In less than a week, the words “Shuffle up and deal” will echo through Paris and Horseshoe as the 2023 WSOP will officially begin. Thousands of poker players will journey to the Las Vegas Strip to pursue what many consider the greatest achievement in poker: winning a WSOP bracelet. While there will be plenty of recreational players chasing poker greatness, there shall also be established pros looking to have a profitable summer and potentially win a tournament or two. As said pros finalize backing deals and arrive at their grindhouses, some specific individuals out of the crowd already garner more attention than most.
WSOP fantasy teams and bracelet bets become more and more common in the poker community, with speculation on who will perform best at the WSOP always being a topic of conversation. In the spirit of predictions and WSOP “hot takes”, I am thrilled to share PokerCoaching.com’s official list of the Top Ten Poker Players To Watch at the 2023 WSOP. Is your favorite poker player on the list?
Daniel Negreanu already garners much attention within the poker industry, but he certainly found a way to gain more when he released his tournament schedule for the 2023 WSOP. Sharing plans to play a tournament schedule including 88 WSOP events, the World’s Most Popular Poker Player is ready to bounce back from his tough WSOP campaign in 2022. 6 career bracelets, 2 WSOP Player of the Year awards, and #2 on the WSOP’s all-time money list, Negreanu will forever be known as one of the greatest WSOP players of all time, but how much more will Kid Poker add to his legacy during the 2023 WSOP?
Can Kid Poker Bounce Back?
The 2022 World Series of Poker was a series Daniel Negreanu likely wants to forget. Losing over $1 million in tournament buy-ins (and a selfie stick) throughout the course of the 2022 WSOP, Negreanu experienced one of his toughest summers ever.
“I went through a two-week period where I didn’t win any all-ins. I asked myself: ‘how am I supposed to win if I lose every single time I go all-in!?’ It wasn’t like I was going in with the worst hand, I had the best of it almost every time.”– Daniel Negreanu reflecting on last year’s WSOP
Despite the licks he took in last year’s WSOP, Negreanu has a full schedule planned as he looks to redeem last year’s losses and further add to his WSOP accolades. Having 88 tournaments on the menu, volume will surely not be a problem for Negreanu as he competes in what may be the most important WSOP of his career.
“I have always been resilient and self-motivated. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I do love it. I enjoy the grind of getting back out there and giving it a go.”– Daniel Negreanu on the upcoming 2023 WSOP
Daniel Negreanu’s Most Important WSOP Ever?
With the infrequent play schedule of the #1 all-time WSOP money winner Antonio Esfandiari, the question has not been if, but when will Negreanu surpass Esfandiari as the highest cash earner in WSOP history. Owning $21,595,402 to Esfandiari’s $22,365,691, Negreanu is less than $1 million away from becoming the biggest winner in WSOP history. If he sticks to the play schedule he has shared with the world, Negreanu could very well pass Esfandiari on the all-time WSOP money list in 2023.
Not only is Negreanu poised to potentially move up on the all-time WSOP money list, but the Canadian poker pro may also climb a few spots on the all-time WSOP bracelet winner list. While he will likely never catch fellow poker pro and friend Phil Hellmuth’s all-time WSOP bracelet record of 16 total bracelets, the 6 career bracelets won by Kid Poker place him well within the top ten (currently #9). Only one bracelet behind fellow greats Billy Baxter and Men “The Master” Nguyen, Negreanu could jump two spots if he can win his 7th career WSOP bracelet this summer.
Win or lose, Daniel Negreanu remains one of the best ambassadors the game of poker has to offer. Whether or not he makes history at the 2023 WSOP, Kid Poker will surely light up the room with his play and charm.
A popular pick amongst players who take part in fantasy WSOP drafts, five-time bracelet winner and 2018 WSOP Player of the Year Shaun Deeb may soon be competing in his toughest WSOP yet. While Deeb’s poker abilities have certainly not declined (he recently won his first career WSOP Circuit ring in Turning Stone’s $1,700 Circuit Main Event), a well-discussed prop bet with Bill Perkins may impede another run at WSOP Player of the Year. Even if his daily WSOP routine is drastically different this year, there is no debating Deeb will remain one of the toughest poker players at the table.
The New Shaun Deeb: Brought To You By Bill Perkins
This past March, circulating footage of Shaun Deeb at the Turning Stone WSOP Circuit Main Event final table inspired Bill Perkins to issue a challenge. If Shaun Deeb could reach a body fat percantage of 17% by the start of the 2024 WSOP, Perkins would pay out $1 million dollars to Deeb’s $100,000 wager. As soon as the deal was struck, Deeb immediately hit the gym and began taking part in a new, healthy diet, determined to start strong and eventually win the prop bet by next year.
While Deeb’s new lifestyle changes should certainly be applauded, many poker fans and players are speculating on how the prop bet may impact Deeb’s WSOP performance. Despite toting the ability to grind hours at the poker tournament table without getting tired, this will be the first WSOP where Deeb will have to overcome a caloric deficit and maintain a daily workout routine. Will Deeb’s new healthy lifestyle derail his campaign for 2023 WSOP Player of the Year, or will it further his performance en route to more WSOP accolades? Come March 31st, the poker world (and Deeb) will find out.
The Mixed Game Prowess of Shaun Deeb
Winning 5 WSOP bracelets, in any capacity, is incredibly impressive no matter what events they were won in. Taking a closer look at Shaun Deeb’s five WSOP tournament victories, poker fans will see that four of the five bracelets come from mixed game events. A proven winner in almost every variation of poker, Deeb is a force to be reckoned with no matter what tournament he plays in. Regardless of the game or stakes, Deeb will fire a bullet as he chases even more WSOP glory, and is often seen sprinting on the tournament floor as he often attempts to play multiple events simultaneously. Just when you thought multi-tabling was only possible online, Deeb is always ready to prove otherwise.
Naturally, the reigning Main Event champion is more than deserving of being on our list of players to watch at the WSOP. After Espen Jorstad’s Q-2 offsuit boated up on the river in the final hand of the 2022 Main Event, his life would forever be changed when his opponent, Adrian Attenborough, attempted to bluff catch with a paired four. $10,000,000 richer and forever a part of poker history, Norway’s #1 all-time money winner ensured he would always have a seat at any poker table in the world. Returning to Las Vegas as the defending champ, what does the 2023 WSOP have in store for Jorstad?
Adding To A Growing WSOP Trophy Case
Due to his victory in the Super Bowl of poker, many poker fans overlook the fact that Jorstad won two bracelets at the 2022 WSOP. Teaming up with fellow poker pro Patrick Leonard, the duo of Jorstad-Leonard went the distance in last year’s $1,000 Tag Team event to win their first career WSOP bracelets (and $74,042 each). A multi-bracelet winning summer with one of them being from the Main Event is truly a statement of Jorstad’s abilities, having seemingly reached the mountain top in 2022, what will the 2023 WSOP have in store for “Hymn2ninkasi”?
Back-To-Back WSOP Main Event Champion?
Long gone are the days when repeat champions were common in the WSOP Main Event (Poker Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Chan was the last to do it in 1987 and 1988). However, if the reigning Main Event champion is in the field there is always a chance, and Espen Jorstad will surely enter the fray to defend his title. Having two WSOP titles to his name, there is no question Jorstad has the ability to become a repeat champion, but with the variance and large fields that come with WSOP poker tournaments, there is a reason why we have not seen a repeat champion in over 30 years. Regardless, there is always a heavy focus on the defending champion whenever they play the following Main Event, with this year surely being no different. Being a proven and well-accomplished poker pro, Jorstad will be ready for the additional attention.
The first PokerCoaching coach to appear on our list, Brock Wilson remains one of the best up-and-coming poker players in the world. Despite his youth, Wilson has already claimed victories in a number of marquee events, including the World Poker Tour, the WSOP Circuit (2 rings), the Poker Masters, and the Wynn High Roller series. Of his over $6 million in career tournament winnings, $841,000 comes from his performance in WSOP events, but will this be the year Brock claims his first-career bracelet?
From The Computer Or On The Felt?
Although Brock has yet to reach the top of the podium in a WSOP event, he has proven on multiple occasions he can compete in such events. Last year in the $10,000 6-handed NLH Championship, Brock made it all the way to the final table placing 6th for $117,819. In 2019, Brock made his first career WSOP final table when he finished in 9th place in the $1,000 NLH Double Stack for $60,930. Brock can certainly defeat any competition he faces at a WSOP final table, but don’t be surprised if his first career bracelet is not secured within the walls of Paris and Horseshoe.
When Brock isn’t crushing high rollers in Las Vegas and across the country, he can be found grinding online poker tournaments on a variety of sites. During the inaugural WSOP Circuit series at the newly rebranded Horseshoe Casino, if Brock wasn’t participating in a live tournament he could be found on the casino floor competing for online WSOP Circuit rings from his laptop. A proven online winner with the WSOP.com username of OHMyGuan, Brock won his second career WSOP Circuit ring in an online $2,000 high roller in 2021, and may very well win his first career WSOP bracelet online in 2023.
Regardless of live or online, it is not a case of if, but when will Brock win his first career bracelet? 2023 may be his year, and the entire PokerCoaching community is certainly pulling for him.
If a poker player were to get an “automatic” spot on this list, it would have to be the reigning WSOP Player of the Year Dan Zack. Putting on one of the greatest series performances in WSOP history, Zack’s 4,530.64 Player of the Year point total was the third-highest ever, behind only fellow listees Daniel Negreanu and Shaun Deeb. Winning two WSOP bracelets (second and third of his career), reaching four final tables, and cashing 16 times for a winnings total of $1.45 million, no one could catch Zack as he won WSOP Player of the Year handily. Finally accomplishing his long-time goal of winning WSOP Player of the Year in 2022, will Zack keep up the high volume at this year’s WSOP?
The Key To Becoming WSOP Player of the Year: Mixed Games
Dan Zack may very well be the best if not one of the best mixed game players in the world. En route to his 2022 WSOP Player of the Year title, Zack’s two WSOP bracelet victories came in mixed game events ($10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $440,757 and the $10,000 Seven Card Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for $324,174). Prior to 2022, Zack’s first career WSOP bracelet victory came during the 2019 series when he won the $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw for $160,447. Normally sticking to the WSOP summer series each year, Zack made a rare appearance at PokerGO Studios and competed in their first-ever Mixed Game Series. Although he did not win one of their events, Zack was a regular at the final table, placing in the top 8 in five out of the ten tournaments that ran.
While Zack mainly specializes in mixed games, do not take him lightly if you see him at a no-limit hold’em table. During his 2022 WSOP Player of the Year campaign, Zack entered the $250,000 Super High Roller and placed 8th for $488,095, pretty good for a “mixed game player”. It is quite clear that no matter the variation of poker, Dan Zack is more than capable of stacking opponents and going the distance. While we have witnessed a two-time winner of WSOP Player of the Year before (Daniel Negreanu in 2004 and 2013), we have yet to ever see a back-to-back POY winner. If Zack is prepared for the WSOP and maintains the same goals as last year, this may be the year he makes even more WSOP history.
2022 was a banner year for Cherish Andrews, as the long-time poker pro not only won hundreds of thousands but collected plenty of hardware and accolades along the way. Winning her first-career WSOP bracelet, Andrews continued to crush poker tournaments all across the United States as she successfully completed her campaign for 2022 GPI Female Player of the Year. As she continues to win tournaments and awards, Andrews furthers her standing in the poker industry, begging the question: what does the 2023 WSOP have in store for Cherish Andrews?
Can Cherish Andrews Win Another WSOP Bracelet!?
There is no debating the fact that Cherish Andrews is a proven winner in WSOP events, whether it be online, live, Circuit, or summer series. Winning her first career WSOP bracelet in a $1,000 online poker tournament in October of 2022, Andrews finally achieved something she had been working towards for over a decade. Prior to her bracelet victory this past October, Andrews had reached four WSOP final tables, all coming from events at the summer series. With over half a million dollars in career WSOP winnings, multiple Main Event cashes, and now a bracelet, Andrews has accomplished nearly everything she can when it comes to the WSOP.
With a number of live final table appearances at the WSOP, Andrews has demonstrated she can run deep in such large field events, with it only being a matter of time until she wins her first live bracelet. Leveraging over a decade’s worth of experience as a professional poker player, Andrews has seen it all when it comes to no-limit hold’em, and is ready to use her experience and add more accolades to her poker resume.
Out of all the entries on our list, not only is Jesse Lonis one of the few to be featured on our list of Top Poker Players To Watch In 2023, but during an interview Daniel Negreanu highlighted him as a player to watch at the 2023 WSOP. Cool, charismatic, and very reminiscent of what some call “old-school poker”, Lonis already has one WSOP bracelet to his name and is eager to add another one in 2023. Hailing from Little Falls, New York, Lonis continues to establish himself in the poker space with consistent cashes and tournament wins. Already having success in 2023, we will see if Lonis can continue to crush at the upcoming WSOP.
Jesse Lonis: Soon To Be The Newest Million Dollar Man Of The WSOP
Regardless of what country he is in or whether he is playing online or live, Jesse Lonis wins poker tournaments. Making the trip to The Bahamas for PokerStars’ Caribbean Adventure, Lonis won the $10,200 Warm Up for $367,400, his largest score to date. While his trip to The Bahamas may have resulted in his biggest score, Lonis is used to logging six-figure cashes. In 2023 alone, Lonis has already secured three six-figure cashes, with his third place finish in the Lucky Hearts $25,500 High Roller netting him $260,175, and his third place finish at the PokerGO Cup providing him with another $105,600.
As Lonis has crushed nearly every tournament series in the United States (and beyond), he has also taken the time to dominate the WSOP as well. This past March, Lonis won his second career WSOP Circuit ring in an online $500 PLO event for $14,430. Along with his two WSOP Circuit rings, Lonis also boasts a WSOP bracelet, having won his lone bracelet in 2022 winning the $1,000 online NLH 6-Max event for $73,371. While Lonis has already collected an impressive amount of WSOP jewelry, by far his greatest WSOP achievement was his deep run in the 2021 Main Event, where he finished 25th place for $241,800 (third largest cash to date). With WSOP Circuit rings, a WSOP title, and a number of incredibly deep runs in bracelet events (did I mention he’s gotten second in three separate bracelet events?), Lonis is quickly approaching $1,000,000 in career WSOP winnings. Will this be the year he reaches seven figures?
A deep run in the WSOP Main Event can truly change the trajectory of a poker player’s career, with PokerCoaching coach Aram Zobian being a perfect example. Placing 6th place in the 2018 WSOP Main Event for a score worth $1,800,000, Aram hasn’t looked back since as he has gradually become one of poker’s best up-and-coming, young players. A student of the game with a calm and steady presence, Aram is a consistent tournament winner who has plenty of poker goals he still seeks to accomplish. Any poker player who final tables the Main Event is more than capable of winning WSOP gold, with 2023 potentially being the year Aram, an avid hiker, reaches the “mountain top”.
Consistency Is Key For Aram Zobian
For any professional poker player on the tournament circuit or grinding online, Aram Zobian is certainly a familiar face (or username) at the final table. Despite Aram’s lone premier live win coming from a $10,000 event at the 2023 PokerGO Cup, the Rhode Island native has reached a final table in nearly every major tournament series in the United States. When Aram isn’t traveling the country and proving his ability in live poker tournaments, the tenured pro can be found on WSOP.com final tabling online Circuit series events and high rollers. Along with his victory in a $215 online WSOP Circuit ring event in 2020 (1st place for $20,910), Aram has final tabled an impressive amount of other online WSOP Circuit events as he has continues adding to his career WSOP winnings total.
When he’s not ring hunting, Aram is proving himself in online high rollers. In October of last year, Aram barely missed winning his first career WSOP bracelet, finishing in 2nd place in the $5,300 High Roller. During the WSOP Online series in 2020, Aram was making final tables at even high stakes. Competing at a final table that included the likes of Jason Koon, Shankar Pillai, and Aleksejs Ponakovs (one of our Players To Watch In 2023), Aram finished in 5th place for an impressive $529,005 score. Much like fellow PokerCoaching coach Brock Wilson, don’t be surprised if Aram’s first career WSOP bracelet victory comes from an online event.
Whether he is playing WSOP Circuit events, high rollers, or the Main Event, there is a reason why Aram has over $2.8 million in career WSOP winnings. As we do with all of our PokerCoaching coaches, we wish Aram the best of luck in the 2023 WSOP, and look forward to seeing him win his first bracelet!
If any player on this list is due to “breakout” and win their first carer WSOP bracelet in 2023, it would be 2022 GPI Breakout Player of the Year Angela Jordison. Making a name for herself on the poker tournament scene in 2022 under the tutelage of former PokerCoaching coach Faraz Jaka, Jordison continues to solidify her presence in the poker space as she gathers experience and big cashes. A skilled no-limit hold’em player who can also be found at the mixed game tournament table, Jordison has proven she has the skills necessary to add some jewelry to her wrist, but will 2023 be the year she does it?
Angela Jordison Continues Her Poker Tournament Grind
2022 may have been the best year of her career, but despite what she has accomplished thus far, Angela Jordison refuses to slow down as she remains a mainstay on the tournament circuit. A regular on the WSOP Circuit trail, Jordison finally claimed her first WSOP Circuit ring in Thunder Valley’s $3,250 NLH High Roller this past January ($86,579 top prize). As if her high roller win at Thunder Valley wasn’t enough, the poker pro would final table the series’ Circuit Main Event the very next day, placing fifth for a $49,839 score. Continuing to reach final tables as her career winnings total eclipses $1 million, Jordison has continued her winning ways and looks to keep her momentum going into the 2023 WSOP.
While Jordison may lack a bracelet, she certainly doesn’t lack the skills to go the distance, having already proven such at past WSOP summer series. During the 2022 WSOP, Jordison scored the largest cash of her career, placing third in the $1,000 Freezeout for $151,544. Since then, Jordison has only won more money and gained more experience as she returns to Las Vegas for the 2023 WSOP. While nothing can top her incredible acceptance speech at the 2022 GPI Awards, I’m sure a WSOP bracelet acceptance speech by Jordison will only be slightly less tear-jerking.
Love him or hate him, Phil Hellmuth is the greatest WSOP player of all-time, and it would be a crime to keep him off this list. While there are players who have won more money, when it comes to WSOP bracelets and summer series cashes, no one has more than Hellmuth. Since winning the WSOP Main Event in 1989, Hellmuth has remained a mainstay in poker and has continued to be a winning tournament player no matter how much tougher and larger the fields become. Falling just short of his 17th career WSOP bracelet in 2022, Hellmuth is hungry to add to his legacy and ensure no one ever eclipses his career WSOP bracelet total.
The WSOP Legacy Of Phil Hellmuth
No poker player may ever come close to accomplishing some of the feats Hellmuth has achieved in the WSOP. While everyone knows Hellmuth won the 1989 WSOP Main Event, few poker fans know that he is the only poker player to ever win the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP Europe Main Event. In 2012, Hellmuth made history when he took down the WSOP Europe Main Event for €1,022,376. While the record has since been broken, in 1989 Hellmuth was the youngest player ever to win the WSOP Main Event at the age of 24 (Joe Cada broke this record in 2009 winning the WSOP Main Event at the age of 21).
While ‘Hellmuth Haters” love to highlight the fact that many of Hellmuth’s bracelet victories came in small field events “pre-poker boom”, they fail to acknowledge the way in which Hellmuth won these events. In 1993, Hellmuth not only tied Puggy Pearson’s record of three WSOP bracelets won in a single summer series, but he won said bracelets in three straight poker tournaments. Over the course of three days, Hellmuth won the $2,500 NLH tournament ($173,000), won the $1,500 NLH tournament ($161,400), and then won the $5,000 Limit tournament ($138,000). Going back to back to back, Hellmuth accomplished what no poker player will likely ever replicate, and has only added to his legacy since.
Phil Hellmuth following his win in the 1989 WSOP Main Event
Will Phil Hellmuth Win WSOP Bracelet #17 In 2023?
At a final table that featured our very own Justin Saliba, Phil Hellmuth almost went the distance in the $3,000 NLH Freezeout despite accusations he was dressed like a Spice Girl. Ultimately losing heads-up to the eventual winner David Jackson, Hellmuth fell just short of winning bracelet #17, despite the many memorable moments he created at the final table. Although he would reach the final table in two other events, Hellmuth would be denied bracelet number 17 at the 2022 WSOP, looking to 2023 to further his record.
While no-limit hold’em remains Hellmuth’s main game, The Poker Brat has an acumen for mixed games as well. Of his 16 WSOP bracelet victories, seven have come from mixed-game events. Due to his proficiency in games outside of NLH, Hellmuth has a shot at winning a bracelet in every WSOP summer series, and number 17 may very well come from a mixed game event. As it stands now, no one may ever reach the WSOP bracelet total of Hellmuth, and showing no signs of slowing down Hellmuth seems hellbent on ensuring his record stays intact.