As 2020 has gotten underway, it’s time to look ahead to another year on the poker calendar. It’s set to be another interesting year as far as poker online, as online casinos are under scrutiny, but as far as the live poker scene goes, it appears this year will be one of continued growth.
In any event, once we get to December, 12 months from now, which poker player will we say had the best year? This list, in no particular order, takes a look at who we might expect to crush it in the poker world in 2020.
It’s “always” Stephen Chidwick’s year, and 2020 will almost certainly be no different.
Considered by many of his high-stakes peers as the best tournament poker player in the world, Chidwick added to his resume with another outstanding year in 2019. The English crusher posted six wins over the course of the year, finishing third on the 2019 money list (according to Hendon Mob) with $13,146,265 in earnings.
Chidwick finished fifth in the Global Poker Index 2019 Player of the Year race, took down a pair of wins at the 2019 U.S. Poker Open, and added his first career WSOP bracelet to the resume in Las Vegas over the summer.
It’s probably a pretty safe bet that Chidwick will end 2020 with another unbelievable record of tournament results.
The man who topped the 2019 GPI Player of the Year rankings, for the second straight year, was Alex Foxen.
Foxen and Chidwick spent 2019 going back and forth trading places as No. 1 and No. 2 on the overall GPI rankings. Foxen ended the year in the No. 1 spot, regaining that ranking after a string of final table appearances at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio in December.
Foxen put the finishing touches on another exceptional year with a win in the $10,000 main event of the Five Diamond, adding $1,694,995 to a career earnings total that now sits at over $15 million, and he’s already started off 2020 strong with a third place finish in the $10K partypoker MILLIONS UK event in Nottingham.
You’ll have to tune in to Andrew Neeme’s poker vlog to get some insight on how he’s actually faring at the poker table; there are always ups and downs for cash game grinders. Neeme’s YouTube exploits, however, are flourishing, with Neeme ending 2019 at over 130,000 subscribers, and counting.
READ MORE: Interview with Andrew Neeme
Neeme, as well as Brad Owen, make this list for their places in the 2020 poker world in general. These guys have really built an important brand in the Meet Up Games, with huge numbers of poker players showing up wherever the MUGs are scheduled.
The success of the MUGs are an indication that live poker in the U.S. is alive and well, and Neeme and Owen are two of the most important figures in poker because of it.
— Poker MUGs (@Poker_MUGs) January 3, 2020
For the same reasons listed above for Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen will continue to be a vital figure in the poker industry in 2020.
I don’t say this often enough: Support @TheBradOwen‘s poker vlog work!
That is all.
(His vids speak for themselves, and they’re great! 😃)https://t.co/wt8KkLJAl3
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) January 11, 2020
Owen’s YouTube channel is over the 165,000 subscribers mark as of this writing, and that following has translated to big success with the Meet Up Games series. The MUGs ventured into new territories in 2019, including Deadwood, South Dakota, and every event in the series packs the poker rooms, the waiting lists, and whatever properties are on the schedule.
The MUGs will hit London at Aspers, Casino, later this month, and there’s no reason to think 2020 won’t be an even bigger year for Owen, Neeme and their Meet Up Games brand.
Members of the Upswing Poker lab know exactly who Fried Meulders is, as the Belgian cash-game crusher is one of key members of the Upswing coaching staff.
The man known as mynameiskarl on PokerStars is also well-known and respected among the 500NL Zoom pool, where he has resided as one of the best online poker players in the world for years. Meulders might be a bit under the radar for the rest of the world, however.
Meulders is the creator of what’s currently one of the best poker strategy YouTube channels in the world. If you’re into high-level (and highly entertaining) poker strategy content, Meulders’ channel is must-see.
He’s already one of the very best 500NL Zoom players on the planet, as well as a world-class poker coach. Perhaps 2020 is the year that Meulders’ YouTube channel blows up as well.
It takes a while just to scroll through all of Danny Tang’s 2019 cashes when you look him up on Hendon Mob.
Tang took down the GPI Asia Player of the Year award thanks to 37 total cashes and earnings of more than $6 million for the year. Tang enters 2020 as the No. 14-ranked player in the overall GPI, and his 2019 included five wins, two seven-figure finishes and a $944,789 payday for a second-place finish in the €100,000 Super High Roller event at EPT Barcelona.
A force to be reckoned with in both traditional and short deck hold’em, Tang has established himself as one of the world’s finest, and that trend should continue in the next year.
If anyone deserves to have a great year in 2020, it’s Veronica Brill.
Brill’s actions led to the exposure of a cheating scandal that was unfortunately one of poker’s biggest stories in 2019. Brill was a first-hand witness to an ongoing pattern of strange play, and unfathomable win rates, from the individual at the center of that scandal.
This was the last show I did commentary on for Stones Live Poker. A lot of what @Mike_Postle was doing didn’t make sense. It was after this show i decided that i wanted to take it to the MF streets.
This clip shows how confused I was by his play
— Veronica 2.0 (@Angry_Polak) October 4, 2019
That story is still unfolding as 2020 begins, but perhaps it never comes to light in the first place without Brill’s gutsy decision to say something publicly about what she was seeing. If karma is a real thing, 2020 will be big year for Brill.
Imsirovic was the GPI Breakout Player of the Year for 2018 and he followed up with another fantastic year in 2019. Imsirovic finished No. 10 in both the GPI Player of the Year race, as well the overall GPI rankings at the end of 2019.
3rd for £112,000! Was a fun run 🙂
Now time to eat some ramen & go run hot in the next 25k 🔥🔥
— Ali (@aliImsirovic)
He bookended 2019 with major wins, beginning the year by taking down the U.S. Poker Open’s $25,000 No Limit Hold’em event for $442,500 in January, and finishing with a victory in the $50,000 Bellagio High Roller at the WPT Five Diamond Classic in December, a $600,000 payday.
Imsirovic has established himself as a world-class player at the highest of stakes, and there’s no limit (pun intended) to what the young superstar can accomplish in 2020.
For the third consecutive time, Kristen Bicknell earned GPI Female Player of the Year honors in 2019.
The partypoker pro finished the year as the No. 16 ranked player in the overall GPI rankings, and Bicknell’s 2019 included three wins and more than $2.4 million in earnings. One of those wins came at the Poker Masters, which saw Bicknell take down the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em event for a $408,000 payday.
Bicknell has also already started off 2020 on the right foot, with a 13th place finish in the $10K partypoker MILLIONS UK event in Nottingham, and there’s no reason to think she’ll slow down over the next 12 months.
The year 2020 will almost certainly be a good one for Bryn Kenney, even if he decides not to play in a single poker tournament.
Kenney has risen to the top of the all-time tournament earnings list, where he sits with more than $56 million in career winnings as 2020 begins. He made the giant leap to the top with $30,321,414 in earnings in just 2019 alone, the highest one-year total of all time, with much of that total due to a second-place finish at the Triton Million for Charity event, netting him $20,563,324.
Last year marked the second time Kenney topped the annual earnings list, as he accomplished the feat in 2017 as well. Kenney’s record-setting 2019 also included three other seven-figure finishes, and it’s probably safe to say the outlook on 2020 is looking quite rosy, indeed.
The ascension of @BrynKenney on the All-Time Money List per @TheHendonMob:
May 2007: 7,523rd
June 2008: 4,783rd
July 2010: 1,033rd
Jan 2011: 450th
Jan 2012: 333rd
June 2014: 189th
May 2015: 90th
Feb 2016: 49th
Jan 2017: 20th
Jan 2018: 10th
May 2019: 4th
Aug 3rd 2019: 1st
— Remko Rinkema (@RemkoRinkema) August 3, 2019