What a year 2022 was for poker. The World Series of Poker made its debut at Paris and what is now The Horseshoe Casino, The Hustler Casino Live Stream garnered the world’s attention airing the infamous hand between poker player Robbie Lew and cash game legend Garrett Adelstein, and the World Poker Tour hosted a very memorable World Championship. Whether you won a WSOP bracelet or made your first-ever final table, 2022 was a memorable year in poker and left poker players with much to be excited for in 2023.
The very best continue to experience longevity in poker, and while the likes of Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Phil Hellmuth remain relevant at the highest level, there is always a group of young, hungry pros ready to achieve GOAT status themselves. As the new year quickly approaches, here are my top 10 poker players to watch in 2023.
Perhaps the most recognizable poker player in the world, Daniel Negreanu remains a fixture in the industry. A decades-long pro who has always been a vocal ambassador for the game, Negreanu’s charm and ability to promote poker are only dwarfed by his abilities on the felt. Throughout his career, Negreanu has been a regular on cash game productions such as Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, and The Big Game. Coupled with his cash game abilities, Negreanu is a heavily decorated poker tournament player, with a resume including 6 World Series of Poker bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, and a 2004 WSOP Player of the Year award.
Daniel Negreanu Wins The Super High Roller Bowl for $3,300,000
The question of “do they still have it?” is always eventually asked when a successful veteran experiences a period of adversity. In a well-documented tournament drought that left him without a tournament victory for 2,819 days, Negreanu secured the biggest win of his poker career winning the 2022 Super High Roller Bowl for $3,300,000. Reestablishing himself as a competitor in the high roller poker tournament scene, Negreanu will look to add even more high roller hardware to his trophy case.
Daniel Negreanu Strives for World Series of Poker Glory
At the 2022 World Series of Poker, Negreanu had one of the worst tournament series a player could have, losing a combined total of $1,100,000 in buy-ins. Putting the pieces together in the Super High Roller Bowl and motivated to once again prove himself, Negreanu will be looking to make a statement at the 2023 WSOP. With a packed WSOP schedule that often includes mixed games, a motivated Negreanu is an early favorite to win his second WSOP Player of the Year award.
2023 Update: Daniel Negreanu Adds To Mixed Game Legacy
Update made 2:11 PM, March 27th, 2023
Photo Courtesy of PokerGO
Mixed games such as Pot-Limit Omaha continue to rise in popularity within the poker industry. While new professional poker players take up new variations of the game, Negreanu finds himself within familiar surroundings as the long-time pro has long been an active player of mixed games.
Out of Negreanu’s six career WSOP tournament victories, four have come from mixed game events. In 2023, Negreanu continues to add to his mixed game resume taking part in recent PLO and mixed game tournament series hosted by PokerGO. Although he has yet to find a bink, Negreanu has reached multiple final tables totaling over $290,000 in winnings thus far in 2023. Facing the likes of Isaac Kempton, Jason Mercier, Jeremy Ausmus, and Ben Lamb at the mixed game table, Negreanu continues to show he can hang with poker’s best regardless of the game.
Ethan “Rampage Poker” Yau
Few poker players have had a year as good as 2022 was for Ethan “Rampage Poker” Yau. Within a few short years, Rampage has not only solidified himself as one of the most popular vloggers in the poker industry, but he has also established himself as one of the best, young poker players on the rise.
From playing $1/$2 at Twin River Casino in Rhode Island, Rampage is now a regular on high stakes cash game productions like the Hustler Casino Live Stream. Despite the occasional punt, Rampage has proven himself to be a consistent winner as he regularly books wins in whatever cash game he finds himself in. Despite coming up as a cash game player, Rampage’s most significant accomplishments have come from his poker tournament success.
The Ever Growing WSOP Jewelry Box Of Rampage Poker
While live poker was on a hiatus during the 2020 pandemic, Rampage scored his first big tournament win in the Online World Series of Poker bracelet series. Finishing first place in the $500 buy-in NLH Grande Finale online tournament, Rampage not only secured his first career WSOP bracelet but bagged his first six-figure score ($164,494). Carrying his momentum into the following year, Rampage added a WSOP Circuit ring to his collection winning the $300 buy-in Last Chance NLH WSOP Circuit tournament in Aruba ($8,351 top prize).
Whether online or live, Rampage continued adding to his growing list of WSOP accolades in 2022. In March of 2022, Rampage not only won his second WSOP Circuit ring in the $2,000 6-Max Online High Roller ($53,096 top prize), but would win his third WSOP Circuit ring just two weeks later at Parkwest Bicycle Casino’s $2,200 WSOP Circuit tournament ($49,530 top prize). Not satisfied with just three, Rampage claimed his fourth WSOP Circuit ring winning the $300 Online Knockout Freezeout tournament on July 14th, 2022 for $18,563.
Facing The World’s Best Poker Players At The Poker Masters And WPT
Although already proving himself as a capable tournament player, Rampage faced his toughest competition yet as he entered higher stakes tournaments and series towards the end of 2022. Facing Alex Foxen head’s-up in the $10,000 buy-in event of the Poker Masters, Rampage went toe-to-toe with one of the game’s best and proved he was up for the challenge. Defeating Foxen, Rampage won his first career Poker Master’s trophy and the $197,600 top prize.
Ending his 2022 poker campaign with a bang, Rampage binked his biggest one yet in the $25,000 buy-in High Roller at the World Poker Tour World Championship in Las Vegas. Defeating the likes of Kevin Rabichow, Ben Yu, and Justin Saliba at a stacked final table, Rampage took home the $894,240 first-place prize. An incredible statement win to cap off what was likely the most profitable year of his life, we look forward to seeing what more Rampage Poker can accomplish in 2023.
2023 Update: Rampage Poker Crushes On Hustler Casino Live
Update made 2:11 PM, March 27th, 2023
Although not as big as his high roller bink at last year’s Wynn World Poker Tour series for $894,240, Rampage has recently found success on the biggest live streamed cash game in the industry: Hustler Casino Live (HCL).
Battling against HCL stream villain Nik Airball, Rampage insisted on being sticky as his opponent continued to blast the pot with total air. Facing a $110,000 triple barrel river bet from Nik Airball on a Q♠-2♦-Q♥-Q♦-8♦ board, it took Rampage only three seconds to make the call with A♥-K♦, astounding Airball who held A♦-3♠. Holding the better ace high, Rampage caught his opponent bluffing as he propelled himself to the biggest cash game win of his career. Winning over $500,000 in the session, Rampage solidified his number six spot on HCL’s list of biggest winners with an all-time winnings total of nearly $677,000.
The greatest poker player of all time according to many poker fans, Phil Ivey continues to be a presence at poker tables in the United States and abroad. A specialist at all variations of poker, Ivey remains one of the best mixed game players in the world while still maintaining relevance in no-limit Texas Hold’Em. #1 All-Time in his home state of New Jersey, No Home Jerome has come a long way from sleeping underneath the docks of Atlantic City.
Crushing Triton, Super High Roller Bowl, And The Rest Of The High Roller Circuit
In 2022, Phil Ivey continued adding to his legacy as one of the greatest poker players of all time. A fixture in the high roller tournament scene, Ivey solidified his place on the Top Ten All-Time Money List winning the $30,000 No Limit Short Deck Hold’em tournament at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series for $387,000. In April 2022, Ivey won an additional short deck tournament hosted by Triton, taking home the first-place prize of $1,170,000 in the $75,000 buy-in event.
While being a regular presence at almost every Triton poker tournament series, Ivey also made the trip to Europe to compete in PokerGO’s 2022 Super High Roller Series. At the Merit Royal Hotel in Cyprus, Ivey took down the $50,000 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha tournament for $640,000, which was only his third biggest cash of the year. Ivey’s biggest score of 2022 would actually be from a runner-up finish, losing head’s-up to Latvian pro Aleksejs Ponakovs in the $100,000 buy-in 8-max High Roller bracelet event at the World Series of Poker. With his second-place finish at the WSOP, Ivey took home his second seven-figure score of the year for $1,172,659.
Showing he is willing to travel and put in volume at the highest stakes, the 45-year-old Ivey has all the tools necessary to further add to his legacy. If we learned anything in 2022, it’s that Phil Ivey is still one of the best players in the world. With a whole new year of poker right around the corner, the best of Phil Ivey may still be yet to come.
Phil Ivey posing with his Super High Roller Bowl Europe Player Of The Series Trophy
Phil Ivey Joins The World Poker Tour As A Brand Ambassador
Many longtime poker fans were likely surprised to see the usually quiet and reserved Phil Ivey appear in a World Poker Tour commercial. Joining fellow poker players Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme, and Doyle Brunson as the WPT’s newest brand ambassadors, Ivey continues to assist The Tour in growing their presence in the poker industry. Whether it be acting as a WPT customer support representative or taking part in $1/$3 meet-up games with Phil Hellmuth, fans look forward to having Ivey be more present in the poker community in 2023.
If the poker community collectively voted on who would be their People’s Champ, there is a good chance Brad Owen would be bestowed the title. An active poker vlogger since 2016, Owen has methodically grown his YouTube channel to over 600,000 subscribers and developed a passionate following of fans. While Owen sure knows his way around a camera, that shouldn’t distract from his poker abilities as he continues to be a consistent cash game winner. Growing his presence to new heights in 2022, Owen had an incredibly productive year both on and off the felt.
Growing His Brand And Cashing The WPT World Championship Main Event
Growing in notoriety and partnering with fellow poker content creators Andrew Neeme and Doug Polk, in 2022 Owen became co-owner of The Lodge Poker Club in Austin, Texas. Regularly appearing in The Lodge’s live-streamed cash games and numerous tournament series, Owen is helping sustain the current poker boom happening in the Lone Star state. If buying a business wasn’t enough, Owen also won the Global Player Index’s 2022 Poker Vlogger of the Year award, beating out the likes of Jaman Burton, Ethan “Rampage Poker” Yau, and Ryan Depaulo to win his second GPI award to date.
If wasn’t 2022 wasn’t already busy enough for Brad Owen, he also signed on with the World Poker Tour becoming just one of their many noteworthy brand ambassadors. Representing the WPT with the likes of Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson, Owen’s appointment as a WPT brand ambassador serves as a testament to his standing in the poker world. Taking part in the WPT’s well-received World Championship at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Owen promoted the event but also performed well on the felt, finishing 35th in the Main Event for $99,600 and his biggest cash to date.
2022 was certainly a banner year for everyone’s favorite poker vlogger, but what does 2023 have in store for Brad Owen?
Brad Owen with fellow poker vlogger and WPT Ambassador Andrew Neeme (Photo Courtesy of Card Player Magazine)
Poker Vlogger And Master Of The Meet-Up Game
By far one of the biggest contributions Brad Owen and his fellow poker vloggers have given the game of poker has been the popularization of meet-up games. Whether it be at a poker room in Las Vegas or at The Lodge, Owen along with other poker vloggers like Andrew Neeme, Mariano, and Ethan “Rampage Poker” Yau provide fans the opportunity to sit down at the poker table and compete with their favorite players.
With their newfound roles as WPT brand ambassadors, Owen and Andrew Neeme have taken the meet-up game model to new heights. Leading up to the WPT World Championship, the WPT Premier Meet-Up Game organized by Owen and Neeme included the likes of Doyle Brunson. Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, and Phil Hellmuth. The WPT Premier Meet-Up Game not only had legends mixing it up at $1/$2, it also featured celebrity DJ Steve Aoki.
As he continues to grow the popularity of meet-up games, we look forward to seeing who else Brad Owen can add to his meet-up game lineups in 2023.
2023 Update: Brad Owen Takes Some Licks At The Lodge
Update made 2:11 PM, March 27th, 2023
Whether traveling internationally as a brand ambassador for the World Poker Tour or appearing at his poker club The Lodge in Round Rock, Texas, Owen makes time to mix it up in high stakes cash games to provide fans with the content they crave. Continuing to take on bigger stakes, Owen has been on the receiving end of some brutal sessions as his recent downswing continues.
In what he deemed “The Session From Hell”, Owen experienced his biggest loss to date losing over $144,000 in a high stakes live streamed cash game at The Lodge. With the huge six-figure hit being five times bigger than any other losing session he had experienced in his career, it made sense that Owen’s phone looked like this the following day.
Picture Courtesy of the Brad Owen YouTube channel
Although Brad has definitely taken some hits so far in 2023, he has still found a way to create captivating moments for the subscribers of his YouTube channel. Playing a big $2/$5 cash game at Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, Brad’s pretty pocket queens were up against pocket aces in a huge pot. Was the poker vlogger able to crack his opponent’s pocket rockets by the river?
Since winning the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event at just 19 years old, Spanish professional poker player Adrian Mateos has continued to prove himself as not just one of the best young poker players in the world, but simply one of the best. 16th on the all-time money list, Mateos has won almost every Main Event you can think of including the 2019 partypoker Millions Main Event ($1,162,805), the 2018 Winamax Poker Tour Main Event ($106,128), and the 2015 European Poker Tour Main Event ($1,214,161). The winningest Spanish poker player in history, at the rate Mateos wins tournaments we may never see another Spaniard at the top of the country’s all-time money list.
Is Adrian Mateos The Best Young Poker Player In The World?
The 28 year old Adrian Mateos may not be the only poker player under the age of 30 to make our top ten, but he may certainly be the best. While we have mentioned only a few of the Main Event titles Mateos has won, we have yet to cover the continued success he has experienced at the World Series of Poker. Accompanying the bracelet he won in the WSOP Europe Main Event, Mateos has secured three others as he has grown his career WSOP winnings to over $9,000,000.
The WSOP has served as an opportunity for Mateos to illustrate his versatility and ability to compete with the best in the world. In 2017, Mateos won his third career bracelet in the $10,000 buy-in Heads Up No-Limit Hold’em Championship defeating the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Charlie Carrel, and Ian O’Hara. In 2021, Mateos secured his most recent WSOP bracelet when he won the $250,000 buy-in WSOP Super High Roller Event for $3,265,362. Excelling in tournaments in almost every tournament series there is, Mateos is one of the few poker players to be named Global Poker Index Player of the Year, winning the award in 2017.
While there are many young poker players on the rise, none have been able to match Mateos in terms of winnings and hardware.
Photo Courtesy Of Adrian Mateos
When The Live Poker Tournament Crusher Logs In
As if he hasn’t accomplished enough in the live poker streets, Mateos has also shown his acumen as an online poker player as well. To this day, Mateos has booked over $1,000,000 in total winnings on both GGPoker and PokerStars under the username Amani. After being dominated by the Spaniard in live tournaments, fellow poker pros surely feel a sinking feeling when they try to escape via online poker and see that name Amadi_017. Whether the felt is virtual or able to be touched, Mateos continues to show his capabilities as a player by being able to excel in both live and online poker. Any year now, we are sure to see Mateos secure another WSOP bracelet by winning an online event.
2023 Update: Adrian Mateos Runs Deep In The PokerGO Cup And PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
Update made 7:13 PM, February 5th, 2023
One of the beautiful things about tournament poker is that you do not always have to finish in first place to be running hot. Much like other players featured on my Top 10 Poker Players To Watch list, Spanish player Adrian Mateos has had an impressive start to 2023.
Active in the recent PokerGO Cup at PokerGO Studio, Mateos reached multiple final tables throughout the series. With one third place and two fifth place finishes in a number of $10,000 events, Mateos secured over $237,000 for his efforts.
Like plenty of other poker players (myself included), Mateos made the trip to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and continued his success at the poker table. Competing in $99,000 buy-in Super High Roller, Mateos finished in third place out of a field of 40 entrants for a score worth $1,095,903. Already well surpassing seven-figures worth of winnings in the new year, Amadi17 will likely continue his winning ways as he pursues his first tournament victory of 2023.
Few poker players experienced a heater like the one Latvian pro Aleksejs Ponakovs had in 2022. Not only did Ponakovs win his second bracelet in the WSOP $100,000 buy-in High Roller No-Limit Hold’em tournament, he defeated arguable GOAT Phil Ivey to do so. Defeating poker royalty is always a dream come true, especially when there is $1,897,363 waiting for you on the other side. #1 on Latvia’s all-time money list, Ponakovs is in prime position to cement his legacy as the greatest Latvian poker player ever in 2023.
High Stakes End Boss Moves from Online to Live Poker
With over $2,000,000 in online winnings on GGPoker, Ponakovs has more than proven himself as an online crusher. In 2020, Ponakovs secured his first WSOP bracelet winning the $7,777 buy-in Lucky Sevens NLH tournament during the online series. Dominating the online streets, Ponakovs made the adjustment to playing more live, high-stakes tournaments and has continued to have results. Reminiscent of crushers like Fedor Holz and Michael Addamo, Ponakovs joins the list of online pros who have made the switch to live poker only to build on their success.
Before coming out ahead heads up against Phil Ivey in the WSOP $100,000 buy-in High Roller, Ponakovs finished in fourth place in the €100,000 buy-in Triton Main Event Madrid for $938,391. Continuing his heater, Ponakovs won his first PokerGO title in the $10,000 buy-in tournament of the Aria High Roller Series for $171,000.
In 2023, Ponakovs will likely be a regular competitor on the live, high roller tournament circuit as he continues to prove himself amongst the world’s best. As the stakes get higher and the opponents get even tougher, we will see how high the Latvian GOAT can climb up the all-time money list.
Ponakovs results on GGPoker speak for themselves
Ponakovs Crushes GGPoker’s Highest Stakes
The GGPoker Super Millions is online poker’s biggest weekly tournament, with Aleksejs Ponakovs making regular appearances at the final table. In February of 2022, Ponakovs made back-to-back final tables taking down first place in one of them for $475,125. In the most recent Super Millions, the stakes were even bigger as the tournament was included in the Online WSOP Winter Circuit Series. Maintaining his image as one of the best to play the Super Millions, Ponakovs placed third place in the event for an impressive purse of $651,876. Without a doubt, Ponakov is one of the best players to play on GGPoker, with even more online accolades sure to come next year.
2023 Update: Ponakovs Runs Deep In Another High Roller
Update made 3:46 PM, February 12th, 2023
Making the trip to the Bahamas for the 2023 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and Poker Player’s Championship, Ponakovs added more accomplishments to his high roller resume. Reaching the final table of the PCA $100,000 buy-in 7-handed event, Ponakovs locked-up $698,800 before being eliminated in third place by eventual winner Isaac Haxton. Booking another six-figure score, Ponakovs showed he is ready to continue his high roller success in 2023.
One of the most recent additions to team PokerCoaching, live tournament grinder Brock Wilson continued to establish himself as one of the best young players poker players in 2022 with another stellar year on the felt. A scholar of the game who puts as much time into his study as he does his play, Wilson amassed over $2,000,000 in tournament winnings this year and looks to be even more profitable 2023. Cashing his biggest score to date this past September, will Wilson achieve a new “high score” next year?
Proving Himself As One Of Poker’s Best Tournament Players
Whether it’s high rollers, live series events, or WSOP Online Circuit tournaments, Brock Wilson is a regular at the final table. Seeming to make a deep run in whatever tournament series he chooses to play, Wilson ends 2022 as the Global Poker Index’s 6th-ranked player in the world. Ending the year with a run-up finish at The PokerGO Tour’s High Roller series, Wilson’s $95,680 score in the $10,000 buy-in event had him just out of the top ten in the GPI’s Player of the Year rankings in 11th place. Although he could not go all the way to win his first career bracelet, Wilson also made his first career WSOP final table placing 6th place for $117,819 in the $10,000 buy-in 6-max tournament. While Wilson notched up multiple six-figure scores this year, none of them compared to the one he had in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Brock Wilson Finds Success at the World Poker Tour
Any regular traveling along with the World Poker Tour knows they are in for a long day when they see Brock Wilson at their table. Playing a high volume of WPT events in 2022, Wilson experienced some of the biggest wins of his career logging multiple five and six-figure scores. Placing 2nd place in the WPT’s $25,000 High Roller at the Hard Rock for $154,380, Wilson’s runner-up finish would be eclipsed by his 3rd place finish in the $3,500 NLH WPT tournament just two days later. Placing 3rd, Wilson cashed for $411,678 which stands as his biggest cash to date. After winning over half a million dollars within a week, Wilson will surely be heading back to Florida in 2023.
Continuing His Poker Tournament Success Online
Along with the momentous success Wilson has had in live poker tournaments, he also crushes from the comfort of his home serving as one of the biggest online tournament winners in the United States. With a career winnings total of nearly half a million dollars on America’s Cardroom, Wilson has also secured $474,000 in online World Series of Poker tournaments winning his second career online Circuit ring this past September. Whether in the poker room or in front of his computer, when Brock Wilson is not coaching PokerCoaching.com members he is surely crushing tournaments.
2023 Update: Brock Wilson Wins Big At Lucky Hearts Poker Open
Update made 7:13 PM, February 5th, 2023
Photo Courtesy of the Seminole Hard Rock
Brock Wilson returned to the Seminole Hardrock in Hollywood, Florida to take part in the 2023 Lucky Hearts Poker Open (LHPO). Having won over $695,000 at the property in 2022, Wilson looked to continue his winning ways in the Sunshine State. Making it all the way to a competitive final table that included the likes of 2018 Global Player Index (GPI) Player of the Year Alex Foxen and tournament grinder Daniel Sepiol, Wilson made it all the way to the finish line winning the tournament outright for $129,350.
With his recent bink at the LHPO, Brock brought his career live tournament winnings to over $6 million. With nearly a whole year of poker left to be played, we will see how much more Wilson can add to his Hendon Mob page in 2023.
Whether it be cash games, poker tournaments, or creating brilliant content on YouTube, it seems there is nothing french poker player Johan “YoH ViraL” Guilbert can’t do. Appearing in live-streamed cash games and being a regular on the high-stakes poker tournament circuit, if the stakes are high there is a good chance you will see Guilbert at the table, and he will probably be vlogging! While a WSOP bracelet continues to allude Guilbert, 2023 could be the year we see the man with 163,000 subscribers add one to his wrist.
Where Is Johan Guilbert Now?
A poker player who prefers to always be on the move, Johan Guilbert made appearances all over the world as he looked to grow his career winnings total. Guilbert’s lone tournament win in 2022 was in the €10,200 buy-in 6-Handed tournament hosted by the European Poker Tour in Barcelona. Along with his tournament win in Spain, Guilbert was a regular at final tables all over the world, making deep runs in events hosted by the Asian Poker Tour, Malta Poker Festival, and The All Poker Open (Paris).
Continuing to pursue the ever-elusive World Series of Poker bracelet, Guilbert entered multiple tournaments at the summer WSOP and final tabled the €1,000 NLH Turbo Freezeout at WSOP Europe. Currently ranked in the Global Poker Index’s top 25 poker players, Guilbert has experienced much tournament success despite being considered a cash game player.
Photo Courtesy of Card Player Magazine
YoH ViraL’s Presence Brings Fun to High Stakes Cash Games
Whether at the club or at the poker table, Guilbert is certainly the life of the party wherever he goes. Even with his infectious personality, the 2021 GPI Breakout Player Of The Year should not be taken lightly as he is a true shark in any high stakes cash game. Making appearances on Hustler Casino Live and Live At The Bike, Guilbert regularly sits down with six figures as he faces some of the best in the world. Although he was on the receiving end of a cooler, perhaps Guilbert’s hand of the year came when he executed a brilliant pocket aces fold, sniffing out his opponent’s flopped set of kings in a live streamed cash game hosted by the WPT.
In 2023, we will surely see Guilbert continue to appear in the highest stakes cash games available for public viewing.
Starting out as one of the first employees of PokerCoaching.com, Justin Saliba made the most of his opportunities and poker acumen to become one of the best poker players under 30. In just a few years, Saliba has won more money and secured more hardware than some players do in their entire poker careers. Always repping Game Theory Optimal under the online moniker JustGTO, Saliba continues to rack up online tournament wins while successfully making the transition to more live play. Hungry to accomplish more in the live streets, Saliba is ready to take on all comers while continuing to coach members of PokerCoaching.com
A Tale Of Two WSOP Bracelets
Long grinding and applying lessons learned from PIOSolver, it was only a matter of time before Justin Saliba made a statement win in an online poker tournament. In July of 2021, Saliba would finally go the distance winning his first career World Series of Poker bracelet in a $5,300 online high roller event ($253,800 top prize). Grinding his way to $739,000 in career online tournament winnings, Saliba won his second WSOP bracelet this year winning the $10,000 8-Max High Roller on WSOP.com. With a deep online bankroll and plenty of jewelry on his wrist, Saliba looks to continue his online success while also accomplishing the goals he has for live play.
Justin Saliba’s Inevitable Live Tournament Win
Remaining at the top of his game in online poker tournaments, Justin Saliba has also been a regular presence in live-streamed events. Ending the year at #21 on the Global Player Index’s player rankings, Saliba has made final table appearances at the WPT World Championships, the Poker Masters, the PokerGO High Roller Series, the Stairway To Millions, and the World Series of Poker. When not appearing on live-streamed final tables, Saliba could be seen finishing in the top ten at the $25,500 WPT High Roller in Hollywood, Florida as well as the Prime Social Texas Poker Championship. Finishing close to the top of the podium on a regular basis, Saliba is determined to secure his first live tournament win in 2023, whether it be in a World Poker Tour, PokerGO, or World Series of Poker event.
2023 Update: Justin Saliba Starts 2023 On A Heater, Wins PokerGO Cup Tournament
Update made 7:13 PM, February 5th, 2023
Photo Courtesy of PokerGO
There may not be another poker player who has had a hotter start to 2023 than our very own Justin Saliba. Just four days into the new year, Justin would attend Borgata’s accurately named “The Return” series and place fifth place in the series’ Main Event for his first six-figure cash of the year ($304,629). Ten days later, JustGTO returned to Las Vegas to compete in the PokerGO Cup.
Continuing his momentum, Justin finally secured his long awaited live bink, winning Event #4 of the 2023 PokerGO Cup for $195,000. Having found success in Sin City, Justin elected to head back across the country to compete in the $25,500 High Roller event of the Hollywood Hardrock’s Lucky Hearts Poker Open. At a stacked final table featuring Joe McKeehen and fellow Top 10 Poker Players To Watch honorable mention Jesse Lonis, Justin finished in second place falling to Aram Oganyan head’s-up.
After securing $353,175 for his runner-up finish in the LHPO High Roller, Justin refused to slow down making another deep in the $10,200 buy-in Warm Up event of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC). Although Jesse Lonis would be the eventual victor of the PSPC Warm Up, Justin would finish in 5th place securing $97,100.
Winning over $972,000 throughout the month of January, it won’t be long until Justin’s 2023 winnings total eclipses seven-figures.
Love him or hate him, Phil Hellmuth’s standing in the poker world isn’t going anywhere any time soon. After winning the 1989 World Series of Poker Main Event over 30 years ago, Hellmuth has remained a fixture in poker serving as the Greatest Of All-Time in some circles. While Hellmuth’s standing as the poker GOAT remains hotly debated, what cannot be debated is his legacy as the greatest WSOP competitor of all-time. Whether cementing his legacy in WSOP bracelet events or cursing up a storm on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel, it is clear Hellmuth doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, but what does 2023 have in store for the Poker Brat?
The Winningest Poker Player In WSOP History
With a staggering 16 career WSOP bracelets, Hellmuth remains the all-time leader in WSOP tournament victories by a wide margin (Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and Johnny Chan are tied for 2nd with 10 bracelets each). Winning a No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw WSOP bracelet event in 2021 and placing 2nd place in the $3,000 WSOP Freezeout NLH tournament this past year, Hellmuth has proven he still has what it takes to win. As the 2023 World Series of Poker tournament schedule slowly gets released bit by bit, poker fans wonder if Hellmuth will add another bracelet to his jewelry box this year.
Although Hellmuth’s bracelet lead is surely safe for now, with more online WSOP bracelet events being offered every year his top spot should not be taken for granted. In the era of solvers, young, hungry poker players are ready to leverage their knowledge of the game to knock off the old guard. It cannot be debated, Phil Hellmuth has proven he can still play poker at an elite level. To ensure he forever remains the all-time WSOP bracelet winner, Hellmuth will need to continue playing a full WSOP schedule, especially in 2023.
Can Phil Hellmuth Win A World Poker Tour Tournament?
Despite 16 World Series of Poker victories being attached to Phil Hellmuth’s name, a glaring 0 sticks out when it comes to World Poker Tour tournament wins. Making 5 final tables and building a total of $1,577,843 in career WPT tournament winnings, a WPT title continues to allude Hellmuth. As the WPT continues to grow it’s brand and offer more poker tournaments with eye-catching prizepools, will Hellmuth finally secure his first WPT title in 2023?
Will Phil Hellmuth Look To Regain His Title On High Stakes Duel?
Even with his recent loss to high stakes crusher Jason Koon on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel series, over the past few years Hellmuth has shown his ability to beat the best in the world head’s-up. Facing the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Tom Dwan, and Scott Seiver on the program, Hellmuth only experienced one loss (to Dwan) as he compiled an impressive 8-1 record. Time will tell if Hellmuth will exercise his right to a rematch against Koon, as poker fans eagerly hope to see the Poker Brat back at PokerGO studios.
2023 Update: Phil Hellmuth Struggles On Hustler Casino Live and Live At The Bike
Update made 2:11 PM, March 27th, 2023
Despite being arguably the best live tournament player in poker history (16 career World Series of Poker bracelets is hard to ignore), Hellmuth’s cash game abilities have come into question following a series of losing sessions in high stakes live streamed cash games. In appearances on Hustler Casino Live (HCL) and Live At The Bike (LATB), Hellmuth experienced multiple six-figure losing sessions on both productions. Losing over $158,000 in a single session on HCL (and spoiling the stream results with an ill-timed tweet), Hellmuth looked for redemption in the highly publicized return of Robbi Jade Lew to live streamed poker.
Facing Robbi Jade Lew as well as professional poker player Matt Berkey on LATB, Hellmuth not only served as the biggest session loser with over $193,000 in losses, but also stormed off the set as he quit the game entirely. The first quarter of 2023 has certainly been tough for the Poker Brat, but we wish him the best of luck as he looks to prove himself as a cash game player.
Few poker players had as good of a year in 2022 as Chad Eveslage. Whether it was the World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker, no one could stand in the way of Eveslage as the American pro not only won tournaments but shot to the top of leaderboards. Undoubtedly having the best year of his career, we will soon see if Eveslage can carry his momentum into 2023.
Eveslage Dominates the World Poker Tour in 2022
Gaining momentum in the later months of 2022, Chad Eveslage went on a heater that helped add his name to the World Poker Tour history books. Finishing 3rd place for $390,000 in the $3,500 buy-in event of the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open and winning the $10,400 buy-in WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at The Bellagio for $1,042,300, Eveslage earned World Poker Tour Player of The Year honors edging out Five Diamond runner-up Steven “Cuz” Buckner for the award. Crushing the WPT, Eveslage also experienced newfound success in another notable tournament series.
Chad Eveslage Wins First Career World Series of Poker Bracelet
As if winning WPT Player of the Year wasn’t enough, Eveslage not only won his first career World Series of Poker bracelet but did so in the WSOP $25,000 High Roller. Defeating high stakes tournament regular Jake Schindler head’s-up, Eveslage WSOP victory earned him his highest cash of 2022 adding $1,415,610 to his bank account. Now having a WSOP bracelet attached to his name, time will tell if Eveslage can add even more WSOP jewelry to his collection, whether that be in no-limit hold’em or another game.
Photo Courtesy of PokerNews
The #1 GPI Player in 2022 Goes for Mixed Game Mastery
Further adding to his long list of recent achievements, Chad Eveslage finishes 2022 as #1 on the Global Poker Index’s poker player rankings. Despite the staggering success Evesalge has had playing no-limit hold’em, the Florida-based poker player has also shown proficiency for mixed games. Placing 4th in the 2021 WSOP $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament along with a 2nd place finish in the $10,000 8-Game Mix tournament of the 2021 Poker Masters, Eveslage continued his mixed game success in 2022 with final table appearances in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better tournament and the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship at the WSOP.
In 2022 Eveslage proved he can win a bracelet in no-limit hold’em events, but don’t be surprised if his next bracelet comes from a mixed game victory.
I’d be remiss to not feature a Brazilian player to watch in 2023, and I don’t think there’s anyone higher on the list than Brazil’s #1 all-time money winner Yuri Dzivelevski. Winning the €25,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament at the European Poker Tour’s Monte Carlo series ($473,217 top prize), Dzivielevski made a plethora of final tables all over the world while continuing to crush online. With a new year of tournaments ahead of the Brazilian, time will tell how much more his all-time win total will grow in 2023.
Brazilian Poker Dominance on PokerStars
While the online poker community is used to seeing Brazilian pros populate the leaderboards on PokerStars, no one appears quite as often as Yuri “theNERDguy” Dzivielevski. One of the site’s best-performing players for the past couple of years, the partypoker pro regularly crushes PokerStars’ yearly World Championship Of Online Poker (WCOOP) series having multiple titles attached to his name. We will surely see Dzivielevski carry over his online poker tournament success into the new year, but will he continue his success in live tournaments as well?
Yuri Dzivielevski posing with his European Poker Tour Title Trophy (Photo Courtesy Of Card Player Magazine)
WSOP Bracelet Winner Coming Off Biggest Year Yet
Winning his first career World Series of Poker bracelet in the 2019 $2,500 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo 8 or Better tournament and his second in the 2020 Online WSOP $400 Plossus tournament, Dzivielevski came up just short of his third bracelet losing to Dan “Jungleman” Cates in this year’s WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Despite losing to “The Macho Man”, Dzivielevski added $895,614 to his career winnings while making another WSOP final table just two weeks later in the Poker Hall Of Fame Bounty tournament. Coming off of his biggest year yet, Dzivielevski is poised to earn even more money and trophies next year.
Do not let Alex Kulev’s lack of live tournament success and low United States recognition fool you, he is a professional poker pro ready to reach new heights in 2023. A Bulgarian pro based out of Dublin, Ireland, Kulev has dominated online tournaments on GGPoker while slowly growing his all-time live tournament winnings. Continuing to improve his craft and grow his bankroll, Kulev is seemingly due for a live tournament bink in 2023.
Is FutureOfMe The Future Of Online Poker?
Since first logging onto the site, Alex Kulev has compiled over $1,200,000 in winnings on GGPoker alone. Regularly running deep in tournaments like GGPoker’s weekly Super Million$, Kulev has not only sharpened his poker abilities but gained experience playing against the world’s best. After flirting with final tables for quite some time, Kulev finally went the distance this past November winning the GGPoker Super Million$ for $538,138. Kulev is undoubtedly a rising star when it comes to online tournaments, but what does the future hold for FutureOfMe in live tournaments?
In just a few short years, Kulev has already won over $1 million playing on GGPoker
Transitioning from Online to Live Poker
Even though he is more known as an online tournament player, Kulev has sneakily compiled a career live winnings total of over $1,000,000. In December 2022, Kulev made the trip to Prague for the European Poker Tour and lit up the series despite not being able to win a tournament. Placing second place in three poker tournaments at EPT Prague, Kulev won a combined total of $310,978 throughout the course of the series. Even though placing second place can be frustrating for a tournament player, Kulev will surely show he can go the distance in the near future.
Alex Kulev Garners Attention At The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
Traveling all the way from Ireland, Kulev joined his fellow poker players at Baha Mar for PokerStars’ Caribbean Adventure. Ending day two of the PCA Main Event as the overall chip leader, Kulev rode the momentum all the way to day four where he finished in 37th place for $33,800. Although he could not reach the PCA Main Event final table, Kulev showed he is ready to secure his first major title.
A young professional poker player hailing from New York State, Jesse Lonis is a proven up-in-coming poker player with an old school vibe. In an age of solvers and advanced game theory, Jesse has created his own path to success by being known for playing unorthodox strategies and being difficult to play against. Building on past successes to provide bigger opportunities in the future, 2023 may be the best year yet for Lonis.
Lonis Uses 2021 WSOP Main Event Run to Propel a Huge 2022
Making a deep run in the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event placing 25th place for $241,800, Jesse Lonis leveraged his success in the Main Event to further advance his poker career. If 2021 was a great year for Lonis, 2022 was a steller one as the young pro won his first WSOP bracelet in a $1,000 Online 6-Max tournament as well as the $73,371 top prize. Not only did Lonis claim his first career bracelet, he also made multiple World Poker Tour final tables as he grew his career live winnings total to over $2,000,000. Showing just how impactful a deep run in the WSOP Main Event can be, Lonis has shown he can be successful by simply playing his own way.
Photo Courtesy Of PokerNews and the WSOP Circuit
Grit, Determination, and Mindset in Poker
Seemingly wanting to win more than anyone else, Jesse Lonis has a presence of a killer at the poker table. That ability and desire to win is somewhat of a young Phil Hellmuth effect. I think 2023 is going to be a huge year for the young American, and he’s going to get a marquee win this year. Whether you find yourself playing the WSOP, the WPT, or somewhere online in 2023, be on the lookout for Lonis.
2023 Updates: Jesse Lonis Displays His Abilities At PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and Players Championship
Update made 3:50 PM, February 12th, 2023
Photo Courtesy of The Hendon Mob
Finishing in third place just behind PokerCoaching coach Justin Saliba, Lonis built up some momentum to start 2023 when he cashed for $260,175 in the Lucky Hearts Poker Open $25,500 High Roller. With his third place finish in the LHPO High Roller, Lonis achieved a new “high score” for his largest live cash to date, but just eleven days later he would reach new heights yet again. Going the distance in the $10,200 buy-in Warm Up event of the PokerStars Players Championship, Lonis won the tournament and claimed the $367,400 top prize.
Having already set two new personal bests in January, Lonis has shown he is ready to take his poker career to the next level.