Five Pennsylvania Poker Players to Watch For at the 2018 WSOP

Written By Kim Yuhl on May 16, 2018
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The Pennsylvania all-time money list includes plenty of poker players that are familiar to fans of the game.

All-time earnings can’t be the only criteria used to create a list of who to watch at the 2018 World Series of Poker.

Other information must be considered, including:

  • Recent results
  • Performance at least year’s WSOP
  • Typical buy-in range

Without further ado, here is our list of five Pennsylvania poker players to watch at the 2018 WSOP.

1. Jake Schindler

The obvious first choice for this list is Jake Schindler. He is the all-time money leader for Pennsylvania with $18,224,852 in live earnings. Over $3 million of that came from last year’s runner-up finish in the Aria Super High Roller Bowl.

Schindler spends most of his time in no-limit high roller events. Knowing that, expect to see him in any of the bigger buy-ins at the WSOP. Otherwise, he is likely to be at Aria playing in their high-roller series that takes place in the summer. Either way, he is always fun to watch.

The other reason Schindler is on this must-watch list is he is on a massive heater.

Here are his results for April alone:

  • First place in the partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final Barcelona for $2.15 million
  • Three first-place finishes in Aria high rollers for $600,00
  • A second-, seventh-, and an eighth-place finish in other $10,000 or more buy-in events

Before you start watching for him at the WSOP, you will find him at the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl. If last year’s performance and his recent results are any indication, expect him to have a big summer.

2. Matt Berkey

Matt Berkey recently collected an American Poker Award. His documentary “Dead Money: A Super High Roller Bowl Story” won for Best Poker Media Content. It chronicled Berkey’s preparation for the Super High Roller Bowl in detail.

It is how Berkey thinks and prepares for poker tournaments that put him on this list. He also has nearly $4 million in live tournament cashes and is part of the coaching team at Solve for Why Academy.

While Berkey lives in Las Vegas, he still considers Pittsburgh home. He said as much to PlayPennsylvania earlier this year:

“God, yes. I still call Pittsburgh home, and I’ve been here [Las Vegas] for eight years. I literally just built a house here, and I still talk about how I’ll move back any year now.”

At the 2017 WSOP, Berkey had seven cashes and made two final tables. In total, he has 32 cashes and nearly $1.5 million in earnings.

Last August, Berkey won the $25,000 Poker After Dark – Voices Carry Event #1. Before that, his last win was in 2015. He’s been knocking on the door awhile now. It would not be surprising to see it open this summer.

3. Matt Glantz

Matt Glantz is a familiar face in the East Coast poker scene and part of the Poker Night in America team.

He enters every summer as one to watch and is considered by many to be one of the best poker players without a WSOP bracelet or WPT title.

Glantz plays all the games well, which makes him a threat in any tournament. His most notable scores came in the WSOP $50,000 HORSE (2008) and Player’s Championship (2011) where he finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Glantz has over $6 million in live tournament earnings, nearly $3 million of that was earned at the WSOP. He has 56 cashes under his belt which illustrates he is well-versed in navigating tournament fields.

Glantz is a vocal advocate for the average poker grinder. He understands the need for a business to make money but not at the expense of the integrity of the game.

In a game that rewards individual achievement, it is often surprising to see players rooting for other players. It would not be a shock to see many players rooting for Glantz to claim gold this summer.

He might not be worrying about the fact that he doesn’t have a bracelet, but you can be sure he will be fighting for one.

4. Joe McKeehen

Whether you love Joe McKeehen or hate him, The 2015 WSOP Main Event Champion is always one to watch when a big tournament is in town.

McKeehen is no one-hit wonder. His Main Event win accounts for only about half of his $14.5 million in live tournament earnings. Additionally, he won his second bracelet in 2017 in Event #38: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship.

McKeehen is playing some good poker lately. He has had four final tables, 10 cashes, and one win since the beginning of the year.

In late 2017, McKeehen joined the coaching team at Chip Leader Coaching. While some players questioned whether he had the personality to coach, he must be doing something right. He counts Chris Moneymaker as one of his clients.

In a recent interview for U.S. Poker Moneymaker had this to say about the coaching relationship.

“Joe McKeehen deals with a lot of the same stuff that I deal with. Being the Main Event champion, people play us a little bit differently. He can relate to how people play against me, so I found that to be really good. He’s a really, really strong player so that was sort of a deciding factor in me hiring him.”

His results alone are enough to put him on this list. His controversial comments always make him interesting to watch.

5. Jennifer Shahade

Jennifer Shahade is the dark horse on this list. As a relatively new mom to Fabian, born in January 2017, Shahade seems to have the work-life-baby balance thing down.

She has been traveling quite a bit and still heads to New Jersey regularly to play online. Keeping her skills sharp is a requirement with Pennsylvania poised to enter the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement later this year.

Shahade has some impressive credentials. She is a Chess Grandmaster, had a deep run in the 2016 WSOP Main Event, and won the first TonyBet Open Face Chinese Poker Live World Championship High Roller.

It is unknown if she will be spending time in Las Vegas this summer. She plays regularly, is a strategical thinker, and is primed for a big score. Fabi might just be the motivation Shahade needs.

Yes, she has the lowest lifetime live earnings ($337,803) on this list. That shouldn’t automatically count her out. She is creative in her play, used to playing on big stages and has extra motivation.

If she makes the summer trek to the Las Vegas desert, look for Shahade to make some noise.

Poker players that didn’t make the list

There are some big names on the Pennsylvania all-time money list that didn’t make it into the top five. Just a few that failed to make the list:

  • Dan Shak
  • John “Johnny World” Hennigan
  • Dan Ott
  • Russell Thomas
  • John Andress

That is not to say they are not worthy of being on the list and not worth watching. Pennsylvania is home to some of the world’s best poker talent. Narrowing it down to just five was a challenge.

The real story here is no matter what tournaments you are following this summer there is likely to be a Pennsylvania poker player somewhere on the leaderboard.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at

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