The WSOP is just around the corner and, since PokerListings.com will be reporting on the whole thing, we needed a little guidance from the pros as to who we should keep an eye on.
We’ve spent the last few days speaking with pros of all shapes and sizes, getting their expert opinions on who’s poised to post big results this summer in Las Vegas.
These seven players are worth listening to. Between them they’ve won more than $20 million playing live poker tournaments. Read on for their picks for who to watch at the 2011 WSOP.
JC Tran is one of the toughest players in tournament poker and he’s won more than $8 million live in his career. He’s got two WSOP bracelets, a WPT title and a Hendon Mob page longer than Erik Seidel’s leg.
For this year’s World Series my top pick is Vivek Rajkumar. He’s already had a really good year and he had a great 2010 as well.
Poker’s a game of runs and right now he’s on his run. He’s playing well and he’s confident and he’s never really had an amazing World Series so I think this will be his year.
I don’t want to be biased but for my second pick I have to go with my buddy Nam Le. He’s just way overdue. Him and I in the last year and a half haven’t played that many tournaments, so we might be a bit rusty but I think Nam’s fresh and ready to go.
For my third pick I have to go with John Juanda. For some reason he just pops up here and there and wins like five tournaments in a row. But this year he hasn’t done too much so I think the WSOP is where he’s going to shine.
Nenad Medic has had serious live results, $4.4 million worth to be exact. He’s the proud owner of a WSOP bracelet and a WPT title, along with a long list of other major cashes.
First of all I’ve got to pick Ivey. Every World Series he seems to step it up. Every tournament he puts his focus into he does well. If I had to bet on someone he’d be my top pick.
Erik Seidel’s my number two. He’s been doing so well this year I really think he’s going to bring a lot of focus this summer. He’s also on track for Player of the Year so I think that’s going to make him focus a lot.
My third pick is a bit of a surprise. It’s a buddy of mine named Joe Cassidy.
He plays big limit games. He hasn’t really done too well in tournaments but he’s really successful in the big cash games. There’s a lot of limit events at the Series and he’s going to be a dark horse in those.
Melanie Weisner is an up and coming player who commands the respect of some of the best young players in the game. She’s already racked up $200,000 in live earnings but that’s nothing compared to what people predict for her.
I don’t really have like a “Top 3” picks but there are a few players that I think are going to do really well at the World Series because they’ve just been killing it lately.
Blair Hinkle has been destroying lately and he plays really well. I played with him last year and I was really impressed with his play so I think he’s going to do very well this year.
Scott Seiver has been killing it too. I know him really well and I think he’ll definitely do really well. He made a couple final tables last year but didn’t get a bracelet so hopefully that changes for him this time.
Ben Wilinofsky, now that he’s finally broken his losing streak is playing really well. He killed it in Berlin and he’s doing really well here in Madrid, so I think he’s going to make a much bigger impression than last year.
And I’ve got to say myself. I’m really excited about the World Series and I think I’m going to do well. After this whole year, and the upward climb I think my play and my confidence has taken, I feel so much more comfortable playing these big events.
McLean Karr has made himself a fixture on the live tournament circuit after winning the WPT Shooting Star last year. He went on to win the £10,000 EPT High Roller in London to take his total career earnings to over $1.7 million.
I got to go with Tom Marchese for my number one pick. I love his game.
I think he plays well against every different skill level of players in the game. He’s been posting a ton of live results over the last year. I think he’s still got a desire. He’s going to be a little more well rested because of the online poker thing in the US, and a well-rested Tom Marchese is definitely dangerous.
You have to put Ivey up there too. It’s not really as exciting a pick but he pretty much just owns everyone’s souls.
For my third pick I’ll say one of a collection of Swedes. I’ve been hanging out with a bunch of Swedish players for a while on the tour and I went to Stockholm in the break after the last event.
Guys like Michael Tureniec, Anton Wigg, Martin Jacobson. There’s a bunch of them and they’re really smart and really good so I think either one of them or a group of them are going to make some noise.
Will Reynolds exploded onto the poker scene when he took down the High Roller event at the PCA in 2010, winning almost $600k. Since then he’s been posting big results with startling regularity and has amassed a career total of $1.3 million.
I’m going to have to go with the obvious choice for my number one. He always comes to play. Phil Ivey.
For my number two choice I’m going to go with Jason Mercier. He’s been playing a lot of mixed games and he’s going to do really well.
My third choice is the live pro, Daniel Alaei.
These guys are all going to do work when they get a chance and they know how to close. I went with the closers for my picks. These guys know how to go deep and seal the deal. And a lot of these guys have bracelet bets so that’s just going to give them even more incentive.
JP Kelly is a sicko when it comes to winning tournaments. He won WSOP bracelets in both Vegas and London in the same year, and has a career total of $1.28 million.
Sam Trickett’s one of the best players in the world in my opinion and he’s my number one pick. He’s had a bit of a break. Last year’s WSOP was actually the beginning of his heater but you wouldn’t really know it because he didn’t win anything. He had a second and a lot of deep runs.
He’s going to have some bracelet bets on as well which will help.
Number two is Phil Ivey. Ivey’s the best poker player in the world so he’s good at all games so he’s going to be dangerous in all the stud and limit and mixed games. He’s going to be the favorite every time he sits down.
He’s also got bracelet bets too so he’ll be really hungry to win.
My third pick is myself. I’ve had success there before and I’ve been playing really well lately and I’ll be playing a lot of events so I think I have a good chance.
Shannon Shorr hails from Alabama and became a name in poker before he was even allowed to gamble legally in his own country. His results list is long and it totals more than $3.8 million!
I think momentum has a lot to do with success in tournament poker and that’s got a lot to do with how I made my picks.
Two guys who are doing really well right now are Greg Brooks, who won the LAPC, and William Reynolds. They’re both really good young players and I think they’re going to do really well.
My third pick is Nam Le. He’s so overdue. He’s probably the best tournament player in the world who hasn’t won a bracelet.
He doesn’t give anything away. He’s going to fight to the very end and I really think he’s going to get his bracelet this year.
PokerListings.com will be on the scene in Las Vegas for the entire summer so keep an eye on our WSOP 2011 Live Coverage section for all the action.