All four of these players are trying hard to become the next big star of poker; to become a member of the poker elite. They all have solid wins or have placed well in high profile tournaments and are out to prove that those successes aren't flukes, that they are forces to be reckoned with, and that they will be sticking around in poker for a long time to come. However, if things keep going the way they have been at this year's WSOP, they will completely miss their chance.
Boeken is having a tough go of it at this year's WSOP. Tight bros with David Williams and Michael Mizrachi, he rolls with the winners and lives the high roller lifestyle. Just like Williams, he cut his teeth on Magic the Gathering, and also just like Williams, he's down with Marcel Luske. He's European, he's a hip dresser, and he appears determined to be ranked amongst the top young poker players - not just be one of their boys. But it isn't easy. Although he's made a big splash on the European poker scene, his WSOP track record is pretty shabby. He had two cashes in 2005 but has failed to make it in the money so far this year.
Of the four players on this list, Jacob is the most understated. That may just be because he's awkward, or it may just be that he's really good at pretending to be awkward. Either way, the kid is awkward. That having been said, he's been showing up to play every day and is definitely out to prove something.
Of the four players on this list, his chances of clipping on a bracelet also seem the best. He placed second at this year's Foxwoods Poker Classic, winning $655,507, and has even made it to a final table at this year's WSOP (although he didn't get to stay very long, getting knocked out 9th). Jacob is out to show the world of poker - and also himself - that his strong showing at Foxwoods wasn't a fluke. The only way to make this kind of statement, obviously, is to win a bracelet.
Vanessa has developed a great persona for herself; she's young, attractive, and always hidden behind a huge pair of Dior shades accompanied by some variety of hat. Amid a sea of faceless hopefuls, she is always recognizable and often captivating. When most of the players in the room look like they just rolled out of bed at the ungodly starting hour of noon, Vanessa shows up completely made up, ready to be photographed, with a determined player hidden behind her materialistic visage.
Unfortunately, her level of maintenance has not translated to the attention-getting performance that Vanessa is undoubtedly shooting for. She's cashed twice so far this year, but in places 63rd and 80th (in the No-Limit Short-Handed and Limit tournaments, respectively). And no one has batted an eye. At a very young 23, Vanessa has a right to have high expectations this year. In April she won $263,652 at the Five Star World Cup Poker Challenge, beating out more than 600 others to take seventh place. Surely she is trying to parlay those winnings into a fancy bracelet to go with the pricey shades, but so far the only thing she's won is the beauty contest.
Joe is probably the biggest disappointment at the WSOP this year. Due to his on-air personality and highly regarded father (Barry Greenstein), Joe is a well known figure in the world of poker. However, he craves attention and recognition, and in order to obtain it, he still has much to prove. He came into the tournament cocky and sure, but is starting to look defeated after an unimpressive first half.
Joe had a few nice cashes last year, and won first at the Heavenly Hold'em Championship this year, but his relative lack of cashes at the 2006 WSOP has frustrated him greatly. He placed 23rd in a Limit Hold'em event, and 77th in a No-Limit Short-Handed event, but neither of these are going to propel him to the level of respect that he is aiming for, or purports to deserve.