2008 Main Event: 10 Players to Watch For

Bo TalonCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2008

With the biggest event of the year only hours away, here are 10 players that could end up World Champion.

10. Nikolay Evdakov—Not really a known name in the poker world, yet after Evdakov took this year's World Series by storm, breaking the record for the number of cashes in a single year's world series (eight), with 10 cashes going into the Main Event. 

He didn't make a final table in those 10 cashes, yet obviously has shown the skills to get deep in a tournament.

9. John Phan—Phan has two bracelets and, conveniently enough, they are both in this year's World Series of Poker.  Ranked at No. 5 in the WSOP Player of the Year standings, the Razor has shown that he can get deep in tournaments and then, more importantly, finish the job and win.

8. J.C. Tran—Tran cashed in last year's Main Event and has seven cashes and a bracelet in this year's World Series.  Every cash this year has been in a hold 'em event, which only adds to Tran's value as a pick to be the eventual champion.

7. Kenny Tran—Kenny finished 16th in last year's Main Event, and has continued his WSOP success by winning his first bracelet in the Heads Up Championship.  Kenny has an aggressive call-call-call style and has proven himself to be one of the best at it. It seems to be the perfect style for this event with the huge fields.

6. Phil Ivey—Ivey really hasn't done much in this year's WSOP, yet it's hard to ignore him.  He has five bracelets and is a major threat in any tournament he enters. With this being the Main Event, he will probably be focused and will be a major threat if he doesn't get too bored in the first slow days of the event.

5. Chris "Jesus" Ferguson—Ferguson is the 2000 Main Event champion and has 56 cashes to his name.  He is known for his well thought-out decisions and mathematical style to the game, which has proven to be very successful for him over the years in the WSOP.

4. Barry Greenstein—Greenstein is No. 2 on the 2008 WSOP Player of the Year standings and has been playing great poker.  He finished sixth in the 50K buy-in HORSE event, which is usually filled up with only the best of the best. 

3. Daniel Negreanu—Negreanu is one of the best player readers ever.  Every WSOP he wows the crowd and his opponents with his pinpoint accuracy in calling people's hands—usually knowing what the other person has makes the game a little bit easier to win. 

2. Eric Lindgren—Lindgren didn't have a bracelet before this year's event and was considered one of the best without a bracelet.  But now he has one, and has the monkey off his back.

He can now focus on winning, which he seems to be doing a lot of lately.  He has made three final tables in this year's World Series, and is playing some really really good poker right now.

1. Phil Hellmuth, Jr.—Well, I basically have to put Phil in this spot. With more bracelets than anyone and having them all be in Texas hold 'em, it's tough to argue that there is anyone better than him, especially if you are arguing with him. 

He just got done finishing third just three events before the big one, so he is obviously on his game right now.  If Phil gets deep in the tournament and dodges all of the bullets early on in the tournament, he will be a monster favorite and the one the everyone has to fear.

Now of course in an event with over 5,000 people to pick 10 players at the start and get the winner would be basically crazy—most of the previous winners have been people that nobody had heard of before the Main Event. 

Also, I always end up underestimating Scotty, and he always tends to make me look a little silly when he is playing well. Also, Michael Binger could be there at the end, but making the final table two years ago basically rules him out.