Every year PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu runs a $25,000 buy-in World Series of Poker (WSOP) fantasy draft. Team owners draft seven players each based on an auction system. You have a bank of 200 points and can bid for players in the auction offering whatever you want for an individual player but you must realise you still need to have a balanced team. As the WSOP begins, PokerNetwork’s Barry Gallagher picks his team based on the draft values from the actual draft which took place at the Aria in Las Vegas.
The number one pick in the draft was none other than Aussie Millions $250k winner, Phil Ivey at 99 points. However, my first selection will be the joint number twp overall pick, Jason Mercier for 83 points. The American player is 30th on the All Time Money List despite his first live tournament cash only coming in 2008. Mercier is simply a tournament wizard and holds two WSOP bracelets; the first coming in 2009 in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) and the second last year in the $5,000 PLO 6 Handed. He will play in every tournament format and every buy-in maximising his bracelet opportunities. Mercier hasn’t had a huge 2012 so far and he will be hungry for success and bracelets in Vegas.
My second selection will be the red hot Shaun Deeb for 60 points. Fresh off winning an unprecedented four SCOOP titles on his way to Player of the Series all in stud games which he claims aren’t his best games. Shaun has $745,473 in live tournament earnings but has never had a six-figure score which underlines his consistency in tournaments. He had six cashes at the WSOP last year but has yet to score a bracelet. Deeb’s mixed game skills and general tournament prowess make him a good investment at this auction price and strong addition to the team.
Jeff Lisandro will be the team’s third member for 45 points. The Australian now living in Italy is a mixed games superstar and has been winning on the live circuit since 1995. Lisandro has five WSOP Bracelets with four coming in stud events. His first came in 2007 as he won the $2,000 Seven Card Stud. 2009 was the year of Lisandro has he won three bracelets on the way to becoming WSOP Player of the Year. What made the achievement even more remarkable was that he won a bracelet in every stud event; he took down the $1,500 Seven Card Stud, the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo and the $2,500 Seven Card Razz. He added his final bracelet in 2010 at WSOPE when he won the £5,000 Pot Limit Omaha. He will play in many events and every format as he seeks to add to his $4.7 million in live tournament winnings.
Taking Steve O’Dwyer for five points is good value even for a player who specialises in No Limit Hold’em. The American moved to Ireland after Black Friday but instead of setting up his grind station he has travelled the world and literally dominated the live tournament scene. His Hendon Mob profile looks like an atlas with flags from all over the world in the last year. Some of the highlights of his last year include 2nd place at EPT London for $726k, 2nd at WPT Venice for $128k, 1st at the WPT National Series in Denmark for $213k, 7th at EPT Copenhagen for $51k, a couple of top three finishes in high roller events in Italy and Austria and most recently 5th place at the $25k WPT World Championship for $192k. O’Dwyer has 12 WSOP cashes and few would bet against him significantly adding to that total in 2012.
Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst for 5 points is another steal. She is a very aggressive player and plays to win every time but is open to the odd blow up. She has eleven WSOP cashes and one WSOP Bracelet which came in 2008 as she won the $1,500 PLO. The American has just under $5 million in live tournament earnings with her biggest scores coming at the 2010 NAPT event at Mohegan Sun for $750,000 and a whopping $1.8 million for winning the 2010 Paratouche Poker Tour in Cannes. Selbst has already had a decent 2012 by winning a $5k event at the Los Angles Poker Classic (LAPC) for $140k. She won’t be distracted by the cash games as much as some in Vegas and will play aggressively enough to navigate (or bust quickly) through the large field No Limit Hold’em tournaments.
Viktor Blom for one point? Yes Please! The Swede living in the United Kingdom made his name as Isildur1 by winning and losing millions of dollars on the online felt. He was unmasked as a Pokerstars Pro at 2011 Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). He has continued to play the massive online cash games and in particular his enjoyable challenges against other cash games wizards. 2012 saw a marked change in his approach to tournaments something he has admitted to working on. At the 2012 PCA he won the $100k Super High Roller Event for $1.2 million. Since then he has added cashes at €10k events at EPT Berlin and EPT Monte Carlo. He also took down two SCOOP No Limit Hold’em tournaments in quick succession. Blom told the Pokerstars Blog recently that “I realized if go deep, it's so much more exciting. I feel I play better now that I realize that." Blom is the joker in the pack of my team and at his first WSOP it may all get too much for him but would you realistically bet a lot against him striking it big yet again?
The final member of the team will be 2010 WSOP Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel for 1 point. The Canadian is a household name in the poker world after he struck it big for $8.9 million in 2010. Some WSOP winners head into obscurity but Duhamel has shown the determination to go and prove himself much like Joe Hachem did after his win in 2005. He has five cashes at the WSOP and obviously nothing will phase him at the Rio this summer. Unfortunately, earlier this year he was subject to a home invasion robbery but has dusted himself down admirably and got stuck back into the poker circuit representing Pokerstars around the globe. His 2012 PCA was the stuff of legend as he cashed for over $1 million in a few weeks. He took fourth in the $100k Super High Roller for $313k, 1st in the $5k No Limit Hold’em 8 Max for $239k and 2nd in the $25k High Roller for $634k. He also lost to Vanessa Selbst heads up at the same $5k LAPC for $121k.
Points are awarded for performance with bracelet wins obviously earning the most points. You can see the entire list of teams and player auction points here. Who would you pick for your team? Stay tuned to PokerNetwork for the whole WSOP as we bring you live reporting on every event of the 2012 series.
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