Top 5 Potential Breakout Players of 2012 WSOP

Viktor Blom
Viktor "Isildur1" Blom

The start of the 2012 WSOP is just over a week away and as usual there will be a fresh batch of new faces at the world’s biggest poker series.

It’s an exciting time for poker players and in the span of seven or so weeks players can go from virtually unknown grinders to veritable poker superstars.

This year we tried to highlight a number of both big-name pros and lesser-known players in our version of a WSOP "rookie" report.

Some of these players aren’t complete rookies at the WSOP but for whatever reason have been unable to break through at the series.

Check below for five potential up-and-coming stars of the 2012 WSOP:

Viktor Blom

1) Viktor “Isildur1” Blom

Who is he?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (say hi to Howard Lederer for us!) for the last few years there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.

The young Swede is one of best online cash-game players in the world and has successfully transitioned to tournament poker with recent wins in the $100k PCA Super High Roller and in two SCOOP events.

Arguably the hottest player in poker, 2012 will be the first year that Blom is old enough to play in the big dance.

Blom will easily be the most famous “first-timer” at the World Series of Poker this year and all eyes will be trained on the young Scandi as he tries to trasnfer his success to the most prestigious poker series in the world.

It’s still unknown how many tournaments Blom will actually play at the 2012 WSOP but he has already said he will at least play the Main Event.

What to expect?

It’s tough to say. A lot of players are pointing to Tom “durrrr” Dwan’s first experience at the WSOP in 2008 when he made two final tables.

It’s going to be tough for Blom if he only plays a few events. You'd think the Scandi will be particularly drawn to the Heads-Up, 6-Max and Pot-Limit Omaha $10,000 championship events.

Interestingly Blom sounds like he will not play the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament despite recently winning the PCA Super High Roller for $1.3 million.

Apparently even Blom’s bankroll has limits.

Harrison Gimbel

2) Harrison Gimbel

Who is he?

Harrison Gimbel became the youngest ever PCA winner in 2010 when he won the main event down in the Bahamas for $2.2 million.

The 21-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, has been playing poker since he was 13 years old so the WSOP has been a long time coming.

A very skilled online player, Gimbel has multiple cashes in the Sunday majors including final-table appearances in the PokerStars Sunday Million and the Full Tilt Sunday Brawl.

Hardly a one-hit wonder, Gimbel won the Fall Poker Open Championship in Florida for $330,000 and has cashed for $3 million in his live-tournament career.

Think Gimbel is psyched to play the WSOP? That’s an understatement. Check out his Tweet from earlier this month:

What to expect?

Gimbel could be a serious force at the 2012 WSOP. An experienced online MTT player, Gimbel has already shown the ability to win live tournaments.

He massacred the massive 1,529-field at the 2010 PCA so big fields shouldn’t be an issue for the young star.

Expect him to follow the footsteps of successful WSOP converts like Dan “djk123” Kelly and James “mig.com” Mackey.

3) Sebastian “p0cket00” Sikorski

Who is he?

Sebastian Sikorski, who plays online as p0cket00, hasn’t even committed to playing the 2012 WSOP but could certainly do some damage if he ends up going.

The Canadian is one of the biggest winners ever in the PocketFives database with over $4 million in lifetime tournament earnings.

Sikorski has won two online poker Triple Crowns and currently is fourth in the Canadian online rankings.

Despite a slow SCOOP, Sikorski recently finished in second place on PokerStars Super Tuesday for a $64,980 score.

Interestingly, Sikorski has yet to make any waves on the live poker scene and is still looking for his first big live win.

What to expect?

If Sikorski plays he has to be considered a threat to take down a WSOP bracelet. He, along with Griffin “Flush_Entity” Benger, Matt “ch0ppy” Kay and Russel “rdcrsn” Carson round out Canada’s online poker elite.

Marcel Bjerkmann

4) Marcel Bjerkmann

Who is he?

We’re double-dipping with Marcel Bjerkmann considering we already listed him in our top five players to watch in 2012 but it’s just too hard to ignore this guy.

Bjerkmann is a killer online with over $1.3 million in profit but also has nearly $1 million in live tournaments, mostly thanks to winning the Masters Classics of Poker and Belgian Open Poker Championship.

We had a chance to watch Bjerkmann play in the 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event and were impressed. Excellent table presence and straight-up skill mean good things for his future in this game.

There hasn’t been a Norwegian with this much potential since Johnny Lodden was wrecking people for millions in online poker back in the mid-2000s.

What to expect?

Bjerkmann has already proven he can win major live tournaments so all he needs is a bit of run-good at the WSOP and it could be all over for his opponents.

We have a hunch this is his year and he’s going to make quite a dent in Las Vegas this summer.

5) Ben “kidcardiff” Warrington

Who is he?

Ben “kidcardiff” Warrington has had a little live success but has so far been unable to break through at the WSOP. That could change this year.

Warrington, who is from England but currently lives in Spain, has made over $1.4 million online playing as either kidcardiff or benwa1.

Warrington’s most notable score came in 2010 when he took down a $1 Million Guaranteed Rush Tournament on Full Tilt Poker for $185k.

He also has notable final tables in the old $200k guaranteed on Full Tilt and the Sunday 500 on PokerStars.

He’s been playing a fair amount of SCOOP events recently although he’s been lukewarm in the series so far.

Warrington has limited experience in live tournaments but he did place 47th in the 2010 edition of EPT Berlin for $20k.

What to expect?

It’s still unclear if Warrington will play the 2012 WSOP but if he does he could be yet another hot Brit joining the likes of Jake Cody, Sam Trickett and Chris Moorman.

assets/photos/authors/_resampled/croppedimage6060-arthur-crowson.jpg
About Arthur Crowson

Arthur has been involved exclusively with the poker industry since the 2006 World Series of Poker where he still claims to have captured the first interview with a then-unknown player named Jamie Gold on one of the days leading up to the Main Event final table. Since then Arthur has been working full-time for PokerListings.com writing news stories, covering poker tournaments, interviewing players and capturing it all with his trusty Canon camera.

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