PokerListings Rising Star Award 2014
What makes a player fit the profile of a Rising Star in the game of poker?
Solid results and a sophisticated understanding of high-level poker strategy are definitely a part of it.
But when it comes to a true “star” in poker it’s always the intangibles that separate the best and brightest from the pack.
A particular type of charm (see Negreanu, Daniel). A mind that approaches the game in a groundbreaking way (see Spindler, Benny).
A need to share a love for the game with anyone they come across.
The eight nominees below all bring something special to the poker table that takes them above and beyond the “average” young player in the game today.
These are the Negreanus and Selbsts of the future, carrying poker’s flag into the mainstream.
And the future looks pretty bright in their hands.
Can you call a five-year veteran of the poker circuit and last year’s winner of the WCOOP leaderboard a “rising star?” To some Steen has already more than arrived but the 24-year-old Norwegian is still an unknown to most – even though he was “unmasked” and celebrated in the local Norwegian media as the hyper successful “sykoen” screenname last year. Steen has suggested his only goal in poker is to make money and move on to something else in life but his domination over his peers at the 2014 Norwegian Poker Championship - where he won the heads-up title and final tabled two other events - might suggest otherwise.
The always dapper Anatoly Filatov dazzled on a couple of levels last year – not the least of which was on the felt, where he seemingly ran deep all over the EPT. Already an established online star under the screenname nl_profit, Filatov stamped himself as one of the game’s brightest with a second-place finish in the EPT Vienna High Roller in March.
Few players have had a start to a poker year like Dominik Panka has in 2014. The 22-year-old from Poland exploded onto the live scene with a dominating $1.4m win in the PCA main event (earning glowing praise for his play on the livestream from Isaac Haxton no less). Less than a month later Panka stormed to the EPT Deauville High Roller title. If that isn’t the sign of a rising star, the young Pole is already his country’s #1 live tournament earner and his beyond-his-years calm, cool and humble demeanor under the media spotlight should ensure a long future for in poker.
Don't know Dinesh Alt? We guarantee you'll know a lot more soon. A feared online player under the moniker NastyMinder, Alt is already one of Switzerland's most successful players. In March of 2013 he announced his live arrival with a $226k win at the ANZPT Sydney main event. In March this year he chopped the Sunday Million and followed up in May with two deep runs at the EPT Grand Final.
Anyone who saw Mateos steamrool to the 2013 WSOPE Main Event title (and $1.3m first-place prize) knew we had a new star on our hands. A litany of nice scores at big events since has done nothing to quell that idea, and as if that wasn't enough he's already Spain's #1 career live tourney earner.
(Photo: assopoker.com) A fresh and welcome face in the poker world Lazzaeretto hit the money four times in big live tournaments on the EPT, IPT and Estrellas Poker Tour this year, flashing an intriguing array of skills that position him as a potential future flagbearer for Italian poker.
Last year Brit Jack Salter stopped in at the €550 Battle of Malta and cashed in 39th place for €2,000. In April this year he finished second to Antonio Buonanno in the EPT Grand Final Main Event for over $1 million USD. That's a pretty nice progression. In between he won a side event at the Aussie Millions, and more importantly he showed he's got personality to burn on the EPT Grand Final livestream with his all in "triangle" hand signal. Poker loves a showman!
A finalist in this category last year Lovgren did nothing in 2014 to change her trajectory - up - at all. In fact moving from original sponsor PKR to the more visible 888poker along with teammate Xuan Liu, Lovgren is rising faster than ever. Expect to see her on the Most Inspiring Player list next year when she takes down her career-defining big score.