Thatâ€™s right. Iâ€™ve got picks. I didnâ€™t participate in any official draft or betting pool, just chose players to watch this year and listed them here. That makes them official, Pokerati-style.
The purpose of picking a team of players at the 2009 WSOP is that it gives me a variety of players to
stalk follow and track results. Some of them are well-known on the poker tournament circuit, while others are just beginning to make their marks and may not garner much publicity from the major media outlets. Here? Theyâ€™re all stars because I dub them so. Iâ€™ll be trying as best I can to keep up with them.
Daniel Negreanu – While some argue that he is not particularly focused this year due to the health of his mother and other factors, I contend that the grind will lock him into place at the WSOP and that he will be looking to score big to bring some extra smiles to his momâ€™s face.
Bertrand â€œElkYâ€ Grospellier – He is a given. He has been on fire for several years and will undoubtedly be a force at the Series as he looks to add a WSOP bracelet to his list of serious poker accomplishments.
Terrence Chan – Not only is he a friend of friends of mine, but he caught my eye when he won two PokerStars SCOOP tournaments on the same night a few months ago. It was impressive, and with his motivation to do well this summer, his momentum/skill combo might be enough to get him there.
Kara Scott – She recently placed second in the 2009 Irish Open main event, and her list of tournament successes is growing consistently. Add to that a relationship with a certain poker pro, with whom intimate discussions of flops and raises can only help. And after a deep run in the 2008 WSOP main event, I look for her to do well in numerous events this year.
Luca Pagano – My favorite Italian player has also had some significant finishes, though 2008 was a better year for him than 2009. Even so, his game has been improving, and he appears due for a big finish this summer.
Jonathan Dull – His record shows that he has accumulated nearly $455K in his career. The young player has potential, but how did he make my coveted list? He is my dentistâ€™s nephew, and my dentist is awesome.
Dwyte Pilgrim – The guy is on fire. Over the past year, he came onto the poker scene and began tearing up WSOP Circuit events, posting 13 cashes overall over the past season, many of which were final tables and one – Harrahâ€™s Rincon – championship victory. Seems he does well in any tournament with WSOP in the name.
Whitney Blanton – Not only is he a faithful Pokerati reader and patch-wearing “preferred player”, but also heâ€™s my Facebook friend and has been having a good poker year. He hopes to bring a WSOP bracelet back to Texas this year, and providing he gets out to Vegas soon to play some events, he has a good chance.
For good measure, in addition to my top eight players, I will add Mekhi Phifer as a bonus pick. What fun is stalking without the man who feared my very presence at the 2008 WSOP? (Just kidding; security was never actually called.)