Just before the 2008 World Series of Poker began at the end of May, I read an article in BLUFF Magazine written by managing editor Lance Bradley. He listed five online players who were 21 years old at the start of the WSOP. He mentioned that we should keep an eye out for those young guns at the WSOP. The fab five? Mike "SowersUNCC" Sowers, Andrew "good2cu" Robl, Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke, Jeff "YellowSub" Williams, and Tom "durrrr" Dwan.
"There's a good chance they will make an impression this year," said Bradley.
Is Bradley an oracle or a total luckbox? Two months after the article was published, he's looking like a genius. Not only did those players make an impact, they each made at least one final table.
Mike "SowersUNCC" Sowers made the final table in Event #1, $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em World Championship, that was stacked with big names such as Nenad Medic, Andy Bloch, Kathy Liebert, Mike Sexton, Amit "amak316" Makhija, Chris Bell, Patrik Antonius, and Phil 'The Unabomber' Laak. He came in eighth place and won $99,264. It was special because he made a final table in the first WSOP event that he ever played, although the money was almost an afterthought. Sowers has won almost $1 million online including one PokerStars WCOOP title.
Andrew "good2cu" Robl is from the Ship It Holla Ballas crew and had some notoriety as being one of the bettors in the infamous Bellagio bathroom bet. Robl took third place in Event #4 $5,000 Mixed Hold'em where he won $144,337. He had one of those "sick" final tables that included first-time bracelet winner Erick Lindgren along with Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo, Roland de Wolfe, David 'Chino' Rheem, Howard Lederer, David Williams, Patrick Pezzin, and Isaac Haxton.
Jimmy "gobboboy" Fricke made a huge splash when he final tabled the 2007 Aussie Millions as a teenager and kept seasoned pros such as Kristy Gazes, Andy Black, and Gus Hansen off their toes. Gobboboy recently turned 21 and played in his first-ever WSOP. Fricke cashed in three events this summer for a little over $35,000. He made one final table in Event #16, $2,000 Omaha Hi/Lo, which also included Scott Clements and Ted Forrest. Gobboboy took ninth place.
Jeff "YellowSub" Williams won the European Poker Tour Grand Finale in Monte Carlo when he was 19 years old. YellowSub collected over $438,000 in winnings this summer spread out over three cashes. He made a final table and finished in 20th place and 34th place in two other events. YellowSub was close to winning a bracelet in Event #5, $1,000 No-Limit w/ Rebuys. It was a tough battle between he and Michael Banducci, but when it was over, YellowSub was out in second place. He was so close to joining the elite club consisting of EPT and WSOP bracelet winners.
And the name that everyone knows by now is Tom "durrrr" Dwan. Some media gurus have dubbed the young gun as the next real thing. Durrrr has been dominating the biggest online cash games on the internet and since he turned 21, he has been actively playing on the circuit. Durrrr lived up to expectations with two eighth-place finishes and one final table this summer, although he would be the first to tell you that he was not thrilled with bubbling in Event #18, $5,000 Deuce-to-Seven w/ Rebuys. The one final table he made was stacked with players I definitely wouldn't want to see at my table. That included Anthony Rivera (eventual champion), James Mackey, Matthew Glantz, Michael DeMichele, Eli Elezra, Sam Farha, Jeff Madsen, and David Oppenheim.
Yes, the five players that Lance Bradley mentioned in BLUFF Magazine ended up going deep although none of them actually won a bracelet.