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The 2015 World Series of Poker has come and gone for all but nine final table participants remaining in the Main Event. There were plenty of happenings at the WSOP that caught even seasoned media coverage pros off guard in 2015. Here is a look at the Top 5…

72-Year Old Pierre Neuville Reaches November Nine

The WSOP Main Event presents players with one of the most grueling structures possible in a live poker tournament (just ask poker’s all-time tournament money leader Daniel Negreanu — who came up just short of the November Nine in 11th place). In order to reach the final table, entrants must endure ten days of 12-hour grinding with only two days of rest (which come early on in the event).

Neuville, who hails from Belgium, outlasted over 6,400 opponents to become the oldest player to ever make it to the WSOP November Nine since its inception in 2008. What’s more, 61-year old Zvi Stern of Israel also has a coveted seat at the final table. Both players have chip stacks of over 20 million, giving them a legitimate chance to take home the first place Main Event prize of $7.68 million in November.

Colossus Turnout to Kick Off WSOP

There were a massive amount of predictions heading into the 2015 WSOP related to how many players would enter the $565 buy-in WSOP Colossus. In all, 22,374 hopefuls competed in the largest live poker tournament in history.

The turnout resulted in a 25% bump in overall WSOP turnout compared to last year, with more than 100,000 unique players participating in 2015 WSOP events, according to WSOP officials. Texan Cord Garcia eventually came out on top and won $638,880 along with a gold bracelet.

Phil Hellmuth Wins 14th WSOP Bracelet

Long gone are the days when many poker players disputed Hellmuth’s live poker tournament prowess, but capturing a 14th WSOP bracelet still took many by surprise

The 51-year old Wisconsin native earned $271,105 and yet another WSOP gold bracelet after beating out over 100 players in the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Razz Championship.

Hellmuth is among the Top 10 live tournament winners in history, and even made several runs at a 15th bracelet — finishing deep in three subsequent WSOP events.

Yet Another Multi-Bracelet Winner Emerges

Each year the competition in the World Series of Poker becomes more fierce, lessening the likelihood of a multiple bracelet winner. However, Brian Hastings of New York took home two WSOP bracelets within a one-week span.

On June 11, Hastings was victorious in the $10,000 buy-in Seven Card Stud Championship for $239,500 and backed that up with a win in the $1,500 Ten Game Mixed 6-Handed tournament for another $133,400 on June 18.

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Alleged Cheating in $10,000 Heads-Up Event

Valeriu Coca of Moldova finished 5th in the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Heads-Up event, but was immediately accused of cheating by several opponents whom he defeated on his way to a $54,500 payday.

Well known poker players Connor Drinan and Pratyush Buddiga complained that Coca’s play during their respective matches was highly “suspicious,” and there have been rumors that the Moldovan poker player may have marked the cards and used special sunglasses to view the markings during actual play.

The allegations are still being investigated, with WSOP officials awaiting forensic lab results to determine whether the playing cards were altered in any way.

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David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as "dhubermex" online, David's poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.