Poker has seen a changing of the guard lately. The “internet pros” have begun to move in and steal the headlines as of late and new names pop up every year. Some are one trick ponies and never to be heard from again and some have proved their worth. So who should you be looking out for in this years WSOP?
The big time pros
Phil Ivey, Daniel Negraneu, Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson
They all have a chance of winning multiple events, and the time tested skills to take as many bracelets as they can get their hands on.
This is a solid group of players making up most of the best tournament players in the world. I’m going to rule Brunson and Hellmuth out as having a good year. Brunson is old and I don’t think he has the stamina to compete with the aggression of these young players anymore. Hellmuth just seems to not be performing at the moment. He’s been trying new tactics to outplay the internet guys and it just isn’t working. However Hellmuth is a good player, and if he can put his ego aside and go back to his old ways, he could win player of the year.
Of all the popular pros, Ivey stands the best chance to have a great WSOP. I think he has a lot to prove right now and wants to shut some people up. He’s taken a good bit of slack from the poker community over the Full Tilt issues and his vanishing act last year may be the spark he needs to be a force once again. The only thing that can hold him back is himself. He always seems bored when playing and has himself admitted that he hates tournaments. If he loses focus early then it will be no good for sir Ivey. My “Dark Horse” of all the pros will have to be John Juanda. This guy always seems to cash in the Series and I have a feeling he could well have his best year ever.
Shaun Deeb, Elky, Annette Oberstad and Isildur AKA Viktor Blom
This group of players is an easy pick for me. Annette is probably the most over-hyped player in a long time. She’s a nice girl I’m sure and a solid player, but she was dubbed the next great player a little too early. She’s still young and has a lifetime to get better and has the tools to become great, but now isn’t her time. Isildur, well he’s Isildur and he spews harder than anyone at times.
My choice wasn’t actually that easy once I had to pick between Deeb and Elky. Shaun just had the greatest run ever in the Poker Stars SCOOP events, taking home 4 wins. But, once my brain reminded me of his live tournament history it was a snap call with Elky. Deeb has not done very well live at all and Elky has been performing well as of late.
Vanessa Selbst, Liv Boeree, Jennifer Harmon and Vanessa Rousso
To be perfectly honest I am not convinced that any of these players will be capable of having much of a great run this year – they all have their moments, but just aren’t quite there yet. The one that stands out is Vanessa Selbst. She is not only in my opinion the best female player, but she holds her own against the seasoned pros. Shes an easy pick to have the best WSOP of all the woman.
Past Main Event winners
Pius Heinz, Jonathan Duhamel, Joe Cada and Peter Eastgate
The last 10 WSOP champions have been one hit wonders for the most part and haven’t made much noise other than their one win. Since Moneymaker created the poker boom, the fields have got bigger and winning the main event is now a crap shoot to an extent. Not taking anything away from past winners, but until they prove they can win again, they will only be known for winning that one event.
Jonthan Duhamel is the only player who has been doing well as of late. He won this year’s PCA high roller event for over $600,000 and placed second in the LA Poker Classic which a stop on the WPT. Although he only has two other cashes in his short WSOP career this could be his year to prove his worth and I feel he will.
Jason Mercier, Erik Seidel, Gus Hansen, Justin Bonomo and Tom Dwan
This next group is a random list of popular players that have a shot at doing well any time they play. Dwan is the one player in this group who will do extremely well or nothing at all. He’s mainly a cash game player, but hes been playing more tournaments and finally played his first WSOP last year so has some experience now. If he has 100 prop bets that could cost him his life roll, he may just have the best WSOP of anyone. My guess is he won’t, but watch out for him.
The one player who I think won’t do very well is Justin Bonomo, he’s a strictly No-Limit player mostly and this will hold him back because he can’t play all the events well. Hansen just won a WSOP Europe bracelet and when he runs good, watch out. Erik Seidel is Mr. Consistency and will have success as he always does but he hasn’t excited much lately so don’t expect much noise from him. The player with the best shot is Mercier. He seems to be getting better and that’s bad news for everyone. He already is one of the top players in the world so his chances of having a good WSOP are the best of this bunch.
My favorite players
Mike Matusow, Tony G, Daniel Alei and David Chiu
I personally don’t feel any of these players have a chance of doing very well this year but I enjoy watching them and they are all good players. Mike Matusow is another player who is capable of having an epic run or a total loss. Hes one of the better players around, but his mind is what holds him back. Tony G never does much but run his mouth and makes for very good TV. Alei is one of the best cash game players and focuses mainly on that, but is becoming a solid tournament player in his own right and has made some nice runs in the Main Event. The best chance of having a good WSOP is Chiu. He plays all the games well and puts himself in good position to win.
With the exception of a few players listed here, all have a decent shot at doing well in the WSOP. Out of all them I feel Ivey will have the best. I know he’s the sexy pick, but his skill is undeniable and it’s really up to him on how well he does. He’s likely going to play most of the events and he plays all of them extremely well.