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Breakout Poker Players of 2011 Part 2

David "Doc" Sands

Welcome to Part 2 of PokerNews' Breakout Players of 2011. In Part 1, Pius Heinz, Ben Lamb and Sam Trickett were among the players highlighted.

We'll be recognizing a few more players in Part 2. As a refresher of whom we've dubbed a "breakout player," the player had to have a minimum of $1 million in live tournament earnings, a major victory or combination of more than one minor victory had to have been obtained, and the player had to produce other top results throughout the course of the year that kept them in the topic of conversation. Lastly, of course, this should have been the best year for the player and really cemented their places on the poker map.

David "Doc" Sands

Serious business for David "Doc" Sands during his deep run in the 2011 WSOP Main Event.
Serious business for David "Doc" Sands during his deep run in the 2011 WSOP Main Event.
  • 2011 earnings: $1,535,533
  • 4th — EPT Madrid Grand Final €25,000 High Roller
  • 3rd — WSOP $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha
  • 30th — WSOP Main Event
  • 1st — WSOP Europe €1,800 No-Limit Hold'em Side Event
  • 1st — WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em
  • 2nd — WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $100,000 Super High Roller

Last year, David "Doc" Sands had his best year on the live felt with over a quarter of a million dollars in earnings. This year, he crushed that by over six times the amount, earning over $1.5 million. Sands has plenty of cashes on record prior to 2011, but this was truly his breakout year.

Things began with a deep run in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event and then snowballed from there. In May, he placed fourth in the EPT Madrid Grand Final €25,000 High Roller for €135,000, and then went on to have five deep runs in WSOP events. The two WSOP runs he had that we'll highlight here include a third-place finish in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha and a 30th-place finish in the Main Event.

After the summer, Sands won a side event at the WSOP Europe and also a side event at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Also at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio, Sands took second in the $100,000 Super High Roller for $619,000.

Joe Ebanks

Joe Ebanks celebrates his bracelet win and million-dollar score with friends.
Joe Ebanks celebrates his bracelet win and million-dollar score with friends.
  • 2011 earnings: $1,474,350
  • 1st — WSOP $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
  • 2nd — EPT Barcelona £2,000 No-Limit Hold'em
  • 6th — Master Classics of Poker €5,000 Main Event

One WSOP gold bracelet, a million-dollar score, two other six-figure cashes and multiple deep runs coming from a relatively unknown face in the poker world sounds like a breakout 2011 to us, and those are all the reasons you should become familiar with Joe Ebanks.

Ebanks won the prestigious WSOP $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em for over $1.15 million this summer to earn his first gold bracelet. He also final tabled a big side event at EPT Barcelona for a second-place finish worth $145,148 and came in sixth at the Master Classics of Poker €5,000 Main Event for €73,500.

Taylor von Kriegenbergh

Taylor von Kriegenbergh during play at The Big Event in Los Angeles.
Taylor von Kriegenbergh during play at The Big Event in Los Angeles.
  • 2011 earnings: $1,369,340
  • 4th — The Big Event $4,750 Main Event
  • 5th — NAPT Mohegan Sun $10,000 High Roller Bounty Shootout
  • 1st — WPT Seminole Hard Rock
  • 1st — Master Classics of Poker €1,000 No-Limit Hold'em

We first ran into Taylor von Kriegenbergh at a Latin American Poker Tour party in Brazil. From there, the kid just went off. Maybe PokerNews and its reporters have the golden touch, or maybe this guy just has some serious game. Either way, von Kriegenbergh went off in 2011 to the tune of more than $1.36 million.

In March, von Kriegenbergh took fourth in The Big Event $4,750 Main Event in Los Angeles for $140,000. After a couple of cashes in early April for a total of $56,000, von Kriegenbergh rocked up to the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, and won the WPT Seminole Hard Rock for over $1.1 million. He wasn't done there, and several months later von Kriegenbergh won a side event at the Master Classics of Poker for €32,490.

Matt Waxman

Matt Waxman getting a better look at his opponent during the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe.
Matt Waxman getting a better look at his opponent during the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe.
  • 2011 earnings: $1,208,135
  • 1st — Isle Classic $2,200 No-Limit Hold'em
  • 3rd — Wynn Classic $5,000 Main Event
  • 3rd — WSOP $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
  • 1st — WPT Rendez-Vous à Paris

Matt Waxman has been a regular on the tournament circuit for a couple of years now, but it wasn't until 2011 that he really began to make a name for himself. With just over $580,000 in live tournament winnings from 2008 to 2010, it was looking like it was only a matter of time before he had a monster year. In 2011, Waxman did just that and set fire to his poker career with some very hefty results.

In January, Waxman won the Isle Classic $2,200 No-Limit Hold'em for over $86,000. In March, he took third in the Wynn Classic $5,000 Main Event for over $120,000. In May, he final tabled both the Main Event and the Regional Championship at the WSOP Circuit stop in New Orleans. From there, he went on to finish third in an event for over $104,000 and cash two more times at the WSOP.

As if things couldn't get much better, Waxman claimed victory at the WPT Rendez-Vous à Paris. It proved to be the largest win of his career and he pocketed €500,000 for the victory. A few more deeps runs at the WSOP Europe followed his win and put Waxman up over $1.2 million in live earnings for the year — his best year ever.

Outside of the players who met the criteria outlined to be a Breakout Player of 2011, a two others deserve to be put on the honorable mention list. Sean Getzwiller and Tristan Wade have each earned over $750,000 :}in live winnings this year and captured some very elite titles. Here are their stats for the year:

Sean Getzwiller

Sean Getzwiller gets his hands on poker's most coveted prize.
Sean Getzwiller gets his hands on poker's most coveted prize.
  • 2011 earnings: $882,381
  • 1st — WSOP $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em
  • 7th — Epic Poker League #2
  • 8th — EPT London £10,000 Six-Max High Roller Turbo

Tristan Wade

Tristan Wade sippin' some champagne after his gold bracelet victory in Cannes.
Tristan Wade sippin' some champagne after his gold bracelet victory in Cannes.
  • 2011 earnings: $757,841
  • 1st — Deepstack World Poker Challenge
  • 7th — WSOP $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
  • 4th — WSOP $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em
  • 2nd — Florida State Poker Championships $2,200 No-Limit Hold'em
  • 1st — WSOP Europe €3,000 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout

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