The New Year is in its infancy so that gives me chance to take a look at five British poker tournament specialists who I think are ones to watch in 2014 in either the live or online arenas.
It would be easy to fire off the same names such as Chris Moorman, Toby Lewis and Stephen Chidwick who are always going to crush the games they play in, but I do not like to do things the easy way and have chosen my five to watch based on my own selection criteria not only because the player is a stellar name. Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road.
The name of Jareth East first came known to me in September 2013 when it appeared as if from nowhere while researching an article about the top ranked poker tournament players in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Until September 12, East did not have a profile on PocketFives.com but as soon as he created one, he soared into the top 20 in the UK rankings and has continued to climb ever since.
Here are four of East’s biggest scores in the online poker world.
- 5th place in the FTOPS Main Event in December 2013 for $82,650
- 3rd place in the PokerStars Super Tuesday in October 2013 for $55,555
- 1st place in the Full Tilt Poker Sunday Brawl in November 2013 for $51,200
- 2nd place in the PokerStars Bigger $162 in August 2013 for $33,372
I find it difficult to imagine East not continuing to crush all those who dare stand before him and would not be surprised to see the lad from Surrey secure his first six-figure score during 2014.
East has not been able to reproduce his online exploits in the live arena as yet, but after winning a seat to the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $109, he has the perfect chance to rectify that situation this month.
When I interviewed some of the UK’s best poker players in 2013, one question I asked them was which player they thought was either the most underrated or one who would shine in the not too distant future. One name that continually cropped up was that of Rhys Jones, better-known as “floppinhel” when plying his trade at the virtual felt.
Jones is currently ranked fifth in the UK and 46 in the world, although he has been ranked as high as 18th in the world during the latter part of 2013. Three of Jones’ four largest career cashes came in 2013 and are shown below.
- 1st place in the MiniFTOPS Event #4 for $50,009
- 1st place in the PokerStars Sunday 2nd Chance for $48,008
- 3rd place in the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $38,218
2013 also saw Jones bank two of his largest live cashes, one for €39,500 and the other topping the scales at €32,650. I have a feeling that this could be Jones’ year to flourish even more in both online and live poker circles.
Twenty-six year old Ben Warrington is next on my list of players to watch partly because he has been producing solid results for as long as I can remember. Warrington ended 2013 in great form and there is no reason why he shouldn’t continue that good run as the New Year gets into full swing. Some of his late-2013 results include:
- 2nd in the PokerStars Sunday 2nd Chance for $34,650
- 2nd in the Full Tilt Poker FTOPS Event #16 for $100,000
- 2nd in the 888poker $75,000 Super XL Mega Deep for $13,650
- 12th in the PokerStars WCOOP Challenge Event #7 for $9,781
Warrington is currently ranked 25th in the UK and 276th in the world, two positions we fully expect him to improve on during the next 12 months. In 2010, Warrington was ranked as high as 49th in the worldwide rankings, a dizzy height that he is more than capable of reaching once again.
Scotland’s David Vamplew has already enjoyed plenty of success in the live and online poker worlds – he is a former European Poker Tour champion after all – but I have a sneaky feeling that “Vamps” will shine again in the next 12 months.
Online in 2013, Vamplew hit three of his largest online tournament scores — $111,768, $80,289 and $61,457 — but it is his live results that I think will spur him on to bigger and better things in the coming months.
Vamplew came agonisingly close to winning a World Series of Poker not once but on two occasions in 2013. First, Vamplew finished as runner-up to Trevor Pope in the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em 8-Handed (Event #2) and then had to be the bridesmaid to Brett Shaffer in Event #53 the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event. Those two results bagged Vamplew a combined $755,607 in prize money and must have inspired him to win some poker jewellery in 2014.
He may not be a regular in the biggest nightly tournaments but Dan Carter is prepared to put in the hours and he certainly knows his way around the virtual felt and his $905,115 in online tournament winnings are evidence of that.
From reading various posts and his blog on the Blonde Poker forums, it is evident that Carter is as focussed as he has ever been in the 10 years that he has played poker. Carter’s main goal for 2014 is to clear $100,000 in profit and I for one will be rooting for him from the rail.
My notepad has at least 20 names on it and any one of them could have easily have been mentioned in this article, but alas these are the five I am going with. Do me proud boys and stop me from looking like I do not know what I am talking about!
Lead image courtesy of Wallarc