Top 5 Breakout Players to Watch at the 2011 WSOP

Jens Kyllonen
Jens "Ingenious89" Kyllonen

The 2011 WSOP is barely a week away and poker fans are getting excited about the big dance.

Every year there are players who emerge from relative obscurity to make a name for themselves at the world’s biggest poker series. It’s what makes the WSOP such a compelling 50 days of poker. 

You can even be a big name poker pro like Patrik Antonius or Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and still be waiting for your first WSOP bracelet.

Meanwhile players like Brock Parker, Jeff Madsen and Brandon Cantu went from nobodies to WSOP superstars in various editions of the Series.

Of course a list like this will always be subjective but we’ve done our best to put our ears to the ground and get an idea for who’s going to crush at this year’s WSOP.

What follows is our stab at the top five players to breakout at the 2011 WSOP:

Jens “Ingenious89” Kyllonen

Jens “Ingenious89” Kyllonen is one of the more renowned online players who has never stepped inside the Amazon Room in Las Vegas.

Primarily a cash game player Kyllonen did win EPT Copenhagen in 2009 for $1.1 million and has since earned over $200k playing live tournaments.

Kyllonen turned 21 this year and the timing couldn’t be better. It's always nice to be on a heater heading in to your first World Series of Poker.

So far in 2011 Kyllonen is up $1.1 million on his Full Tilt account and $505k on his PokerStars account. It’s safe to say he can afford a few buy-ins at the WSOP this year.

Ben Wilinofsky knows how to win.

Ben “NeverScaredB” Wilinofsky

Ben “NeverScaredB” Wilinosky has had a fairly uneventful year, except for the whole winning EPT Berlin for $1.1 million and then making the final 50 of the EPT Grand Final thing.

A 22-year-old poker pro from Vancouver, Canada, Wilinosky is no stranger to poker having earned a staggering $2.1 million playing online tournaments in the last three years.

Despite his incredible online record, his victory in Berlin was the first live cash of his career and he has yet to earn a single dollar at the WSOP. 

We’re betting that’s going to change this year with Wilinosky flush from his win in Berlin and deep run in Madrid. We’re expecting big things from this kid.

Randall “RandALLin” Flowers

Randall Flowers has already had a ton of success in live tournaments but thus far a major score at the WSOP has eluded him.

Last year Flowers had two minor cashes at the WSOP (well technically one of them was 10th in a $1,500 Six-Handed event) but the talented online grinder is definitely due.

Consider for a moment that Flowers has nearly $2 million in live tournament earnings including two WPT titles (one was the Spanish championship) and bubbled the EPT San Remo final table that Jason Mercier won. 

This isn’t even taking into account the major tournaments he’s won on PokerStars, Full Tilt and UB Poker.

Don’t bet against this kid.

Randal Flowers
Randall Flowers, the pro's pro.

Tristan "Cre8ive" Wade

Talk to any serious online poker pro and you’ll hear the name Tristan Wade pop up a lot.

Known as Cre8ive online, Wade has wins in some of the biggest online tournaments including the PokerStars Sunday 500, the Nightly Hundred Grand and final tables in the Full Tilt Online Poker Series.

Not exactly a new player, Wade already has 10 cashes at the WSOP including two deep runs in the Main Event. Somehow we feel like the best is yet to come for the young pro from South Florida.

Even better, Wade is a frequent Twitter user so it will be easy to follow his progress at this summer’s WSOP by adding his tristancre8ive account.

If that’s not enough you can check out his blog at

Gavin “gavz101” Cochrane

Gavin “gavz101” Cochrane is one of the many players in early discussion for online player of the year so it goes without saying he's capable of doing serious damage at this year’s WSOP.

The young English pro has absolutely dominated PokerStars this year earning over $2 million in 110,792 hands.

What’s more, Cochrane has an SCOOP title to his name so he’s no slouch when it comes to tournament play.

Cochrane has only one cash at the WSOP but it was a final table. He finished eighth in last year’s $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em/Pot-Limit Omaha for $26k.

If you see this guy in a Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, be afraid. Very afraid. will be in Las Vegas reporting live from the 2011 World Series of Poker. Keep an eye on our WSOP 2011 Live Coverage section for all the action.

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