Posts Tagged ‘Races’

Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

 Maria Lampropulos, Christopher Kruk Take Early Leads in Player of the Year Races

Yes, it is very early in the year. Yes, these folks probably won’t be here when we come to June (heck, maybe even March). But, for right now, two players – Maria Lampropulos and Christopher Kruk – can lay claim to the title of “best poker player” as they lead the Poker Player of the Year races.

On the CardPlayer Player of the Year rankings, it is the champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure who can lay claim to the crown. The Argentine sensation romped to the title and its million dollars plus payday earlier this week, earning 2100 points for her efforts. The runner up in that tournament, Shawn Buchanan, settles into the second-place slot on the CardPlayer rankings, earning 1750 points for his performance in the tournament. Also making a nice showing at the 2018 PCA was Koray Aldemir, who took third in the Main Event and finished in the runner up slot in the $ 25,000 High Roller; between the two tournaments, Aldemir earned over $ 660,000 and picked up 1610 points.

The High Roller tournaments at the PCA didn’t have as much effect on the POY races in 2018 as they did in the past. Perhaps because of some changes to their computations, the CardPlayer board didn’t overload points on the victors in the big High Roller events. Thus, players like Steve O’Dwyer (who won the $ 50K High Roller with 46 players) and Cary Katz (the champion of the $ 100K Super High Roller with 48 players) didn’t earn as many points as they might have in the past.

While he might not have gotten as much for his win in one of the $ 25K High Rollers, Christopher Kruk made the most of his time down in the Bahamas. Over the span of five days, Kruk earned three cashes, including two final tables and a win. In earning over $ 900,000, Kruk picked up 1113 points, landing in fourth place on the CardPlayer ladder ahead of the fourth-place finisher in the PCA Main Event (and defending Player of the Year) Adrian Mateos’ 1050 points.

Rounding out the bottom of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer board is Justin Bonomo (1004 points), Jason Strasser (960), defending World Champion Scott Baumstein (960), Daniel Coupal (875) and Darryl Ronconi (840) in sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Kruk has no such issues with new computations when it comes to the Global Poker Index ranking of the Player of the Year. The three cashes he earned at the PCA earned him 749.95 points, good enough to catapult him into the lead in the early going. The surprise is Norway’s Aylar Lie, who has been able to take the second slot on the GPI rankings without leaving Europe. Lie cashed six times at the Merit Poker Western Tournament, including a win in a $ 500 Bounty tournament, to rack up 631.15 points. Lie’s success is further accentuated by the fact that Lampropulos earned 606.34 points for her PCA Main Event championship and was only good enough for third place.

Another player who decided against journeying to the Bahamas makes the board in fourth place. Ole Schemion won the World Poker Tour European Championship in Berlin on Monday, to earn 423.22 points (and another cash in a preliminary) and the fourth-place post with 550.61 points. That was enough to eclipse Bonomo in fifth place (543.99 points) as the midpoint of the month is reached.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are a few more surprises. Benjamin Pollak (543.98, sixth), Isaac Haxton (537.95, seventh), Daniel Jones (532.38, eighth), Jeffrey Trudeau (524.91) is ninth and Kunal Patni (518.14, tenth) round out the leaderboard.

Don’t worry, there won’t be a test on this subject. By the end of the month, it is entirely possible that an entire new list of contenders will be sitting in these seats with the Aussie Millions, the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and the L. A. Poker Classis either starting or finishing up their play. But to have a great year of poker is to start off well, and the players listed above have done it. Now they can look to improve on what has been an excellent start to their season.

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Stunning Late Season Move Puts Adrian Mateos Over Bryn Kenney in Player of the Year Races

 Stunning Late Season Move Puts Adrian Mateos Over Bryn Kenney in Player of the Year Races

In a stunning, late season move that is similar to what occurred last year, Spanish poker professional Adrian Mateos has used a surge of success at the tables to pass the man who has led virtually since the start of the year, Bryn Kenney, in the Player of the Year races in tournament poker.

Mateos began the month of December in fourth place on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard behind Kenney and it seemed that he was going to have a tough time catching the leader. Not only did he have to climb over two people to even reach Kenney, Mateos had to make up roughly 2000 points to even have a chance at equaling Kenney. But that is exactly what Mateos has done, utilizing the final PokerStars Championship event to do it.

After finishing off November by winning the $ 5000 Eight Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament at the Caribbean Poker Party, Mateos went on a run in December that was stunning. Beginning at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Mateos earned three final table finishes, but he wasn’t done yet. Flying back to Europe for the PSC Prague (which would turn out to be the final event ever on that circuit), Mateos earned four more cashes, three final tables and two tournaments that earned him POY points. By the end of December, Mateos had totaled up 2118 points to pass Kenney and take over first place.

It wasn’t like Kenney didn’t try to maintain his lead. He picked up 105 points for a seventh-place finish in the $ 25,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament on the WPT Five Diamond schedule, but it wasn’t enough to ward off the invading Spaniard. As of December 30 (and barring any last-minute finishes), Mateos and his 7220 points will earn the CardPlayer POY over Kenney’s 7173 points.

The remainder of the Top Ten on the CardPlayer list were seemingly OK with where they finished on the end-of-year rankings as they didn’t make a serious drive upwards. Fedor Holz, the runner-up in 2016 (more on this in a minute) will finish in the third-place slot in 2017, earning 5875 points (and more than $ 6.3 million) to hold off Koray Aldemir (5510) in fourth place. Justin Bonomo used a steady stream of cashes in the Five Diamond $ 25K tournaments to ease into fifth place (5411), while 2016 Player of the Year David Peters (5034), Stephen Chidwick (4912), Jason Koon (4859), Steffen Sontheimer (4782) and Benjamin Pollak (4660) round out the sixth through tenth places, respectively.

Mateos’ late season surge also saw him eclipse Kenney on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race. Much like the CardPlayer ladder, Mateos was in fifth place to start the month on the GPI board with plenty of space for his numbers to rise (under the GPI rankings, only the 13 best finishes for a player, utilizing a complex calculating system, are counted towards the rankings). Of the seven cashes that Mateos had, five of them improved his 13-tournament total. That 1051.36 increase was enough to push him over the top.

As of December 30, Mateos has the top slot on the GPI POY with a total of 3504.71, while Kenney had to stand pat on his 3478.06 points because his effort at the Five Diamond didn’t knock off one of his 13 prior finishes. Chidwick also climbed a bit during the month of December, moving into third place (3247.43) over Peters (3244.62). Dan Smith, who won the $ 100,000 Super High Roller at the Five Diamond and picked up some more points in another $ 25K event, jumped up to fifth place (3235.92) to conclude 2017.

Rounding out the Top Ten on the GPI POY are Ari Engel (3206.87), Holz (3172.03), Koon (3138.27), Nick Petrangelo (3133.46) and Stefan Schillhabel (3123.39) in the sixth through tenth positions.

The final month of 2017 is remarkable in its similarity to what happened last year. In 2016, Holz dominated the POY races all season long before, in a last-minute rush, Peters was able to pass Holz and take away both POY titles. If Kenney doesn’t find a poker tournament between now and Monday, he will fall victim to the same late-season lightning strike that hit Holz in 2016, only this time at the hands of Mateos.

The end of season rush by Mateos also demonstrates one of the problems that the ranking systems haven’t been able to overcome. Of the eight tournaments (counting the Caribbean tournament) that Mateos played to overcome Kenney, four of them were High Roller events with a buy in over $ 25,000. Without those high-dollar tournaments (which add more points due to their buy-in but offer fewer obstacles in the number of players), it is unlikely that Mateos would have even gotten within sniffing distance of Kenney, who himself built the massive lead he had through primarily playing High Roller events (of his 29 cashes in 2017, 25 of them were in tournaments with more than a $ 25K buy-in).

Hopefully the CardPlayer and Global Poker Index rankings will find a way to deal with the far too numerous High Roller and Super High Roller events in 2018 (limiting the number of cashes from such events might be a good start). For 2017, however, the ink is almost dry as Adrian Mateos looks to become one of the youngest, if not THE youngest, player (23) to ever capture the awards in the two predominant Player of the Year races.

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Bryn Kenney Holds One, Loses Other Top Slot in POY Races

 Bryn Kenney Holds One, Loses Other Top Slot in POY Races

When it comes to the different Player of the Year races in the poker world, the end of the World Series of Poker is usually the time when everything resets. Players that jump out to a huge lead over the first half of the year are normally reeled in as the WSOP schedule closes. In 2017, this has held true – at least partially.

Prior to the start of the WSOP, poker professional Bryn Kenney was atop the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year leaderboard. Kenney, however, decided to sit out the entirety of the WSOP roster of tournaments (and other events around Las Vegas), which gave the pack a chance to either close on him or pass him. When it comes to the CardPlayer POY rankings, all it did was allow them to get closer.

Kenney, whose last cash was his victory in Monte Carlo at the PokerStars Championship €100,000 Super High Roller event in April, still has had a year that others would sell their mother for. With four tournament wins, 13 final tables and 17 cashes overall, Kenney has racked up 4162 points to the midpoint of the season. Perhaps more importantly for Kenney, he has earned a stunning $ 5,192,223 in just the first four months (remember, he didn’t play at the WSOP) of the season.

The field isn’t content to sign off the POY award to Kenney, however. Justin Bonomo utilized the High Roller tournaments around Las Vegas – the $ 300,000 Super High Roller Bowl and the ARIA Summer High Roller Series – along with a final table at the WSOP to accrue enough points to slide into the second-place slot on the CardPlayer POY. As the second half of the tournament poker year gets ready to kick into action, Bonomo is within shouting distance of Kenney with his 3841 points.

Another player that is slowing down a bit after a blistering start to the year is Nick Petrangelo. Although he cashed in both the WSOP “One Drop” tournament and the Championship Event, Petrangelo was passed by Bonomo for the second slot on the ladder. Petrangelo, who is also one of the serial High Roller cashers, is sitting at 3639 points, good enough for the third-place spot on the charts.

The man who is poker’s newest World Champion, Scott Blumstein, settles into the fourth-place slot on CardPlayer’s board, but his presence also demonstrates another problem with the CardPlayer rankings that Blumstein has absolutely nothing to do with. Blumstein had four cashes prior to the WSOP, but none of those cashes earned any POY points. The 3300 points that Blumstein has are purely derived from his win in the WSOP Championship Event; in NO RANKING should one tournament alone catapult you into the upper echelons of a yearlong pursuit.

For a guy that says he’s “retired” from poker, Fedor Holz seems to be playing quite a bit of cards. At the end of May, Holz won two ARIA Summer High Roller tournaments (both $ 50K buy ins) that added not only 916 points to his POY total but also added $ 748,200 to his poker bankroll. His overall play in 2017 has Holz currently in fifth place with 3272 points as he looks for the POY award that he barely missed last year.

Rounding out the CardPlayer Top Ten rankings are players such as Koray Aldemir (sixth place, 3262 points), 2016 POY champion David Peters (seventh, 3202), Nadar Kakhmazov (eighth, 3080), Adrian Mateos (ninth, 3076) and Andreas Klatt (tenth, 3068).

While Kenney continues to rule supreme on the CardPlayer rankings, the Global Poker Index tells a different story.

Instead of taking some time off during the WSOP, Dario Sammartino was an active participant in the festivities in Las Vegas. Sammartino cashed eight times during the WSOP and four of those tournaments earned him points in the GPI system (the GPI takes the 13 largest point-scoring tournaments of a player to give the player their total points). Those four adjustments – a lower scoring tournament for a higher one – have pushed Sammartino to the top of the GPI Player of the Year rankings with 2928.47 points.

Petrangelo picked up two better tournament finishes, one at the WSOP in the “One Drop” and the other at the Venetian’s Deepstack Extravaganza in maintaining his second-place spot on the GPI board. In tabulating 2881.97 points, Petrangelo came up just short of passing Sammartino for the top slot on the rankings. Perhaps more importantly, however, Petrangelo has some room to work on improving his point totals by getting better finishes whereas Sammartino is hamstrung.

The third-place slot on the GPI POY race is held by a man who didn’t even appear on the CardPlayer rankings. Since the close of the PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo, Dan Smith has been on a tear in mostly the High Roller events. Two ARIA High Roller wins and two deep runs in WSOP events (the $ 10,000 Heads Up Event and the $ 25,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament) have pushed Smith into the POY debate (for the GPI at least) with his 2841.98 points.

Kenney finally appears on the GPI rankings in fourth place. Because he didn’t play during the run of the WSOP, he didn’t have a chance to earn more points, but he’s also facing the difficulty of finding events that will give him more points to replace a lower event. With that said, Kenney’s 2840.97 in points will still improve over the last half of the year.

Aldemir rides high on the GPI rankings (fifth place, 2833.85 points), just not as high as he does on the CardPlayer board. For the remainder of the Top Ten, there are players that were already on the CardPlayer rankings and those that weren’t making the cut. Sergio Aido (sixth place, 2809.01 points), Peters (seventh, 2684.63), Ari Engel (eighth, 2652.8 points), Charlie Carrel (ninth, 2618.77) and Bonomo (tenth, 2616.7) all are part of the GPI POY and well set into their slots.

The halfway mark has passed and it is time to head into the second half of the tournament poker season. The Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, FL, is going to have a significant impact on the standings as will the restarts of both the PokerStars Championship roster of events and Season XVI of the World Poker Tour. There’s still quite a bit of time for someone to come from the back of the pack to catch these men, but they are the solid contenders for the Player of the Year awards given out in poker.

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No Clear Frontrunner as Different Player of the Year Races Kick Off

 No Clear Frontrunner as Different Player of the Year Races Kick Off

With almost six weeks complete in 2017, the two major Player of the Year races in the tournament poker world have begun to take shape. Demonstrating the differences in emphasis between the two rankings, there is no clear frontrunner at this time.

The CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year rankings have a logical person sitting atop the standings. By virtue of his first ever tournament cash, Australia’s Shurane Vijayaram jumps out to the lead on the CardPlayer ladder. The champion of the $ 10,000 Aussie Millions Main Event earned 2280 points for that win alone, just barely pushing him past the man who finished second to him in the tournament, Ben Heath. Heath has a few more finishes on his 2017 resume, with three big finishes at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas prior to his trip Down Under, and is right behind Vijayaram with his 2188 points.

The winner of the PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event comes in at third on the CardPlayer board. Christian Harder, who defeated Cliff Josephy in heads up play to capture the first ever championship on that newly created circuit, picked up 1824 points for his efforts. It was enough to push him past Nick Petrangelo, the first member of the “High Roller” circuit to make the list (Petrangelo was the champion of the Aussie Millions $ 100,000 Challenge), who slides in at the fourth-place slot with 1628 points, and Tobias Hausen, the third-place finisher at the Aussie Millions, who has 1520 points for fifth place in the POY.

The aforementioned Josephy is arguably having the best year of his tournament poker life. Coming off his run at last year’s World Series of Poker Championship Event “November Nine,” Josephy’s runner-up finish against Harder earned him 1520 points, enough to tie him with Hausen on the CardPlayer standings. Daniel Weinman, the victor at the World Poker Tour’s Borgata Winter Poker Open, only received 1440 points for that win, but he’s sitting in seventh place at this very early point in the year. Rounding out the CardPlayer Top Ten in eighth through tenth positions respectively are Bryn Kenney, the winner of one of the $ 25,000 tournaments put on during the PokerStars Championship Bahamas schedule (1406 points), Byron Kaverman (1375 points) and Fedor Holz, whose two final tables at the Aussie Millions earned him 1270 points.

OK, remember the names on the CardPlayer rankings? For the most part, forget them, as the Global Poker Index’s Player of the Year standings reflect a completely different look at the tournament poker world.

Kenney is one of the few constants between the two boards. He has already used up seven of his qualifying slots (the GPI scoring system looks at the top 13 finishes of a player, not a conglomerate of points), with six of those coming at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas. Because of this early rush, Kenney has burst out of the gate with 1592.85 points, enough to take the overall lead on the GPI leaderboard.

A player who wasn’t even on the Top Ten on the CardPlayer rankings takes the second-place slot on the GPI listings. Mustapha Kanit earned five cashes at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, then hopped a jet to Melbourne to pick up two more at the Aussie Millions. Over those seven finishes, Kanit has 1424.52 points and earns the second place standing on the list.

Kaverman gets more love from the GPI than from CardPlayer, with his work so far in 2017 earning him the third-place slot with 1257.5 points. Two more newcomers to the rankings, David Yan (956.39 points) and Nate Bjerno (796.36), the runner-up at the Borgata to Weinman, round out the Top Five. Petrangelo (788.13, sixth place) and Heath (771.68, seventh) are neck-and-neck in their battle, while Lucas Greenwood (765.12, eighth) and Sergi Reixach (760.8, ninth) have their own tussle ongoing. Wrapping up the GPI Top Ten is Weinman, whose 751.83 points for winning one of the bigger events on the WPT is not getting the attention it deserves.

The names that you’ve just seen on both the CardPlayer and GPI leaderboards? Within the next four to six weeks, they will completely be changed. The predominance of action in the tournament poker world is before the WSOP and 2017 is no different. After the WSOP is completed in July, there is a dearth of events and few chances for players to make up significant ground. Thus, it is important for players to get out to an excellent start in the whirlwind of tournaments between now and April as it does set up a player for an outstanding season.

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Fedor Holz with Stranglehold on Player of the Year Races

 Fedor Holz with Stranglehold on Player of the Year Races

We’re down to the final month of the tournament poker calendar (there are no major tournaments that occur following the European Poker Tour’s swan song in Prague, the Czech Republic on December 19 unless the Aria High Roller tournaments are counted) and the Player of the Year races have virtually been decided. Unless there is a drastic change atop the standings for the two major POY tabulators, Germany’s Fedor Holz will capture both awards.

Perhaps the biggest demonstration of the season that Holz has had (other than the massive increase to his bank account) is demonstrated on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race. In finishing in fourth place at an Aria Super High Roller tournament in October (a $ 100,000 buy in tournament), Holz tacked on 300 points to his already sizeable lead in the POY standings. With those 300 points, the German wunderkind has cracked the 7000-point mark (7058, to be exact) and has a nearly insurmountable lead.

Way back in second place on the CardPlayer POY is David Peters, who has been posting some great results of late but haven’t put much of a dent in Holz’s lead. In October Peters picked up some points with a fourth-place finish at an Aria High Roller tournament ($ 25,000 buy in version) and then went to Hong Kong (OK, technically Macau) and racked up over $ 850,000 in winnings and almost 700 POY points (including winning the $ 250,000 Hong Kong dollars (roughly $ 32,000 U. S.) No Limit Hold’em event at the Asia Championship of Poker). Those finishes pushed Peters up to 5791 points, still a distant scream from Holz’s total.

After leading the CardPlayer POY standings at the start of the year and then falling off the Top Ten, Ari Engel has battled back into the mix. The champion of the Aussie Millions was the runner up at the Heartland Poker Tour stop in St. Louis in November, picking up 600 valuable POY points. It wasn’t enough to hold off Peters, however, meaning Engel has to settle for the third-place slot (4969 points) at this time.

From Engel down is where the changes are most likely going to come before the calendar is flipped to 2017. Justin Bonomo (4895 points), Chance Kornuth (4838), Sam Soverel (4765), Connor Drinan (4637), 2016 World Series of Poker Championship Event runner-up Gordon Vayo (4190), Bryn Kenney, (4089) and Ivan Luca (3958) round out the CardPlayer Top 10, but they are basically battling for position (along with Engel and probably even Peters) as they most likely cannot catch Holz.

The numbers are closer together on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings but, because of their convoluted format, the opportunities to score points aren’t exactly there for those looking to catch Holz.

Holz has had such an outstanding season that he has only added a few points to his total. The 180.66 points that the German picked up for his finish in the Aria Super High Roller event were only about eight more points than his lowest finish previously (under the GPI rules, a player accumulates points for each of their top 13 finishes; the only way for a player’s point total to increase is to have a better point finish in an event than one you’ve already achieved). In fact, Holz has a very small window to add more points to his total; he would have to have a finish that tops that Aria score to replace it on his Top 13 finishes. Thus, Holz’s 3644.8 points is about as good as he is going to get.

Peters faces much the same problem as Holz in that he would have to start topping his previous bests to increase his point total. With 3343.09 points, the chances for Peters to make up more than 300 points are extremely slim, considering that he would have to best his lowest score (180.67 points, for his finish in a side event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure back in January) on at least two occasions (and by a wide margin) to even get close to Holz. It isn’t impossible for Peters to do this, but it is extremely difficult.

The rest of the GPI Top Ten are, as they were in the CardPlayer rankings, playing for positions. Kornuth (3363.54 points), Paul Volpe (3192.2), Bonomo (3127.87), Adrian Mateos (3109.86), Samuel Panzica (3046.64), Engel (3012.24), Nick Petrangelo (3008.21) and Kenney (3002.78) have plenty of maneuvering room amongst each other, but not much for moving into first and passing Holz.

Along with the final EPT event in the tour’s history and the various Aria High Roller events, the World Poker Tour will have its traditional December tournament, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, wrap up their calendar year. While the WSOP Circuit, the WPTDeepstacks, the HPT and some of the other smaller circuits will hold events through December, none of them offer enough points for anyone to mount a charge against Holz. Thus, barring a stunning occurrence – and even then only on the GPI leaderboard – it appears that Fedor Holz will be poker’s Player of the Year.

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