Predicting 2023 WPT, GPI, WSOP Players of the Year, Breakout Stars

With a New Year comes new opportunity to be the best. The WPT Editorial Staff gives their best guesses as to who will come out on top in 2023.

WPT Staff
Jan 5, 2023
Who will have a big year in 2023?

Within the last few days, WPT announced Chad Eveslage as its Season XX Player of the Year, and the Global Poker Index officially named its Player of the Year winners for 2022 – Stephen Song (x2) and Cherish Andrews, along with almost 80 regional winners. That got the WPT editorial staff to thinking about who could win those awards in 12 months’ time.

That conversation expanded beyond the GPI, to the World Poker Tour, and World Series of Poker winners, and even went so far as a hunt for 2023’s biggest breakout star. And so Lance Bradley, Jeff Walsh, and Tim Fiorvanti each put together their own compelling arguments for their favorites in five categories for 2023 – GPI Player of the Year, WPT Player of the Year, WSOP Player of the Year, GPI Female Player of the Year, and the breakout star of 2023 (with less than $1 million in lifetime earnings, according to The Hendon Mob).


Jason Koon’s tournament results, which include a recent $500,000 win in the PokerGo Tour Championship, largely speak for themselves.

Jason Koon

If nice guys do indeed finish last, this is a terrible pick. However, that idiom just doesn’t apply to Jason Koon. Along with being one of the nicest people in poker, Koon is also one of the best players on the high-roller circuit. He’s being propelled into 2023 with some run-good after he took down the 2022 PokerGO Tour Championship event for a $500,000 score just days before Christmas. His performance against that field – all players who had been successful on the PGT in 2022 – makes it clear he’s able to hang with anybody. So long as Koon gets the volume in this year – on the PGT, the WSOP, Triton, and at WPT stops – he’s a threat to hang out near the top of the GPI POY leaderboard all year long. – Bradley

Alex Foxen

Taking down any Player of the Year leaderboard requires consistency in results, of course. But to win the Global Poker Index POY you need to have a yearlong love of the grind and splash around in every major buy-in and player pool possible. There’s a reason that Alex Foxen went back-to-back for the GPI top spot in 2018 & 2019, and then finished in the top 10 in each of the past two years – the formula for GPI POY just suits his playing style and stakes. Sure, Foxen might be the chalkiest of picks, but the GPI looks to reward players who simply “love it more” and there’s a case to be made that Foxen loves it the most – because what’s not to love when you’re at the end as often as he is. – Walsh

Jesse Lonis

I’ve written plenty about Jesse Lonis over the last few months, and since we talked about his stretch of cashing in tournaments at a blistering pace he’s only gone on to rack up another six figures worth of cashes among several deep runs. He then decided to kick off 2023 in a similar way to what he did in 2022 with a lucrative run of bounties and a lot of chips in the Borgata’s Mystery Bounty event. After finishing in the top 30 in the 2022 GPI POY race, Lonis has proven he can hang with poker’s best at a wide range of buy-in levels. Count me as a believer in Lonis accomplishing even bigger and better things over the next 12 months, all over the world. – Fiorvanti


Chance Kornuth tasted WPT victory in 2022. Could he repeat the feat in 2023?

Chance Kornuth

Chance Kornuth broke through with his first career WPT Main Tour title in 2022, at his third career WPT final table. He’s proven to have a successful track record across most tournament formats, with a particular knack for deep runs in WPT events. Kornuth has 16 top-100 finishes on the Tour dating back to 2011, with the majority of those results coming over the last few years. Kornuth enters 2023 just shy of $12 million in career tournament earnings, and he’ll likely end December well clear of that number. – Fiorvanti

Matas Cimbolas

Matas Cimbolas is the only player in World Poker Tour history to post back-to-back runner-up finishes in the same event. Cimbolas finished second to David Baker at the 2019 L.A. Poker Classic, and then suffered the same fate in 2020 – the second time succumbing to champion Balakrishna Patur. He started his WPT ledger with a victory at WPT partypoker UK in 2014. He has $5,563,031 in lifetime earnings, with six career victories and 38 final tables. He hasn’t recorded a live cash since last August, but should the Lithuanian No. 2 all-time money leader (Behind Tony G) return to the live scene in 2023, he already knows he’s more than comfortable playing against the WPT fields. – Bradley

Joe McKeehen

To win WPT Player of the Year, a player needs to be able to thrive against recreational and professional players alike, while also being a big-field crusher –  and former WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen is undoubtedly that. He’s yet to win a WPT title, but he has five final tables and over $1.6 million in WPT earnings alone – including a second-place finish at WPT Venetian in Season XIX. McKeehen has proven time and time again that he’s got as good a shot as anyone in the field at taking home a title. 2022 was a down year for McKeehen on the WPT, so perhaps in 2023, he comes out on top. – Walsh


Benny Glaser has shown the kind of proficiency in both mixed games and No Limit Hold’em that is typically required to win WSOP Player of the Year.

Yuri Dzivielevski

To take home the WSOP POY you need to be a complete player, and that’s exactly what Brazil’s Yuri Dzivielevski is. The two-time WSOP bracelet winner and former #1 ranked online player in the world plays all the games, at all the stakes, and has gradually been increasing his WSOP volume over the past three years. Of course, you need to always be mindful of WSOP juggernauts and past POY winners like Shaun Deeb and Daniel Negreanu, but if Dzivielevski can put together a couple of big-time cashes in Las Vegas this year, he may just add another major title to his already impressive poker resume. – Walsh

Benny Glaser

Historically, a balance of skills in mixed games along with some No Limit Hold’em prowess has been an equation for success for a player hoping to win WSOP Player of the Year. Who better, then, to win the 2023 award than Benny Glaser? The four-time WSOP bracelet winner is coming off a year in which he logged his biggest career cash in the WPT World Championship ($2.83 million) and finished fourth in the $50,000 WSOP Poker Players Championship. He’s finished as high as 10th (in 2016), and 2023 could be another great summer for Glaser. – Fiorvanti

Joao Vieira

Portugal’s Joao Vieira finished seventh in the 2022 WSOP Player of the Year race on the back of 17 cashes and a bracelet win in the $50,000 High Roller event. The two-time bracelet winner made only one other final table last summer, finishing 6th in an online event. Had two or three of those other cashes culminated in final tables, he would have been a threat to Dan Zack’s eventual WSOP POY title. He plays all games at all buy-in levels and isn’t afraid of the seven-week long grind that is the WSOP. When each $10,000 Championship event begins, Vieira is among the favorites to take it down. He cashed in four of them in 2021 and another three last summer, proving he has the diversity in his skill set to shine during the WSOP. – Bradley

GPI Female POY

Kyna England has already finished as a runner-up in the GPI Female Player of the Year race, and with deep runs like the one she made in the 2022 WPT World Championship, she can be a major threat to win the award in 2023.

Jessica Teusl

The WSOP Ladies Championship is quite often a stepping stone to poker stardom for the eventual champion. Last June, Jessica Teusl worked her way through more than 1,000 other players to capture the title and her first career WSOP bracelet. If you look deeper at her tournament results, you’ll notice some other impressive runs as well, including a remarkable three-year run in the Ladies European Championship at Casino Velden in Austria from 2017-2019. Teusl also followed up her WSOP win with a cash in the 2022 WSOP Europe Main Event. That allowed her to finish 35th in the GPI Female POY race in 2022, and a few more deep runs in 2023 could propel her to the title and a bigger taste of poker stardom. – Bradley

Angela Jordison

Angela Jordison narrowly missed out on the top spot in both the 2022 GPI Female Player of the Year race and 2022 GPI Mid-Major POY race after late charges from Cherish Andrews and Stephen Song. But Jordison’s yearlong resume was an enviable one. Everything really kicked into gear in June, when Jordison finished third in a $1,000 event at the WSOP, followed soon thereafter by a deep run in the 2022 WSOP Main Event. In August, Jordison recorded an $84,400 win during a prelim event to the WPT Legends of Poker at the Parkwest Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. Add in a WSOP Circuit Main Event final table and an MSPT final table, and you have a list of results that point to a world of potential for 2023. – Fiorvanti

Kyna England

The grind continues for Kyna England. Just one year after finishing as the runner-up in the GPI Female Player of the Year race in 2021 – the same year she captured MSPT Player of the Year honors – she posted 27 live results, including a deep run in the year-end WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas (54th place for $71,400). While she had a very solid year, it didn’t come with that signature win that would put her in 2022 POY contention. That could all change in 2023. One would expect England to continue her live poker volume, and with a recent score added to her bankroll, perhaps she’ll take another shot or two over the course of the year – putting her right back in the mix for this award. – Walsh

Breakout player

Atanas Pavlov

Atanas Pavlov, who is originally from Bulgaria but now calls London home, put together an impressive list of results in 2022. It started with a victory adjacent to the events of the 2022 WSOP, as he took down a $2,500 buy-in event at the MGM Grand against a field littered with $10,000 regulars for $364,800. Pavlov then produced five five-figure results from August on, including an $83,576 win in an EPT London side event and a pair of second place finishes for over $100,000 total in GUKPT Luton tournaments held back-to-back. He capped his year off with a cash in the WPT Prime Championship in December, and with the combination of major results and a willingness to travel stateside, look out for Pavlov’s name a lot more in 2023. – Fiorvanti

Michael Jozoff

Up-and-coming New Yorker Michael Jozoff has everything in place to make a big splash in 2023. Maybe you’ve seen him hanging around Ethan ‘Rampage’ Yau or heard him on the poker community-focused Only Friends podcast. And while he may be trying to make inroads in the poker community, it’s his poker results that really have people paying attention. His first live Hendon Mob result was not that long ago – just back in October of 2021 – and since then, he’s amassed over $330,000 in career earnings. It’s not just the results, it’s how quickly he’s found himself battling against the best. In 2022, Jozoff won a WSOP Circuit ring, final tabled a $5,300 WSOP Online bracelet event, and cashed in the PokerGO Tour Poker Masters. He’s playing big and finding success – a recipe ripe for breaking out. – Walsh

Benjamin Moon

Benjamin Moon is just a few thousand dollars short of $700,000 in lifetime earnings. Now, nearly half of that came from his 2018 WSOP $1,500 NLHE bracelet win, but he also put together a strong series of results in 2022 that could be hinting at bigger things to come for the San Diego native. He had six WSOP cashes last summer, highlighted by a 119th place result in the WSOP Main Event. Since then he’s cashed 12 times, including a pair of results from the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas festival in December. While all of the buy-ins for those cashes are under $1,500, he’s one strong result away from playing a bigger WSOP schedule that would give him the chance to really break out. – Bradley