Whilst poker is a game of skill, everyone will admit that there is certainly an element of luck involved in becoming successful in tournaments, especially that of one as large as the World Series of Poker Main Event.
This has led to a number of superstitions being held by poker professionals who often wear certain clothes or bring certain items to the tables when they play.
Greg Raymer earned the nickname ‘Fossilman’ after using fossils for his card protectors at the WSOP. Sam Farha does not even smoke but always has an unlit cigar in his mouth for luck at the tables. Johnny Chan is known for bringing an orange to events, initially to mask the smell of smoke when smoking was allowed but now does it as a superstition.
Pius Heinz wore the very same white Hugo Boss hoodie each and every day of the Main Event when he won it back in 2011. Greg Merson also wore clothes as lucky charms when he wore a different sports jersey each day during the event culminating in his favourite Baltimore jersey for when he made the final table before going on to win the Main Event in 2012.
All of those players above will strongly believe that their superstitions contributed to their success.
So zoom forward to this year’s Main Event and we think we have found the oddest item being brought to the tournament floor in quite a long time. Jeff Madsen has been bringing a signed Phil Hellmuth photograph in the hope that it will provide him the inspiration to play his A- game.
My Hellmuth portrait has catapulted me to 120k, basically I’m asking it advice mid hand. Basically Hellmuth Portrait is my spiritual guide
— Jeff Madsen (@JeffMadsenobv) July 9, 2014
It seems to have worked so far for Madsen after he progressed from Day 2a/b of the Main Event with a stack of $217k which is great considering the average at this point is 62,464. On the flip side it could quite possibly have had an opposite effect on the man Phil Hellmuth himself. He busted out on Day 2c of the event ending a summer that has not resulted in a single bracelet despite a couple of very deep runs in some events.