Thursday, 4 June 2015
10 Brits to follow at this year's World Series.
Yes, it's that time of year again when the best poker players in the UK pack their bags, cram a few stacks of High Society into their cabin luggage, and forget their passports at the airport.
The 2015 WSOP is almost upon us, and for the hundreds of poker players heading out to Las Vegas from these isles, there'll be just one thought on their minds: bagging a bracelet of their very own.
Numbers have been slightly down in recent years, and we haven't seen a year of returns since 2010, when James Dempsey, Richard Ashby, Steve Jelinek and Mike Ellis picked up bracelets (with the former almost nabbing a second against Sammy Farha). That year, the UK came third behind Canada and the US in terms of money won at the WSOP ($8 million); an amazing return.
Interestingly, fact fans, the UK bagged $8 million of tourney cashes last year too, but the haul was rather skewed by Paul Newey's seventh-place finish in the $1 million-buy-in Big One for One Drop event. We're banking on that prize haul being overtaken this year.
Whether the recent drop in numbers is due to a hangover from the recession, the poker pound not going as far as it used to, or better-value tournaments appearing in Europe, we're not sure. But with the Brits continuing to be a close-knit bunch who know how to support and rail each other, there's always a chance.
Of course, we'll be without Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott this year after the Brit legend lost a short battle with cancer in the spring. So, with one former British bracelet-winner not gracing the tables with his trademark banter, which of the other Brits on parade could be standing to hear the national anthem come June?
Stats: thehendonmob.com; globalpokerindex.com
1. Matthew Ashton
Career Live Cashes: $2,527,688
WSOP Best: 2013 $50,000 Poker Players Championship - 1st ($1,774,089)
Our prediction: Bracelet potential in a $10k mixed event
The $50,000 Poker Players Championship, an extension of the original HORSE tournament at the WSOP, is considered the best all-round test of a pro's ability. And in 2013, Englishman Matthew Ashton took down the 132-runner event for a prize of almost $2 million.
Defeating a final table that included the likes of David Benyamine, John Hennigan and former Main Event champ, Jonathan Duhamel, the win cemented an amazing summer that had already witnessed two final table finishes.
All of Ashton's WSOP cashes have come in mixed events, and with $10,000 buy-ins across all mixed events this year, plus new events like the $10,000 Dealer's Choice, we could be seeing the Liverpudlian holding aloft a gold bracelet this summer.2. Simon Deadman
Career Live Cashes: $1,879,105
WSOP Best: 2011 $10,000 Main Event - 227th ($40,654)
Our prediction: Has the momentum to continue his amazing year
The Nottingham pro has had an amazing year or so, mixing up solid cashes in tournaments as diverse as the EPT, GUKPT, Genting Poker Series and Aussie Millions.
Deadman came close to securing at least three or four titles on various tours over that time, but his biggest win of the last 12 months came at the Hollywood Poker Open in Las Vegas, where he won $351,097.
Simon can pick and choose his events, and even if he ends up not buying into much this summer, we expect some serious fireworks. 3. David Vamplew
Career Live Cashes: $3,551,070
WSOP Best: 2013 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em - 2nd ($413,157)
Our prediction: Due another big NLHE cash
The soft-spoken Scot has never achieved the giddy heights of his 2010 UKIPT Grand Final win (bagging £900,000) but his career since has been stuffed with smaller EPT and WPT wins.
To date, Vamplew's best WSOP cashes came in 2013 when he hit two runner-up spots (both in No Limit Hold'em events). But he came close to his best at the PCA in January by winning the $10,000 6-handed event, beating the likes of Scott Clements, Jeff Gross, Dani Stern and Jason Mercier at the final table.
We reckon David is due another serious score, and his solid career in No Limit Hold'em could reap dividends in the shark pools of the Rio.4. Stephen Chidwick
Career Live Cashes: $3,743,801
WSOP Best: 2012 $50,000 Players Championship - 6th ($253,497)
Our prediction: More mixed event final tables for Stephen
"Stevie444" is one of the best players in the world, both offline and online (where he boasts $4 million of cashes). He warmed himself up for the WSOP in style with a huge run in the recent EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
He goes into the World Series sixth in the world Global Poker Index rankings (just ahead of Jason Mercier) and that's down to final table appearances in EPTs, WPTs and Aussie Millions tournaments. Last summer, Chidwick bagged five WSOP cashes (all coming in mixed events), with a fifth-place finish in the $1,500 8-game Mix, eventually won by Phil Ivey.
With almost $4 million in live tournament earnings, including nearly 30 WSOP cashes, we expect Stephen to be moving up that all-time UK money-earners' list come the end of the summer. 5. Charles Chattha
Career Live Cashes: $1,120,707
WSOP Best: 2011 WSOP $5,000 NLHE Triple Chance - 41st ($17,817)
Our prediction: A final table is possible
The 2015 WSOP schedule is notable for a lot of deeper structures. That should play into the hands of players like Hit Squad member, Charles Chattha, who has intimated he is only going to be playing around 10 bracelet events and none of the smaller $5k events.
Charles has had a quiet year so far, following a very impressive 2014 on the live circuit, and Vegas could be his chance to shine. 6. Sam Trickett
Career Live Cashes: $20,566,809
WSOP Best: 2012 Big One For One Drop - 2nd ($10,112,001)
Our prediction: A bracelet, finally, for Trickett
Sam Trickett still leads the British all-time money-earners list, due in no small part to bagging $10 million in the inaugural Big One For One Drop event in 2011.
However, that momentous result, which saw him finish runner-up to Antonio Esfandiari in the richest tournament ever, masks a pretty impressive WSOP record. The Nottinghamshire pro bagged cashes in PLO and No Limit Hold'em last year, and he's been busy the past 12 months with results in EPTs, UKIPTs and WPTs alike.
Although the big cash games of Macau have been Trickett's home (and indeed, bread and butter) for a few years, a WSOP bracelet is something that he has come so close to, but one of the few titles that he does not have.7. Oliver Price
Career Live Cashes: $1,332,258
WSOP Best: 2014 $5,000 No Limit Hold'em - 5th ($158,064)
Our prediction: Will improve on last year's single final-table cash
Twenty-sixth in the GPI rankings at time of writing, Price is one of the new guns (along with Jack Salter - see below) who could be flying the flag for the UK for some time.
He'll probably be seen in plenty of events, always a good indicator of a big casher, and with cashes in EPTs, WPTs, and WSOPs alike, he has the talent to bag a serious haul. Some of Oliver's biggest cashes of the past 12 months have been in the US. Make of that what you will. 8. Max Silver
Career Live Cashes: $1,849,826
WSOP Best: 2014 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Handed - 3rd ($273,646)
Our prediction: Two final tables at least
Tipped by most poker pros you speak to when asked about the 'next Brit most likely to', Max Silver cashed six times at last year's WSOP for a haul of around $320,000.
Included in those six cashes was a third-place finish in the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Handed event where Silver fought the likes of Erick Lindgren and that year's WSOP Main Event champ Martin Jacobson, plus 2009's champion, Joe Cada.
Silver has won UKIPT and WPT gongs since then, as well as cashes on the EPT. We're predicting a couple of final tables this summer to cement his place as one of the UK's best.9. Jack Salter
Career Live Cashes: $2,376,273
WSOP Best: 2014 WSOP APAC Main Event - 2nd ($448,714)
Our prediction: A major score is on the cards
One of the exciting new breed of Brit players, Jack has only been around a few years but can already count live earnings worth $2.3 million. The majority of that haul came with a runner-up spot at last year's EPT Grand Final, followed by a second second-place spot in the WSOP APAC (Asia-Pacific) in Australia last October.
Salter finished runner-up to Scott Davies in Melbourne, denying England its first WSOP Main event champion since James Bord’s WSOPE victory in 2010. 10. Richard Ashby
Career Live Cashes: $2,167,958
WSOP Best: 2010 $1,500 Seven-Card Stud - 1st ($140,467)
Our prediction: Another bracelet for 'Chufty'
Ever Mr Dependable, Richard Ashby secured six cashes at last year's WSOP, including three final tables (and two of those came in $10,000 Championship events too).
Ashby already has a bracelet to his name, of course, bagging first place in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event in 2010, and with lots of mixed events planned this time around, we're tipping 'Chufty' to come up with the goods yet again.