Top 10 Poker Players to Watch in 2010

16 February 2010, Created By: Matthew Showell
Top 10 Poker Players to Watch in 2010

2010 is going to be a huge year for poker so we're taking a look at the best of the best, those players poised to make big moves.

Some are building on successful careers, others are ready to make their names in the poker world. Together they make's Top 10 Players to Watch in 2010.


#1: Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey

2009 was the year of Ivey. Two WSOP bracelets, the final table of the Main Event and $6.3 million in online poker profits put Phil Ivey directly in the spotlight.

2009 was also the year he began to express a real desire to make his mark in the poker history books.

Generally viewed as the greatest all-around player in the game today, perhaps ever, Ivey crushes everything in sight. He's at the center of the biggest games online and live and he'll be the biggest blip on everyone's radar come the 2010 World Series of Poker.

An incredibly competitive player, Ivey will be looking to build on his accomplishments from 2009 with a big, big 2010.

#2: Cole South

Cole South

Since his humble beginnings in small-stakes online poker in 2005 Cole South has gone one way, up. In his first two years playing he reportedly amassed a bankroll of $2 million and he's only getting better.

At the time of writing he's the leading 2010 online money earner with $2.5 million. When you consider he's been playing against the likes of ziigmund and durrrr you have to give the guy some serious props.

Representing Team Cardrunners and Full Tilt Poker, Cole South is ready to post some monster results in 2010.

#3: Yvgeniy Timoshenko

Yevgeniy Timoshenko

Few players matched Yvgeniy Timoshenko's accomplishments in 2009.

The man who goes by Jovial Gent online took down the $25k WPT Championship for $2.1 million and went on to win the WCOOP main event for $1.7 million.

Physically Timoshenko's not the most intimidating presence at the poker table but people who've seen him in action know him to be an extremely dangerous tournament player.

Watch for Timoshenko to use the momentum he built up in 2009 to do big things in the coming year.

#4: Annette Obrestad

Annette Obrestad

Having turned 21 in 2009, this summer will be Annette Obrestad's first chance to play the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Obrestad has crushed online tournaments from the age of 15 and in the short time she's been playing live events she's made a huge mark.

Winning the 2007 WSOPE Main Event for over $2 million and coming in second at the EPT Dublin main event for $429k just a few months later, Obrestad has already stacked over $3 million in total live earnings.

She's a master of the big field donkaments online which will stand her in good stead at the WSOP.

#5: Jason Mercier

Jason Mercier

Jason Mercier exploded into the live tournament world over the last few years but not everyone knows just how long he's been crushing poker.

He was one of the early players to achieve Supernova status on PokerStars, all the way back in 2006, and has been making a killing ever since.

His list of major titles includes EPT, WSOP, and FTOPS and he's amassed a staggering $4,175,000 in total live tournament wins.

Even more impressive he's done all that since his first big live tournament in April of 2008, which he won for $1,372,000.

Mercier is a gifted poker player who has serious chops in both No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha. We don't see him slowing down any time soon.

We like him so much we even have him blogging right here on Check out his blog for an inside look at the world of Jason Mercier.

#6: Matt "ADZ124" Marafioti

Matt Marafioti

Matt Marafioti is very well known in the online poker community and even if people don't have a ton of respect for his attitude, it's generally accepted that he's one of the best mid-to-high stakes cash players around.

He had a few near misses in the last year with an 8th place finish at WPT Legends and 7th in the PCA High Rollers Event.

Marafioti not only has the poker chops to have a huge 2010, he's also got the mouth to get him plenty of TV time. He never misses an opportunity to get under people's skin and that's a quality TV producers cherish over raw poker skill.

#7: Isildur1

Viktor Blom

Isildur1's explosion into the nosebleed games on Full Tilt was one of the biggest stories of 2009. While speculation still abounds as to who Isildur1 really is the best candidate is Sweden's Viktor Blom.

He went on a $7 million heater, taking the majority of that sum from Tom "durrrr" Dwan, before losing it all back.

Isildur1 was looked at as a bit of a high-stakes fish at the outset but he proved he was a fast learner, quickly earning the respect of his nosebleed peers.

In a recent blog post Tom Dwan said, "He's someone I'd expect to see around the high-stakes games very regularly in the next few years."

Keep an eye on the nosebleed games on Full Tilt in 2010 for serious action from Isildur1.

#8: Nanonoko


Randy Lew, aka nanonoko, is the grinder's grinder. Playing small stakes No-Limit Hold'em online he's made well over $1 million.

He puts in volume like no one else and is considered a god in the small-stakes grinder community.

Unlike the other players on this list Lew is unlikely to post a $1 million score or win a major tournament. But he will continue to absolutely crush and stack cash like a mofo.

He's also launching a new website so keep an eye on to see what happens.

#9: Jeff Madsen

Jeff Madsen

Jeff Madsen absolutely dominated the 2006 World Series of Poker, winning two bracelets and making a total of four final tables. In the few years after, however, he struggled to recapture the magic that he had at the '06 Series.

In the last few months it seems he's taken his game to the next level. A deep run at the PCA main event, two final tables at the Bellagio Five Diamond prelims and a win at the Borgata Winter Open have made him almost $1 million since December of 2009.

Madsen plays a variety of games so he's a bigger bracelet threat at the WSOP than players who specialize only in Hold'em.

He's got excellent reading skills and plays with no fear. Keep a close eye on him in 2010.

#10: Lex Veldhuis

Alexander Veldhuis

Dutch online pro Lex "RaSZi" Veldhuis has been a successful player for some time but he came to the poker world's attention in a big way at the 2009 WSOP Main Event.

He got a ton of TV time that included a string of seemingly suicidal bluffs. Although he didn't get far in that event he did get very unlucky to finish only seventh in the $40k WSOP event, losing a preflop big all-in with A-K to Dani Stern's A-J.

Veldhuis plays fast and after his performance last summer you can bet he'll get plenty of TV time. Min-cashes are not what Lex plays for so expect to see big scores or big blowups from him in 2010.






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