WSOP 2012 Ones To Watch – Ontario


The 2012 World Series of Poker is once again just around the corner, so we figured it’s about the right time to ”pick some chalk” or Canadian favorites to win WSOP gold, starting with poker talent packed Ontario.

It isn’t easy to narrow it down to just a few, but there are certainly a few players that could already be considered overdue for the glory reserved for that exclusive club of bracelet winners; the accomplishment that seeming that trumps all other titles in the eyes of the masses.

When it comes to Ontario players, several have come very close to said epic win already; we like their chances of getting that notch on their belt, or more appropriately gold on their wrist, this year:

Toronto’s Simon “pokerbrat13” Charette cashed a total of 6 times over the 2011 WSOP, including narrowly missing a bracelet with a heads up finish in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em that was good for more than $400,000. Over 2010 and 2009 Simon made the pay-outs in 5 other events, his performance improving with each consecutive year. With almost a dozen WSOP in the money finishes, total career live cashes totaling nearly $1,000,000 and another $2,340,000 in the large tough fields that make up online MTTs, Charette is definitely at the top of the pack when it comes to our prospects.

Also from TO, Matt Marafioti has also already been within arms reach of a coveted WSOP title; in 2011 he finished 5th in Event #2, a $25,000 Heads Up event, while during 2010, he also came oh-so-close with a second place finish in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em. So far, Matt has cashed 5 times at the World Series of poker, collecting better than $500,000 for his efforts to date. More recently, Marafioti finished second to 2011 November Niner Phil Collins on the Heartland Poker Tour and cashed 5 out 6 times playing the World Poker Tour circuit. Now sitting just shy of $2,000,000 in live tournament winnings, with another million more playing as ”ADZ124” on PokerStars Marafioti is more than due for some serious spotlight on the world’s biggest poker stage.

andrew-chen-2011-PCA-bounty-shootout-winner-thumbAndrew Chen has been front and center lately after chopping up some serious coin on the EPT, however the real significance here is that a great player with more than $2,820,000 in world circuit winnings with another over $1,500,000 online, just made some serious extra bankroll a month prior to this year’s WSOP; we are going to assume that he is hungry for a world renowned poker title, with nothing in his way to peruse one. Chen has also had a second place finished already in a past WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event back in 2009 and with a total of 7 World Series of Poker cashes so far, it all adds up to the right time to get the bracelet monkey off his back.

Mike McDonald has been crushing the game since he first appeared on world circuit five years ago at the age of 18 and he’s averaged about a million dollars a year in live tournament winnings since. Over 2011, he was second to only Daniel Negreanu of the top Canadian money earners. He played his first World Series last year and managed to cash twice, including making a 6 handed final table in a $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, so he’s not off to a bad start on his bracelet chase so far. The bottom line is that ”Timex” has already amassed over $5,000,000 in combined live & online poker tournament winnings and there is little doubt that he like many other competitive player, wouldn’t mind a bracelet to go with the collection on the mantle before he retires. As a top ten player on the ”Canadian All Time Money” list, we think he has a pretty damn decent shot”

Last of our Ontario five, but certainly not least is of course, Daniel Negreanu. While Las Vegas is clearly where he now keeps most of his stuff, the man insists on the poker world remembering and recognizing him always as a Canadian and returns to Toronto often, so we’ll count him as such regardless of the flag that pops up during WSOP updates. Negreanu just made another million last week and with 4 bracelets already to his name, there is zero doubt he can get the job done. He didn’t get there last year however, so we think he’ll really be gunning in 2012. Mostly, given his ”high roller” event track record to date, we like his chances in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop to add the newest piece to his collection of WSOP bling.

We’ll be back with another 5 and another province soon, so please continue to join us and comment we make our picks for the 2012 WSOP!





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Jon Harnish
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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