2012 WSOP Ones To Watch – Alberta


Alberta has some pretty solid poker players, but like a few other provinces is still looking to have one of it’s own bring home a bracelet; the 2012 World Series of Poker could very well be the year to get it done and we just happen to have a few picks on who might be the player to do just that…

Edmonton’s Samuel Ngai has already cashed 7 times at the WSOP since 2009, raking in more than $126,000 along the way. His track record so far includes a final table in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha and deep runs in both the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em and PLO Championships. Outside the World Series of Poker, he’s no stranger to the bigger buy-ins, having cut his tournament teeth with a decent cash at the World Poker Tour $9,500 Legends of Poker back in 2008.

On the Canadian circuit, Samuel just missed both the $2,500 BCPC Main Event and $2,200 COPC final tables with 11th place finishes, proving to be force to be reckoned with in any field he plays in. All told Ngai has no less than $210,000 in live tournament winnings and his reputation is even stronger when you factor in his success very tough NLH and PLO ring games.

Also from the ”City of Champions”, Alemu (Jerome) Makonen has been making some serious waves in the poker world in 2012; he won his first chunk of WSOP gold at a circuit event earlier this year, snagging a ring and winning a Venetian Deep Stacks Extravaganza event in the same week.

Over just the past year, he’s also had multiple final table finishes in both Regina and Edmonton; all told Alemu ended up raking in roughly $100,000 in medium buy-in live tournament winnings over 9 cashes. Makonen is clearly on a poker mission and yes, as we have confirmed with him, he very much wants a bracelet too.

Calgary’s Joel Bullock already has 6 World Series of Poker Cashes in $1,000-$1,500 tournaments on his poker resume and his finish ranking just keeps getting better and better. In 2011, Bullock finished in the top 100 in all 3 of his cashes, including a 37th place finish out of 2,500 entries.

Joel has no less than 8 final tables and $175,000 in tournament winnings in Canadian Events alone, including a winning a 2010 Canadian Open Poker Championships $1,000 No Limit Hold’em and a runner up finish in the $2,000 at COPC 2011.


Grande Prairie’s John ”REDDYBABY902” Wilson already popped his WSOP cherry back in 2010 in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em and very narrowly missed the money on Day 4 of the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship last year. He’s also placed 3rd or better in at least 4 live medium limit events including; the Canadian Poker Championships in Edmonton, and 3rd place deals in both a $1,500 Deeps Stacks Extravaganza at the Venetian and in the British Columbia Poker Championships worth about $90,000 a piece.

John won both the 9th Annual Western Canadian Poker Classic Main Event and the $2,000 COPC Heads Up Championship in 2011. He’s already all warmed in 2012 too, hot off a $62,000 2nd place finish in the PokerStars $1,050 ”Super Tuesday” in April. More than $500,000 in combined online and live tournament winnings make Wilson a serious WSOP bracelet contender in our opinion.

Calgary’s Khoa Nguyen has already finished in the money 4 times at the World Series of Poker since 2010, but his last one really put him on the map; he was Canada’s last man standing in the 2011 $10,000 No Limit Championship, finishing 11th for more than $607,000!

It was good enough to put him in the Top Ten Canadians Players Money List for 2011 and we were lucky enough to break than WSOP Main Event experience down with Khoa. We know he has since wrestled his tournament demon and very few will have the experience of the pressure that Khoa has already faced at the WSOP; expect him to read souls and crush the dreams of anybody standing in his way on this year’s bracelet hunt.


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35 year old recreational player, husband and father of three from Calgary, Alberta. Enjoy lower stakes cash games including PLO and limit Omaha 8. Any of the micro-stakes HORSE games will play online MTTS and SNGs. Live, Tournaments and Satellites up to $550. I love the game but am far to social to take it seriously and sometimes give up a little to much information at the table because I enjoy discussing the game, so decided it was safest for my bankroll to take up writing about the game. That way I still get to meet the cool people and opinions on the game, but with a little less risk. Writing wise, currently a regular contributor to Poker Pro Canada, like to write profiles, previews and recaps the most. formally wrote for Canadian Poker Player Canada. My Poker Blogs have been featured on CardPlayer Social and SpadeClub as "Recommended" or in newsletters on several occasions and Pokerweblogs as "Blog of the Month". Past projects included organizing and promoting major events with the Canadian Poker Tour, introducing Big Slick Poker Tour to Southern Alberta and directing events and finals.


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