Veteran Poker Players Riding High at WSOP 2017June 28, 2017 10:51 am
Over the past decade, the World Series of Poker has come to increasingly be dominated by a younger generation of pros that have grown up sharpening their skills online. One has to just take a look at past winners of the Main Event to highlight this point, as after Jerry Yang became the 2007 champion aged 39, the winners from 2008 to 2015 have all been in their early 20’s.
One recent exception isthe 2016 champion Qui Nguyen, who like Yang won the Main Event aged 39, and at the 2017 WSOP some of the game’s veterans have also been on the ascendancy once more, with pokernews reporter Brandi Williams referring to this year’s Series as the “Year of the Old Timers.”
Amongst the notable older players to have already captured bracelets at the 2017 WSOP is David Bach (photo), David Pham, Frank Kassela, and David Singer. Meanwhile, a whole host of other “old timers” have been enjoying impressive runs this year, including Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstein and Mike Matusow. Offering an explanation as to why some of the game’s most talented pros in the 40+ year category are now beginning to get the better of some of their younger opponents, the 49 year-old Frank Kassela, who recently earned his third WSOP bracelet in Vegas, stated:
“I think for a few years there was a huge surge of internet wizards coming to the game with all kinds of new styles of play, stuff that took some of us older players time to adjust to, but a lot of the more experienced players have been able to adapt to those strategies.”
Helping in the ongoing success of an elite group of older pros is their ability to adapt to the aggressive, unorthodox style of play of their younger opponents. Their ability to do so is hardly surprising, though, and as Erik Seidel, now 57 years-old, points out; “these guys have always been great players. It’s not surprising that they are doing well.” Elaborating further on his own experience staying ahead of the game, the 8-times WSOP winner stated:
“Most of what I do to keep my game evolving is play. You have to play enough with these young kids and see exactly what they’re doing. I play a lot and am forced to play with the best players in the world, some of which you hope will rub off.”