World Series of Poker Europe

The WSOP Champions Wall: Two Stories

The WSOP Champions Wall: Two Stories 0001

Downtown at Binion's there is a wall with the pictures of the World Series of Poker Main Event Champions on it. I have some news about that wall and a great story about it too.

First, the news. They have moved the wall. OK, they didn't really move the wall but they did move the pictures. Binions is undergoing a major facelift; they are trying to bring the Grand Old Dame back from some seedier days. Part of this renovation was opening a brand new sports book right in the poker room and since you cannot have cell phones in a sports book, they installed two little walls to block the view from the poker tables into the sports books. Now what do you do with a big blank wall in the most famous poker room in the world? Yep, you move the Wall of Champions to it. So now a lot more folks are getting up close and personal with all of the WSOP Champs from Johnny Moss to Joe Hachem. No, there will not be a Jamie Gold photo going up anytime soon. The 2006 Champ was the first winner of the coveted bracelet to win this title somewhere other than Binions and there are no plans to add any more photos to the wall or at least not until the owner of the WSOP and the owner of Binions are at some point in the future the same once again.

Now the story. A few months ago I was playing a tournament at Binions (OK, I had busted out and I was picking up some poker magazines from the racks that are over in the corner where the WSOP Wall of Champions used to be); anyway a man walked up and pointed at Greg Raymer and a voice behind me said:

"Yep, that's him, he had pocket 8's and when both he and David Williams made a boat on the river, it was all over."

I was a bit impressed; the mystery voice knew the final hand of the 2005 WSOP. Greg Raymer with 88, David Williams with A4 and a board of 42522. Then the man at the wall pointed at the picture of Doyle Brunson and asked:

"Didn't he win with ten-two?"

"Actually." the mystery voice said: "if you look he won in back-to-back years and both times his final hand was ten-deuce but in the first year they were suited."

OK, now I was really impressed the only reason I knew that was true about Doyle is because I had looked it up for an article.

"How about this one?" the man asked, pointing at a random photograph on the wall.

"Good choice, that's Noel Furlong and he had pocket fives but his opponent on the last hand had pocket sixes."

OK, I was going to have to look that one up and now I had to see who this WSOP historian was. I turned around and immediately recognized Miami John Cernuto, holder of three WSOP bracelets. John gave my very surprised expression a big smile.

As the two friends walked away from the wall, John's buddy asked:

"Has anyone ever won with pocket Aces?"

"Nope" said John "but they got cracked once."

I couldn't hear the rest of the story as they walked away, so I had to look it up. In 1979, Bobby Hoff had his pocket rockets cracked on the final hand by Hal Fowler holding 67 off suit. The board was: J354T and Hal Fowler, an amateur, won the WSOP Main Event with a seven high straight.

{Ed Note: Carlos Mortenson also won a title by cracking Dewey Tomko's Aces in 2001}

Next time you're in Las Vegas, head downtown and take a look at the WSOP Wall of Champions and if someone starts talking about the champions listen carefully, they just might know a thing or two about poker history.

Ed Note: Start making poker history by signing up at Full Tilt. Check it out.

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