Later this week, the 55th Annual World Series of Poker will begin its play. The Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas will be abuzz as both professional and the greenest amateur players look to claim poker’s biggest prize. There is also another prize on the line for these players – ranking points on the two major Player of the Year races, which normally set up for the fall run towards crowning poker’s best.

In these races, it is a surprisingly diverse field. Adrian Mateos has used his dominance in international play to take the edge on one of the countdowns, while Jesse Lonis has made his bones in “High Roller” play. Whether either of these men will be atop the standings following the 2024 WSOP is a huge question.

Mateos Leads International Contingent

On the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year Race, Mateos has used an outstanding month of May to surge to the top of the standings. Some of the work came during the European Poker Tour stop in Monte Carlo, where the Spaniard made the final table of the €25,000 High Roller event and came up just short of the final table in the €5,000 Main Event. But it was Mateos’ trip to Montenegro for the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series where he separated himself from the pack.

Mateos would earn five cashes during the run of the Triton series. Four of those tournaments would earn him points toward the POY, including a victory in a $50,000 tournament and a runner-up finish in a $200,000 tournament. In those two tournaments alone, Mateos racked up over 2100 points and pushed his name into contention for the CardPlayer POY.

Here are the current Top Five on the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year rankings before the start of the 2024 WSOP:

1. Adrian Mateos, 5764 points
2. Michael Watson, 4584
3. Stephen Chidwick, 4308
4. Punnat Punsri, 4157
5. David Coleman, 4134

Of the Top Ten players on the CardPlayer list, eight of those players are from outside of the U.S.

Lonis Uses WPT Stop to Amass His Points

Lonis would take a much different route to assuming the lead on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year table. Lonis won the 2024 World Poker Tour stop at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, to snare over 400 points for one of his thirteen-point-earning finishes. Along with his work earlier in April at the U. S. Poker Open, Lonis was able to squeak past Stephen Chidwick for the top slot on the board.

What is most interesting about these rankings is how they reach different conclusions. As you see with the CardPlayer rankings, Lonis is not in the Top Five there, but Mateos is not in the Top Five of the GPI POY. It is a quirk in how the two systems tabulate points for the players, but it does give poker fans something to discuss.

Here are the current Top Five on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year rankings prior to the start of the 2024 WSOP:

1. Jesse Lonis, 3535.03 points
2. Stephen Chidwick, 3401.74
3. Michael Watson, 3339.26
4. David Coleman, 3254.59
5. Daniel Dvoress, 3196.01

Kristen Foxen Leads Ladies’ POY Race

Perhaps the more entertaining race for a Player of the Year will come from the women. Kristen Foxen has been able to slip out to an early lead in the GPT Ladies’ Player of the Year race, in part because of early season success in some High Roller tournaments. Foxen has amassed 2937.44 points (good for #67 overall) but a host of players, including former POYs and a Women in Poker Hall of Famer, are on her heels to force her to work for the title:

1. Kristen Foxen, 2937.44 points
2. Cherish Andrews, 2739.79
3. Victoria Livschitz, 2425.78
4. Nadya Magnus, 2207.14
5. Maria Ho, 2016.34

The 2024 WSOP could very well wreak havoc on these rankings. At the 2023 WSOP, four players earned two bracelets (Ryan Miller, Chris Brewer, Chad Eveslage, and Josh Arieh) which put their names in the mix for not only the WSOP Player of the Year but also the overall race. Can one of the players in the current rankings go on a big run during the WSOP and seize control of the race? We will see by the midpoint of July how everything shakes out.

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