2019 WSOP – high-rollers to have on your watch

Maybe it’s a sign we’re all getting older, but the World Series of Poker seems to come around faster than ever each year.

The Las Vegas poker jamboree, celebrating its 50th year, begins with the traditional event for casino employees on Wednesday, May 29.

Once again players from around the world will descend on Sin City, among them the best high rollers looking to feast on fresh meat and make even more serious cash to add to the fortunes they’ve made at the table already.

With many tournament buy-ins of $10,000 now pretty standard (how crazy does that sound?), the high rollers will be circling around the $25,000 PLO event starting June 19, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship on June 24, and the $100,000 No-limit Hold’em High Roller on July 11. At the time of writing, the eye-popping $1 million entry Big One for One Drop event is not in this year’s schedule.

So, who are the high rollers to watch in 2019? While you’re reading through the stars of today, could you be a star of tomorrow? Beginners should start off for low stakes, possibly start out with an alternative game of video poker online, build up and become more serious as their skill and bankroll improves.

In the meantime, these are the more likely players to dominate the World Series of Poker.

David Peters

Form counts for a lot, and Peters has it in spades (no pun intended). He took down the recent $100,000 buy-in US Poker Open main event, besting a 33-strong field for a $1,320,000 payday.

That stellar result, meaning he also snatched the overall championship trophy, means Peters has entered the top five all-time money list, with a total of $31,590,261 in winnings. Born in Toledo, Ohio he now lives in Las Vegas. What better place to be close to the poker action?

He’s got nine seven-figure scores in his career, and that bodes well for another successful run at this year’s WSOP.

Nikita Bodyakovskiy

The man from Belarus has been tearing up tournaments successfully since 2015, having now amassed $20,829,107 in career tournament earnings.

It seems he now concentrates on high roller events, because a look down his record shows he has only cashed in events with buy-ins of $25,000 or higher since May last year (ten in total), including a fourth-place finish at the Super High Roller Championships, with a $250,000 buy-in, at the Caribbean Poker Party in Nassau. That earnt him a sweet $700,000.

Daniel Negreanu

It’s been a quiet year for a man of Daniel Negreanu’s standards. Only two cashes since last year’s WSOP – but he did win a bumper $3 million at the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas.

The Canadian Team PokerStars Pro has a habit of pulling off big results throughout a stellar career going back more than 20 years. His consistent poker performances see him sitting in second place in the all-time money list with $39,830,194 in total tournament winnings.

His celebrity means he’s always a crowd favourite at the WSOP, and you wouldn’t bet against him adding to his six WSOP bracelets this time around.

Justin Bonomo

The only man to have won more tournament money than Negreanu is Justin Bonomo, who has a spectacular $44,040,709 in tournament winnings to his name. That extraordinary amount was boosted significantly last July at the WSOP when he won the $1 million The Big One for One Drop for $8 million.

Bonomo now specialises in the big buy-in tournaments and has cashed in three of them in 2019 already, including a first place at the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Bonomo is also a prolific online poker player.

Stephen Chidwick

Brit Chidwick has been racking up big scores for years. Quiet and unassuming at the table, he recently broke into the top 20 all-time money list (18th), and was one of the big winners at the US Poker Open, cashing in four events – winning two of them.

Those results mean he’s already sitting eighth in the 2019 money list, with $1,790,272 and must be a cert to go deep in at least one of the big WSOP events.

Fedor Holz

The German has already won $32,556,377 in live tournaments, and he enjoys his visits to Las Vegas. Last year he came second in the Big One for One Drop, collecting $6 million.

But he’s also picked up sizeable cashes in Macau, Europe and Australia.

One of the joys about poker is that anything can happen, and in a long series like the WSOP, it usually does. Big names we could add would be Jason Koon, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Ivey (if he plays), Steve O’Dwyer and more.

You’ll be able to follow all the action online. But, of course, nothing beats playing the WSOP yourself. You don’t have to be one of the high rollers; there are many events this year with a manageable $500 buy-in.