Isaac Haxton
Isaac Haxton has started 2023 like a house on fire. Could he and Isaac Kampton rip up the record books over the next 12 months?

If 2022 belonged to Daniels around the poker world, could the next 12 months become defined as ‘The Year of Isaac?’ After two early wins for Isaac Haxton in 2023, and the emergence of another similarly monikered super-talent, the case for Isaacs everywhere just got a lot stronger.



Looking at 2022 Through the Eyes of Daniels


It’s hard to disagree with anyone who says that that Dan Smith’s prophetic stance that 2022 would be the ‘Year of Dan’ did not come true. Smith’s own first World Series of Poker bracelet was followed by several other players winning gold in Vegas last summer. So much so in fact that the prophecy took hold.



By the close of the World Series of Poker, Dan Zack was the WSOP Player of the Year and even featured as part of our look back at the World Series when revisiting the most successful players of the series.


Later in the year, Daniel Negreanu won the Super High Roller Bowl for $3.3 million, confirming 2022 as the Year of Dan. Already, however, 2023 does not look to be following the same pattern, with Isaac the new name to watch.


Haxton’s Heroics Kick off the Year


Isaac Haxton’s record in tournaments is such that any success cannot be seen as a kind of ‘emergence’ – he’s already a living legend. Having won over $30 million in tournaments before 2023 even began, Haxton’s heroics in winning the final event of the 2023 PokerGO Cup for just under $600,000 proved that not only is Haxton more than relevant in urrent discussions about the best player in the world but that his end game is still phenomenally strong.


Surprisingly, Haxton’s prior record heads-up was not a good one, with a record of only eight wins to 16 defeats in second place across a glittering career. That all looks to have changed this year, starting with a victory over Cary Katz in that final event. Katz may have won the overall leaderboard, but Haston’s title-winning performance in the final $50,000-entry event of the series showed just how clinical he can be.


Haxton followed up this victory with another just a few days later. Hopping on a plane to the Caribbean from Las Vegas, Haxton landed and a few hours later, had won the Super High Roller event for another million dollars. That in and of itself is stunning, but take into context the opposition Haxton was battling, on a handful of hours sleep and you’ll really start to believe that he’s in line for his biggest year yet in poker.


The final table included players such as Adrian Matos, Seth Davies, Mike Watson and Timothy Adams, four players of the six he outlasted who are winners of millions of dollars in recent years. Haxton never looked like missing out on the biggest money and after a three-way deal with Davies and Mateos, went on to claim another trophy and title.


Another Isaac to Watch in 2023


Isaac Kempton
Isaac Kempton could be a massive threat in 2023 at the high roller felt in Las Vegas and beyond…


One of the most dangerous emerging talents in poker is another Isaac to watch out for over the next 12 months – Isaac Kempton. With 14 cashes in the last year alone, over in high roller events, Kempton is making a huge name for himself and should be nominated as one of the potential winners of the Global Poker Award for Best Breakout Player.


Kempton’s propensity for making the right decisions at key times has really increased in recent years after he exploded onto the scene in 2020. Kempton, who cashed for the first time in a live ranking event in February of 2020 can possibly claim to be the strongest player of the post COVID-19 era and won the $25,000-entry WPT Five Diamond High Roller for over a quarter of a million dollars.


This victory was not even in the top two of his career. Defining his 2020 was the $290k he won for taking down the WSOP Circuit event in Tampa in February of 2020 as his first-ever live cash, Kempton almost quadrupled that score when he came second in the $10,000 buy-in Wynn Millions Main Event to Tony Sinishtaj, after the latter was pounced on for what many saw as an inappropriately dour winners photo, proving you really can’t win with everybody, even if you’re a poker champion.


Kempton looks like a genuinely exciting prospect in the poker world and will be one to watch in 2023. If he and Haxton continue as they are going, then it could be a summer of prop best in Las Vegas.


Isaacs everywhere will love to see it…