My Picks to Win Their First Bracelet at the 2010 WSOP
The World Series of Poker 2010 is just over two months away and it is about time for the media to start their speculation into who will do well and who will have breakout performances. Of course, I could come on here and make my standard "Ivey will win a bracelet and maybe more if he applies himself" prediction, but for this blog, I figured I would list the five players that I feel have a good shot at a bracelet this year.
#1: Andy Bloch
Every since I first met Andy in 2006, I have been pulling for him. Bloch has two runner-up finishes, with the most famous being his runner-up finish to Chip Reese in the 2006 $50k HORSE event. Richard Brodie and I ran into him the day after the loss and I was amazed at how well he seemed to take that crushing loss. After seeing the footage, I was doubly impressed. I think this is the year he avoids a bevy of bad beats heads-up and takes one down. It would be fitting if he could take down the $50,000 Player's Championship and have his name etched on the same trophy that he helped to make famous.
#2. Matt Stout
Stout has been on a nice run over the last five months. Three straight WPT cashes as well as a 3rd place finish at the World Poker Finals. Also, he made the WSOP-C Main Event final table in Tunica for the 2nd year in a row. Stout finished 13th in the $3k NL Holdem Event in 2008 (Won by John Pham and covered by yours truly.) He has yet to make a WSOP final table, but with his run lately, don't be surprised if he takes down a NL bracelet.
Dwan is a player that if he were to really focus on tournaments, I think he would do well, but it is always about the big cash games with him. And you really cannot blame him as who wants to spend 3 days playing a tournament for the same amount of money you could win in one session of $300 - $600 PLO.
With that said, a lot of a player's popularity comes from what they have done in tournaments. Dwan is a rare exception. If not for the internet and shows such as High Stakes Poker, Dwan would almost be the modern day Chip Reese. Reese was a fantastic player, but unless you were REALLY into poker or played high stakes, you never even heard of him until he started playing more tournaments in 2006.
If Dwan focuses, I think he could take down his first bracelet.
#4. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi
Two-time WPT champion Michael Mizrachi is one of the more consistent players on the tour. 2009 was a down year for Mizrachi, and he still managed to win over $300,000 in tournaments. He went 0 for the 2009, which was a far cry from a five cash with 2 final tables performance of 2008.
With over $7 Million in tournament winnings, he has the experience and track record to break through in 2010. Mizrachi will not be 0 for 2010.
#5. Bill Gazes
It is amazing that Bill Gazes is still without a bracelet. It isn't due to lack of getting to the final table. He has finished in 7th, 6th twice, 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in his seven final tables. He hasn't had a final table in a couple of years, but that doesn't mean he won't get there again. Gazes was another 0 for 2009 player at the WSOP. Don't expect the same performance again.
There are other well deserving players out there that have a shot at the gold in 2009, but I think these five are some of the ones to watch for when Ivey or Seidel isn't creeping up on Hellmuth's bracelet record.