posted on March 24, 2013 01:40
I’ve broken this column up into three sections to differentiate between players with a long history of bad luck, and players who just haven’t won yet –I’ve also set aside a third category for one superstar player who I’ll start calling Dan Marino or Charles Barkley!
Long-Time Pros with no WSOP Jewelry
• Marcel Luske –Just under $2.5 million in career tournament earnings; 20 WSOP cashes; 7 WSOP final tables.
While I was researching this article I was bit amazed that Luske had never won a bracelet; given the Dutchman’s skill level in multiple forms of poker. His best chance came in the $5k Seven Card Stud Championship in 2004, where he finished 2nd. Marcel also has two 3rd place finishes in WSOP events.
• Andy Bloch – Over $3 million in career tournament earnings; 21 WSOP cashes; 8 WSOP final tables.
Bloch, a former member of the infamous MIT blackjack team, has been a long-time tournament poker competitor. Bloch has two runner-up finishes in WSOP events: In 2006 he finished 2nd in the $50k H.O.R.S.E. tournament, and in 2008 he finished 2nd in the $10k Pot Limit Hold’ Em tournament.
• Phil Gordon – Over $1.1 million in career tournament earnings; 15 WSOP cashes; Finished 4th in 2001 Main Event
Gordon is perhaps best known as the host of Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown, one of the first televised poker shows. The self-made millionaire has also had some success on the felt, but has yet to win a coveted bracelet. Gordon has two 3rd place finishes to go along with his 4th place finish in the main Event in 2001.
• Bill Gazes – Close to $2 million in career tournament earnings; 28 WSOP cashes; has cashed 9 years in a row at the WSOP.
Gazes, a long-time pro, wallowed in anonymity for years; until a horrendous field goal attempt on ESPN’s ‘The Nuts’ segment skyrocketed him into the mainstream of the poker world (make sure you thank that intern that beaned you with the ball Billy!) Gazes came close to capturing a bracelet in the 2007 $5k H.O.R.S.E. event where he finished 2nd.
• Gavin Smith – Almost $4 million in career tournament earnings; WPT player of the year; 15 WSOP cashes.
Gavin is well known for his propensity to make ‘prop’ bets, and to make the payout extremely embarrassing to the loser (Google, Gavin Smith+Prop bet, for a good laugh). He’s also known for being one of the best poker players in the world. His chance to add a bracelet to his impressive resume came up short in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’ Em event in 2007, where he finished as the bridesmaid.
• Mike “The Grinder” Mizrachi – Over $6.7 million in career tournament earnings; 19 WSOP cashes; 2 WPT titles.
I had a tough time deciding if “The Grinder should be considered a long-time pro, or an up-and-comer; but when I saw he has 19 WSOP cashes the decision became crystal clear. Mizrachi’s closest brush with a bracelet came in 2008 when he finished 3rd in the $10k Pot Limit Omaha Championship.
Young Guns Seeking Their First Bracelet • Tom Dwan – There is no doubt in my mind that Dwan, better known as ‘durrr’, will win multiple bracelets. His incredible skill-set, and his absolute fearlessness will make him a force in live tournaments.
• Patrik Antonius – Antonius has already made three final tables at the WSOP; in only 4 years of playing. Considered one of the best cash game players in the world, it’s unlikely a bracelet will avoid him for very long.
• Ivan Demidov – Demidov burst onto the poker scene last year, and has only been playing poker since 2006! His runner-up finish in the 2008 Main Event cemented the Russian as one of the top new players.
How On Earth Hasn’t He Won A Bracelet???
• Gus Hansen – Over $5 million in career tournament earnings; 2 WPT titles; Won the 2007 Aussie Million.
In my opinion the only reason Gus has yet to win a bracelet is because he only plays $10k events. His ‘snobbery’ of the lower buy-in tournaments severely limits his chances of winning a bracelet each year. The typical top flight pro probably enters 30+ each year at the WSOP; Gus enters about 5; tops!
Hansen’s closest brush with a WSOP bracelet came in 2008 in the World Championship Mixed Event, where he finished 10th.