WSOP Players to Watch: Don’t Call It a Comeback

The seven-week stretch of summer that is the World Series of Poker can be a cruel, miserable mistress that sometimes feels like it only serves one master; variance. Over the course of those seven weeks – or even over the course of two or threes WSOPs a player can be seen as a world class player, piling up cashes and final tables and, if they’re fortunate enough, bracelets. Then without warning the cards stop turning, run-good turns to run-bad and suddenly the bankroll begins to bleed like a government funded operation. Changing the tides of fortune isn’t easy, but with a new WSOP comes new hope. In this edition of the BLUFF 2015 WSOP Countdown we’ve isolated five players looking to turn things around this summer.

David “Bakes” Baker

david-baker-wsop-bounce-backCareer Earnings: $2,855,564
WSOP Earnings: $1,841,541
WSOP Cashes: 30
WSOP Bracelets: 2

From 2010 through 2013 David “Bakes” Baker was a force to be reckoned with at the WSOP. He cashed a total of 20 times, made eight final tables, won two bracelets and earned $1.63 million. Then came 2014. He cashed just three times and never made a final table, getting only as close as 12th place.

Baker is capable of playing every game on the WSOP schedule. His bracelets are in HORSE and No Limit 2-7 and he’s cashed in nearly every variant on the WSOP schedule. Making multiple final tables in any given year is never easy but Baker has the pedigree to make 2014 nothing but a blip on an otherwise impressive career.

Shawn Buchanan

shawn-buchanan-wsop-bounce-backCareer Earnings: $5,633,156
WSOP Earnings: $2,339,809
WSOP Cashes: 38
WSOP Bracelets: 0

Every year when the list of “best players without a bracelet” gets trotted out by media, fans and other players, Shawn Buchanan’s name comes up relatively frequently. Buchanan has been close before , with three runner-up finishes to his credit, but the last few years haven’t been kind to the player most of his friends know as “Bucky”.

From 2012 through 2014 Buchanan only cashed a total of 11 times for a total of $108,800. While six figures in earnings sounds impressive, Buchanan most likely played a schedule that meant he was in the red for those three years. Compare those thin years to 2010 and 2011 when Buchanan cashed 17 times and earned $1.74 million – a period that included all three of his second place finishes. Another player adept at all the games offered at the WSOP, Buchanan is a threat to go deep in every smaller field event this summer.

Jonathan Little

jonathan-little-wsop-bounce-backCareer Earnings: $6,002,959
WSOP Earnings: $521,296
WSOP Cashes: 26
WSOP Bracelets: 0

The WSOP schedule just might be Jonathan Little’s best friend this summer. While many mixed game specialists are able to take advantage of the bigger buy-in, smaller field events that dot the schedule, Little makes his mark in the numerous big field, No Limit Hold’em events that make up the bulk of the seven weeks.

At least, he usually does. In 2014 Little only cashed twice for just shy of $37,000, which was the polar opposite of his 2013 WSOP where he took full advantage of his skill set, cashing seven times for $301,100 in earnings and two final table appearances. With 33 different NLHE events on the docket this summer, Little could be one great run away from permanently erasing that goose egg next to his bracelet total.

Michael Mizrachi

michael-mizrachi-wsop-bounce-backCareer Earnings: $14,284,043
WSOP Earnings: $6,931,580
WSOP Cashes: 35
WSOP Bracelets: 3

A former WSOP Player of the Year, Michael Mizrachi has a habit of putting together streaky summers at the WSOP. Some of the streaks are good ones but 2014 wasn’t exactly his shining moment. He cashed twice for just over $16,000, a far cry from some of his better performances.

Between 2010 and 2012 Mizrachi cashed 11 times, 10 of which were final tables, and earned over $3.5 million. With two $50,000 Players Championship titles to his credit, Mizrachi proved that he can play the Stud and Omaha games on the WSOP schedule, and he’s made a bulk of his lifetime earnings in NLHE tournaments so he’s capable of breaking through on almost day of the WSOP. As he proved in 2010 and 2012, if Mizrachi gets going early on, he quickly becomes a big threat in the WSOP POY race.

Marco Johnson

marco-johnson-wsop-bounce-backCareer Earnings: $2,158,253
WSOP Earnings: $1,419,706
WSOP Cashes: 27
WSOP Bracelets: 1

When Daniel Negreanu hosts his $25,000 buy-in fantasy poker draft before start of every WSOP, the bidding goes a little nuts when Marco Johnson is on the block. In 2013 Johnson delivered for his fantasy owners when he cashed seven times, earned the first bracelet of his career and banked $440,000 in the process.

He followed that up with a different kind of summer in 2014, with just three cashes, one final table bubble and he just $25,000. The reason that Johnson is so respected by other pros is his ability to play every game in the mix. Since 2010 he’s cashed in 10 different variants at the WSOP including all of the mixed game varieties spread this year.

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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at BLUFF.com
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, ThePokerBiz.com in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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