A late season victory at the Bellagio has worked wonders for poker professional Alex Foxen. With his win at the World Poker Tour’s Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Foxen catapulted up the standings on the Global Poker Index Player of the Year to achieve a feat that has never been done before. That same win didn’t work the same magic for Foxen with CardPlayer, however, coming up just short of a similar achievement.
Stephen Chidwick Goes One Step Higher, Wins CardPlayer POY
After coming up just short in 2018, Stephen Chidwick was able to go one step higher in 2019 to capture the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year award.
As it would turn out, Chidwick needed every point he earned to eclipse Foxen for the award. A High Roller win in the €50,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament at the European Poker Tour’s Prague stop was the key points grabber, earning Chidwick 510 points for the victory and a nice $805,538 payday. That was his final points earning cash for 2019, putting Chidwick atop the CardPlayer standings with an astounding line for the 2019 tournament poker season: 7344 points, five championships on the year, 21 final tables and total earnings of $7,269,794.
Without that win by Chidwick, Foxen would have claimed both of the major Player of the Year awards in poker. Foxen made the Five Diamond his own personal playground in December, making FIVE final tables in tournaments all over $10,000, and won the WPT event on December 21. The 3225 points that Foxen earned for those final table finishes saw him fall just short of Chidwick, however, with a final line of 7134 points, two championships, 19 final tables and over $5.6 million in earnings.
Other than the rush from Foxen, Chidwick had a pretty firm grip on the CardPlayer board. Same Soverel (6352 points), Sean Winter (6343 points) and Kahle Burns (5804) were a distant third through fifth, respectively, but none mounted the charge that Foxen did. Rounding out the Top Ten were Bryn Kenney (5762 points), Cary Katz (5449), Joseph Cheong (5447), Rainer Kempe (5333) and Ali Imsirovic (5284).
This might help Chidwick get over the 2018 race on the CardPlayer board. Although he capped 2018 with some strong finishes at both the Five Diamond and the Super High Roller Bowl (held in December 2018), Chidwick didn’t rack up enough points to beat Jake Schindler for the 2018 POY championship. Chidwick rectified that in 2019, blowing away the field so that he earned the title in 2019.
Foxen’s December Rush Powers Him to GPI POY Championship
Foxen would not be denied on the rankings of the Global Poker Index, however. Starting off the month of December, Foxen was outside of the Top Ten on the GPI 2019 standings, but three of those five finishes at the Bellagio would replace lesser performing tournaments on his resume (the GPI takes the top 13 finishes of a player after a complicated points awarding system). Those three tournaments that Foxen earned points in (totaling 1155.96 points) pushed Foxen not only into the #1 slot on the 2019 GPI POY with 3806.09 points but also into the #1 slot on the world rankings (4017.12 points) over Chidwick (3679.39). (The overall world GPI rankings is a three-year amalgam of tournament performance.)
Although he was able to win a $25,000 buy in tournament at the Bellagio in December, Sean Winter was unable to fight off Foxen’s charge. His 3679.19 points barely eclipsed Kenney (3647.81) and Burns (3641.81), while Chidwick finished off the year in the fifth slot (3637.94). Rounding out the Top Ten were Kempe (3499.77 points), Sam Greenwood (3487.1), Manig Loeser (3434.91) Timothy Adams (3377.88) and Imsirovic (3377.59).
Taking the top slot on the GPI POY is a historic achievement for Foxen. As the reigning Player of the Year on the GPI rankings, Foxen becomes the first poker player to go back-to-back in winning Player of the Year races. No other poker player has ever won any of the major rankings in consecutive years…until now. Sustaining a high level of performance, especially in the world of poker, is tremendously difficult and Foxen has made a mark that could stand for some time.
With the calendar switching to a New Year and a new decade, the Player of the Year races will reset to zero and the players will wipe their slates clean and start again. Can Foxen make it three in a row? Will Chidwick be able to sustain his success? Or will we crown a different champion(s) come the end of 2020? We will answer those questions a year from now, but let’s give Alex Foxen and Stephen Chidwick their time in the sun to celebrate their success as Players of the Year for 2019.