With just under a month left in 2016, most of us are already looking forward to next year. When looking back on the previous year, most focus on top performers or the game’s biggest winners.
We’re going the opposite direction this time around. Below we present five of the biggest losers of 2016. Note that we aren’t necessarily focusing on wins and losses at the poker table but those people or organizations that took the worst of it this year.
Read More: 5 of Poker’s Biggest Winners in 2016
The good news is that Phil Ivey discovered his fate in both of his edge-sorting appeals in 2016. The bad news is that he went 0 for 2.
Ivey received the first ruling in October when U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman ruled that Ivey did not commit fraud in using edge sorting to win almost $10 million in Baccarat but he did violate his casino contract.
Due to the ruling, the Borgata was allowed to move forward with a claim against Ivey. They are trying to get $15.5 million in damages. That amount covers the initial amount won plus comps and the amount of money the casino believed they would win. Ivey has since challenged the claim.
In early November, the Court of Appeal of England upheld a 2014 High Court ruling that Ivey cheated at punto banco at Crockford’s Casino in London.
Ivey had racked up £7.7 million in earnings from the game but the casino refused to pay, simply returning his initial stake. They determined that Ivey and a partner took advantage of a printing flaw on the cards to determine their value and switch the odds in his favor.
The ruling confused Ivey seeing that one of the judges ruled that Ivey did not cheat. However, Lady Justice Mary Arden wrote in the majority opinion that, “Because of his plan to play using the knowledge obtained from the reorienting of the cards under his direction, those matters amounted to interference with the process by which the game was conventionally played.”
Ivey has the option to appeal to England’s Supreme Court but an announcement has yet to be made on that matter.
If the Borgata claim is upheld, Ivey will take a combined $25 million hit to his bankroll. To put that in perspective, his lifetime earnings in live tournament poker is only $23.85 million.
Remember when PokerStars was considered the darling of online poker? It’s amazing the difference a year makes. PokerStars announced sweeping changes to their awards program at the end of 2015 that went into effect on January 1 and this subsequently alienated the majority of high volume and high stakes players on the site.
Then in March, they raised the rake on certain formats, including heads-up games. This drew further ire from the poker community. Fast forward to September and PokerStars announced yet another change to their rewards program and made it harder for high volume players to make and keep SuperNova status. Also, StarsCoin will expire after six months for inactive players.
Some will argue that PokerStars offsets the negatives by their entry into New Jersey in 2016. Then again, by the end of 2016, the company is now seen as being obstructionist in California due to their opposition to the suitability language in iPoker legislation.
Also, let’s not forget that David Baazov had to step down as CEO over insider trading allegations, and those allegations helped to reignite the bad actor debate in California. Prior to this, some felt that the issue was becoming moot because of New Jersey.
Many are upset at the shift of the company focus towards recreational players and their perceived abandoning of the players that helped make them the World’s Largest Poker Site.
Despite the hit that PokerStars took on their reputation in 2016, the site continues to be the center of the poker universe with nearly 3/4 of the world’s market share for poker.
For the first half of 2016, it looked to be a race between Alex “Kanu7” Milar and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom for the title of biggest loser in high stakes online poker action on PokerStars.
Then in early May, bodamos returned to try to see if he could dig himself out of the $1.33 million hole previously dug online.
Unfortunately, bodamos picked up where he left off and posted just over $194k in losses by the end of the month. He took the summer off, likely for the WSOP, and came back online in early August.
His losses continued and by mid-September, he was down over $662k. He came back last month and finally called it quits after dropping another $200k online.
For 2016, bodamos has dropped $867,360, more than $230k more than Kanu7. Isildur1 rebounded a bit but is still down nearly $495k as of this writing.
Bodamos hasn’t been seen since mid-November and odds are we won’t see him again this year. After his brutal 2016, bodamos is now down $2.19 million lifetime on PokerStars.
Marty Derbyshire set the bar for the poker media 2016, but not in the way he intended. His opinion pieces over on PokerNews.com drew the ire of many in the poker community.
Dating back to a summertime piece where Derbyshire where he spoke out against Cate Hall, several members of the poker community called for Derbyshire’s job. None was more vocal than 2015 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe McKeehen who even changed his Twitter profile to call for the firing of Derbyshire.
Derbyshire continued to push the envelope for the rest of the year but a piece published on Thanksgiving Day ultimately proved his downfall. PokerNews has since taken down the piece but Derbyshire published several statements against the pro poker community, calling pros lazy and claiming that they don’t contribute to society.
Shortly afterwards, PokerNews EIC Matthew Parvis published an apology and promised there would be consequences. A couple of days later, Derbyshire issues his own “apology” and announced that he was no longer with PokerNews.
I Am Sorry— Martin Derbyshire (@MartyDerby) November 29, 2016
During the so-called apology, he admitted that some of the opinions expressed were driven solely by a desire to drive traffic to the article. His apology was somewhat overshadowed by his closing paragraph where he appeared to be painting himself as the victim, leaving some to wonder if he actually meant any of his prior words.
What Derbyshire and hopefully some of the rest of us have learned from this incident is that there is a fine line between opinion and sensationalism. Derbyshire flirted, then destroyed that line all for the sake of popularity, and subsequently severely damaged his reputation.
He paid the ultimate price by losing his byline on one of the industry’s top sites. Regardless of what happens in his future, his words in 2016 are out there virtually forever. Even if he is able to recover professionally from this, it will be something that will stick with him like deleted emails or “locker room talk.”
The poker world was stunned when Chris “Jesus” Ferguson returned to the 2016 World Series of Poker after a five-year self-imposed exile from the poker world. His return coincided with the return of Howard Lederer’s return but their returns were polar opposites.
Prior to returning to the WSOP, Lederer issued a public apology via Daniel Negreanu. While many still harbor ill-will towards the former head of Full Tilt Poker, some did give him credit for attempting to own up to his past mistakes.
The same cannot be said for Ferguson. When approached on multiple occasions regarding Black Friday, Ferguson merely said no comment or blew off the questions.
This incited public outrage from poker community, including a very public online thrashing of Ferguson by Daniel Negreanu. What made things worse is that Ferguson actually performed well at the 2016 WSOP.
He cashed 10 times and made the final table of the $10,000 NL Six-Max Event. He earned $253,519 and effectively said “FU” to the poker community while doing so.
If anyone became an instant villain in 2016, it was Chris Ferguson. The man that gained fame for looking like Jesus is now poker’s Satan.