There's no denying the World Series of Poker, which is in its 44th year, has a rich history. Unfortunately that history is often overlooked in favor of both the young up-and-coming players and those made popular after the poker boom of 2003.
To help balance things out, we're decided to offer a brief glimpse on some of the "veterans" in today's field, those who have made their own special contribution to the game we all love.
Don Zewin: Back in the 1989 WSOP $10,000 Main Event, Phil Hellmuth stopped the legendary Johnny Chan from capturing his third Main Event title in a row, thus launching his own record-setting career. It was one of the most iconic moments in poker history, but somewhere along the way, Don Zewin, who finished in third place, was forgotten.
Over the next two decades, Zewin continued to grind cash games in Las Vegas while adding to his tournament résumé. In that time, Zewin amassed $1,171,019 in career tournament earnings, which include 19 WSOP cashes totaling $532,047. One of those cashes happened last summer when Zewin made his name known to modern poker fans as he made a deep run in Event #18: $2,500 Razz where he once again squared off against Hellmuth. Unfortunately for Zewin, he was once again denied a bracelet by the "Poker Brat" when he finished runner-up for $113,024.
For more on Zewin, check out the Where Are They Now? interview he did with PokerNews last year.
Jason Lester: Jason Lester has been around the poker scene for nearly three decades. His first WSOP cash came back in 1990 when he finished fourth in Event #10 $5,000 Limit Seven Card Stud for $29,400. Since then he has amassed 25 cashes totaling $1,865,157. That also included a bracelet win in the 2006 WSOP Event #18 $5,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em for $550,764.
While he won a bracelet, Lester may best be known by poker fans as the fourth-place finisher at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event final table.
This marks the tenth anniversary of that legendary final table, and it’s good to see Lester hasn’t lost his passion for the game.
James Van Alstyne: James Van Alstyne is a H.O.R.S.E. master. Back in 2010, Van Alstyne took 14th in the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event for $10,282, which was pretty impressive considering he was the defending champ. That’s right, Van Alstyne won that tournament back in 2009 for $247,033 and his first WSOP bracelet.
What’s even more amazing, less than a week before that win he finished runner-up to Zach Fellows in Event #21 $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. for $192,866. Half of Van Alstyne's $736,357 WSOP earnings have come in H.O.R.S.E., and while today's event isn't in that format, you can rest assured that Van Alstyne can contend in any non-hold'em variation.