Every year, the World Poker Tour sees players rise to new prominence, and the 2018/2019 season looks set to be no different. These are 3 players you need to watch during the second half of the season, which begins at the Gardens Casino, California, this month, before heading to its first international stop in Sochi, Russia, from 21 to 27 January.
The schedule also includes the Borgata Winter Open in Atlantic City in January, the Fallsview Poker Classic in Niagara Falls, Canada, in February, and events at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California, and in Barcelona, Spain, in March. Those will be followed by an event in Nottingham, UK, in April, and an event in Choctaw, California, in May. The merry month will also see the Aria Summer Championship in Las Vegas, before the Baccarat Crystal-sponsored Tournament of Champions in June.
Irvine, California, resident 29-year-old Ping Liu is definitely on an upward trajectory. He appeared at World Poker Tour tables 3 times in 2018 alone.
The first of those saw him take fourth place at the Rolling Thunder Main Event in March, and that was followed by taking fifth place at the bestbet Bounty Scramble in October. Liu made it into another fourth-place spot in December; this one being the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio, which won him $599,147, which brought his live Poker earnings up to more than $1.4 million.
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Admittedly, David Chino Rheem has had a fair share of attention over the past few years, and for all the wrong reasons, which is why keeping an eye on him is a good idea. His playing skills aren’t likely to improve any time soon, but his scams and stunts may get more interesting.
English pro player Alex Goulder tweeted that Chino had lied to backers about how he bust out of a Partypoker event last year, and various publications have reported that he is notorious for not paying back his debts. At least he once shared a whole lot of complimentary cakes with fellow players at his table.
Danish pro player Gus Hansen shot to fame in 2002, when he won the very first World Poker Tour to be televised. He went on to win other events and tournaments, during which he cemented his reputation for aggressive gameplay.
After taking a break from tournament Poker in recent years, and losing huge sums to money to dodgy casino owners, he announced his return to the field last year. He’s looking a little worse for wear these days, but his reputation and skill are why you need to watch him this year.