As we enter a New Year – hey, at least it was not like poker’s “lost year” – there are some situations to tidy up. The Player of the Year awards for the two major outlets, CardPlayer Magazine and the Global Poker Index, could save some money this year by just combining into one award, because it is going to the same man. After dominating the “High Roller” circuit for the last half of 2021, Ali Imsirovic walked away with both of the major Player of the Year titles, one in a dominant fashion.
CardPlayer POY Race a Runaway
To say Imsirovic dominated the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year race would be a huge understatement. Imsirovic’s 14 titles over the span of the 2021 tournament poker year was seven more than the runner up, Michael Moutarde of France, and eight more than Michael Addamo of Australia and Fernando Rodriguez-Vazquez and Kao Saechao of the U. S. Although Addamo’s $9.1 million in winnings outpaced him, Imsirovic’s $5.9 million in earnings was pretty strong in its own right.
Where those 14 titles came into play was in the points calculations on the CardPlayer POY. Imsirovic racked up 8058 points through his work at the tournament tables in 2021, thoroughly crushing the opposition. His closest competitor was Qing Liu, who used a title on the World Poker Tour and several other excellent finishes to rack up a highly respectable 5080 points. Liu’s work barely outpaced another member of the “High Roller” crowd, Sean Perry, who basically shut down his tournament work during the World Series of Poker (he only cashed in the WSOP $100,000 High Roller tournament, did not play much of the schedule and was not on the circuit to finish the year).
Without further ado, here is the list of the Top Ten for the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year:
1. Ali Imsirovic, 8058 points
2. Qing Liu, 5080
3. Sean Perry, 4945
4. Alex Foxen, 4578
5. Chad Eveslage, 4535
6. Sam Soverel, 4518
7. Matas Cimbolas, 4490
8. Sergi Reixach, 4272
9. Chris Brewer, 4190
10. Johan Guibert, 4170
Of particular not on the CardPlayer rankings (since they don’t cover this aspect), the highest-ranking female on the list – essentially the CardPlayer Magazine Female Player of the Year – went to Kyna England, who also finished in 40th on the overall rankings. Her 2848 points lapped the field when it came to the ladies’ race and topped other male players such as Jason Koon and Sergio Aido.
Closer Race for GPI POY, But the Same Outcome
It was a closer race for the Global Poker Index Player of the Year award, but Imsirovic is the new “big dog” on the chart after two years of domination from Alex Foxen.
Imsirovic jumped out to a lead early on in the abbreviated 2021 tournament poker season (remember, many of the events did not kick back in until after April) and had to wait to see if anyone could combine a better set of results than he did. Imsirovic’s 3478.55 points were pretty strong, but Chance Kornuth had a chance at taking him down. He would come up short, however, finishing off the season with 3225.11 points.
There are some surprising names that round out the Top Five, names that did not appear at all in the upper echelons of the CardPlayer POY. Shannon Shorr is your third best player for 2021, according to the GPI POY, earning a solid 3141.45 points for the year. Uri Reichenstein zipped into the fourth place slot, just a few points behind Shorr at 3138.32 points, while Sergio Aido took down the fifth-place entry with his 3090.55 points.
There were other surprises when you look down the Global Poker Index Player of the Year Top Ten:
1. Ali Imsirovic, 3478.55 points
2. Chance Kornuth, 3225.11
3. Shannon Shorr, 3141.45
4. Uri Reichenstein, 3138.32
5. Sergio Aido, 3090.55
6. Chad Eveslage, 3006.84
7. Johan Guibert, 2998.51
8. Sean Perry, 2997.08
9. Brock Wilson, 2981.38
10. Jason Koon, 2969.76
In the Ladies’ POY, there was a bit of a surprise. Nadya Magnus emerged as the champion among the women, utilizing her 2123.03 points to beat England for the championship. They both topped three-time defending Women’s POY Kristen Bicknell, who chose to sit out the latter quarter of 2021.
Here’s your Top Ten for the Global Poker Index Women’s Player of the Year race:
1. Nadya Magnus, 2123.03 points (#41 overall)
2. Kyna England, 1787.47 (#96)
3. Kristen Bicknell, 1776.97 (#99)
4. Katie Lindsay, 1704.96 (#118)
5. Kitty Kuo, 1351.24 (#301)
6. Sonia-Veronika Shashikhina, 1325.72 (#324)
7. Vanessa Kade, 1315.91 (#335)
8. Kathy Liebert, 1272.19 (#384)
9. Gloria Jackson, 1257.77 (#398)
10. Loni Harwood, 1253.52 (#407)
With the turn of the page to the new calendar of 2022, all of these scores will disappear. A new year brings new challenges for the players and, with hope, there will be a full slate of events in 2022. But we do have to issue congratulations to Ali Imsirovic, Kyna England and Nadya Magnus for the splendid work over the tournaments played in 2021 and their respective Player of the Year awards.