Players to Watch: Handicapping Some Names to Look for This Summer at the World Series of Poker

May 31, 2022
Players to Watch: Handicapping Some Names to Look for This Summer at the World Series of Poker

The World Series of Poker gets underway today in Las Vegas and once again the USPoker team has selected some players to watch.

The series runs May 31 – July 20 with 87 live bracelet events and 14 online. Players from around the world will be heading to Sin City to take a shot at some card-playing glory.

With thousands of players in Bally’s/Paris each day, picking just a few to have a nice summer isn’t easy. But that’s what the USPoker team of Sean Chaffin, Anthony Cicali, and Valerie Cross have attempted to do.

This year, these prognosticators were allowed two of the bigger names in poker and two who may fly under the radar for most poker fans (around $1 million in winnings or less). Here’s a look at a few players to watch this summer.

Valerie Cross, Catena Media senior regional content manager

Daniel Sepiol

  • Career highlights: 1st in MSPT 2021 Iowa Main Event ($163,000); 2nd in $1,100 WPT/PokerGO 2021 Deepstack Championship ($105,000)
  • Tournament winnings: $892,000

Sepiol is hot off his career-best scores and closing in on the seven-figure in cashes mark. At the current rate, he will likely get there in a hurry and maybe snag some WSOP gold along the way.

Dean Lisle

  • Career highlights: 1st in Hard Rock Cincinnati 2022 WUPS $1,500 Main Event ($130,000); 2nd in 2014 Jack Cincinnati Labor Day Deepstack ($87,000)
  • Tournament winnings: $300,000

This Cincinnati player (Eric Lisle on Hendon Mob) just posted his best live score to date, taking down the Hard Rock Cincy Warm Up Poker Series $1,500 Main Event for $130,000. He also won a $400 buy-in $50,000 guarantee event in the same series and he’ll be looking to carry the momentum into the WSOP this summer. 

Jacob Bazeley

  • Career highlights: WSOPC Cherokee Main Event (1st in 2014 for $239,000; 1st in 2018 for $312,000); 2012 WSOP $1,500 NLHE, 2nd for $322,000
  • Tournament winnings: $4.5 million

I’m homering it up with my Cincinnati picks this year. Another dangerous tournament player, Bazeley has two WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event wins but the WSOP bracelet has eluded him. The closest he got was second place in a $1,500 NLHE event in 2012 and he probably would like some redemption for that one.

Brian Altman Brian Altman recently added a WSOP.com title to his massive year on the WPT.

  • Career highlights: 3 WPT Main Event titles totaling over $1.8 million
  • Tournament winnings: $6.5 million

Altman’s last win was just in April in a $25,000 High Roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Poker Showdown for $693,000. A month before that he won the WSOPC Main Event at Isle Pompano for over $200,000. He has three WPT Main Tour titles, all at Florida venues but no gold at the WSOP (yet). 

Anthony Cicali, USPoker contributor

Michael Marder

  • Career highlights: 1st, $500 WSOP Online Circuit event (January 2022, $27,601); 3rd WSOP $2,500 NLHE (2018, $223,564)
  • Tournament winnings: $1.4 million

Marder has already earned a seat to this year’s Tournament of Champions with a championship ring win. He’s a well-rounded northeast grinder who has excelled online and live. Expect to see him regularly throughout the series.

Ethan “Rampage” Yau

  • Career highlights: 1st, WSOP.com Sunday $100,000 Guaranteed (March 2022, $27,984); 1 WSOP bracelet, 3 WSOPC rings
  • Tournament winnings: $343,000 

Rampage plans to hit Vegas hard this summer. The Youtube Vlogger is strategizing to make some big moves this summer. Look for his recent run of success to continue.

“I’ll be firing in everything this summer basically,” Yau tells USPoker.

Ryan Dodd 

  • Career highlights: 3rd, WSOP $2,000 Online Circuit  (March 2022, $29,283); 3 WSOPC championship rings
  • Tournament winnings: $2.4 million (online and live)

Dodd is another exceptional player that continues to study the game. He will be making a few trips to Vegas this summer including for the Main Event.

Kevin “Sofcknsick” Campbell

  • Career highlights: 1st, Borgata Sunday $35,000 guaranteed (April 2020, $9,534); 
  • Tournament winnings:  $1.3 million (online and live)

Last year’s bubble boy will not be playing a full schedule this summer, but the New Jersey grinder will be back with a vengeance in the Main Event. Expect Campbell to make some deep runs this summer.

Sean Chaffin, USPoker site runner and editor

Jeremy Ausmus The WSOP has entered its second week and some headlines included a Phil Hellmuth final table and Jeremy Ausmus winning his second bracelet.

  • Career highlights – multiple PokerGO Tour titles; three WSOP bracelets
  • Tournament winnings – $12.3 million

Over the last two years, Ausmus has been the model of consistency, running big in massive moments. That included a bracelet last year in a $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller for $1.2 million as well as a bracelet in the COVID-19 charity event. Look for more nice finishes in 2022.

Darren Elias

  • Career highlights – four-time WPT champion; runner-up PokerGO Heads-up Championship 2022 ($200,000)
  • Tournament winnings – $10.4 million

Elias just missed another WPT title, finishing runner-up in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $600,000. He’s been on a tear in recent months and just seems primed for a big run in Las Vegas. Could his first bracelet be in the works this summer? That would add to an already-impressive career for this BetMGM Poker ambassador.

Nicholas Verderamo

  • Career highlights – 6 WSOPC rings; fourth, 2022 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open for $361,130
  • Tournament winnings – $916,725

This player from Maryland seems primed for a nice summer after some recent big finishes. At the 2021 WSOP, Verderamo found eight cashes and several more in the online portion. Perhaps a breakthrough comes in 2022.

David Mzareulov

  • Career highlights – GPI Mid-Major Player of the Year 2021; WSOPC ring winner 2020
  • Tournament winnings – $707,382

This Texas-based player continues scoring big in the live and online arenas. He won his first WSOPC ring in December in LA and made two final tables last year in the WSOP Online at GGPoker.

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