The past three years have seen a flurry of results from talented BC poker players at the World Series of Poker. Greg Mueller captured two bracelets within 11 days at the 2009 series, Shawn Buchanan cashed an impressive 8 times in 2010, including a runner-up finish in the $25k 6max event for over $800k. Finally, who can forget Surrey’s Matt Jarvis and his 8th place finish in the main event. British Columbia is proving there is a deep well of poker talent on the great white north’s west coast. While these names might be primed for even more success, there is a bevy of very gifted, lesser known BC poker players who are ready to make a name for themselves and breakout at the WSOP in 2011. Here are some names to keep an eye out for.
Ben “NeverScaredB” Wilinofsky
With over $2 million in online cashes, including a victory in the Super Tuesday and runner-up in the 750k, Ben has been an online beast for years. This spring, he decided to add a live score to his resume when he went out and captured the EPT Berlin title for over $1.1 million. It was his first live cash.
He followed that feat with a deep run at the EPT Madrid main event the following month, finally bowing out in 44th place. Not long ago threatening to retire from the game forever, Ben is now more confident than ever, and a definite name to watch for at the series this year.
Clark “Snake8484” Hamagami
Everyone who has played with Snake knows just how difficult he makes life on the felt for his opponents. A model of consistency, Clark has cemented himself in the top 100 of the Pocket Fives leader board for what seems like eternity.
While his career $1.7 million in online cashes are impressive, he has yet to have a real breakthrough live score. A 17th place finish in the $40k NL event in 2009 for over $95k turned a few heads, but not mine. Keep a close eye on Clark. He is due, and I am expecting big things from him in the near future.
Chris “maxxscam” Back
Originally from Terrace, once living in Kamloops, and now residing in downtown Vancouver, Chris is a consummate poker professional. He has been playing poker since before the poker boom. Maxxscam enjoyed his most successful year to date in 2010 when he picked up an FTOPS Jersey, two runner-up finishes in other FTOPS events as well making the final table of the BC Poker Championships, finishing sixth.
Chris sits 96th on the all-time Canadian money list with over $300k in live cashes, and has scored of $1.1 million in online cashes. Despite all of these accomplishments, Chris has yet to have a six-figure cash. Hungrier and more confident than ever, it is only a matter of time before Chris picks up that big score and is recognized as an elite tournament player.
Ashkan “Draethen” Razavi
Anyone who has played higher stakes cash games in Western Canada has surely enjoyed some time at the table with Ash. While he is a fierce opponent on the cash game tables, Mr. Razavi’s tournament accomplishments are often overlooked. This past year, he made the final table of the BC Poker Championships, where he finished 8th for $37k. While he is definitely a winning no-limit holdem player, his specialty is most certainly pot-limit omaha. At the 2010 WSOP, Ash came 5th in a $1500 PLO event for over $55k; and just a week ago, he took 2nd in the $5k PLO scoop 6-max event for over $87k. If Ash spends more time at the tournament tables than the cash game tables this summer, we could definitely see some big scores from this talented pro.
Josh “Mammola” Mammon
Another professional eager to obtain a breakout score, Mammola is no stranger to high stakes or big fields. Both a live cash game player and online tournament machine, Josh has several deep runs and sizeable scores to his name. These include a 13th place finish in a field of over six-thousand in a $1k WSOP event in 2009, as well as several deep runs in other local, WPT and WSOP tournaments. Recently, he final tabled the Sunday Million on Pokerstars, placing 6th out of a field of over eight-thousand. Although he is yet to hit a big payday, with 4 $50k+ scores to his name, Josh’s talent and hard work cannot be ignored. He has something to prove this summer, so keep an eye out.
BC poker players have great opportunities of winning their WSOP packages without leaving their front door. PlayNow is offering 27 WSOP packages to residents of BC through satellites running to the end of June. You can also enter a simple contest where you can win a WSOP package just for signing up to the lobby. Click here to open up a new account on PlayNow.com
By Mark-Daniel Hughes