I’m a big fan of “Rising Stars” and “Ones to Watch” lists, but to be quite honest, it seems like the World Poker Tour (WPT) is about a year behind on their selections. I’m not sure what they think they are accomplishing when they select players who are already on the radar, but it seems every year that most of their “Ones to Watch” list is made up of known quantities in poker.
Take last year for example. Jason Somerville, Shaun Deeb, Xuan Liu, Jason Koon, and Brian Hastings were on the “Ones to Watch” list along with legitimate “Rising Stars” like Amanda Musumeci, AP Phahurat, and Dee Dozier. Really, do we need to be told that Shaun Deeb, Jason Somerville, or Xuan Liu are strong tournament players?
So who is on the list this year? Just four players with between $900k and $2.5 million in career tournament earnings in Jeff Gross, Kyle Julius, Aaron Massey and Loni Harwood (now if they had picked Harwood BEFORE the 2013 WSOP I’d be pretty impressed) as well as Christina Lindley and the relatively unknown Athanasios Polychronopoulos. The final member of the “Ones to Watch” list is Danny Suied who I have never heard of before.
- Jeff Gross: Career Tournament Earnings – $1,516,829
Gross is a regular on the tournament trail, playing virtually any and every tournament available from smaller buy-ins to Super-High-Roller events. It probably doesn’t hurt that he can count Michael Phelps (yah, that Michael Phelps) amongst his friends.
- Loni Harwood: Career Tournament Earnings – $981,927
Harwood had a breakout performance at the 2013 WSOP, capturing a bracelet and making three final tables. It will be interesting to see if Harwood is able to travel the WPT circuit or if she decides to keep honing her craft in events like the WSOPC and Heartland Poker Tour.
- Kyle Julius: Career Tournament Earnings – $2,590,313
Julius is a former online player who has transitioned nicely to the live tournament scene, attested to by his $2.5 million in career tournament earnings. Despite his monetary success Julius has yet to win a live tournament, having finished second in the 2012 PokerStars PCA and a 2012 WSOP tournament.
- Christina Lindley: Career Tournament Earnings – $197,722
Lindley is still an unproven commodity in the poker world, but she has put together a fairly strong resume of live and online success since taking up the game a few years back.
- Aaron Massey: Career Tournament Earnings – $1,389,626
Massey is one of those tournament grinders that quietly plugs along year after year, and with nearly $1.4 million in career earnings he is probably due for a big breakout win.
- Danny “Miami Boss” Suied: Career Tournament Earnings – $226,494
I’m pretty stumped on this one. Suied is definitely colorful, that goes without saying, but I’m not really sure he belongs on a “Ones to Watch” list unless the WPT knows he intends to play multiple events this season.
- Athanasios Polychronopoulos: Career Tournament Earnings – $518,755
This is one of the selections I actually agree with this year. Polychronopoulos is a definite rising star in tournament poker so it should be fun to watch his name get butchered throughout the course of the season. Play at the best online poker room today, check out our detailed review on Titan Poker here.
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