Updated on August 24, 2023

The young gun, the up-and-comer, the rising star, the phenom, the prodigy. There are just a few descriptions for some newer success stories at the poker felt.

  • Who are a few names to watch that are scoring big at the tables?
  • Who could be the next big name to break through?

Here’s a look at a few of these young players making some waves in the poker world and how they got to this point:

Table of Contents

1 – Ali Imsirovic

This young player has been one of the hottest players in poker over the last few years. A poker whirlwind began for Imsirovic in 2018. 

He started the year winning a $10,150 event at the PCA in the Bahamas for $160,050. He then followed that up in April at the $2,700 Borgata Spring Poker Open for $246,066.

Later Ali scored back-to-back runner-up finishes in Aria High Rollers in May. The poker world took notice when he notched two wins in the Poker Masters in September at the Aria in Las Vegas for $1.26 million. 

He took home the purple jacket for the Player of the Series.

Since then, there have been big wins and final table appearances for Imsirovic on some of the game’s biggest stages: 

  • U.S. Poker Open
  • WSOP Circuit
  • Bellagio High Rollers
  • Aria High Rollers
  • WPT
  • WSOP, Super High Roller Bowl, and many others

In 2021 at age 25, he added a couple more runner-up finishes in Aria High Rollers and continued to score in live events, which earned him the GPI player of the year title.

Originally from Vancouver, Washington, his parents moved to the U.S. from Bosnia when he was young. A basketball player in high school, an injury played a role in Imsirovic taking up poker.

“I messed up my ankle playing basketball, and I needed something else to do,” he told WPT.com in 2019. “So, I found poker. My dad would play with his friends, but they wouldn't let me play. So, I read some poker books, and I got into it.”

That injury paved the way for a significant career at the tables, but troubles arose in April 2022 when Bosnia-born Imsirovic faced accusations of cheating from fellow players within the high-stakes community.

Imsirovic faced scrutiny due to claims of being banned by an online poker site, along with fellow pros Jake Schindler and Bryn Kenney. The accusations involved multi-accounting, ghosting, and using real-time assistance while at the tables. Despite these allegations, Imsirovic chose not to issue any public statement until recently, when he uploaded a YouTube video defending himself from some of the accusations, but admitting to multi-accounting.

Despite all the drama, he remains a force in the poker world with more than 18 million dollars in tournament winnings.

  • Nationality: American, born in Bosnia
  • Major scores: Super High Roller Bowl, Poker Masters, WSOP Circuit, U.S. Poker Open, WPT
  • Career tournament winnings: $18.7 million

2 – Charlie Carrell

After a £10 deposit online, this young poker pro claims to have run that up to more than £3 million by April 2017. His first big live score came in 2014 at age 21 in the £2,125 Grosvenor UK Poker Tour event Grand Final. 

Carrell took his first major title for $170,950.

Carrell has followed that up by winning the EPT Monte Carlo $25,500 High Roller in 2015 for $1.2 million. A year later, he notched two more big scores at EPT Dublin, winning the £10,200 high roller event for $185,104.

More EPT wins, and deep finishes followed. he also scored well on the WPT, Triton series, WSOP, and many other events. 

In 2017, he took runner-up in a $100,000 high roller at the PCA for $1.2 million. Carrell remains a top pro and a regular in high stakes events.

  • Nationality: English
  • Major scores: EPT, Triton, High Rollers
  • Career tournament winnings: $9.6 million

3 – Brock Wilson

This 26-year-old broke through with some massive scores over the last few years. 2019 was especially big and produced his first six-figure score. In November, he took runner-up in the PCA $25,500 High Roller for $619,560.

Wilson followed that up in December with a runner-up finish in the $10,500 High Roller at the WPT Seminole Rock & Roll Poker Open for $301,215. 

The same month he won a $10,000 event at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles for $110,020.

He continues to win big, with notable scores including $416,000 for a runner-up finish in the PokerGO Cup and $411,678 in the WPT Florida, both in 2022. Wilson remains an interesting player who jumps in lots of events live and online.

  • Nationality: American
  • Major scores: PCA, WPT, WSOP Circuit
  • Career tournament winnings: $6.5 million

4 – Sean Perry

Poker runs in the family for this player from Encinitas, California. His father, Ralph Perry, has been a pro since 1992 and finished third in the 2002 WSOP Main Event. 

His son Sean is no poker slouch either, finishing fourth in the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2017 for $504,090 at age 21.

In December 2020, Perry produced a couple of runner-up finishes in $10,000 Wynn High Rollers. That added another $126,000 to his career winnings. His biggest scores came after that, after placing 4th in a $100k event at the 2021 WSOP for $590.344, 3rd at the WPT Poker Showdown in 2021 for $596.418 and, the biggest yet, $640k at the PokerGO Cup #8 in 2022. 

When not playing poker, Perry works in real estate. It’s been a decent few years for this young poker player. If his winnings continue, more real estate purchases might be in order.

  • Nationality: American
  • Major scores: WSOP, WPT, PokerGO Cup
  • Career tournament winnings: $6.9 million

5 – BlazZerjav

This player made news in 2020 by taking fourth in a massive WPT World Championship online event for $552,006 at only age 23. The young Slovenian has become a hot name in online poker and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

With live poker shut down in 2020, Zerjav found plenty of success on the virtual felt. His best live score came in 2019 when he finished eighth in a €1,100 event in the Czech Republic for $26,944. 

He’ll be a fascinating name to watch as the live game returns. 

  • Nationality: Slovenian
  • Major scores: WPT online
  • Career tournament winnings: $965,000

6 – Landon Tice

This poker young gun began his poker career grinding it out in $0.10/$0.20 games online and then continued moving on up. He now plays mid- and high-stakes cash games both live and online.

He made news in 2021 by scheduling a heads-up online challenge with hedge fund manager Bill Perkins.

Confident in his skills, Tice felt he held a significant advantage against the wealthy recreational player. In 2020, he also helped Doug Polk prepare for his big heads-up, high stakes matchup with Daniel Negreanu. 

Tice and Polk streamed their $2/$4 battle, and Tice came out ahead.

Originally from Boca Raton, Florida, Tice burst on to the poker scene in 2020 at age 21. He won the $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour Main Event at the Venetian for $201,529. After that, he had several 5 figure scores at the WPT and WSOP.

His hoodie in his winner’s photo had an interesting saying: “It’s only money.”

  • Nationality: American
  • Major scores: Mid-States Poker Tour, WPT, WSOP
  • Career tournament winnings: $976,000

7 – Lynne Ji

This Californian has already made appearances on cash game shows like PokerGO’s High Stakes Poker and Live at the Bike. She began playing poker in 2017 and spends much of her time playing cash games around Los Angeles.

Ji is aggressive and admits she took some lumps early. She doesn’t have any significant tournament scoresbut makes her living at the cash game tables.

For High Stakes Poker, Ji was literally asked to play only a few hours beforehand. However, she says it was a great experience playing against top names like Tom Dwan and Nick Petrangelo. She might be a player to watch in the coming years as live poker begins returning after the pandemic.

  • Nationality: American
  • Major scores: Live at the Bike
  • Career tournament winnings: NA

8 - Kyna England

Unfortunately, women in poker still face a significant numerical disadvantage compared to the prominent male presence at the tables. However, individuals like Kyna England prove that they are just as capable of succeeding as their male counterparts.

The Chicago born commenced 2021 with a mere $21,000 in live earnings, but soon, she'd be living the dream with an impressive $990,000 on her resumé in just 2 years. It all started with a $73k score for a 3rd place finish at the 2021 MSPT and a few months later, she was scoring $448,755 for another 3rd place finish at the 2021 DeepStack Championship Poker Series. She closed the year with a win for $186,709 at the Winter Poker Classic Series and the title of MSPT Player of the Year.

  • Nationality: American
  • Major scores: DeepStack Championship Poker Series, MSPT, Winter Poker Classic
  • Career tournament winnings: $990,000


Poker continues to attract younger players looking for a shot at card-playing glory. In recent years, a younger generation is at the forefront of innovative strategies and outlooks on poker.

Adding more players is always good for the game. This younger generation of players on our list brings their own unique insight and attitude.

Not only are younger players attracted to the game, but they continue shaping events like the World Series of Poker

Since 2008, only four Main Event winners have not been in their 20s. In the early days of the event, gaining experience at the tables took years of live play.

For our web story about 7 young poker rising stars, just click here.

Originally Published on May 11, 2021

Sean Chaffin is a poker writer who appears in numerous websites and publications. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast