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Poker commentator Jesse May’s a brave man. He’s only gone and tried to predict the outcome of the Premier League III. Read on for his complete guide to the players who’ll be competing in what promises to be one of the most-electrifying and wild tournaments ever:

12th place – Vicky Coren
“Vicky is one of the most improved players on the European scene. She’s a gamer, has never shied away from the competition and it just goes to show that the best way to improve your poker is to match up with the best on a regular basis. Vicky can be a demon destroyer who has well-timed aggression and a nifty talent for getting her chips in first.”

Sparks could fly with: Andy Black. “Andy made Vicky angry with his comments in the first Premier League that she didn’t find out about until it came on TV. They managed to avoid each other for most of the last Premier League but it’s far from over.”

Player to beware of: Devilfish. “The Devilfish has owned Vicky in the previous two Premier Leagues. He has run her over like a train with his charming chauvinism, if you can call it that. She gives him way too much respect and the fact she genuinely likes The Devil doesn’t help one bit. If Vicky wants to succeed she show no mercy no quarter when it comes to Dave Ulliott.”

11th – Juha Helppi
“This man is out of form. Pound for pound I believe he has played the best and most consistent poker of anyone from the first two Premier Leagues but a lot of good it will do him now. He actually believes that he will be unlucky, which is a recipe for disaster. It’s a shame because when he is on he plays this format near perfection.”

Sparks could fly with: Roland De Wolfe. “This one is on the cards. The two have teased each other for years and I see Roland stepping over the line, making ‘The Machine’ snap. Believe me, this will get ugly.”

Player to beware of: Phil Hellmuth. For two years Juha has been playing well and owning Phil. Phil has been waiting to grab the upper hand on Juha and will waste no time in kicking him when he is down.”

10th – Andy Black
“The defending champion can play. He is tight early and aggressive late and this formula usually gets steady points. However, Andy’s Achilles heel is that he can’t stay away from a battle of the egos and there are just too many egos in this line-up for him to succeed. His heart will get the better of his head.”

Sparks could fly with: Tony G. “Andy always likes to get the last word in but this year Tony is ready for the challenge. Tony has his sights set on the man who robbed him of the Premier League II title.”

Player to beware of: Andy Black. “This never gets old. Andy has 11 players to beware of and they are all named Andy Black. Over the course of seven days Andy will crack up. It’s just a question of when and how much it will cost him.”

9th – Tom Dwan
“The buzz around the Internet phenom known as ‘Durrr’ is immense. Six million dollars this year alone. Soft spoken but a maniac at the table, everyone is excited to see his game. However, his play involves playing a lot of pots and I’m not aware that he has the desire or ability to play the tight gear. Here, that means a lot of early exits.”

Sparks could fly with: Phil Hellmuth. “We’ve all watched THAT YouTube video and even though Tom beat Phil on the table, Phil slaughtered him in the verbal. Tom might be the better player in a cash scenario but here Phil will dominate him in the play and crush the poor 21 year old with the abuse. Phil will bait him until he pops.”

Player to beware of: Annette Obrestad. “The most aggressive Internet cash player against the most aggressive Internet tournament player. The last time I looked this is a tournament and Annette will get it over on Dwan all day long.”

8th – Roland De Wolfe
“How the giants have fallen. Two years ago Roland was the hottest poker player in the world, now he’s just a formless mass. On the bright side, Roland is immensely talented and is able to raise his game when playing against world-class opponents. He plays so far outside the box, there is no box. Right now, though, emotional odds are stacked against him.”

Sparks could fly with: Nenad Medic. “Nenad is the person Roland once was and now hopes to become again. This bothers Roland and something Nenad casually said in one of his interviews gave me the feeling that he has very little respect for Roland. This rivalry could be one of the hidden gems of this year’s Premier League.”

Player to beware of: Tom Dwan. “Roland likes to be the fanciest player making the fanciest plays, something Tom Dwan owns here and anywhere else. If Roland tries to outplay Tom Dwan, and you know he will, ‘Durr’ will have that extra trick up his sleeve.”

7th – Phil Hellmuth
“Phil is in good form. He seems a happy man but it’s been a long time in Hellmuth years since he won anything major. He came last a year ago but can slay so many demons by doing well this year. He needs to just make the final table but I still don’t see it. Phil will be mid-table and beat in the heads up by someone who will taunt him forever. It’s part of the drama that is the ‘Poker Brat’.”

Sparks could fly with: Peter Eastgate. “Phil loves his records as much as he loves himself and Eastgate is the man who broke Phil’s twenty-year record of being the youngest WSOP Main Event winner. Eastgate could be the silent assassin in such a way that only a smirk will make Phil explode and for real.”

Player to beware of: Tony G. “Everybody laughed at Tony G for the way he played last year, none louder than Phil Hellmuth. I think Phil will be guilty of underestimating Tony’s play this year and could pay the penalty.”

6th – Nenad Medic
“I’ve never met Nenad, but from what I’ve seen he is quite impressive. Big man, quietly confident and with a string of results in the last two years. He appears to have the game to succeed here but how he will react to the verbal intensity of this group of players remains to be seen. He has a temper, I’m sure of it, and we’ll just have to see what happens when he’s had enough.”

Sparks could fly with: Andy Black. “Talk about polar opposites. Nenad is a cool dude and a low boiler but he will only take so much of Andy before he’s had enough. I’m predicting fists to fly by day five.”

Player to beware of: Devilfish. “I saw both these guys in the big cash game in Vegas during the WSOP. Nenad was running hot and the Devilfish wasn’t. If Medic is guilty of underestimating the ‘Fish, Devil will give him his due. Don’t ever think the Devilfish can’t play with the big boys.”

5th – Annette Obrestad
“There is no question in anyone’s mind that Annette is at the top of the poker world to stay. Of all the players in the Premier League I think this format perfectly suits her strengths. Though it appears to many that her game is based on naked aggression and little else, she has flair that is so extreme as to be borderline destructive. One of the great subtexts with Annette is her confidence: she respects no one and knows no fear. How she handles the cauldron that is the verbal pressure factory will be exciting to see.”

Sparks could fly with: Vicky Coren. “Obrestad is very confident and arrogant. Vicky and she have absolutely no chance of getting along and I can’t wait for this one.”

Player to beware of: JC Tran. “Against Annette you must be prepared to make the big call. Call it a hunch but I think JC Tran will be her kryptonite.”

4th – Peter Eastgate
“I’m proud to boast that I saw this one coming. Peter played several times on TV before his run this year in the WSOP and several times displayed the raw genius that promised big things to come. In the WSOP he got big action precisely because he was so unpredictable. He’s got nine million in the bank and this Premier League is his coming out party. I will be the second-least surprised person to see Eastgate win this as that’s what he thinks he’s here for.”

Sparks could fly with: Tony G. “This is like grade school for Tony G. He picks out the guy least likely to defend himself and paws him like a cat with a dead mouse. We’ll find out just how much backbone Peter has based on when and how he chooses to respond.”

Player to beware of: Roland De Wolfe. “Roland is the kind of guy that feels a need to put people in their place. Peter had better be ready with a plan of attack for Roland.”

3rd – Tony G
“For a man who wears his heart and soul on his sleeve, Tony G has only been a shadow of his self during Premier League I and II. The picture of him with his head in his hands after making an amateur mistake from last year’s final table said it all. And that was just after lacking commitment to follow through against Roland de Wolfe. It was sad to see.

“Cheer up, though, Tony G fans. I can happily report the man is back, full of confidence, life and the abusive wit that makes our sides ache. Tony G has probably got the biggest axe to grind in the whole of the Premier League. They laughed at him last year and I have the feeling at some point he will be standing on his chair and saying: “Who’s laughing now?””

Sparks could fly with: Devilfish. “Devilfish knows just what buttons to push. One fat joke too many and they may start pulling hair. It will get loud.”

Player to beware of: Peter Eastgate. “Tony will not be ready for Peter Eastgate’s game, of that I am certain. Take this kid lightly and you will end up walking.”

2nd – JC Tran
“You’ve got to like this guy. His tournament record over the last three years puts every single player in this league to shame. He is no one-hit wonder and it is impossible for him to just be a very good player on an unbelievable run. He has so many final tables in big events over the last three years it’s just mind boggling. JC is a guy who is a bit hurt that he is not getting the recognition he deserves so I can see him taking this event more seriously than anyone else in the field. He has the most to gain.”

Sparks could fly with: Tony G. “JC is friendly and easy going. Tony comes on friendly and then hits where it hurts. This is where the rubber meets the road and Tony will be on the guy from day one.”

Player to beware of: Juha. “If there is one guy who JC could easily size up incorrectly it’s Juha Helppi. Juha will identify JC as the guy he can pull a move on and he is probably right.”

Winner – Devilfish
“I should be shot for my faith in the Devilfish but the fact remains the Devilfish does have it all. When he is on his A-game he has the technical skills to slash everybody in the field. He has the verbal weapons to hammer the psychological edge and he has the wit and camera presence to own the show. Ulliott has only one knock against him and that’s his habit of slipping into negativity when things start to go wrong.”

Sparks could fly with: Phil Hellmuth. “Phil has always owned the Devilfish: Hellmuth is the Devilfish’s walking bad dream. The most entertaining of all the rivalries, as sure as death and taxes.”

Player to beware of: Annette Obrestad. “Devilfish always gets outplayed by strong females because he shows them no respect. Liz Lieu hammered the Devilfish in Premier League I and she’s not half the player Annette is. Look for Annette to make him feel foolish in many pots.”


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