Poker Hall of FameThis is Part 1 of our five-part series recapping (in no particular order) the biggest stories of the year from the world of poker.

In this installment we’ll take a look at:

  • The Seals With Clubs raid and subsequent indictment that saw Bryan Micon flee the U.S.
  • The demise of Lock Poker that saw the final nail put in the company’s coffin
  • Phil Hellmuth extending his all-time WSOP bracelet lead
  • The uproar over the Poker Hall of Fame induction process
  • Phil Ivey’s 2015: The good, the bad, and the ugly

#25 – The Seals With Clubs saga

Due to its small size and niche player base, Seals With Clubs, a bitcoin-powered online poker site run ostensibly by poker pro Bryan Micon, had managed to fly under the radar of law enforcement for several years. That all changed in 2015 when Micon was arrested after his home was raided, which led to Micon fleeing the U.S. for Antigua, before coming back several months later to stand trial. In the end, Micon returned to the U.S. to stand trial, copped a plea and got off with a slap on the wrist.

Seals With Clubs Chairman Bryan Micon: “The Police Raid Was Completely Unnecessary”

Seals With Clubs’ Micon Seeks $100K For Legal Defense In Nevada

SealsWithClubs’ Bryan Micon Pleads Guilty to Avoid Jail Time

#24 – Lock Poker FINALLY closes

Since the site launched way back in , Lock Poker seemed to invite controversy and produced more red flags than a 1982 USSR textile plant. After over a year of nonpayment to players, Lock Poker finally shuttered its site, ending what was little more than a Ponzi scheme and sparing even more unaware customers from depositing their money at the site.

Lock Poker: A View From Inside The Scandal-Plagued, Rogue Online Poker Site

Lock Poker Finally Closes, Owing Millions

Lynch, Larson and the Tragedy of the Human Ego

And for days of reading, the Lock Poker forum at 2+2

#23 – Hellmuth wins #14

Say what you will about Phil Hellmuth, but there is one indisputable fact no one can deny when it comes to the Poker Brat: The guy is a dynamo at the World Series of Poker, and the holder of every major WSOP record – cashes, final tables, and wins. In 2015 Hellmuth won his 14th career WSOP bracelet, in Razz no less, and is now four ahead of Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan on the all time list.

The only current player with any hope of catching Hellmuth is Phil Ivey, who is sitting on nine WSOP bracelets.

Phil Hellmuth Wins Record 14th WSOP Bracelet After Capturing $10K Razz Title

#22 Who belongs in the Hall?

With the passing of David “Devilfish” Ulliott, coupled with the historical lack of European players, the opaque Poker Hall of Fame induction process was put under the microscope in 2015, when the HoF voters selected John Juanda and Jennifer Harman for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Passing over Devilfish and several other European candidates.

To say that Europeans were displeased with the voting outcome is the understatement of the year, but it may not be all for naught if Caesars (Caesars owns the Poker Hall of Fame) makes some tweaks to the HOF voting for 2016 to make the Hall of Fame a bit more inclusive.

Devilfish and the Poker Hall of Fame

International Poker Community Angered Over Poker Hall of Fame Processes, 2015 Inductees

Time for an Extreme Makeover: Poker Hall of Fame Edition

#21 – Phil Ivey’s favorite tournament

For the third time in four years, Phil Ivey won the $250k Challenge at the Aussie Millions in January of 2015.  Yes, the tournament boasts very small fields, but considering the caliber of players, and the fast structure the super high roller tournament uses, winning three out of four is pretty impressive, as is the over $7 million in prize-money he’s pocketed in those three victories.

The bad news for Ivey is he was the year’s biggest loser in online games, not to mention he’s still dealing with the ongoing edge-sorting lawsuit in New Jersey.

Ivey Crushes $250K Event at Aussie Millions — For Third Time

Online Railbird Report: Phil Ivey’s Catastrophic Year to Make Him 2015’s Biggest Loser

On Edge-Sorting and Map-Glitching