3: Chino Rheem
Seat 4: Justin Bonomo
Seat 5: Michael Binger
Seat 6: Barry Greenstein

The 2 - 7 Table of Death
The 2 - 7 Table of Death

Only one player from this starting table managed to book a cash, and it was George Danzer who finished in third place, taking home $115,295.

#2: The Mix Max Table of Death

In Event #6: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Mix Max, we saw another insane table draw that just kept getting tougher and tougher. At the table was Erik Seidel, Chris Moorman, Jason Mercier, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, JC Tran, and one player who had zero World Series of Poker cashes, Kirill Kruglov. Kruglov must have felt like a very small fish in a very large pond at the table full of sharks.

Erik Seidel at the Table of Death in Event #6
Erik Seidel at the Table of Death in Event #6

Unfortunately for all the players at this table, none of them were able to lock up a cash in the event. Oh well, on to the next one.

#1 The Toughest Table of All Time?

All of the sharks came out to play the Big One for One Drop, but none of them expected to be put in the same tank as the others. Jason Mercier, Phil Ivey, Ben Lamb, Antonio Esfandiari, Eugene Katchalov, Tom Marchese, Noah Schwartz and Vivek Rajkumar were all seated at the same table for a while. Mercier even said he thought it was one of the toughest tables he'd ever seen.

Over 74% of our poll voters said that this was definitely the toughest table ever formed.

The Toughest Table Ever?
The Toughest Table Ever?

Antonio Esfandiari was able to come out of the toughest table ever though as the winner of the Big one for One Drop, pocketing nearly $18,000,000 while none of the other players at the table cashed.

The series is not quite over yet, but it would be quite hard to make it on the list of the top five toughest table draws now as there are only a few days remaining in the Main Event. Either way, it's been another amazing year of poker, and with these tough table draws, we were able to capture some of the most exciting moments of history on the felt.

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