The countdown to the year’s biggest event has begun and over the next 25 days, Poker Central will introduce the entire 2017 Super High Roller Bowl field. From the world’s best high-stakes players, to online crushers and successful businessmen, poker’s most exclusive event has it all. Follow Poker Central’s “25 Days of SHRBowl” to know who will be competing when cards get in the air on May 28th.

The Super High Roller Bowl opens the summer schedule but the five-day tournament isn’t the only event over the next few months that can provide players life-changing scores and career-defining titles. Each year, the World Series of Poker does just that and while each summer brings new players to the party, Phil Hellmuth and Jason Mercier are at the head of the WSOP table.

In the competitive world, some things can be debated but others cannot. The claim, “Phil Hellmuth is the greatest World Series of Poker player in history.” is not one of those debatable facts because the numbers speak for themselves.

Hellmuth has 14 WSOP bracelets and 119 WSOP cashes, both all-time records, and has over 40 other WSOP final table results. Simply put, Hellmuth dominates the World Series and over the course of his career the Wisconsin native has amassed nearly $14 million in WSOP earnings.

His first big WSOP score came in 1989, when a 24-year old Hellmuth beat Johnny Chan for the World Series of Poker Main Event title. At the time, Hellmuth was the youngest Main Event champion in history and since that historic win, Hellmuth has become a living legend at the World Series.

That legend grew even larger in 2012, when Hellmuth won the €10,000 WSOP Europe Main Event in France. Hellmuth picked up a €1,022,000 score and maybe even more importantly, became the first player to win the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP Europe Main Event, a feat that has still never been replicated.

The Poker Brat also does most of his High Roller damage at the World Series of Poker. Hellmuth finished 4th in the first-ever $1,000,000 buy-in The Big One for One Drop in 2012 and notched a final table appearance in the 2015 version of the $111,111 buy-in High Roller for One Drop. Add in a runner-up finish in the 2011 $50,000 Poker Players Championship and Hellmuth has proven himself at nearly every level.

He proved himself again last year, although outside the friendly confines of the World Series. Hellmuth final tabled the Super High Roller Bowl and recorded a $1,600,000 score for his 4th place finish, a result that pushed him over $20 million in career earnings and comfortably gave him a place in the All-Time Money List Top Ten.

A player that is just outside that exclusive club, is Jason Mercier. The Floridian, pictured above, currently sits 11th all-time in earnings and is one of the most consistent players in the world.

Dating back to 2008, when Mercier burst onto the scene with an EPT 4 Sanremo Main Event win for $1,372,000, Mercier has cashed for over $500,000 a dozen times. Those results come in a wide variety of events, including High Roller wins in events with buy-ins ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.   

On top of one of the best High Roller resumes in poker, Mercier has also become of the WSOP’s best over the last few years. A veteran in all the games, Mercier has final table results in nearly every poker variant offered and this past summer, made a case that he was the best all-around player in the world.

Mercier opened the summer with a victory in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship and then finished runner-up in the $10,000 Razz Championship. A few days later, he won his 2nd bracelet of 2016 and his 5th overall in the $10,000 HORSE Championship, before recording one more final table run, in the Omaha 8 or Better Championship and six other WSOP scores in a wide variety of games.

It was arguably the best summer in recent memory and Mercier’s efforts won him World Series of Poker Player of the Year for 2016 but he hasn’t slowed down since. In January, Mercier nearly final tabled the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event and in April, Mercier won the $25,000 High Roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown to push his career earnings over $18 million.

With or without the Super High Roller Bowl, both Phil Hellmuth and Jason Mercier enter each summer looking to build on their already impressive resumes but this year, they’ll also enter the year’s biggest event hoping to cement their legacies as some of the best to ever play the game. 

Tomorrow, “25 Days of SHRBowl” continues with two players that have taken down The Big One and have continued to crush since. Follow Poker Central’s coverage of the year’s biggest event here and get in the game with PokerGO.