Ontario has produced by far the bulk of Canada’s bracelet winners from past World Series of Poker, so we are just going to have to make the list for our picks for from the province just a little bit longer to do our players justice. Kirk Caldwell and Mark Radoja brought 2 of Canada’s 5 total WSOP bracelets back to Ontario in 2011 and while we love their chances for a repeat, we have our eyes on a few from Toronto in particular, looking to score #1.
Toronto’s Xuan ”xx23xx” Liu has already started 2012 with a bang, finish 4th in the 2012 PCA $10,000 event for a cool $600,000. That wasn’t her first big buy-in Main Event final table finish either, as Liu also finished 3rd at EPT San Remo in April of 2011 and earned roughly $525,000 for that impressive finish as well.
Xuan’s at nearly $1,260,000 in career live winnings already, putting in roughly the same bracket as other well known Canadians such as Ben Wilinofsky, Pascal Lefrancois, Isabelle Mercier and Terrence Chan on the Canadian All Time Money lists as well as making her one of the top Canadian Pros in demand. She’s already cashed in 3 events at past World Series of Poker and is clearly just getting better and better at the game. Throw in another few hundred thousand in online MTT winnings, competency in mixed disciplines of the game and a reputation as a top high stakes cash game player and it becomes quite clear that Xuan is definitely a top pick to go the distance at the WSOP this year.
Mike ”goleafsgoeh” Leah also hails from the Toronto area and has money making consistency at the poker tables that few can match, especially at the buy-in ranges that make up the bulk of the World Series of Poker schedule. Between the WSOP, WOSPE and WSOPC, Leah put a total of 7 cashes on the board in 2011 alone, 5 of which were at the Rio. If one were to talk about poker’s best well rounded players, Leah’s name is also surely to be at the top of this list; there is no form of poker Mike can’t play well and make money at.
Whether it’s Stud, Omaha, Limit, Pot Limit or No Limit, a Shoot-out, Hi/Lo or a Super Turbo, Leah can beat it and has; the list of just top 3 finishes making up his $1,465,000 in live tournament winnings towers over the majority of Canadian players entire in the money history. He’s raked over another $2,210,000 online, so trophies titles and six figure pay-days have become somewhat ”standard” for Mike; only a bracelet win or the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup are going to get his heart pumping hard and we are pretty sure which of the two is going to make that happen first.
Sorel ”zangbezan24” Mizzi has nearly $4,450,000 in live tournament cashes, with another $2,500,000 online and pretty much owns the Player of the Year rankings and lists put out by poker Media; if he isn’t winning it, he’s runner up and we’d venture to say nobodies name has been more of a constant that Sorel’s. He’s also in the top ten on the Canadian Poker Player Money Lists, including our own from 2011.
He’s cashed a notable 18 times in previous WSOP events, including 3 final table finishes and been literally within arms reach of a bracelet at 2 of them. Mizzi finished 2nd in both $5,000 and €5,000 WSOP Pot Limit Events in Las Vegas and across the pond. While he’s won his fair share of titles, Mizzi will tell you none are the ”major” validation he’s looking for quite yet. We think he’d be satisfied with a 2012 World Series of Poker bracelet and you can be damn sure he’ll be gunning for one, if not more, this year.
Pat Pezzin has cashed an incredible 22 times at the World Series of Poker and sat at 4 of their final tables. He came very close to his first bracelet in a $10,000 Limit Hold’em back in 2009, but 2 of his top ten finishes have been in Seven Card Stud Events.
Omaha Hi/Lo Events have produced several top 20 finishes for Pezzin and he’s also had and impressive 3rd place finish in a $5,000 PCA 8-game Event; all this to say that if there is a seat open at any of the tournaments spread at this year’s WSOP, Pat has a shot of taking it down. With roughly $1,760,000 in combined live and online tournament winnings, there is no doubt he’s going to at least rake in some serious cash.
We’ve linked in some past articles and interviews with these players for your reading pleasure, but be sure to also check out some of the great live interviews (available for download) they have done with our friends over at ”PokerEH!” on the QuadJacks Network