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World Poker Tour Announces Ones to Watch Roster for Season XII

World Poker Tour Announces Ones to Watch Roster for Season XII 0001

Just prior to the Season XII World Poker Tour’s first stop in the United States – the Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino – the WPT announced this season’s Ones to Watch, a roster of up-and-coming poker players to keep an eye on.

Last year’s roster included Jason Somerville, Shaun Deeb, Amanda Musumeci, AP Phahurat, Xuan Liu, Jason Koon, Dee Dozier and Brian Hastings, but this year’s was comprised of seven new selections. Without further ado, here is the WPT Season XII Ones to Watch:

Jeff Gross

Hometown – Baltimore, MD
Career Earnings – $1,516,829
WPT Cashes – 4
WPT Final Tables – 2
Best WPT Finish – Third place at the Season XI WPT Montreal ($316,918)

In need of a “Professional Best Friend”? Look no further than Jeff Gross, who is known to be just that to big-name players like Bill Perkins, Antonio Esfandiari and the all-time greatest Olympian, Michal Phelps.

Gross obviously keeps some accomplished company, but he is no slouch himself. Just last week he took third in the inaugural WPT $100,000 Alpha8 tournament for $364,770, which was his largest career score. In November 2012, he had another third-place finish in the WPT Montreal for $316,918, while his other two six-figure score came in the 2011 World Series of Poker $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout for $269,742 and fifth in a 2010 WSOP $1,000 event for $109,621.

Loni Harwood

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Loni Harwood

Hometown – Staten Island, NY
Career Earnings – $981,927
WPT Cashes – 0

If you have one of the most impressive runs by a woman in WSOP history, you're going to be a Ones to Watch. That's exactly what 23-year-old Loni Harwood, a professional poker player from Staten Island, New York, did this summer. Just prior to the Main Event, Harwood defeated 2,541 players to win Event #60: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em for $609,017 and her first career gold bracelet.

It was her sixth cash of the summer, which included a sixth-place finish in Event #31: $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha and fourth in Event #53: $1,500 NLHE. To top it all off, Harwood also tied Cyndy Violette's 2005 record for most final table appearances by a female in a single series.

Kyle Julius

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Kyle Julius

Hometown – Naperville, IL
Career Earnings – $2,590,313
WPT Cashes – 4
WPT Final Tables – 0
Best WPT Finish – 12th place at the Season IX WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Classic ($39,806)

An Illinois native, Kyle Julius made a name for himself online under the screen name “KJulius10” and has over $1 million in winnings on PokerStars, including a win in the Sunday 500 in January of 2011 for nearly $87,000.

Julius learned to play poker from his older brother, and shortly after a stint studying at Northern Kentucky University, he began playing poker full time. It proved a wise decision as he has already amassed more than $2.5 million in career earnings including $1.5 million for a runner-up finish to John Dibella in the 2012 PCA Main Event and $589,687 after finishing runner up in the 2012 WSOP Event #50: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em.

Christina Lindley

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Christina Lindley

Hometown – Hollywood, CA
Career Earnings – $197,722
WPT Cashes – 1
WPT Final Tables – 0
Best WPT Finish – 15th place at the Season X WPT Legends of Poker ($24,415)

Christina Lindley made a name for herself long before she entered the poker world thanks to spending fourteen years in the entertainment and media industry. Since transitioning into the poker world, Lindley has found success on both the live and virtual felt. Online, she won $127,000 in the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and finished runner-up in an FTOPS event for $106,000.

Lindley is still looking for her big break playing live, but that’s not to say she doesn’t have an impressive résumé; in fact, she had nearly $200K in live earning including five five-figure scores. Her largest was a 360th-place finish in the 2012 WSOP Main Event for $32,871.

Aaron Massey

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Aaron Massey

Hometown – Elmwood Park, IL
Career Earnings – $1,389,626
WPT Cashes – 1
WPT Final Tables – 0
Best WPT Finish – 36th place at the Season XI WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown ($14,011)

For the last few years, Aaron Massey has been making a name for himself in the poker world. It began with wins in the 2011 Indiana State Poker Championship $300 Re-Entry No-Limit Hold’em for $60,461 and 2012 Chicago Poker Classic $350 Pot Limit Omaha Rebuy for $40,940, but his big break came in the 2012 Winstar World Casino River Poker Series. That is where he topped a field of 1,396 players to capture the $651,559 first-place prize.

Since then Massey has been traveling the circuit where he has added two WSOP Circuit rings to his résumé along with a slew of notable cashes. Massey already has more than $1.3 million in career earnings, and most industry insiders agree that it’s only a matter of time before he captures a major title—such as adding his name to the WPT Champions’ Cup.

Danny "Miami Boss" Suied

Hometown – Miami, FL
Career Earnings – $226,494
WPT Cashes – 3
WPT Final Tables – 0
Best WPT Finish – Ninth place at the Season XI PartyPoker WPT Canadian Spring Championship ($39,510)

Trying to capture the essence of the “Miami Boss” in words is next to impossible; instead, we’ll show you the man in all his glory:

Athanasios Polychronopoulos

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Athanasios Polychronopoulos

Hometown – East Hampton, NY
Career Earnings – $518,755
WPT Cashes – 3
WPT Final Tables – 0
Best WPT Finish – 10th place at the Season XI WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star ($48,890)

In the poker media, Athanasios Polychronopoulos has earned the nickname “Control V” because it’s much easier to copy and paste his lengthy Greek name. That said, everyone should get used to writing his name as the man from East Hampton, New York has already amassed more than $1.5 million and two WSOP gold bracelet wins in his short career.

The first came in 2011 in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Event where he topped a field of 2,713 players to win $650,223. This past summer, he added a second piece of gold when he outlasted a field of 2,105 in Event #17 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em to win $518,755. Winning two bracelets in three years immediately established Polychronopoulos as someone to watch in the poker world, which of course applies to the WPT.

What do you think of this year’s Ones to Watch roster? Do you think anyone was left overlooked? Let us know in the comments section below.

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