Top Ten

Top Ten

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Shaun Deeb picks his underrated favourites.

Ranking poker players in lists is all the rage at the moment, from the hugely popular Global Poker Index to our very own Bluff European Rankings. But in a game filled with variance, surely the best measure of a poker player is his standing amongst his peers. That’s why we asked Shaun Deeb to compile his list of the top ten poker players you may never have heard of. Each player on this list is predicted to make an impact on the tournament tour in 2013. Take it away, Shaun.

1. Steve O’Dwyer

Steve has been putting in crazy volume over the last 18 months, hitting every major stop on the tournament circuit. He just final-tabled yet another main event recently at the EPT London, yet he continues to be under the radar because he hasn’t won any major events. He is the number one player to watch in the coming year, and I expect many more final table appearances from him.
[Editor's note: Since Shaun wrote this piece, Steve only went and won the EPT Grand Final Main Event!]


2. Andrew Dean (APD0290)

I expect a lot of people to be surprised that I place this little known underdog as the second person on this list, but the truth is that APD0290 has over $2 million in online tournament winnings, and he is beginning to focus on live tournaments now. This young kid has some serious talent and I predict he will make his mark live this year.


3. Mickey Peterson (mement_mori)

Mickey is a respected member of the PokerStars Team Online. He is skilled in many games, and has been playing in more of the larger buy-in events since he won the EPT Copenhagen event in 2012. What impresses me the most about Mickey is that he is consistently running deep. I predict this will continue for him in the coming year.


4. Jeff Hakim (Jeff710 @ PokerStars, YoungSupremacy & Full Tilt Poker)

This Lebanese-born online player has “only” $706,000 in ranked winnings so far on the tour, but my personal experience with him as a player is why he makes this list. I have played with him many times over the years and he always seems to be still in late in most events. He is a survivor. His time is now.


5. Sam Stein (kingkobemvp)

Sam’s most recent score was a second-place finish in the Wynn $5k, but most poker fans will remember him from his back-to-back WSOP PLO final tables in 2011 where he placed first and third. Sam is probably the player I am least likely to want on my table, especially if he is seated on my left. Now the secret is out.


6. Juan Carlos “JC” Alvarado

JC is following the footsteps of Steve O’Dwyer. They are very close friends and, considering the results that Steve has been showing, it’s just a matter of time before JC is ready to take the stage. He is a player who is ready to compete in every tourney, including the high-rollers. With over $3 million in earnings under his belt I feel it is his turn to shine.


7. Paul Volpe (paulgees)

Paul just made two back-to-back World Poker Tour final tables, entering both as the chip leader. I have been following him since he was primarily an online grinder under the name paulgees. I hear that Paul learned multi-table tournament strategy from noted online grinder Mark Herm (Dipthrong). What’s most impressive about Paul is that he’s still learning and adapting. He seems to improve his game every day he plays.


8. Calvin Anderson (cal42688)

Not many people have over $4 million in tournament earnings at PokerStars and almost $1 million at Full Tilt Poker; Cal is the rare exception. He is the one guy on this list who has the ability to be a great player in any form of poker. He plays all of the games and plays them tough, but NLH tournaments are his forté. Now relocated to Europe, he will be an unstoppable force this year.


9. Randal Flowers (RandALLin)

Randal has close to $3 million in combined online and live tournament wins under his belt, yet he continues to remain under the radar of most poker fans. He won the 2009 World Poker Tour Spanish Championship and the 2010 Festa Al Lago Classic at the Bellaio, but it’s been three years since he has had significant results to match these achievements. I think he is still ready to dominate any field he comes across, and if he continues to put in the hours on the tour it’s just a matter of time.


10. Ole Schemion

Ole is one of the toughest young kids on thte tournament circuit. I happened to make a final table with him during the 2012 PCA and he greatly impressed me with his play on both days we played together. His is a great example of the young German talent that is dominating all the high roller events across the world right now. Definitely the one to watch.


Shaun Frank Deeb is a professional poker player originally from Troy, New York, who has won two World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) titles, five Spring Championship of Online Poker titles – including four earned in 2012 – and 17 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in-the-money finishes, with two final table appearances.

Tags: Shaun Deeb, Steve O'Dwyer, Andrew Dean, Mickey Peterson, Jeff Hakim, Sam Stein, JC Alvarado, Paul Volpe, Calvin Anderson, Randal Flowers, Ole Schemion