Countdown to the 2012 WSOP: Players to watch

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 19, 2012 Posted in WSOP News | No Comments »

Every year there are a handful of players who have a tremendous amount of success at the World Series of Poker. Often times these players seem to come out of nowhere, or are longtime professionals who finally have their breakout moment; in this column I’m going to take a look at 10 players that I think could have a breakout year at the 2012 WSOP.

1. Scott Shelley

Shelley is a WSOP Europe bracelet winner who seems to have a knack for navigating the monstrous fields of the $1,000 and $1,500 NLHE events. The Team PKR Pro cashed three times at the 2011 WSOP including in the Main Event.

2. Ondrej Vinklarek

The EPT Player of the Year has been a final table machine in 2011 and 2012, absolutely crushing the preliminary tournaments at EPT Championships around Europe.

3. Dan Kelly

Kelly has been red hot as of late, and is one of those players who has a ton of respect from his peers but hasn’t broken through to the mainstream poker world as of yet.

4. Tommy Vedes

Vedes makes the list because he is on absolute tear in recent months. With his confidence at an all-time high and the bankroll to play a full schedule I’m looking for Tommy to have a breakout WSOP.

5. Noah Schwartz

Schwartz is an online poker player turned live tournament pro who seems to have finally made the necessary adjustments. Schwartz won a side-event at the 2012 PCA and has two six-figure cashes in 2012 as well.

6. Matt Marafioti

I’ve been waiting for Marifioti to have a breakout year for about three years now, so I’ll stick with the young, brash-talking, poker pro.

7. Russell Carson

“RDCRSN” is the consummate tournament grinder, but WSOP success has eluded him so far in his career. Carson is the type of player who could end the WSOP with a gold bracelet and 10 cashes.

8. Max Martinez

The new Team PokerStars Pro who got his start on the PokerStars Big Game as a Loose Cannon is one of the most successful poker players you haven’t heard of. Martinez is fearless and his baby-face looks and awkward smile seems to keep his opponents off-balance when it comes to his killer instincts at the poker tables.

9. Fred Goldberg

Goldberg is one of those players who doesn’t get much press, but when you look up his stats you can’t help but be impressed. With nearly 2.5 million in career earnings, Goldberg has seen a resurgence in his game over the past year and a half.

10. Taylor Paur

One of online poker’s top players Paur has been transitioning to the live tournament scene over the last couple years, and even though he hasn’t binked a big win he does have a remarkable number of cashes in that time, including 6 WSOP cashes in 2011.

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