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Who Will Make Your i-pools World Series Of Poker Main Event Fantasy Team?

Who Will Make Your i-pools World Series Of Poker Main Event Fantasy Team?
Monday,July 2,2018

The World Series of Poker Main Event is the pinnacle of the poker year, and all the best players in the world will be in Las Vegas battling it out for the $8million+ first prize.


With 50,000 in tournament chips and each level lasting two hours, the WSOP Main has such a great structure these days that the cream has tended to rise to the top in recent years, with a succession of young pros taking the much coveted bracelet and bumper payday.


But that doesn’t mean the enthusiatic amateur doesn’t still cause the odd shock, with British grandfather John Hesp winning a place in the hearts of everyone with his fantastic run last year that ultimately saw him finish fourth for $2.6million, slightly bettering his previous best payday of £780!


Last year the WSOP went back to the old format of playing the whole tournament out over the course of almost two weeks in early July, rather than delaying the final til November.


It’s not easy to predict what will happen in a poker tournament that could have 7500 runners of more, but we’ve split the best players around into seven groups and here we take a look at who might make a big splash in the biggest tournament of the year.


2018 Bracelet Winners

The men in form have already tasted success once this summer and are looking to add a second 2018 bracelet in the big one. Elio Fox, Nick Petrangelo and Brian Rast are among the best NLHE tournament players in the world, but they are more used to playing high roller events, where the number of entrants is low and the quality of play is high. Will they be as comfortable in a sea of thousands of players who don’t quite perform at their level?


Scott Seiver and Shaun Deeb may have won bracelets in non-NLHE poker variants, but they are both beasts, though again they might not be used to battling such big fields. Someone like Mike Mizrachi or Eric Baldwin, who have both made the WSOP final table once already, and Joe Cada, who actually won the whole thing in 2009, have shown they have the stamina to get through this type of field and may be shrewd choices.


Looking for a leftfield pick? Mike Addamo is a well-known online high stakes tournament winner under his nickname “imluckbox” and after his victory in the Marathon he could be a darkhorse in this loaded section.


WSOP Main Event Winners

There’s a big discrepancy between older and younger players in this section, and bar pantomime villain Hellmuth and actual villain Chris Ferguson, I wouldn’t be looking at anyone pre-2010. Greg Merson won the $5k 6-handed and Main Event to win two bracelets and the 2012 Player of the Year, and he’s enjoying another deep run in that $5k tournament, which is often cited as the toughest field of the whole series.


Ryan Riess has been playing - and winning - tournaments all over the world recently, and Joe McKeehan won another bracelet last year and makes major final tables for fun. Qui Nguyen and Scott Blumstein have not been as prolific, so for me it would be a choice between Merson, Riess and McKeehan, with maybe a bit of room for Hellmuth or Ferguson for those looking for a wily veteran.


WSOP Legends

Some of the biggest names in poker reside in this section, but lots of them either have their better days behind them or simply don’t play as much poker as they used to do.


Ben Lamb, JC Tran and John Racener have all made the November 9, and Lamb made it back to the Main Event final table for a second time again last year, finishing up 9th. While you can’t always guarantee he won’t skip a tournament to play some high stakes cash (or some other casino game), Phil Ivey is always the bookies’ favourite before the Main Event starts and having shown his face much more in the Rio than for many a year, he will be a popular choice here too.


Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari are also fan favourites looking to make a big noise after a quiet summer, and there’s no reason to think they can’t, while veterans like Mike Matusow and Allen Cunningham will be looking to make their first Main Event final in more than 10 years.


Erik Seidel is still winning plenty of tournaments and is well respected by his high roller peers, and might be a nice alternative picks if you feel other teams will be filled with Ivey and DNegs.



These guys are playing for big bucks every day of the week, buying into tournaments with buy-ins of anything up to $1million. Whether they have the heart to battle 7500 others remains to be seen, but they certainly have the skills to go all the way.


Alex Foxen and Jason Koon have both been on fire this year and along with Jake Schindler, are the men in form, but Mike Leah has had a great series and a deep run in the Main Event might clinch Player of the Year.


Sam Greenwood, another who has won some huge events in 2018, has not played at the series at all, but has tweeted to say he’ll be playing the Main Event. His lack of success this summer might catch others napping on one of the very best in the game, and he could be a great pick that not many others have.


Online Superstars

A lot of these guys would fit just as well into the WSOP Legends or Hi-Roller categories, but that doesn’t make it any easier to narrow it down too much here.


Some of the world’s best NLHE tournament players lie in this section, and you won’t go far wrong if you look at Darren Elias, Jason Mercier, Pratyush Buddiga and David Peters. Doug Polk, Chris Kruk and Jason Somerville are very popular streamers and youtubers, and will have their fans, but while great players, I think there are wiser picks in the four beasts listed above.


Bryn Kenney is the player’s player, really highly respected by his peers, and regarded as maybe the best in the world. However, he joined my starting table last year having entered at the very last possible moment and played a bit like he wasn’t too bothered about battling through three days just to get to the money positions, so it’s unlikely I’ll be looking at picking him.


Team GB

There are some great British poker players, and it was a struggle to narrow it down to just 18 in this section. Chris Moorman and Toby Lewis are online players who have successfully transformed to the live arena, James Akenhead has been to the final table before and is hungry for more, and Charlie Carrel and Stephen Chidwick are household names the world over, playing high rollers against poker’s superstars.


Scotland’s finest, Ludo Geilich and Niall Farrell have both shown they can win huge tournaments, and Barny Boatman and Sam Razavi have both had deep runs already this series, in the same event! Jack Salter has had a quiet summer, but shouldn’t be overlooked, and the likes of Adam Owen, Benny Glaser and Richard Gryko will be out to show that while they’re world class in non-NLHE variants, they’re no slouches at hold ‘em too.


European Raiders

The German takeover of live poker seems to have hit the buffers a bit this summer, but don’t count out superstars like Fedor Holz, Rainer Kempe and Christoph Vogelsang, as long as you know they’re actually going to play!


Spaniards Adrian Mateos and Sergio Aido are NLHE tournament specialists, and Daniel Negreanu has called Mateos the best tournament player in the world, praise indeed! Ismael Bojang and Dario Sammartino have again enjoyed fine series, but mainly in games other than hold ‘em.


Some of the others have not been seen much in Vegas this summer - Blom, Antonius, Kanit for example - and would prove risky just in case they don’t play. There was a time in the not too distant past when it would be really hard to work out who to not pick in your team out of all the candidates in the European Raiders section, but this year I would just go with someone you’re sure is actually playing and cross your fingers, probably one of the Spanish stars for me.


All that’s left for you to do now is to get your Pick 7 team in, with £250 guaranteed in the £2 pool.


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Monday, July 2, 2018 11:18 AM
Great blog Jeff! Love the Main event....come on Team GB!

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